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.

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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!

Recent understanding(s)

Earlier today, I read another blogger’s post about their experiences that caused them to deal with autistic burnout.

I decided to share it with my boyfriend, since this whole handling autism thing is very new to him. I mostly shared it because they had mentioned something about masking autism and why those on the higher functioning, or stage one for those who prefer using stages, end of the spectrum tend to do that.

I was fortinate that he not only read it, but also understood what I was getting at.

You see, today I was struggling with not being able to communicate how I was feeling. I was struggling with all the people from the first service at my church that were leaving. I was struggling with everything I was trying to do with my boyfriend today and it caught up with me at the starting stages of a meltdown.

All it took was him reading it and everything I was dealing with today for him to be aware of the fact that I had burnout.

Talking about this today with him made me realize how much I struggle with burnout and what causes it.

All this time I thought my job was screwing me over, it turned out my willingness to help out put me the mess of being overworked. 40 hours a week is what I normally work and the weeks I got overscheduled felt like more.

I struggled with burnout a lot then and didn’t know it.

Lately I’ve been dealing with burnout too from doing a lot with family, to my normal 40 hour week, to hanging out with my boyfriend doing random, crazy things, that it just all added up.

I never realized until today, how much harder having to manage life for me is compared to most other people.

I enjoy doing things and keeping busy some days but I just have a hard time saying no.

And THAT is where my problem lies. I’m throwing more on my plate than I am able to handle and in certain cases it takes its toll on my health.

Now I just have to do a trial and error of ways to help myself regulate how much I should be doing. I just hope I’m able to truly figure it out.

Interestingly different type of day

This is a bit late but yesterday, I took a trip out to the lake shore, with my boyfriend, of the state I live in to go to see the Coast Guard festival.

Its quite an interesting experience. Quite a lot of people come out. Like almost one park at Disney World a lot. But it was quite amazing to see it all.

It was my first time out there and never realized the town we went to was Coast Guard City of the United States. Quite crazy! No wonder it was so busy!

But I had a good time. Walked around a bit, went sight seeing, and whatever else we could manage with the amount of people there. I really wanted to go to the beach, but it was PACKED!

At one point we got hungry so we went to a restaurant that was actually pretty good. Right in the center of town close to all the action.

But at that point I was starting to have some issues with sensory overload so we ate inside.

And it was after we ordered that I was on the verge of a meltdown. I didn’t realize how much I was handling until that point but my boyfriend got me through it. He was great about everything I was going through. He’s been learning anything he can to try and help me while learning about what autism is and I give him so much credit for putting up with it all. He’s amazing!

Once we were able to get food in our systems and all, we went over to the Coast Guard boats and toured a couple of them.

It was crazy awesome! Even better that my boyfriend knew what the different areas of the boats were since he served in Navy and they aren’t much different.

We had originally planned on staying for fireworks and whatnot but after the boat tours I was basically done. And he could tell.

So we left and made it home in enough time where we were able to relax and just enjoying a night of peace.

I guess the lesson this year is if we want to see fireworks is get to the festival later in the day so I don’t wear out as fast.

But I made it through the day overstimulated and only had one almost meltdown, which that in itself is quite remarkable.

I’m also very fortunate that my boyfriend allows me to show my autism without feeling guilty about being different. He even let’s me stim when needed and sometimes joins in to let me know its ok to do it.

Hope you all had an amazing weekend!

Until next time!

Unexpected

I don’t think I’ve posted this type of thing in a while but tonight kids my sister used to babysit came over unexpectedly as I was on my way home from work.

My anxiety hasn’t been this high in a long time. Stimming is kind of helping but its hard to calm down when you don’t expect this.

Does anyone have any ways outside of just stimming to help relax anxiety?

Better yet, are there any ways people have to handle change like this when no one knows it can happen?

I am open to hearing suggestions that have helped you or your child deal with this kind of thing.

Its not an easy adjustment especially whem it hasn’t happened in so long.

Hopefully there are ways to handle this kind of thing that can work.

Relaxing weekend

A couple days ago my body decided to go back to being sick again. I’ve been dealing with a nagging cough and I’ve had a lot of drainage that has been causing it.

It hasn’t been fun.

Yesterday was my worst day. I couldn’t go more than 3 minutes without coughing like crazy.

Today has been a lot better. I’m able to function for extended amounts of time without massive coughing.

Luckily I don’t have to work today and I’m able to take it easy which helps.

With that being said, I was just going to have a day of watching a little tv and whatnot.

Well I found out that there is a Harry Potter weekend and my inner nerd/child came out.

I absolutely LOVE Harry Potter and haven’t watched a marathon in a very long time.

In fact, I was madly obsessed with the series, especially when the first 2 movies came out. So obsessed, in fact, that I have a crazy ridiculous collection of stuff from those first 2 movies.

I also happened to get diagnosed with autism around that time as well, which is somewhat fitting for me. My family will tell you my obsession was over the top for my age. It was a typical autistic obsession that most people hear about. Or know first hand.

But today is a day for me to relax and relive my childhood. I’m super happy to be able to take it easy today and watch this series again.

Hope you all are doing great! Have an amazing weekend everyone!

Quite a week

This has been a different week for me.

Work has actually been relatively productive for me without much complaint. I had a 4 day work week. Had Wednesday off because it was a holiday in America, independence day to be more specific.

Having a week split up like that is a weird feeling.

But to end my work week, the air in our kitchen seems to have taken a crap again and we are coming up on another potential heat wave. And on top of it, I wasn’t exactly the brightest person and knocked a wall clock off with a mop handle, didn’t have time to react and it hit me right on the right eyebrow.

All I managed to get was a cut and some bruising which is pretty impressive, seeing as it came down with some force and is plastic.

The only downfall is I’ve had ridiculous mood swings. Not thrilled whatsoever, especially since I’ve spent most of today crying.

Hopefully my week off gave me a chance to recharge and have a chance to keep doing good things at work again.

As far as my cold goes, its been getting better. I’ve had some coughing left over from drainage but other than that its been doing well.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Back at the grind

As I sit on my break at work on my first day back, I figured I’d give another update.

I made it through the concert Friday, sore throat still an issue, but I made it. Little did I know that sore throat would turn into a cold.

The concert was decent. A bit of an issue happened, won’t go into details because it wasn’t a fun thing to deal with.

But other than that it was decent. Had a small issue with sensory that caused me, well more my mom, bought ear plugs and I now have to have them with me at all concerts going forward.

Lately, most of America has been dealing with a heat wave and this weekend was the start of it. I managed to survive it and am fortunate that I down water like its going out of style. Being sick made it easier to have as much of an excuse to down it as well.

Unfortunately, being back at work today with the heat has been hard. Apparently the air unit completely stopped working and we are waiting for it to get fixed. Luckily we have a bunch of fans and a humidifier unit to help a little bit with the air flow until then.

Hope everyone is doing well!