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 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! :)