#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 4, 2019)

I didn’t participate in #WeekendCoffeeShare last week, but this week, I’m joining in. Not that I have a lot to share as far as I can think of off the top of my head, but oh well. I just had a drink of Crystal Clear.

If we were having coffee or any other drink of your choice, I’d share that the weather is a lot better than it was last week. The week before, it was hot but not tropical hot, but last week, temperatures rose to 40 degrees Celsius. Now they’re in the lower 20s.

It’s good weather to walk, and so I did on Monday and Thursday. Yesterday too. I walked my in-laws’ dog with my mother-in-law for over an hour. I loved it.

In fact, if we were having coffee, I’d also share that I’ve been more active in the exercise department lately. I went on the elliptical twice this week. Unfortunately, my Fitbit activity tracker didn’t track it as exercise.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’ve been watching but not paying attention to the talk about Siri and Google and all that eavesdropping on human conversations. I don’t really care. Same for the Tygpress thing. Yeah, I’m offended by the fact that some person probably took my content and is distributing it without my consent. However, the main thing I worry about is this thing killing the joy of WordPress for most people and my losing my audience. Or worse yet, that WordPress will somehow have to quit and I’m left without a blog. Ever since I moved my online diary to WordPress in 2007, even if I didn’t have an active blog all of the time, I spent most of my time trying to have one.

If we were having coffee, I’d confess that I did in fact eat all the candy that was left over from the candy cake we made on Tuesday in one sitting. That is, I left over two waffles for my husband. Then again, on Friday, when we went to the marketplace near day activities, we bought a ton of fruit.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I spent most of the week-end in my room reading. I’ve developed an interest in Rainbow Rowell. Not that I don’t read my usual memoirs anymore, but I want to read more fiction too.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that things on the house-buying front are moving smoothly. Did I share that we agreed on an offer for a house? We will hand in the signed buyer’s contract tomorrow.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband is a great cook. I had to have microwaved meals several times this week and eat at my in-laws once, but when my husband did cook, it was delicious.

What have you been up to lately?

My Encounters With the Police

When I wrote my Share Your World post last Monday, I said I would write more about my encounters with the police. Now that I keep switching between a lot of seemingly meaningful activities and not sticking to one long enough to actually be useful, I thought I’d write this post.

My first encounters with the police, in 2000 or 2001, were for the “crime” of being or appearing lost. I would often go to the grocery store on my own to get candy, even though I didn’t really know my way there. That is, I had been taught, but being that I not only am blind but have the worst sense of direction, I couldn’t seem to get it right. So I often got lost and then people would see me wander aimlessly, sometimes crying in frustration, and they’d call the police. My parents thought the police were stupid.

One time, in 2004, the police threatened to arrest me “for support” if I didn’t go in their van with them. This was my worst encounter with the police, because not only was their use of force excessive (they physically pushed me into the van), but I hadn’t actually been lost.

Once I’d moved into independent living in Nijmegen in 2007, I got involved with the police several times for wandering. They’d take me to the police station, sometimes calling my support staff and other times the mental health crisis service. I was deemed “not crazy enough” for the crisis service to even assess me.

I have probably shared the story of my mental crisis in November of 2007 before. In fact, I know I have, maybe just not on this blog. This involved me threatening suicide while riding a bus. The police were called by the driver and took me to the police station. What I may not have shared, is that I got removed from the train station by the police earlier that day, for the reason that I appeared (and was) confused.

Now that I live with my husband, I sometimes fear police involvement when I wander off. However, this village is so tiny there isn’t any police on the streets anywhere.

Overall, my experiences with the police have been okay, other than the time in 2004 I was threatened with arrest and the time I was removed from the train station. The police in my parents’ city had a good amount of information on me on file, which I’m not even sure they’re allowed to anymore due to GDPR. Now, however, many mentally ill people carry a “crisis card” in their purses with basic information about them, their diagnosis, emergency contacts and what first responders should and shouldn’t do. I have yet to get myself such a crisis card. I will when I’m in supported housing.

Mystery Blogger Award!

Thanks a bunch to Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award.

Rules

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  5. Answer the 5 questions you were asked.
  6. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  7. You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  8. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  10. Share a link to your best post(s).

The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Enigma. I am unable to copy/paste the image.

Beckie’s Questions

1. If you were to have one wish come true, what would it be?
I’m going to be selfish here and wish for a bright future for myself and my husband.

2. What is the least favorite thing about yourself that you wish you could change?
My difficulty tolerating distress.

3. What was the last funniest thing to happen to you?
A funny thing? I don’t know.

4. What was your favorite subject in school?
English.

5. Weird/Strange Question… If you could have dinner with anybody (Dead or Alive) who would that be, and what would you like to ask them?
I never ask lots of questions during dinner, as it’s all about the food to me. I’d just have dinner with my husband.

Three Things About Me

  1. My first word was “aircraft industry” when I was ten-months-old.
  2. I went to grammar school, but forgot almost all my Latin and Greek.
  3. I used to be an auditory learner and hated reading Braille until I was about thirteen. Then I got a computer and I hated the screen reader’s synthetic speech so much that I developed a preference for learning through touch.

I’m not choosing a favorite post, as I can’t decide. What do you all think is my best post?

My Nominees

  1. Bipolar Barb
  2. Therapy Bits
  3. My Inner MishMash
  4. Bipolar-Ilari
  5. BlindWilderness
  6. Color Me Bipolar
  7. Day by Day
  8. I Am My Own Island
  9. Just Being Me
  10. Kristen Experiments

My Questions

  1. What is your favorite color?
  2. What is the biggest challenge you face right now?
  3. Do you have any pets?
  4. (Weird/Funny) Would you want to be the opposite gender for a while if you could?
  5. What was your major in college?

Candy Cake

I want to write more often about the ordinary things I experience in daily life, particularly those I’m grateful for. I considered doing a daily gratitude post or the like, but I guess that would get boring. Today though, I have some really joyous experiences I want to write about.

I may or may not have shared that, when my husband and I got married in 2011, we got a homemade liquorice cake from the staff and patients at the psychiatric unit I resided at. The bottom was made out of a Dutch candy called foam blocks. These are really made entirely of pressed-together powdered sugar and they’re yuck. The top, however, was layered with my favorite sweet liquorice. I loved it!

When my support coordinator and I were in the process of appealing the authority’s decision to deny me long-term care funding, we agreed to make another liquorice cake if we succeeded. And we did! Today, we made the cake.

Candy Cake

As you can probably see, we didn’t choose foam blocks for the bottom layer. Instead, my support coordinator bought waffles, which are not only more tasty but also softer. This meant that my fellow clients at day activities who have swallowing difficulties, could at least eat some of the cake. After all, they can’t eat liquorice.

We then made a layer of marshmallow diamonds. Then we layered the top with an assortment of winegums, sugared candy and liquorice. Finally, my support coordinator sprinkled sugared pop rice over it. In the middle, we stuck a candle in the shape of the number four into one of the marshmallows. This symbolizes the fact that I got my funding approved on June 4.

My support coordinator took the picture above, so that I can show it to my husband and on this blog. Seeing AI, my image recognition software, did recognize the picture as being of a cake.

We ate some of the cake at our mid-afternoon coffee break at day activities. Though the other clients don’t understand the reason I made this cake, they definitely enjoyed it. And so did I!

Share Your World (July 29, 2019)

Today, I’m joining in with Share Your World. I loved today’s questions. Here are they and my answers.

1. Is it wrong to sell store-bought pastries at a bake sale?
No. It’s a little unauthentic, but it’s not morally wrong. In fact, with the licensing that’s required to sell food (or cosmetics), it may be wiser. I know this from the time I made handmade soaps for my staff and fellow patients in the psych hospital. They wanted to give me a small amount of money for it and I didn’t object, but I did make it clear that I didn’t have a license. When my staff sold a traditional new year’s treat in large quantities at my ward, the manager did make sure he had a license.

2. Have you ever interacted with the police?
Lots of times, mostly for my own safety when I was in a mental crisis. I have however also been in contact with the police for the mere crime of being (or appearing) lost. I will soon write a post on this topic.

3. What will you remember most about this past year?
So far, the most memorable moment of 2019 was my being approved for long-term care.

4. Is it better to have fungus on your toes, your tongue, or your pizza?
LOL. Since a pizza with mushrooms on it is called fungi at least here, I prefer that. Not that I like this pizza, but it’s much better than having a toe fungus at least. I am so happy my toe fungus was finally (mostly) eradicated after many years of suffering when I got oral medication for it last year. I have no experience with a tongue fungus and I’d like to keep it that way.

5. What is one slang word that makes your skin crawl?
I don’t know much about slang, but ableist slurs definitely make me angry. I’ll go with “lame” for now.

Song Lyric Sunday: Movies

I am rather late to join in with Song Lyric Sunday and I’m twisting the prompt a little. After all, I rarely if ever watch movies, so I have no idea what songs are in them. For this reason, I’m going with a song that wasn’t a movie title song, but should have been. Tom Lehrer famously introduces this song that he proposes as the motion picture title song for the movie Oedipus Rex. I am too lazy to look up the lyrics that include the introduction though.

Song Title: Oedipus Rex
Singer/Songwriter: Tom Lehrer
Release Date: 1959

From the Bible to the popular song
There’s one theme that we find right along
Of all ideals they hail as good
The most sublime is motherhood

There was a man though, who it seems
Once carried this ideal to extremes
He loved his mother and she loved him
And yet his story is rather grim

There once lived a man named Oedipus Rex
You may have heard about his odd complex
His name appears in Freud’s index
Cause he loved his mother

His rivals used to say quite a bit
That as a monarch he was most unfit
But still in all they had to admit
That he loved his mother

Yes, he loved his mother like no other
His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother
One thing on which you can depend is
He sure knew who a boy’s best friend is

When he found what he had done
He tore his eyes out, one by one
A tragic end to a loyal son
Who loved his mother

So be sweet and kind to mother
Now and then have a chat
Buy her candy or some flowers
Or a brand new hat
But maybe you had better let it go at that

Or you may find yourself with a quite complex complex
And you may end up like Oedipus
I’d rather marry a duck-billed platypus
Than end up like old Oedipus Rex

Working On Us Prompt: Coping With Crisis

Today, I’m once again joining in with Beckie’s Working On Us Prompt. This week, the topic is to write a narrative of what works for you when facing a panic or anxiety attack, manic episode or other crisis. I don’t get panic or anxiety attacks much or mania at all, so I’m going to describe what works for me when I’m in an emotionally dysregulated crisis.

Like I’ve said before, I have BPD (traits). These are also known as emotion regulation issues. I also experience complex PTSD symptoms. Both can cause me to suffer emotional outbursts. In addition, I can get severely overloaded due to my autism. This can cause me meltdowns, which in some ways are similar to BPD outbursts. In fact, I’m not 100% sure my BPD diagnosis is correct given that autistics, particularly women, are often misdiagnosed as BPD.

Anyway, I usually notice an outburst coming on when I experience an increase in sensory reactivity. I also often start to experience a decrease in my language abilities. I start to stutter or can only make humming noises and repeat the same phrases. My staff at day activities say that when in this state, my communication abilities resemble those of a toddler. It is interesting, in that we have only one toddler alter. When I can’t do something to calm down, I may progress to a full-blown state of meltdown, in which I become angry and sometimes aggressive or self-injurious.

What helps me when I’m in such a state, is to physicaly remove myself from the situation. This is hard though, as often it feels as though everything that happens around me is important. Usually, my staff help me by clarifying what’s important and what is not.

Of course, now that I still live independently, I don’t always have a staff member available to help me sort through a crisis or make suggestions on how I can cope. I, however, have a phone number of a psych hospital I can call in a state when I’m close to a crisis. They can’t do much but listen to me and try to offer advice, but it’s definitely been helpful in some situations. The mental health team that treats me also has a staff available on the phone for crisis intervention during office hours.

Sometimes, when I’m in a really bad crisis, I take my PRN lorazepam. However, I have some experience with it being overused on me in the psych hospital. Like, whenever I’d react to a sound in an irritated tone of voice, staff would tell me to take a lorazepam rather than helping me to figure out what was causing me overload. This has really gotten me weary of PRN medication.

Gratitude List (July 27, 2019) #TToT

I haven’t participated in #TToT in forever. Today, I’m wanting to join in once again. I recently joined their Facebook group too and I promised to be active then. So here are the things I’ve been grateful for lately.

1. A lovely walk on Monday. We got a heatwave here, so for most of the week, it’s been impossible to exercise or go outside much at all. It’s summer break, so the intern who normally takes me on the weekly walk, isn’t there. Thankfully, the staff decided they can have me join in the walk anyway.

2. My computer behaving as it’s supposed to. I got a new PC a few weeks ago and sold my Mac and overall, I’m so happy I did. It took a little getting used to trying to figure out E-mail, feed readers and such, during which time I spent $36 on a feed reader that wasn’t ideal. Then I finally decided that if I just accept that I’ll need to use both Google Chrome and Firefox regularly, I’ll do fine with my old friend (no pun intended) The Old Reader. It after all works fine in Google Chrome, but Facebook doesn’t. Now I’m just so delighted I have a Windows PC again.

3. Having been able to save more money than I expected. I will probably soon get a bill for €140 a month or more in copay for my long-term care. My husband offered to contribute more to our monthly bills so that I do not have to be responsible for cutting the full amount of money, but I’ll still need to save some. As such, I’m so delighted that I saved over €100 more than I’d expected during the month of July.

4. My husband and I probably buying a house soon. We placed an offer on it last week and, after some negotiation, reached an agreement on the price. We’ll soon sign the draft agreement and hopefully be house owners by late September or early October.

5. Having gotten through the worst of the heatwave. It was boring at day activities, because I couldn’t go outside. Then again, I made it through and did okay. I made sure to drink enough water. As a side note, my autistic perseveration side does love the weather records that were broken.

6. Peaches. I bought some with my support worker on Thursday. I love summer fruits, but blueberries are too expensive for my budget now.

7. One-on-one time with a support staff at day activities on Friday. She had to return a walker to another day center that they’d been trying out for another client. She offered to take me, so we drove to the other day center, then to a hotel to have a drink at its restaurant. She told me to have something to eat too, so I chose tiramisu. My husband’s tiramisu is better, but still it was a great treat.

8. The weather being slightly cooler now. Like I said, all heat records were broken on Wednesday and Thursday and, though it’s still pretty hot, I’m enjoying the slightly less extreme temperatures now. Mind you, it’s still supposed to have gotten to 30 degrees Celsius today, but it feels almost cold now that my husband just opened my window. (I can’t open or close my window because I can’t reach that far.) Phew!

As you can see, I didn’t get to ten things to be thankful for. I blame this on the heat and my brain melting away. I hope you’ve all been grateful lately.

Friendly Fill-Ins Week #167

I discovered Friendly Fill-Ins already over a year ago, but rarely joined in. Especially since I stopped using my old PC, it was hard, because I couldn’t copy the questions on my iPhone and my Mac was giving me a pain too. Now I’m trying to get used to my new PC and am learning to write blog posts on it too. It is lovely. Today, I’m joining in with Friendly Fill-Ins week #167. Here are the questions.


  1. If I had ________________, I would _________________________.

  2. ___________________ sparks my creativity.

  3. _________ keeps me up at night.

  4. I only just recently learned _________.

My Answers

1. If I had a lot of money, I would get myself my very own sensory room. My husband has said that, if he ever wins the lottery, he’ll give me my own fully furnished snoezelen® room. Not that he ever plays in the lottery and neither do I. I already have a lot of sensory equipment, but I’m discovering new stuff almost on a daily basis.

2. Discovering writing challenges and journaling prompts sparks my creativity. Not that I’m very creative at all. I always plan to soon write some poem or piece of flash fiction, but I never get to it. I love to freewrite, but somehow, I feel held back in doing so. As such, journaling prompts and writing challenges do help me.

3. The heat keeps me up at night. At least right now. Although I must say, when my husband leaves the house at 5AM and I try to go back to sleep, I often shiver if the fan is still on and the window open.

4. I only just recently learned about what’s involved when you’re buying a house. As regular readers may know, my husband and I saw a house we may want to buy last week. Well, technically my husband saw it, as he visited it right out of work, and I accepted his description at face value. I am not sure I’m allowed to disclose this on my blog, but we reached an agreement with the seller on a price and are now working out the details of the contract. I have no idea about such things as finding a solicitor, getting a mortgage and all that. As a side note, the house is too small for me to have my own room, let alone a sensory room. However, since I’ll hopefully move into a care facility sometime in the not-too-distant future, I’m just hoping I’ll be able to use the facility’s sensory room.

Happy Blogiversary to Me

Today is my one-year anniversary of creating this blog. I wanted to acknowledge it, since with all my previous blogs, I’ve not really had a blogiversary. After all, I either didn’t keep them for a year, or I switched sites sometime. Like, my original blog gradually emerged from an online diary. Though I remember exactly when I moved it to WordPress, I never considered that day my blogiversary. Blogging Astrid started on Blogger and moved to WordPress three months in. I then deleted my introductory post, because it had references to Blogger in it.

I’m not really one for sticking to a blogging strategy long anyway. I mean, I originally intended this blog to be a diary, but it never got to be one as much. I still seem afraid to be “caught” and to want my posts to be “blog-worthy”. As a result, my posting frequency has significantly decreased.

Today is an incredibly hot day. Temperatures have reached 40 degrees Celsius and at midnight, it’s still supposed to be 30 degrees. Being that I will have to go to bed around 10PM, I’ll most likely be soaring for the rest of the day. Tomorrow is supposed to be just as hot. As such, I do not feel like writing an extensive post to celebrate my blogiversary.

I’m spending the day reading and finding new books to put on my TBR list. I’m also making sure I drink water every hour. Still, the heat can’t pass soon enough if you ask me. Both of my support staff visited me today. I went to the grocery store with my support worker this morning. Thankfully, she had air conditioning in the car and the store was also air-conditioned. With my support coordinator, I just chatted a little. Normally, we go for walks, but that’s just not possible in this heat.

My room is the hottest in the entire house. Still, I like my desk best for a workspace, so I’m not moving my laptop downstairs to write.

I hope you all are keeping calm and as cool as possible.