Chaos handled well

Tonight, well more today, was one of those days. We had a big luncheon that we catered for a veterans day lunch, on top of our regular lunch.

That wasn’t too bad, except that the places that also got out regular lunch were calling our main kitchen like crazy and I was lucky if I was able to get my actual job done with how much running around I did.

After lunch things calmed down a bit and I was able to get a little bit of my job done.

Then dinner.

Oh how I loved dinner.

3 waitstaff showed up in main dining, plus a trainee who’s first day was tonight.

I was kind enough to help pour coffee and water for residents, pass out bread, clear tables, and sort silverware, as well as my normal job.

Something that hasn’t happened in months.

And I handled it quite well. Which isn’t normally the case with me.

The difference?

Anxiety/depression meds.

Most cases in the past, I would have had an anxiety attack having to break my routine and talk to people I didn’t know.

This time, I fought being overwhelmed by breaking routine and managed to help in a time that was needed and much appreciated.

And not once did I complain. I dealt with it and did as much as I could while still doing my job as well.

And I don’t regret doing what I did.

I was only supposed to do just water and coffee but went above and beyond because I knew they needed it.

And I’m glad I did

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The negative side of autism

Lately, well maybe not lately but more a long time, I’ve been struggling with negative thoughts about myself. I always wondered if this was due to the mass amounts of bullying or some other factor.

In thinking of this lately, I feel like that its another factor.

That factor being the pressure that’s being put on me by society to hide who I am as a person on the spectrum.

Now I admit I have resorted to hiding my autism but over the last couple years it’s been catching up with me.

My anxiety and depression worsened from hiding the person I am meant to be. My perception of who I see myself as isn’t what others see of me. I constantly feel like I’m broken and need to be fixed or am too broken beyond repair.

It’s hard. Not many people realize how hard it is. I always have portrayed someone with not a single struggle that now all I know is to let out all my autism and not even bother keeping it in.

An ugly but necessary truth. One that needs to be seen despite how people see it.

After all, we as those on the spectrum have the right to be who we are without punishment from others.

I feel that saying this will help me understand that different isn’t a reason to be ashamed of who you are. Helping me have a way of therapy if you will.

I’m also hoping this can be the start of people seeing the other side of what I deal with that not many know

Amazing week of firsts

On Sunday, I had gone to church with my boyfriend. It’s our thing to do on Sundays unless I am not in town. Well, during the service I was in, my parents had gotten a call from my grandma saying she wanted to go to the hospital.

Unfortunately, she lives in the big city I drove in a couple weeks ago and is about 2 to 2.5 hours away from where we live.

I had gotten a text from my mom that I needed to come home as soon as possible after service was done.

I got home and unfortunately couldn’t go with them because on a professional level, work needed me first because my grandma wasn’t feeling well. I know that sounds terrible, but if I had been at work and got a text or call that my grandma was dying, I’d be able to say I need to leave for this reason.

Well, pretty much since then, I have been home by myself all week.

I managed to get myself to my hockey practice no problem. I was able to get all the garbage together to put it out Monday night. I have remembered to get the mail throughout the week. I did the laundry and even did my bedding.

All of this without needing to be reminded.

To those not familiar with autism, we need constant reminders to do stuff that most people are able to do on their own. Mainly because our brains aren’t wired to think that way

So for me to be able to do all of this before being reminded shows that I am more than capable of being able to do things that I never thought I’d be able to do without constant reminders.

Yes, it has been lonely being here by myself, but I’m showing my parents I can be responsible.

This is something I am very proud of. Something I am able to celebrate because I never thought I could ever make happen. Mostly because I am so used to reminders and people doing things for me that I never thought it could happen.

But it did. And its showing me that I am capable of this and more.

And the future will show me that

Autism at its finest

Since my last post, I’ve noticed something that happened to me. I’ve been struggling with my autism more than normal since my drive in a big city.

And until today, I have had issues getting it under control.

It’s been a difficult few days trying to deal with it and understand what’s been going on with me.

My hearing has been more amplified and noises that I normally have not as much problems with have hurt my ears. Even from a far enough distance.

Trying to start tasks was sometimes difficult and sometimes I had difficulty staying on task.

I’ve been struggling with emotional regulation and feelings of not being good enough over small things that never usually bother me.

All of this and possibly more have affected me from Friday until about Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

It has me questioning, is there any good way of getting help coping with these issues without having to do ABA therapy?

I want to be able to manage things better but don’t want to undergo something that a lot of people have had issues with.

But it also makes me wonder, is it worth changing that part of me to be more “normal”?

Should I just accept it as it is and allow me to be myself?

Or find a therapist who can help me make it less overwhelming for me?

Questions that are fair to ask but can only ever be answered by me and me alone.

After all, it is my life and only I am able to truly decide for myself what I should do.

Today’s overwhelming factor

About 3 weeks ago, I put in a request to take today off of work to help my mom out with my grandparents. This is due to my dad having a different work schedule. Otherwise he would have done it.

Now, normally the travel there isn’t a big deal. But for some reason, me driving there was hard.

I was having trouble focusing, the closer I got to the big city they live in, the more overwhelmed I got, I was distracted by our dog. The list goes on.

It wasn’t until today that I realized how much big city driving is an overwhelming sensory trigger for me. 4 lanes of traffic on the highway all going faster than me was hard.

On top of that, the many different exits I have to take to get to my grandparents in a short amount of time makes it harder.

Now, I have a nervous habit of picking at the dry skin on my lips when I get overwhelmed.

Well, I started doing this and my mom noticed and started calming me down and helping me through it.

If it weren’t for that, I probably would have lost my mind completely.

Now, I am fully aware of what it can be like in a big city with driving.

From a passenger standpoint, it doesn’t seem as bad. But when you get behind the wheel and experience it first hand for the first time, it really opens your eyes.

The sad part is that there is really not much you can do to prepare for it. But now that I know what it’s like, I can now know what to expect in the future. And I’m hoping I can use this as a great learning tool to help me in the future.

It was definitely a big accomplishment for me to do this. Every other time my mom wanted me to drive the highway to my grandparents, I’d get bad anxiety in the first hour or less.

So I have improved quite a bit but the overwhelming factor will always be there and I’m hoping I can get more experience doing this in the future.

Autism and how anxiety/depression meds have affected it

So, I’ve talked quite a bit about how anxiety and depression meds are doing great things for me.

I have, however not talked about what its done for my autism.

Since taking my meds, the adjustments to my new autism side have been different. My focus is 10x better than it was. My short term memory, however, not so much. That in itself is unusual for me.

I have however, had less ADHD and OCD symptoms, which has been great. Sensory issues have been hit and miss throughout the day, rather than being consistent.

I have definitely been more happy and easy going. I haven’t been very overwhelmed by things going on around me. AND, I’ve only had ome meltdown in the last month.

This adjustment has been weird but great. The new me is taking some time to get used to but I’m glad this is the new beginning.

One month

Well, to say its been a crazy whirlwind the last month would be an understatement. Just over a month ago, I started taking an anxiety/antidepressant med and its been crazy at how well its been working for me.

I’ve been able to think clearer. I’m able to focus more. So many great things have happened since starting.

The only downfall, if you can call it that, is I’m getting used to just having to cope with autism all the time.

Its a different feeling when your not used to just that.

Things I used to be afraid of are no longer a fear. Spiders and heights used to be things that bothered me. Not anymore. Its like I have no concept of fear anymore.

Well, maybe not any concept but just more that I’m not afraid to face things anymore.

I’ve only had small bouts of onset anxiety lasting no more than 30 seconds each time.

I’ve been humming songs to keep myself entertained while I’m at work and staying busy to pass time. (I never used to do this before.)

Shoot, last Saturday my boyfriend took me to see Bruno Mars, and I love me some Bruno Mars, and I wasn’t afraid of letting myself be different and get excited about it around a bunch of people. I was hand-flapping and making noises from so much excitement and didn’t care. My boyfriend even let me do it without stopping me but also made sure I was paying attention to my surroundings.

All of that has never happened before the med because I was normally self conscious about it from an anxiety standpoint. Now, its like I’m not afraid of being different and I’m starting to really like this change.

I spent so many years hiding my autism because I knew I’d be judged. I still hide certain aspects at certain times but I’m not as bad about hiding it all the time anymore.

To me, this is a big improvement. And one that I am glad I’m getting to experience.

2 weeks

Today.

Today is a day that marks 2 weeks of being on my anxiety/antidepressant med.

Today marks the day that I can say I have been consistent in my moods.

Today is the day that I can say I haven’t had much anxiety.

And even with recent events that have happened, I’ve managed to get through it without many issues arising.

This is the first time in a long time I can say that I haven’t cried on a regular basis. The first time I can say I have had major ups and downs, multiple times a day, every day. The first time I can say I’ve been happy every day and done what was asked of me and then some without any complaining and barely getting stressed. The first time that I can say that I only deal with autism every day of each week. The first time I can say I am able to think clearly without my mind racing 1,000 miles an hour.

Although I understand that I am dealing with a numb brain, I am enjoying having me being more positive and not worrying all the time. I am, for the most part, seeing the person everyone else is seeing in me.

It’s nice to be able to have something like this help in ways you would never expect.

Like yesterday, I was having a slightly rushed end of my work night by helping out a couple people while trying to get my job done and leave when I needed too. We were on the verge of bad thunder storms coming right around the time I was supposed to get out.

I noticed there was a break in the heavy rain and decided that was the time I was going to leave.

I was lucky that was when I left. I made it home just as the second part of the storm was approach and hit the front edge of it the last 4 minutes I was driving home. The only scary part of driving was seeing all the lightening strikes around me.

But just 2 minutes after I walked in the door, the power went out and my parents and I noticed the wind was REALLY bad.

Everything luckily turned out fine and we got our power back this morning.

But if this would have happened 3 weeks ago, I would have been a mess.

With this med, I was completely fine. Not even my autism was affected by it.

So this new experience has been great for me and I’m hoping this helps make a difference in what I write about here.

Hope you all are doing just as amazing as I am! Keep up all your great work. You got this!

Stimming and its effect on my life

A few weeks ago I got an idea to research something that all those on the autism spectrum do that most people find weird. It was something I really wanted to talk about because it had been a vital part of my life for so long that I became embarrassed if people knew I did it.

That thing is called stimming, or stim for short.

To those unfamiliar with that set of words I will explain.

Stim, or stimming, is a way of self-stimulating to release a certain amount of anxiety or happiness based off things that can either excite or overwhelm someone. This may sound pretty simple and I’m sure there are a few people who do this that don’t realize it. But for those who have autism, this kind of behavior is more pronounced than most.

Neurotypical individuals may express this behavior in ways that are considered normal. For example, your favorite team scores a goal or touchdown during a game and fans get excited throwing their hands up in the air and screaming in celebration. Pretty harmless behavior.  Another would be if you know someone is anxious about a big job interview they may seem restless.

Well for those with autism, its a lot different. Those with autism experience stim behavior on a more than obvious scale. They show anxiety by rocking back and forth, hand flapping, chewing on shirts, arms, hands, etc. Those are a few common ones and also ones that can be used to show happiness as well. Some of the more overwhelming things are loud noises, room full of people, and change in routine. Happiness involves having a joy of a special interest like science or reading.

The behaviors I had differed over the years and the ones I developed over the course of a couple years were rocking, tongue clicking, clenching my hand, and humming.

You may be wondering why I said had.

That’s because ever since I started anxiety/depression medication, I have nothing to stim for except happiness. I now tend to dance while being happy a lot. Which I can’t complain.

Honestly, I really can’t complain about my changes. Its given me a different perspective on life and allowed me to be a kinder, more helpful person. Hopefully this new me continues for a long, long time.

New changes, for the better

Over the course of 2 weeks, I had a 2-part doctor’s appointment for my yearly physical. The company my doctor works for has people fill out a questionnaire for anxiety and depression and I had to fill it out both times. Since I was high enough on the questionnaire for them to be concerned both times I filled it out, they decided to put me on an anxiety/antidepressant med.

Now, I know a lot of you will probably say “why did they force it on you?”

Well to be honest, I was skeptical but knew I needed it.

So I started taking it Wednesday and let me tell you, it has been amazing to be on it. I’ve been a lot more positive and happy. I’ve been able to break routines I normally wouldn’t be able to do. So much has changed for the better.

Shoot, yesterday we moved my sister to a different city than where I’m from for grad school, which is just over 2 hours away from our house. I was able to actually help my parents out and drove all that way with one car while my dad took another because we had a lot of stuff to move.

Not once did I have an issue with anxiety or get overwhelmed by anything that was going on. If this would have happened last weekend, I would have been a mess!

And to top it all off, that was the farthest I have driven ever, that’s how bad my anxiety was!

I feel so much better since I’ve been taking this med that its nice to get a break from all the thoughts constantly going on in my head.

Shoot, my sensory issues aren’t really there anymore. For some reason, the med evened out everything the melatonin was doing.

The only issue I have is I get easily distracted by conversations and sometimes lose my focus for a few seconds.

But outside of that, I feel fantastic!

I’m very glad I’m in the position I’m in now. And to those who stuck by me over this process, thank you!

Here’s to new and amazing changes to come!