Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Once again, it's Christmas Eve Eve! :)

One year after posting a blog about it being Christmas Eve Eve, it has returned once again! Boy does times fly....this time I'd like to talk about my family's holiday traditions. Christmas time is always an exciting one!

First of all, on Christmas Eve, we go to mass: my parents, grandma, brother and myself. Then we have dinner at my house. My mom cooks a mean roast, with plenty of yummy sides. After that, we have dessert, and then talk and watch Christmas movies.

On Christmas morning, we open presents and then eat a good breakfast. My grandma makes us a coffee cake every year which is always an integral part of breakfast. Then we relax and watch movies until it's time to go to my grandma's house. We feast in a turkey dinner, and then it's round two of presents. We enjoy my grandma's cookies and share memories and stories. Typically, I stay at my grandma's house for the night, however it looks like I'm going to have to work my usual overnight this year.

Well, that's our Christmas in a nutshell! What are some of your traditions?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas time is here!

Well, here we are, only 4 days away from Christmas! I can't wait. I've seen a lot of articles and stories about how to prepare for the holidays with autism. While they are all very insightful and informative, I'd like to talk about how things are from one autistic's point of view.

Even though I'm an Aspie, and we are stereotypically known to be "rigid" and not to like surprises, I'm the total opposite. I LOVE them! The break from routine. The time to relax and spend with family. The anticipation for Christmas morning. These are things I live for!

Many sources will tell you to try to keep things within routine and not to drift too far from the norm, so as to prevent stress and/or meltdowns. Not for me. I'm a very spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment kind of person. While I do like to stick to routines in SOME aspects, such as ordering the same foods at certain restaurants, and doing things the same way each time, if I were to have to do the same thing EVERY DAY, that would bore me! Part of the reason I look forward to the holidays is the break from all the monotony.

Another aspect of the holidays that many autistics will tell you that can be overwhelming is gathering with the family. Now, perhaps I've never experienced this because I come from a rather small family, and am not surrounded by hordes of people on Christmas Day, however I look forward to spending time with them. It's usually just my parents, my aunt and uncle, my cousin who lives in the area, my brother, and myself at my grandma's house. We all fit at the dining room table, and enjoy talking and sharing funny stories. I don't personally see anything overwhelming about that.

Now's the time for a disclaimer: my purpose for writing this was not at all to minimize anyone's experiences who do have a rough time with the holidays, but rather to show the point of view of just one autistic person out of many. It is possible to not have some of the stereotypical difficulties, yet still be autistic! It just goes to show you, that when you've met one autistic person, you've indeed met ONE autistic person! I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Happy December....or spring?

Today is December 1st. It's a balmy 45 degrees in Buffalo, NY, and is going to be in the 50s by the afternoon! I'm thankful for this alone :)

My cousin, her husband, and my newest baby cousin are in town from Florida! I finally got to meet the baby on Sunday. She's one of the happiest babies I've ever seen! It's nice to have them here during the holiday season.

In other news, my new LG G Watch came in from eBay. I just set it up, and I'm loving the different watchfaces. I like that it has a color screen, and that it syncs with the apps on my phone. I also installed a new ROM on my phone today, which is running very smoothly!

I'm getting into the Christmas spirit, and still in spring mode at the same time. This weather can keep it up! :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

What I've been up to...and a new phone

Well, I know it's been a while, so time for an update! Let's see...work has been going well for both jobs (and I'm off this week!), and life in general is same old same old. Except for one thing...my beloved, electronic baby has passed on and gone to a better place :'-(

As you probably know, this baby I'm talking about is my LG G4. It was perfectly fine, until on Friday, when I pulled it out of my pocket, and discovered it stuck on the splash screen. I tried booting into recovery (TWRP) to wipe and flash a newly downloaded ROM, however it froze. I kept trying to restart it. Each time, it froze earlier in the process, until it got to the point where it wouldn't boot anymore.

After a trip to T-Mobile, where the rep deemed that the phone was, in fact, toast, I was set up for a replacement. Thank goodness for phone insurance!!! :D I'm now sitting here waiting for my new baby to arrive, as the mail should be coming within the hour!

Anything else that's new...yesterday was Autistics Speaking Day, so that's kind of exciting. It's awesome to know that there is a day dedicated for my fellow spectrumites and myself to represent and speak our minds! That's all I cab think of at this point. Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Just thinking...

I've been noticing in some of my autism groups on Facebook, specifically the ones for parents of autistic children, that a lot of parents have been posting pics of their kids saying how proud they are of how far they've come. That gets me thinking, what can I do to "come a long way" myself?

Let's take a recap of the things I HAVE accomplished over the years:

- I graduated high school. That wasn't such a daunting task for me. Sure, I had some subjects that were more challenging than others, but with hard work and dedication, it went pretty smoothly.

- I got my permit at 17 and my license at 18, and passed both my written and road tests the first time. I wasn't in a hurry to drive at first, but with some encouragement from my parents, I did it!

- I got my first job at 17. It was at McDonald's, and I worked there for 4 years. I've been working ever since, being in human services from 2004-present. I've gotten to know lots of amazing people and know I'm making a difference!

- I graduated with my Bachelor's in Social Work at 23. The path to get her there wasn't a straight, direct one, but rather I had to take a detour. I had thought I wanted to be a biology teacher, but after three years, realized it was not my niche. I also struggled with my OCD a lot during my first couple years of college. I changed my major, and it was like night and day! My OCD also calmed down some toward my last couple years.

- I then got my first full-time job in my field, specifically in mental health, a month after graduating. I also held my relief position at that time, and at the same time picked up a relief position at a THIRD agency. I was a busy bee!

- I need to remind myself that I accomplished all this BEFORE ever having been diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, anxiety or Asperger's. I had all of these things going on all my life, and while I suspected the first three were there, I didn't learn about autism until years after I graduated. I need to give myself credit for getting as far as I did without having found answers until after the fact.

Now....the question is...what can I do to KEEP making accomplishments and make my parents proud every day? I have a few ideas:

- I'm working on better managing my money. It's something that has needed work since I was about 18, because I'm an impulse spender and struggle with putting plans into place. I can formulate them, but when it comes down to actually implementing them, something short-circuits. I'm working REALLY hard on changing my habits and sticking to a budget. This time I'm really kicking myself and making it my main focus. It may mean letting other things go to the wayside, however it's what I need to do. I can only focus on one thing at a time; it's how I operate. Getting this car is a big motivator for me, and I'm feeling confident that I can FINALLY make this work.

- I need to better keep on top of things. I f I need to make important calls, I need not to let my anxiety get the best of me, but just make those calls. If anything goes on with any of my bills, for example, I need to take the initiative to make any calls I need to ASAP. This way, I can straighten things out before they become a potential problem.

- I just need to find a better balance in life. I need to be more active, and not take on too much so as not to overwhelm myself. When I pile too much on my plate, my anxiety climbs and then I want to run away from my tasks rather than take the bull by the horns. Once again, I need to stick to my "one thing at a time" mentality.

I think that if I work on these things, I'll find that I'll be able to breathe a little easier. I really want to make progress and improve myself. Let's see how this goes!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Happy year and a half Aspieversary to me! :)

It just dawned on me this morning that today is my year and a half Aspieversary! Boy, has time sure flown. It's also been a while since I've updated!

I continue to advocate on social networks, and give my perspective so as to raise acceptance. I've been featured twice in The Mighty over the past month. I continue to enjoy my journey as I learn more and more about myself.

There's also more exciting news: I'm test driving a Ford Fusion today! After looking at a few different cars, I've decided that the Fusion is for me. I can't wait to give it a spin and hopefully make it mine ;) It's blue, too!

It is indeed a great day. It's also Saturday, which is always a good thing! I know this is going to be an awesome weekend. Spending it with my fam is what I'll do. I guess I'll finish this off with some insightful comments...

It seems like people better understand me, and that I'm also learning how to ask for help when I need it. I'm trying to step up what I can do and take charge of my life. I want to prove to myself that I can tackle things that have been hurdles for the last several years.

I feel like I'm making an impact. People have come to me for advice since I've been advocating, and I've even helped a few find their own answers! It feels good to know that I'm achieving my purpose in life, which is to help others.

No matter how hard I try to put a positive spin on things, there are just some people who refuse to change their perspective. The best thing to do in this case is say my piece, and move on. I can't please everyone.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Stay tuned for news about the car :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's about time I wrote something!

Wow, has it really been a month since my last blog? Life's been pretty uneventful lately, so I haven't had much to write about. I'm in a thinking mood today, so figured it was time.

I was replying to a status someone posted on My Autism Team, and really liked the way my response came out. Here's some background information about the original poster: she was concerned that she sometimes puts expectations that are too high on her daughter, who is an Aspie, but often presents as NT. She felt stuck between setting the bar too high and too low, and was looking for advice. She essentially wants to assume competence and expect her to do her best, without expecting more than she can handle and thus, letting her down. Here was my reply:

"Totally understandable! I'm an Aspie and flew under the radar until last year at 31. My parents have always put "typical" expectations on me because that's what I was known as at least until I was 25, when I was diagnosed with ADHD, OCD and anxiety. They learned that my struggles were real at that point, however it was when I got my autism diagnosis that they really began to understand. For years and years, my dad used to try to convince me to act older, despite my natural feelings to act young for my age; it's simply the way I am. Now, he doesn't press the issue anymore! He gets it :) My parents both understand that when I don't pick up on things right away, I'm not doing it just to annoy them, but because it takes me longer to process them. These days, they seem to put expectations on me that are level with my abilities, while still assuming that I can be my best!"

After having written that, I feel thankful for my present situation. I'm in a place where I can still be expected to challenge myself, without having people expect me to be someone I'm not. Yes, I'm still expected to do X, Y and Z, yet am given the space to do them one at a time, and at my own pace. Since this has not always been the case, I'm glad it finally is.

Expectations can be hard to deal with, especially when the bar IS set too high. It can often lead to stress and anxiety, which in turn leads to performance that is not one's best, after all. There were times in the past where I did not feel like I was good enough, because I wasn't what the world expected of me. Now that different neurotypes are becoming more widely known, and I have a stronger and more knowledgeable support system, I feel that I am doing the best I can, as the person I am.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Looking back...no pun intended

It was two years ago today that I was in the ER for my back. It had been hurting on and off since the beginning of the year, and was finally at a point where I could barely move. It had been giving me extreme pain for a few days.

I got to the ER, and was taken in pretty quickly. The nurse who saw me was able to pop something back into place, and told me it was my sacroiliac joint. She gave me a Lortab to ease the pain as I waited to be discharged, and I got a nice little catnap in. I also got a medical note excusing me from work for two weeks.

I spent the next two weeks with a lot of rest, and a few comfy pillows. I was prescribed more Lortab and a muscle relaxer, which really helped me to sleep. After those two weeks and some chiropractic appointments, I was ready to return to work.

I had some more appointments and and MRI within the next month, which revealed the answer I was hoping not to hear: herniated discs. To this day, I have no idea what caused them. Yes, my being overweight doesn't help matters, but how they originally developed, I will never know.

I'm just extremely thankful that since that time, my back has been holding its own. It does have its moments, that's for sure, and I know when I need to take it easy. I can't go trying to lift 50 pounds, as I know it could throw something out of whack again. I do experience days where it's stiff and a little sore, but it has been NOTHING like it was during those two weeks. Let's hope it continues to stay fairly stable! *knock on wood*

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Happy Autistic Pride Day!

Today is Autistic Pride Day! What does autistic pride mean to me?

It means not being afraid to be yourself in a world that you stand out in. Embracing your unique talents. Appreciating your differences. Being grateful for the challenges you have conquered, for they have only made you stronger.

It also means being one of the building blocks of humanity. Without autistics, the world wouldn't be where it is today. Many of our brilliant minds and innovators were/are on the spectrum. It takes many various kinds of people to make the world go round.

On this day, I reflect upon my experiences. That day last March when I learned I was autistic after all, after years of suspecting it. The fact I'm a little different from my peers and think that's pretty neat. My childlike innocence and sense of wonder. My gift with gadgets. Most importantly, the fact that without autism, I wouldn't be me! :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Spreading my advocacy wings

My opportunities to advocate have only been increasing! This is an exciting time for me. I can reach out and educate others on autism!

As many of you know, I'm going to be doing an Asperger's presentation for Autism Services, the organization who runs my Aspie group. I'm going to follow a Power Point presentation and add my experiences of life on the spectrum. I'll make myself available to answer questions others may have.

I'm really looking forward to this presentation, and any others the future may hold. It has always been my dream to help others. Back 11 years ago when I started working in the developmental disabilities field, little did I know it would be my own experiences I'd be able to use to reach out to people! Life is sure one awesome journey :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Deep in thought.

Today's one of those days where I seem to be in a funk. I'm not in a bad mood, but just can't get my mind to stop cranking. Then I saw a post that turned my mind right back to where it should be.

For some reason, I stumbled upon a goofy quiz yesterday that was a parody of the Autism Quotient quiz. It was a "Neurotypical Quiz." Just for farts and giggles, I decided to take it. I scored "55% nurotypical" and it said that it was "unlikely I was autistic."

Now, of course this was laughable, because, duh, I'm diagnosed! For some reason, though, I felt disappointed. It was almost as if I had doubts. Maybe I've just been in one of my overanalytical moods, and have just been thinking too hard. I still felt this way for most of today. Nevertheless, I had this "what if" feeling...what if I'm not worthy of this upcoming presentation? What if I don't accurately represent the people I've been doing all this advocacy for?

Now, before I continue, you need to understand one thing. I have OCD. It's not uncommon for me to second-guess myself. I think it's because I'm looking so forward to this presentation, that my mind is trying to self-sabotage. This is what happens when you have comorbid disorders.

Now, back to that post I referred to in my first paragraph. Someone in an autism forum I belong to had stated that their family member's new tutor claimed she had been faking autism to use it as an excuse to get away with things. It was at this point when I finally came to my senses and my mind snapped back into place. Autism is a spectrum, my mind told me. I commented this, and explained that I, too, may not appear to be autistic at a first glance, however once someone gets to know me, they'll observe the traits. This is why it's impossible for one to "look" autistic!

Then it dawned on me even further, just because a silly quiz with no validity told me I'm most likely not autistic, doesn't mean a darn thing! Especially when this quiz was skewed in favor of social strengths. The thing is, I have social strengths. My autistic traits present themselves in OTHER areas. The quiz did not take into account my literal thinking, easiness to be manipulated, slower rate of development, mild sensory sensitivities, or my lack of desire to follow social norms. It was a faulty quiz, in my opinion, and this is a PERFECT example of why it should be taken with a grain of salt.

Because I stumbled upon that post, I'm now feeling relieved. I'm glad my OCD wasn't able to outsmart me this time! I can now move forward with confidence. Of course I'm autistic. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have had suspicions for 5 years, and I certainly wouldn't have a diagnosis. I have every reason to advocate and am entitled to speak up to support my fellow autistics! I can't wait until my presentation, and am feeling a lot better now. I also hope my comment has helped this girl and her family member :)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Enjoying the weekend :)

After much-needed sleep yesterday, I'm enjoying my weekend :) I slept until 5:30pm yesterday after work, and then binged on some REALLY good pizza! Then I slept some more....and some more. Lol!

This morning I woke up around 7:45, and decided to spend an hour laying in bed and playing some Juice Jam and Yummy Gummy. Then my mom made French toast with this delicious cinnamon and brown sugar bread. It was awesome!

Today I'm going to spend the day vegging and probably geeking out over whichever ROMs I find on xda-developers.com. Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Anxiety, gripping my mind. Stomach feels tense, and no idea why. Will I be able to relax? Can I get through the day?

Confusion....nothing makes sense. Is it me, or is it them? Why do little things seem to set me off?

Uncertainty. Did I do anything to start any trouble? Say anything to offend anyone?

Why do I feel this way? No idea. Maybe it's time for a med adjustment...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Things to relate to!

It's great to find experiences of others that you can relate to. Today I've stumbled across two! It really makes you feel like you're not alone in the world.

One is an article by a friend who discovered she was autistic at 21. She is now 27, has her Master's and lives in an apartment with her cat. I could relate to many of the experiences she described, and then ran across a sentence that resonated with me. In high school, "she wasn't into makeup, boys or dating." This is the story of my life! I knew this about her already, but to see that sentence just instilled into me that I'm not the only one who just doesn't find those things interesting.

Another article I was reading was by a former elementary school teacher who has Asperger's. He was talking about how things are looked at as hobbies for non-autistic people, but obsessions for autistic people. Fast forward to about halfway through the article, and what is one of his special interests, but...you guessed it...Sonic the Hedgehog! :D He talked about how it helped him become a writer, an explorer, and to form a bond with his cousin. Sonic has been so therapeutic for me since I was 10. It's something I can play over and over again and persevere on. Sonic never gets old!

After reading these articles, I'm left with a feeling of happiness. Happy because there are others who "get it." There are other peeps out there who are like me! Everyone is unique in their own way, which I appreciate VERY much. It is nice once in a while, though, to find others with common interests :)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Trying to find a happy medium

Over the past week, some of the statuses I've been posting have been getting feedback from multiple angles. I'm trying to put my thoughts together, to make sense of it all. Well, here goes...

Basically, all I'm trying to do is encourage people to focus on the positives. I made a status stating that I don't appreciate when parents say they hate autism. Now, before you jump down my throat, please listen. I know it can be hard. I get it. I also realize that my experience with autism is MY experience...everyone else's is going to be different. I have some challenges that others don't, and others have challenges that I don't.

My point was that, amidst the struggles, I want to advocate for my fellow autistics and help put things in a positive light. What's so wrong about that? It's a good thing to be optimistic. At the same time, I don't want to discount anyone's struggles. Again, I understand that it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. You may wish that your child can do things that they may not be able to. At the same time, remind yourself of the things they can do. They may not be able to marry and have children, or own a house. What if they don't want any of these things, anyway? They also may not have to worry about paying bills, running a household, or many of the responsibilities others deal with on a day to day basis. There are pros and cons to both sides.

I can see why some people become frustrated with the cons. It can't be easy all of the time, for both the spectrumite or the parents. At the same time, all life experiences are valid. Just because one may not be able to do A, B or C doesn't mean that they're not happy! They live life in their own special way. Remember this, too...never say never! Before you start grieving for the things professionals say your child will never do, give them a chance to prove you wrong! Doctor's don't have crystal balls. The only way you can see what a child will or will not be able to do is to see for yourself, when the time comes. Always presume competence! :)

I hope this outs things into a better light. I want to end the battles, and try to look at things from both sides of the fence, all while being an advocate. This is only my opinion. I respect that others may see things from a different point of view. That's ok. For example, I have no way of seeing things from the perspective of a parent, because I've never been one. I can only give my own autistic, firsthand experience. Thank you for taking the time to read this :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gone so soon?

Wow, this autism acceptance month flew by, as all months seem to. I've made it a point to post my thoughts and experiences just about every, maybe save a few. What to write about now?

I guess I can end the month with this: autism is a different experience for each individual on the spectrum. No two of us are alike, just as is the case for all humanity. Some of us might appear to be neurotypical to the outside observer, while others have more obvious traits. These are both to be embraced! It's individuality that makes us all special.

In my mind, I was created just the way God wanted me to be, and for a reason. I've discovered that my purpose is to use my own experiences to help others in similar situations as I am, whether it be autism, ADHD or mental illness. I feel a special connection to the people with whom I work, because I experience some of the things they do.

To wrap this up, I'd like everyone to take a moment and think of something they're experiencing, that they can use to help someone in their shoes. Are you working towards something? Are you dieting? Are you trying to move out on your own? Are you going through a period of recovery? Take your experience and see how you can make an impact on the life of someone else! You will find the experience very rewarding, and there will be reciprocal effects. Peace out, peeps! :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Everything happens for a reason.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm a firm believer in the thought that everything happens for a reason. This includes the fact that I did not receive any of my diagnoses until later on life.

In preschool, I was hyperactive. I was sent to a psychologist, however he dropped the ball and lost touch with my parents before any kind of assessment could be made. Fast forward about 20 years. I had spent most of my life having difficulty with executive functioning, and it finally came to a head. I was 25 and finally took it upon myself to be evaluated for ADHD, and sure enough, I was right! I was also diagnosed with OCD and anxiety at this time, after having dealt with them for a lifetime. As you probably my know, my Asperger's diagnosis didn't come until I was 31, after also taking the initiative myself to go for an assessment.

Part of me wonders what my life would have been like had I been diagnosed earlier on. Would school have been a little easier? Would I have gotten help in some areas? On the flip side, what if I would have been thrown in a class that did not allow me to capitalize on my strengths? Perhaps I would have been limited in what I could accomplish.

This is why, these kinds of questions aside, I'm confident in the notion that everything happens for a reason. While it may have made a positive difference had I been diagnosed early on, I still proved that I could do it for all the years my differences went unknown. Now, I have answers to boot and can work on myself! I feel it all happened the way it was meant to.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sensory seeking

I'm a sensory seeker. This means that I crave sensory stimulation, whether it be bright, colorful lights, squishy Koosh balls, or wonderful smells. Let me tell you about some of my favorite sensory items!

I recently got a light bulb from one of my favorite stores, Makes Sense. It rotates and casts red, blue and green lights in rotating patterns. I love laying in bed and just watching the lights dance across the ceiling. It's psychedelic! :)

My absolute favorite tactile object is the Hairy Tangle. Think of a fusion between a Tangle and a Koosh ball. I love the feel of manipulating this twisty thingamajig in my hands. It's so relaxing!

I like picking things up and smelling them, too, especially plasticy or rubbery things. I don't know why, but I've always loved the smell of these things. I also love the smell of fruity body washes from Bath & Body Works. My favorite is Coconut Lime!

Sensory tools make for a great experience. It can be calming or invigorating. What are some of your sensory faves?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Autism prevalence

There's something I'd like to address. That is the seemingly increasing "prevalence" of autism. A lot of people have been saying that it is growing, and that the rates are higher every year. Well, I get to differ.

For one thing, the reason it looks like autism rates are "growing" is simply better diagnostic tools and greater awareness. Back in the day, when rates were say, 1 in 10,000, only those on the more severe end of the spectrum were looked at as "autistic." We still had Aspies and other people on the milder end of the spectrum, however they were simply looked at as "eccentric." Today we know just how wide the spectrum is, and common sense tells us that of course it's going to look like the rates are increasing, if more people are recognized to be autistic.

Another thing is the great debate regarding vaccines and environmental toxins. Vaccines don't cause autism. Point blank. The age a child begins to display traits simply coincides with the age children are typically vaccinated. It has been scientifically proven that there is no link. As for toxins, I don't see reason to believe they are a factor in whether or not one is born autistic. Autism is genetic. It is a specific hardwiring of the brain that one is born with.

Therefore, autism have always been prevalent in the same rates it is today, whether or not it looks like it on paper. Rather than looking for causes and trying to find a cure, which is a moot point because it is nonexistent, why don't we focus on giving people with autism the best quality of life possible? Autistics have a lot to offer the world; they just need to be accepted! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Supporting my peeps!

Well, this week has been one for fundraisers! I've done some neat activities. I enjoy helping the people that are helping me as well.

To support Autism Services, the agency that runs my Asperger's group, there have been two fundraisers this week. The first was yesterday at Paula's Donuts, a very well-known place if you're s Buffalonian. I'm celebration of Paula's 60th birthday, she donated a dollar from every purchase of a dozen donuts to the organization! My grandma and I gladly picked up a dozen :) Today there was an event at the Alex and Ani store in Williamsville, NY. From all their sales, 15 percent went to Autism Services! I got a pineapple bracelet. I also saw the woman who runs both the agency and my group, and was able to ask her about the self-advocacy group. She said she will get back in touch with me about being a presenter on a panel for some of the group homes! This is an exciting endeavor :)

On Saturday will be an event for Embrace the Difference, the organization which created the necklace I got myself as an Aspieversary present. A portion of all sales as Reeds-Jenss in Amherst, NY will go to the organization. That's where I'll be that day, especially since it's my second opportunity this week to look at and purchase one of my favorite things: jewelry!

I enjoy being a part of helping these organizations. It feels great to get involved in the community and give back. I'm always up for an opportunity to help out!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Understanding Satire...or not

I've been having a lot of literal Aspie moments today, and I find it quite amusing! There are many a time when things go right over my head and I totally miss the other person's point. The thing that's tricky is how to distinguish between a joke or satire and the truth.

Take this article I just read, for example. It was about how someone is going to pierce their newborn baby's tongue, because it was a "tradition." As I read this and continued to see a lost of reasons why the mother wanted to do this, I became unnerved, and posted a comment to the person who shared the article, "this is utterly disgusting." I then saw another comment stating it was satire. It was? I had no idea!

Now onto another Facebook literal moment. Someone in one of my groups had posted a status asking what advice we would give a younger Aspie. I saw a comment that said "keep your head down, you're in for a bumpy ride." I replied "keep your head down?" confused. The person then said they were being sarcastic. Again, I couldn't tell! XD

So there's just a glimpse into life in my literal mind. I don't always take things the way they are meant to be taken, and on the flip side, others take things differently than I mean for them to come off. If you are ever joking with me and I seem confused, assure yourself it's just my Aspie mind at work! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015


For those of us spectrumites and ADHDers, motivation can be a daunting phenomenon. We want to get things done, however can't always muster the oomph to do so. Why this is, I'm not quite sure.

For example, cleaning. I have to be in the mood to get it done. Once I'm in cleaning mode, I can go for a long time. It's the fact that these cleaning moods are few and far between that make it difficult to keep up with it, and I find myself waiting until it looks like a tornado hit before I feel like trying to tackle it.

Making phone calls is another thing that I struggle with. I think part of this one is due to anxiety. I know I need to make that important call, and tell myself this, however I always end up waiting until it's too late that day, and have to wait until the next day, or sometimes even week.

What helps me is to set aside a day to do these things, and then, as the Nike slogan goes, just do it! It's not always as easy as it sounds, but once I've got it in my mind that I want to do something, I harness that willpower and usually can follow through with what it is I want to accomplish. I've successfully gotten my car cleaned out and my room cleaned this weekend, simply by deciding I needed to get it out of the way. For these moments, I'm very grateful! :)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Doing well in my Aspie world :)

I must say...things have been going pretty well in this Aspie world of mine lately! I've been happy. I haven't had any major anxiety in a LONG time. I've been feelin' pretty darn good.

Work has been going well, for one. I'm loving the overnight shift. My peeps are all amazing. I sleep like a baby once I get home, and still have the evenings to do with whatever I please.

I've been having a lot of fun with family and friends. I went to Cleveland with the bro two weeks ago for a belated bday celebration. We cruised around and went to a bunch of fun places. I even got a stuffed Toothless from Build-a-Bear! :)

I feel motivated as the weather improves. It FINALLY feels like spring! I've gotten my car cleaned out and detailed. I can't wait to start reorganizing my room. It feels so good to have a plan and actually have the energy to carry it out.

So has anyone else had any fun plans or new things going on in their lives? I'd love to hear some of your stories! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cleaning on the spectrum

For the longest time, cleaning and maintaining a clean space hasn't been the easiest thing for me to do. I can clean, and when I clean I do it well, however it's motivation and energy that are components that aren't always there.

The main thing is, I have to be in the MOOD to clean. The trouble is, these moments spring up few and far between. Once in in "cleaning mode," I'm ready to go like the Energizer bunny for a few hours straight! This hasn't been as easy, though, since I've gained a lot of weight, which is also a barrier. Between sleeping during the day as I work the night shift, and getting everything else I need to do accomplished, I often find I have little time or energy left.

Executive functioning deficits also play a role. Sometimes I can only get so far before I get sidetracked, or then there's the famous "I don't even know where to start!" phenomenon. I know that in the end, my mind will feel organized along with a clean room, but sometimes, it's hard to get the ball rolling.

This is where I've come to realize, I must come up with a plan! I've decided that I'm going to rearrange my room in such a way that will maximize the surface area of the walls so that I'll have more room for my furniture. Just opening up more space can make all the difference! I'm going to start with moving my bed so that the headboard is right under my window, allowing the rest of the walls to be free, and work from there. I'll even post before and after pics! This will be a weekends project so that I can allow for the time and every I'll need to expend; the proverbial "spoons." I can't wait to get started! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Understanding Asperger's

What does Asperger's mean? It means I have a different operating system. I see the world through a different lens. I interpret the world in a unique way.

My mind works a little differently than most people's. I don't always "get" what people are trying to say, as my mind picks up on the literal meaning of things first and foremost. I don't pick up on some of the social nuances or hidden messaged. Double meanings are tricky for me to process.

I notice things many others do not. I sometimes spot a small detail, while missing the big picture. I may not see how something affects things as a whole, before I see how a part of it is affected.

I feel things more strongly than the majority. I have aversions to bitter tastes. My clothes have to feel "just right," or else I'll reach for another outfit. Certain smells bother me, and even make me start to cough. I'm hypersensitive to heat and hyposensitive to cold. I'll go without a jacket in 20 degree weather.

Being an Aspie is an experience that one cannot fully understand unless they live it. While there are many of us out there, our experiences are all unique to each of us, hence the term "spectrum." My operating system is one I can call my own :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

What I would like others to know about autistics

If I could tell others what I would like them to know about autistics, I could come up with so many things. Autism is a wide spectrum, and along it, people have many gifts. There are a lot of "ingredients" that make up an autistic. I'll talk about a few of them here!

First of all, we have a lot to offer. Where do you think we'd be if it weren't for some of the ideas and inventions of our predecessors? There are a lot of gifted autistic minds in the world.  We also have a passion for what interests us, and can harness this in the work field. We can be an asset to our employer.

Autistics can be great friends, as we are typically honest and loyal people. Once you befriend us, be prepared to have a lifelong pal. It takes a lot to discourage us, and we want to be there through thick and thin. I try my best to do just that for my friends.

We can be compassionate people, especially towards others like us. A lot of autistics are proud advocates who want to make the world a more welcoming and better place for our fellow spectrumites. I personally love working in the mental health and developmental disabilities fields, because I know I'm helping people. I've also gotten to know a lot of awesome people in the process :)

We are sensitive. We want so badly to be there for others, that we are often taken advantage of. Please recognize that just because we are genuine, does not mean we should be manipulated. We also take things to heart. I, for one, am easily upset when my feelings have been hurt. It can lead to a meltdown. Once I'm reassured, I bounce back to my cheerful self!

We need support and understanding. Please listen to us. If you want to know more about autism, who else to go to besides an autistic? We are often experts in our own field. Let us tell you what we need, and at the same time, presume competence. Some of us may need more support than others, of different kinds of support, and that's ok! If there's anything else you'd like to know, just ask :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015


I may have written a blog about this before, but the topic came up and I even had a dream about it.  Do you associate colors with letters and numbers? You may have synesthesia, and AWESOME phenomenon in which two senses are linked.

For me, Friday is orange. It always has been. Just as the letter A is yellow and number 3 is light blue. What happens is that when you are born, the brain has connections that are typically "disconnected" by the time one is a little older. In people with synesthesia, some of those connections remain. This is what makes it possible to taste words, see music, or feel tastes. It's really neat!

Sometimes this can make things easier, other times it can be a bit of a challenge. Take being in school for example, and taking tests. There have been countless times where I can remember that an answer was a red word, but I just couldn't remember WHICH red word it was lol! XD This can be helpful when I'm trying to find a street, as street names have colors, too.

Do any of you experience this? What senses are connected for you?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Autism and facial expressions

A lot of people both on and off the spectrum agree that an autistic's facial expression doesn't always match their emotion. Sometimes people will think someone looks mad when they simply have a straight face. I find this interesting, and recently had such an experience.

I was talking to someone who wanted to share something that was on their mind. As they talked, I listened. I got stuck at one point as I did not have much knowledge or any experience with what they were talking about, and didn't know what else to say. They told me I looked "concerned." As far as I know, I was keeping a straight face. I wanted to seem approachable and didn't want the person to feel put off when I got stuck, so I kept the same expression and just listened as I tried to best to give my input. How I looked concerned, I don't know!

I also get people asking me "what's that look for?" My mom asks me this frequently :P I guess I must have a certain expression when I'm deep in thought or trying to concentrate in something and don't realize it. I'm someone who can only focus on one thing at a time, so when I'm focused on something I'm doing, I must not be able to focus on what face I'm making! XD

Has anyone else had any experience with this? I'd like to hear your stories :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Freedom from societal pressure

If there's one good thing about being on the spectrum, it's the freedom to be unique. Everyone has their own ideas of what they want out of life, and that's kewl. With autism, not all, but many people don't feel the need to conform to what their peers are doing.

I've never acted like my peers. I've always followed the beat of a different drummer. I take things as I see them, at face value. I'm direct and literal.

In school, I never saw the point of acting "just like everybody else." Everyone is different, and what's good for one person may not be for the second. While most girls were preoccupied with their appearance and boys, I didn't give those things a second thought. I didn't feel compelled to follow the trends. Instead, I happily played my video games.

The older I get, the wider I see the "age gap" between my peers and me grow, and that's ok. I feel younger, so I'm naturally going to act it. While many of my peers are starting families, I can't fathom that lifestyle for myself. Once again, that may be a great thing for some, and I see some of my peers making excellent parents. For me, personally, however, I don't feel anywhere near that level of responsibility. I'm still learning how the heck to take care of myself! XD Nevertheless, I'm happy,nas I'm doing what's right for ME.

So what is it exactly I'm getting at? I guess my point is that we're all different, and living on the spectrum makes things even more different for me. The thing is, I can respect others who have different ideas. While I don't live up to societal mores, per se, if others are in different situations and they know it's right for them, then they are where they should be. I like being unique me, and I wouldn't want it any other way :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! For this post, I'd like to count my blessings. Life has been pretty good to me, and I'd like to reflect and thank God for all He has given me!

First of all, a loving family. My family has always been there for me. They help me in times of need. We spend a lot of time together and have many good memories. I'm thankful to still be living at home with them.

I'm grateful to have two jobs that I love. Helping others is my passion, and I get to do just that. I work with a lot of amazing people. I've also been granted good health. I don't have to worry about much in this area.

Finally, I'm thankful to have gotten answers and gained insight into myself. I know what makes me who I am, and I have the freedom to be me! I like being different and hope to make the world a better place for others like me :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Autism Acceptance Day!

Well, it's Autism Acceptance Day! Time to celebrate that "ausome" autistic in your life, whether that be a friend, family member, or even you! What will I be doing, you ask?

Well, first of all, my friend and I will be going to that amazing store I've mentioned, Makes Sense. Then we'll be heading to Aspie group. I'll be wearing my shirt that says "Autism: it's not a processing error. It's a different operating system."

I'll also continue to be posting positive information and stories about autism on Facebook. That way, I'll be showing others just how kewl we autistics are. There's so much negativity surrounding the topic, and I want to break that wall down!

What will you be doing today to honor the ausome autistics in your life?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Autism Acceptance Month 2015!!!

Hello, everyone! It's that time of year again :) For this year's Autism Acceptance Month, I'd like to focus on the positives of autism. We all see and hear so much negativity attached to it, and it's time for me to shine a positive light on it, so here goes!

I was born unique. I have my own operating system. This all happened for a reason. I have a specific purpose, which I'm still finding and developing. I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

I may have a horrible short-term memory, but my long-term is phenomenal. I was telling my mom yesterday how I remembered something that happened around my 12th, birthday, 20 years ago. I still recall my brother looking into the back seat of my mom's car and saying "look, a bag with a stuffed kitty!" It was supposed to be one of my birthday presents, and he spilled the beans :) It's amazing how I can remember stuff like that, yet I get appointment dates mixed up :P

I have a way with gadgets. Forget the manual; let me take things into my own hands! I'm also quite savvy in the Android realm. I'm constantly flashing ROMs, and I've "saved" my phone from what could have been a hard brick multiple times, through perseverance and determination.

I feel blessed to have the gifts I do. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I also know never to take anything for granted. Well, here's to an ausome month! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Light it up blue?

I have some thoughts I need to get out. I want to make the world a better place for other autistic people. In order to do so, I can't be silent. I must let my voice be heard.

As many of you know, all the rage around April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day is this "light it up blue" campaign. People are either posting things related to this on Facebook, choosing to wear blue that day, or shining a blue light outside their house. In theory, it's meant to be a way to raise autism awareness, and sounds like a good thing.

Now, for those of you who don't know, here's the other side of the coin. This whole campaign was started by an organization many of you have probably heard of: Autism $peaks. There's a problem with this. To the innocent bystander, the organization may sound like this wonderful thing that "helps" autistics. However, in actuality, they use scare tactics and are support eugenics. Saying that autistics are a "burden" or a "tragedy." That autism needs to be "eliminated." It does nothing in the way of supporting neurodiversity, and this needs to change. People need to be respected for who they are, and appreciated!

I'm not saying that autism is easy to live with. It's difficult when you can't read between the lines and are easily taken advantage of because of it. It can be an issue when executive functioning deficits cause you to forget to do important tasks. Misinterpreting things may make life a challenge. For those who have sensory sensitivities, the world can be overwhelming. However, I still can't fathom the thought of ridding the world of it.

The world needs autistics. It needs people all over the neurological spectrum. Without our differences, we wouldn't have many of the great innovations we have in this world. We need varying perspectives. That's why for this year's Autism Awareness month, or should I rephrase that to Autism Acceptance month, I'd like to highlight the positive things autism has brought us. I want to show people that there are positives, and in turn, hopefully make the world a more welcoming place for autistics.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

Omg, it's finally here! One year ago today, I was officially diagnosed with ASD Level I, otherwise known as Asperger's. I can't believe it's been a whole year! So much has happened since then.

I still remember walking into my psychologist's office that day. After my other two sessions, he told me that after assessing me, he saw that I am someone who is on the autism spectrum. I asked him where I fell, and he replied that he would put me in the Asperger's range. He asked me how I felt, and if that answered my questions. I told him that it did, and I walked out of the office feeling elated. Finally. My suspicions were confirmed, and  it was now official: I was an Aspie! I called my parents and shared the news. They weren't surprised, as they knew what I had concluded for the previous 5 years.

In the past year, I feel like I've accomplished so much in the way of advocating and educating. I successfully wrote a blog post for every day of Autism Awareness month, April of last year. I've been published on The Mighty. I've made so many great friends via Facebook, and learned so much about myself. I am lined up to be a guest speaker at Makes Sense, the local autism supply store, to parents of kids on the spectrum. Life has been good, and I am very blessed!

This is only the beginning. While a year seems like a long time, it went by in the blink of an eye. My work is far from done. There are so many people I have yet to meet, and reach out to. My only hope is that I can help others to understand themselves like I discovered myself. It has been a very rewarding process. I will never forget this day! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Special Gift for My Special Day!

Last Friday, I got myself a gift. It is an Embrace the Difference necklace. The creator of the line started it in honor of her son, who has ADHD and Asperger's just like me. I figured, what could be a more appropriate gift for my special day, March 19th: the day I was diagnosed with Asperger's? :)

I've been thinking about what I want to do for my special anniversary for almost the entire year since I've been diagnosed! What to do? Definitely treat myself with a piece of jewelry, one of my weaknesses, and something I will wear almost daily. This is the perfect addition to go with my other necklace that has my diagnosis date engraved on it.

What else to do on that day, to make it special? I came up with the idea of spending it in Rochester with my grandma, doing fun things. We decided to go with that plan. The next day, however, I found out I have a staff meeting coming up on that day, which left me a bit disappointed. This is supposed to be my special day! I quickly got over it, though, and my grandma and I just decided to do Rochester on the 18th instead. No biggie!

I'm looking forward to my special day. I can't believe it will be a whole year since I found my answers! I'll make this first anniversary one to remember!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Geekin' Out!

As I write this, I await for my Lenovo Ideapad to finish cleaning up my disk drive. My computer was seriously possessed by demons. Every time I would click on a link, a popup would result, saying my computer was infected, or something of the sort.

With the help of my bro, who is well-versed in Windows 7 and 8, my computer will now be popup free, and a lot of the junk will be cleared out! I'll be able to browse and click on things without worrying about a million popups!

Next comes one of my main motivators for getting a tuneup: updating my Nexus 5's bootloader! I noticed while trying to flash some of the most recent ROMs, that I would get an install error, stating that the file is supported by X bootloader while I had Y (I can't remember their actual names at the moment). So now goes one of my geekin' adventures....to get that latest bootloader! Fun times ahead :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Great Day!

Yesterday I decided to stop by Makes Sense, the autism supply store I've been talking about. I've been there once before this, and had the privilege of meeting and talking to the owner, who would like me to come in to speak to parents of kids on the spectrum! We talked about the weather, and how we're ready for it to warm up. She told me that the social groups are in the process of starting, and that someone will be emailing me about my opportunity as a guest speaker. I really can't wait for this. She also mentioned that there is someone who is a speaker and has written a book, that is interested in coming there one day as well. She said that she could actually lend me his book to read. When she brought it to me, I recognized the author right away: Kerry Magro! He has done a LOT in the area of advocacy. How awesome is that? I'll definitely be stopping back again soon :)

After that, I decided to stop by Clayton's Toys as it is right up the street, and a place I absolutely love. Upon walking through the door, there was a very excited little boy who accidentally knocked a sock monkey off a shelf, which I picked up. I immediately spotted a little stuffed kitty that I decided was to have a home with me. I browsed the many areas that contained arrays of stuffed animals. I then looked through some bracelets, and couldn't resist an amethyst one, and other little trinkets at the front of the store. The same little boy, his sister and their mother were checking out, and I overheard their mother say she was looking for things for her sensory box, as she was a teacher. She said something like "what can we get for our fidgety friend?" I piped in and said that I'm always on the lookout for fidgety toys. She then told me it was in her son's IEP to have some fidget time. I told her I was on the spectrum, and then she said, "so is he!." Imagine that, this little boy who reminded me so much of myself when I was little, was a fellow spectrumite :)  Their mother said that she often takes him to Clayton's as a reward for good behavior, as he thinks it's the best place in the world. I agreed that it's an awesome store! I then checked out and headed on my way. It was a great day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Submission for a friend's project...

I am a 31-year-old girl who lives for helping others. I have my Bachelor's in Social Work, and I work with individuals who have mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. I love animals, and can't imagine my life without them. I have a passion for video games, especially Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as the Android operating system. What makes me unique is the fact that I've always followed my heart despite what others think. I'm not afraid to be a little weird. I'm also asexual and aromantic. I have Asperger's, ADHD, OCD and anxiety.

Autistic pride means embracing who you are and appreciating your own special operating system. It means capitalizing on your gifts, and using your challenges to become stronger. I am connected to autistic culture simply because I am autistic myself, and I regularly advocate for the community I am proud to say I belong to. People can be more accepting of autistic people just by welcoming them as they are. They can choose to see them as people who have great things to contribute to society, and who have the ability to see things in a different light. Neurodiversity is important because we are all unique, and reside in our own place on the neurological spectrum. This is something to be celebrated!

Monday, February 9, 2015


In light of the recent measles outbreak and the buzzing of media and fellow autistics alike, I'm going to give my two cents on the topic of vaccinations. I realize that there are two sides of the fence, and it's rather obvious which side I stand on...

Do vaccines cause autism? No, they don't. It's been scientifically proven. In fact, the doctor who claimed to have proven this has had his license revoked.

That said, why is autism being used as a scare tactic? Are people really trying to insinuate that being born with a unique operating system is worse than contracting a deadly disease? Whatever the "cause" of my autism, I was born this way for a reason. I'm personally glad to be just who I am. If I wasn't autistic, then I'd be someone else besides me, which would be fine, were I to be someone else who was born someone else. However, I was born me, complete with all the side dishes that come with the package. I wouldn't want to be any other way :)

I'm not telling anyone what to do here; that's your call. What I am doing is encouraging you to think. Of one is deciding not to vaccinate based in the misconception they vaccines cause autism, are they thinking of how that makes autistic people feel? Say the same were to be said about blue eyes? Tall stature? Certain skills? Would they think of it the same way? Autism has been given a bad rap, and needs to be seen in a different light. The best we can do is advocate and educate, and show people that it's not something to fear, but rather just a difference to embrace!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


If there's one thing that has helped keep my moods at bay, it's medications. When you think of it, all the brain is is one big vat of chemicals, passing through neurons and synapses; so many chemical combinations are possible. It really is an amazing thing.

It all started when I was about 25, and I noticed that my moods started to swing from my usually upbeat tone to anxious or down, all for no apparent reason. Mind you, I've always struggled with anxiety, but this seemed different. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I remember being at work, which was ironically enough the first mental health agency I worked at, and not feeling myself. I would call my mom and explain to her how I was feeling.

Coupled with friendship-related stressors that were going on in my life at the time (which I later learned were also due to mental health issues and not the fault of anyone), things came to a head. I finally decided it was time to seek help. Armed with my brother for emotional support, I went to my doctor's office. As soon as I started to explain my situation to the nurse practitioner, tears starts flowing. She expressed understanding, and wrote me a prescription for the little pill that would lead me down the right path: Zoloft.

I seemed to notice a difference almost instantly. Granted, the full effects don't kick in until about two weeks after starting a medication, however within the first few days, I started to feel better. I had this stability about me; a feeling of calm.

It was around this time that I also sought answers for my suspicions of ADHD. I had had the last straw of being forgetful, sidetracked, and getting tasks mixed up at work. I went for an evaluation and it turned out I was right (I know I've touched on this in my earlier blogs)! I was prescribed Concerta, which did little more than give me a whopper of a headache when I would start to come off it at night, so I switched to Adderall, which has been a godsend for me. I am able to stay focused and in the zone at work.

Later came Wellbutrin when I started to notice feeling down in the wintertime about 5 years ago. This was a two-fer, as it also acts as a stimulant! Finally after changing psychiatrists after the whole Asperger's dispute, my new psychiatrist prescribed Abilify after I told her I still struggle with anxiety at times and was a compulsive skin-picker. I noticed a much calmer feeling after starting that as well, and a year later, I hardly pick at all anymore! :)

I know this is getting rather lengthy, so I'll cut it short. In a nutshell, medications have been very helpful to me. I understand that not everyone has the same experience, and this is just a snapshot of my experience. Luckily, I've had no side effects!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Mysterious, Unique and Zany life of Zoey, Part I


From a young age, Zoey always knew she was a little bit different. In preschool, she remembers doing her own thing while the other kids listened to the teacher and followed the lesson. Zoey recalled a time when she was sitting in the Little Tykes playhouse, in a world of her own, talking about a beam of light that was shining onto the floor. Zoey also had a hard time sitting still; she always had to be in motion!

Elementary school went well for Zoey. She always got good grades, and made a few close friends, one of which would become her best friend for many years to come. Zoey was teased at times for not being the quickest to "get" social nuances. While it got her down at times, she never let it influence her behavior.

In middle school, Zoey always earned good grades and was conscientious about her schoolwork. She had a few of the same close friends, with whom she enjoyed spending time with. Zoey was often teased because of her love for video games. She didn't let this get to her, though. She was very happy with who she was.

In high school, thing started to change around Zoey, leaving her confused as to why. Her friends suddenly weren't interested in the same things they had been just a couple short years ago, while she was still content playing video games, and they started to dress and act a little different. The other girls in school began to be concerned with how they looked, and talked about boys more than she felt was necessary. Zoey couldn't wrap her head around it. She began to obsessively worry about what was happening to her friends, and needed their reassurance a lot of times. Zoey decided that the way her peers were becoming didn't feel natural to her, so she wanted no part in it. As unique as she was, she was still happy, and couldn't imagine being anyone but herself.

In college, Zoey was very open to meeting people of all kinds. She met several with whom she related to, and made a few very close friends along the way. She didn't keep the same major she started with, as she decided at one point that her purpose in life was not to teach, but to help people. Not too long before graduating, Zoey would stumble upon a term called Asperger's Syndrome. She wouldn't know much more about it than that it is a form of autism. Little would she know the significance it would have in her life several years later...

Chapter I

Well, let's fast forward to today. Zoey has been out of college for (eek!) 9 years. She graduated with her Bachelor's in Social Work in 2006, and has been working with people who have developmental disabilities and mental illness for the past ten years. Zoey absolutely loves her current full-time position at a group home for mental health. She finds it very rewarding, and works with a group of people whom she thinks very highly of.

Let's get on with the story now, shall we? :)

Zoey slept soundly after a long night at work. She works the overnight shift, which entails holding down the fort and being available if the residents need to talk. There is some cleaning involved as well, which can be tiring in itself! Zoey supervises the residents, or as she calls them, her "peeps" taking their medications in the morning, and by the time they are almost finished, it is time for her to head home. Zoey had a particularly busy night, so the end of her shift couldn't come soon enough. She was so glad to hop into bed as soon as she got home.

Zoey woke up in the mid afternoon, and her first thought was "boy, am I hungry!" What to eat? She found some wheat bread and decided in toast with orange marmalade. Zoey then did as she usually does to start the day, which was lay on the couch and Facebook for a while. Zoey also checked xda-developers.com to see if there were any updates to the latest ROM she was running on her phone. Nope, nothing yet.

Zoey still had the whole evening ahead of her to do whatever she wanted with? What to do today? She decided on stopping by her grandma's house to visit. Once there she layed on the couch next to her grandma's chair where she was sitting. Her grandma's cat, whom she called the Goober, ran to her and jumped on her lap as she always does. Zoey and her grandma decided to watch a movie, and talked for a while. They ate dinner, and then Zoey went back home to relax for a little while before another night of work.

After what seemed like the blink of an eye, Zoey found herself leaving for work. Once she arrived, she greeted a few of her peeps who were still awake. She came to the office and settled in. Throughout the night, Zoey cleaned, and there were pauses where one of her peeps, who always had an interesting story to tell, woke up for a cigarette and to chat. Tonight he talked about Poncho Villa and a few other figures from history. Zoey always enjoyed these chats, and found that she learned a lot more from him than she ever learned sitting in a classroom. As much as she enjoyed helping others, she felt it was reciprocal; they helped her just as much.

The night went by quickly, and before she knew it, it was time for Zoey to supervise medications. One by one, her peeps came to the office to take their pills. The drill usually consists of them ratting off the names of their medications, while Zoey checks the labels against the medication record to make sure they are the correct ones. Most of Zoey's peeps know their medications very well.  Once medications were done and the next shift arrived, it was time for Zoey to head home. A little more awake this morning, she Facebooked for a little while after she got home and fell asleep shortly after.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thoughts while waiting to pass meds...

Well, it's kinda quiet at work and I've got about an hour before I pass meds. What can I write about that's intriguing and thought-provoking? Aha, how about some of the interesting stuff I've chatted about or learned from my peeps?

One of my peeps is a very well-learned person. Just from reading and gathering knowledge in their 70+ years, they always have a story to tell. I often come to work to hear anecdotes of years past. The World Wars. Various weapons that were used during those times. Old movies and the people acting in them. I even heard a story other night about a pet goat from years ago, and how the goat was once standing on a table in the living room!

A few weeks ago, someone brought up something I had forgotten about, but recalled as soon as they mentioned it. Does anyone remember those little plastic divers that used to come in a cereal box, that you filled with baking soda so they would dive in the bathtub? This person is about 35 years my senior, yet this timeless toy was still around when I was little, sometime in the late 80s.

Another one of my peeps is very spiritual. They have a very strong faith that keeps them going. One day I heard a story about George Washington, and how, contrary to the tale that involved him chopping down a cherry tree, that actually never happened. The history books never tell you they he actually only agreed to become the President as long as he was not given a salary for it. He was that humble. This person always gives me a blessing after morning medications.

So there are a few interesting tidbits of what I learn here at work. Hope you enjoyed :)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Everything happens for a reason.

I stumbled upon a post on Facebook asking "if you could have a do-over, what would it be?" This got me thinking, that my first thought was not to have let myself get to 310lbs. I then saw a comment that rings true to my philosophy, though. It was something along the lines of the person not changing a thing, because everything happens for a reason, both the good and the bad.

Sure, it would have been great to not have gotten up to over 300lbs. I wouldn't have any weight to lose, and I'd be healthier. However, with there being a reason behind everything that happens, I was meant to get to where I am. I, by no means, intend to let this be a permanent thing, but rather let it be that I've "gained" so much more than weight. I'd like to eventually get down to 200lbs. In the meantime, I accept myself as I am, and realize that I'm a work in progress. What could be the reason behind gaining such a large amount of weight? Well, part of it is my own doing. After all, I, along with my love of food, am the one who let myself get this way. What will I have to take home even when I drop off these pounds one day, though? Well, for one, I'll have more empathy. I'll know how it feels to be 300+ pounds, how hard it can be to find clothes in my size, and to have some of the health effects that come along with it. I'll walk past that person and be able to say to myself, "I've been there, and I know what it's like." I'll also have the knowledge that I overcame a very large - no pun intended - obstacle. If I can lose 100lbs, that's a feat in itself. I just need to focus on one day at a time, and work at it. It will be a reward in itself.

Then you take my other situation regarding my diagnoses. I sometimes wonder what life would have been like had I been diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, anxiety and Asperger's at say, 5 instead of 25 for the former three and 31 for the latter. Could I have gotten the help I needed earlier? Could I have learned about myself from day 1 and avoided future struggles? No one knows. What I do know that is, again, it all happened for a reason. Perhaps, had I been diagnosed early on, I would have been thrown into a self-contained classroom and not allowed to bloom to my full potential. I, too, could have been doing times tables my senior year rather than being in an AP biology class and advanced German. I also overcame a lot of struggles that I didn't even know I had until after the fact. What an achievement that is! I may have struggled socially when I worked at McDonald's and didn't quite fit in, but I still made it work for 4 years. All without even knowing I fell within the threshold for such disorders. I have been taken advantage of by so-called "friends," however had I never been in that situation, I wouldn't be as strong as I am now. I know what to look out for in the future. Once again, it all boils down to one thing: everything I went through, I did so for a REASON.

Who knows what else life will throw at me. I know that I can lose weight, I can watch out for shady characters, and I can be proactive when I'm having struggles related to my diagnoses. I'm pretty happy the way things have turned out. While it hasn't all been rosy, I've had good things come out of it. Tell me some of your experiences! :)