Living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger's Disorder) as an adult female.

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I wonder aloud if all my the writing, typing, posting, and  Facebook-ing does a damn bit of good to better lives affected by autism. Drawing others near to Christ and trying to improve (in my own small way) lives for those on the spectrum is the only reason I bother with social media and this blog.

In the wake of police shooting unarmed African-Americans and white police officers being killed by African-American men  I have something to say: Black lives matter, police lives matter. Autistic lives matter, too!

There isn’t enough money for funding to train police officers in de-escalation techniques (see link). About de-escalation: http://www.policemag.com/channel/careers-training/articles/2016/03/de-escalation-training-learning-to-back-off.aspx

We, or those who love us shouldn’t have to be harmed or even killed due to a misunderstanding. Especially when we aren’t holding a weapon.

I’m sure there are people who will say that any method of training doesn’t work 100% and I’d say they are right, but to do nothing is worse.

Here is a link to a You Tube video (under 10 minutes) that demonstrates a psychiatrist using de-escalation with an agitated patient:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B9Kqg6jFeI

Here is another descalation video for police officers involving a police officer called to an unstable man’s home:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JERkZoWGLWQ

Don’t diagnose, listen.

Most times, an agitated person needs to be listened to. With autistic people such as myself, it takes longer to articulate my thoughts into speech and answer questions. In addition to crippling anxiety, my sensory processing is also poor. When I am near a meltdown (almost always due to sensory overload)  my ability to reason and gauge disappear.

This is why screaming and barking questions at an autistic person (or any person, really) is a bad idea, but especially toward an autistic person whose brain and entire body are on fire. Without premeditation, verbal assault can lead the autistic person to lash out in order to make the loud noises coming from a screaming first responder stop.They never intended to cause harm, it was an unpremeditated act of self protection.

I have found out a big way to avoid meltdowns is just to stay home as much as possible and leave the public at the slightest inkling of stress. It isn’t worth having to face another bad first responder situation, especially now that my parents are gone and can’t protect me.

Except for forest preserves, I pretty much stay at home save for Medical appointments and the occasional trip to Michael’s for beads or Kohl’s for candles and occasionally, clothing. I NEVER go to public places on weekends or past 5pm.

I always have a help-person such as a compassionate family member or case-worker with me when I do leave home.

I do what I need to do to survive in a humane state.

Please rate and share this if it makes a good impression on you and think it would help others. I have enabled all social media sharing. This will have a substantial impact on whether or not I continue to blog about autism issues.

You can friend me on Facebook by sending me a friend request. I don’t join groups due to trolls. Words have the power to tear down or build up. I no longer set myself up to be torn down. I’m big on reporting, also, so if you know you enjoy hurting others, don’t bother friend requesting me.

I pray this has enlightened you. May God bless you,

autisticaplanet

 

 

Nature heals

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In lieu of the recent ugliness in Orlando, Dallas and now France (again), I thought I would post this peaceful photo of an orange petunia.

Being out in nature helped me after I lost someone I loved. It is true that, while taking a walk in a quiet forest preserve or state park isn’t a cure, it is a pleasant distraction.

Being among the things God has created reminds me that not all in the world has been corrupted by mankind. Looking back over my nature photos when the weather doesn’t permit going outside reinforces that reminder.

It doesn’t have to be about talent. Use your phone, a point-and-shoot on auto mode. Just try the experience and see if there is a therapeutic effect. For another soul, it might be skyscrapers or children. Find what muse works for you.

Photography, for me, is a form of mindfulness. I have to be in the moment and pay attention to my subject and composition.

I am a member of Broken Light Photography Collective. It is a blog for people affected by mental illness and autism. There is no judgement, just support.

brokenlightcollective.wordpress.com

Let’s pray to our Lord, Jesus Christ to heal mankind’s’ broken heart and to thank Him for the beauty that still surrounds us.

This post is not for young audiences or those suffering with effects of mental illness such as suicidal ideation, anxiety and major depression. If any of these affect you, please stop reading.

This is a sort of letter, sort of rant from a woman with autism who has sensory integration disorder, whose life is impacted daily by ordinary sounds such as kids playing and dogs barking. Then there is the hell of the 4th of July made possible by some very self-centered people who inevitably take freedom from others like myself away.

I don’t expect those who blow off M80s even after the police are called to intervene actually care about what I have to say. Each year, information about dogs who suffer and requests asking people to please limit the use of fireworks and not use the very loud stuff is circulated, but that doesn’t make much difference. The animals can just suffer for a few days. Animal abuse is forgotten in the revelry of self gratification.

Compromise doesn’t matter to these individuals, because they want 100% free licence to do exactly as they please, mistakenly thinking a democracy is an anarchy-their own selfish licence to do exactly as they please.

images (1)I have take extra medication and wear sometimes headphones along with earplugs. This actually helps me with bottle rockets, those little red “poppers” on a string and smaller dB stuff. If I can make that compromise, then why can’t pyros skip the M80s? Easy. Unabashed selfishness.

The Bible warns that in the last days, people will be lovers of self and rebellious toward authority. I’m sure police feel these affects, and it isn’t fair to them, either. But for selfish, rebellious people, keeping the peace and even avoiding a hefty fine doesn’t matter.

Here is a fact that should affect everyone, including self-centered people:

“Firecrackers may easily produce very high sound levels, and the noise they cause is of an impulsive nature, which means that it has a very short risetime, i.e., a very rapid onset. The human ear has several “built-in” protections against noise, but none of them is capable of coping with that kind of noise. Those natural protective mechanisms require rather long times to operate.” -Federico Mayara E-mail: fmiyara@fceia.unr.edu.ar

An M80 produces a dB of 150 or more. Sadly, I have seen these selfish people setting them off in view of young children with no ear protection. This is a health hazard. A single exposure to even a quick blast of noise can lead to a condition called Tinnitus. This is excruciating, often lifetime LOUD ringing in the ear. People have committed suicide who had it. There is treatment, but it isn’t covered by insurance and is in the thousands of dollars. Selfish people take note. We’re talking about YOUR hearing, YOUR future.

imagesAutistic people have an unexplained elevated startle (Moro) reflex. M80s from the neighborhood often cannot be seen unless next door or across the street. There is no way to prepare. The concussion is so powerful that I become disoriented and even slightly nauseated sometimes.

Growing up, my dad introduced me to sparklers, bottle rockets, screamers (those things that spin and whistle while emitting a fountain of multi-colored sparklers. For some, I did plug my ears and that was enough. My neighborhood wasn’t NEARLY as noisy and the duration of neighbors using fireworks was much shorter.

Selfish people don’t care about allowing spectrum people being able to participate in the Independence Day weekend. All they care about are themselves.

Note to the selfish: this affects YOU:

This is what I found out about owning fireworks in my state “The Pyrotechnic Use Act (“PUA”) in Illinois bans the sale, possession, and use of all “consumer fireworks.” That’s the stuff you can buy legally in some states, like firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles. Violating the PUA can result in up to 1 year in prison and a $2500 fine.

Violations for any noise deemed a problem begin at about $25 and go up into the hundreds. If you are an Illinoian, here is an article on what’s allowed and what’s not: (as of 2015) http://www.kfvs12.com/story/29435565/know-illinois-state-laws-on-fireworks-for-independence-day

Preparedness helps me deal. Township displays and town websites help. I can’t do that with rogue neighbors.

I have nothing against the municipal fireworks, which DO use M80s. While I wish they would  can the M80s, there is a POSTED time and place for these activities. I can plan for them, knowing the date, time, duration of show and rain-date. After that, its over. No going into the wee hours or unexpected intermittent clock-and-dagger use of M80s by selfish, rebellious neighbors.

I have to question the ignorance of people who use illegal fireworks that are so loud that people do call the police multiple times and they wind up with a fine. I thought money didn’t talk-it shouted.

In this time of autism “awareness”, I find many aware and even accepting-until my autism and reasonable requests and compromises to keep the peace don’t suit them.

And then there are the selfish people who will never care beyond their own hedonistic pleasures, until it affects them and possibly those they love.

Consider this post by Psychology Today regarding autism and suicide “The researchers found that the percentage of children with autism rated by their parents as sometimes to very often contemplating or attempting suicide was 28 times greater than that of typical children, though three times less than that of depressed non-autistic children.” The research found that it was “societal factors” more than neurowiring. Read full post here:https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/aspergers-diary/201303/new-research-autism-and-suicide

I am a multiple suicide survivor. Some of my attempts were over the never ending hell I know I will always have to endure at the hands of selfish, apathetic neighbors who fire off M80s and cause me to have meltdowns and shutdowns every July. Every year until I draw my last breath.

I am also alone much of the time and in my mid 30’s, both parents dead. It’s not fair to have to bother my support system -out for a fun weekend- to help me with coping.

Selfish, apathetic neighbors, you could have ended my life-over an M80. Not a bottle rocket, not a string of little red sausages or even a colorful roman candle (if you get busted, that’s your problem). I can compensate for those fireworks.

I will do anything, ANYTHING to avoid going crazy and feeling the physical horror and psychological aftermath of never-ending M80 use.

I do use suicidal ideation as a coping skill. I wonder if people will finally listen to me; to these posts when I am dead?

To them, please know that I will report you when I see and hear you. I will use available technology to document your transgression and make full report of it to the police. You are bullies and deserve the fines and possible arrest you deserve.

“What you sow, that and only that shall you reap.” -Galatians 6:7

This is the Biblical truth of “Karma being a bitch”. Food for thought for the people who left animal skull on our deck a few summers back after we had to call police over neighbor M80 use.

If this resonates with you, please share it on social media. Almost every year I write a blog on surviving the hellish 4th. I am doubting they do any actual good. God forbid we offend anyone. Please pray for me while you are at it.

 

 

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Here it is, the end of another month. Six months ago, I decided I would chronicle one post per month in photos wearing my ear protection out in public.

This has been a rough year so far. Deep depression over the winter and into the spring, state budget cuts and much time in bed sleeping, crying or mourning loss of supports and social misunderstandings.

If it wasn’t for my faith in Jesus, I would kill myself. I really would give up and let Satan win another battle.

Fortunately, I pray constantly and read or listen to scripture. I am learning to trust in and wait on God. His grace is why I still am living. He has blessed me with some caring people as well as food, shelter and Netflix.

Also, a complete stranger just donated to me a Nikon D7100 (pictured). I believe this is an example of waiting on the Lord, and not just for something material.

This picture was taken in a forest preserve that used to be a race track back in the 1950’s.

May God be praised for His patience and mercy.

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This will be a LOUD 3 day weekend in North America with Independence Day Monday here in the U.S. and Canada Day on Friday. That said, here is the link to the earplug superstore. Rush order something or prepare for next year. My Pro Ears came from there as do all my ear-protection needs.

earplugstore@yahoo.com

God used a Nikon…

The Rock Star of Cameras

God works in mysterious ways. You’ve heard it said many times. Here is one of my experiences of God’s faithfulness in my life.

Earlier this spring, my old (and first) DSLR died following an afternoon of shooting in a state park. Cyclops, my Fuji, had been a surprise from my aunt and uncle 2 years ago. It took some of the most clear and crisp images I’d taken to date. I was reviewing images when the viewfinder froze and eventually went black.

I have a point-and-shoot with a crack in the lens. It really shows up in low light and on cloudy days. I was thinking, “Oh no. One of my cameras is dead, and the other is singing (or shooting) its swan song. I’m a disabled person on a fixed income. How will I take pictures with a camera that challenges my skill level?

I prayed about the loss and my disappointment. I thanked God for Cyclops and the lessons he taught me. I prayed that one day I could own another DSLR, perhaps used and in good condition.

About two months passed. I follow some photography blogs, and I left a comment on one regarding the subject and quality of the particular image. This person knows a bit about my love of photography and disability.

Not long after, I got a notification my comment had a reply. I couldn’t believe what I was reading; this person had an old camera they wanted to send to me-free of charge.

I thanked this person, but I insisted on paying something, even if it was only fifty dollars in monthly installments. They refused. I finally had to demand to pay half the shipping.

On June 21, 2016-the start of a new season- a Nikon D7100 arrived in the mail, inside a brand new carrying bag. This person said that they wanted to give back for all that photography has done for them.

They asked me to send a picture taken on their “Old Faithful”. That was his name out of the box-Old Faithful. Yes, I do assign gender to inanimate objects.

I can’t express enough gratitude to someone I’ve never met and who lives halfway across the country.

I felt like a kid trying on adult shoes and hoping I could “measure up” to this rock star of cameras.

The clarity of Old Faithful is astounding-and I haven’t taken it out of auto mode yet.

By God’s grace, the journey continues. Old Faithful arrived in the wake of a major depressive episode. When I have succumbed to neurological war and am about to wave the white flag, that is when a breakthrough happens.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says that God will not allow us to go through more than we can bear. He promises to provide a way out of the trials we go through, to a place of escape. Photographing in nature helps me escape. Having a help person to drive me to locations aids in that escape. I couldn’t do any of that and continue to do well if it weren’t for those who God uses to help me.

Jesus says He knows what we need before we ask Him (Matthew:7,8, Matthew 6:26,33), but He wants us to put forth the effort and ask. I have learned that sometimes the answer is no. Other times, it is silence and having the faith to wait and trust in Him.

May the kindness this person sowed in donating Old Faithful be repaid tenfold.

There is a gift better than any camera. That’s the free gift of salvation God gave to us when His Son, Jesus, died nailed to a cross and rose to life again. May God help you to discover His hope, the kind that doesn’t disappoint. May He help you to  wait and trust in Him. May He bless you and help you to be a blessing. Amen.

From Old Faithful,

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I pray God holds me near

Faking it-with a smile

Faking it PS edit

It’s Christmas eve, 2013. The last Christmas I will ever spend with my mom, who will be gone from my life in 2.5 months. My sibling and her partner came over, and they were snapping at them in front of me and my mom as my mom’s oxygen machine’s diaphragm rhythmically inflated and deflated nearby in the living room.

Intense fury and anxiety began to build inside me. I felt like I could have a meltdown, so I managed to go into my room and take photos.

Women with Asperger’s are supposed to be good at faking fitting in to social situations. I only realize faking it, only when it comes to self portraiture.

After setting up the camera, I got a prop (the bear) to squeeze the tension out on and I thought of my special interest, Anderson Cooper. Thinking about Anderson Cooper can get me to fake some things, like smiling. I wish he worked on my ears, too!

Visualize your special interest when you are hurting or have to practice smiling-for the camera or for a crowd. Even if you’re screaming bloody murder on the inside. Remember to take breaks as often as you need to-or leave the situation.

It’s important to get away-into a quiet place, by yourself and decompress. Deep breaths and engaging in your special interest(s) if at all possible. I also color, so a coloring book is something I can bring along with me to an event-whether in my home or away. When I am away I bring my framed picture of Anderson Cooper inside a book-bag or a stuffed animal, iPod & charger, earmuffs and earplugs and extra anti-anxiety PRN medication.

That’s when you engage in your special interest. Post photo, I had a nice daydream, kissing my picture of Anderson and eventually, I returned to the gathering.

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