Category Archives: Panic

Day 30

Day 30:
Quote 71: “I’m the boy that’s calling your house. I’m the boy that’s freaking you out. With my thermal flask of tea. Up there in your neighbour’s tree.” Passenger

30bMaterials: Reclaimed brick and acrylic paint

day30

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Accepting the Bad Days

Learning to acceptI have to learn to accept the bad days.
This is something I am terrible at, it feels like I’m going to feel/be like this forever and I am never going to get anything done, or want to get anything done again. I might even stomp my foot and pout! I am going to lie here in my sofa that has become uncomfortable and feel sorry for myself forever.  Nothing is fun, and anything I want to do quickly gets aborted because of exhaustion/pain/fever/nausea or whatever it might be today.

todaying

I am having one of those bad days, can you tell?
Yesterday I woke up with a fever because I am allergic to pollen and all the birches (aka my nemesis)  had decided to suddenly awaken. So I got a handle on that and today I don’t have a fever, I have menstrual cramps and everything that comes with that, dizziness, nausea, lack of appetite and a mild depressive state. And the pain, the horrible pain, I have got it under control but it’s not like its not there in the back of my mind (uterus) at all times. And tomorrow I know is the day I bleed the most, and I will feel much better but I know that as soon as I try to do anything I will become dizzy, nauseous and exhausted, and the best thing to do is… sit still… on the couch… again.

thereare days

This, the writing is actually helping, but that was not the point. I need to learn to humbly accept the bad days, do what I can with them, hope for better days and move on.
Humbly. Im way better at sarcastically.
As I have been researching service dogs I have come across two women that I can learn so much about this from, Jaquie from Chronically Jaquie and Mary from The Frey Life. They have service dogs because they have medical issues. I am so humbled and totally in awe about how they deal with their illnesses and their bad days. I will try to learn from them

laundry oven

I have to stop comparing myself to others, well or unwell, whatever I think “society” expects of me and see to what I feel and what I can do.

I’m not sure how to go about this, right now I am mostly feeling resentful that all my weekend plans got screwed, drowned, fu cancelled, trying to breath deeply, accept the situation and be happy for the little things. This lovely cup of coffee for example, that is making me nauseous. I need to work on it. Obviously.

today suckedAfter doing some internet research I think I have come up with a loose strategy.
When reading what other people have written about “bad days” it first made me really sad, reading about people with, what I perceive as, worse things than me, and then horribly mad, reading about people who thinks that it’s all in your mind and “you just have to think positive”, excuse me, obviously they missed a whole category of people with actual problems!!
I don’t think the striking out of the words I want to say about those people will be enough… so I won’t say anything.
And then I came to a more calm and accepting stage, better right.

how_to_belly_breathe

So my loose strategy is.

  • To accept the situation, so, I can do those weekend plans another day.
  • Try to feel the feelings, calmly and accurately, no exaggerating or diminishing, and move on, if possible, no pressure.
  • Do things I know will make me feel better, the nature/bath/relaxing things, not the shopping/comfort eating things.
  • Try to move about, just change location, or go stand in the front door smelling the air for a while. Or as my mom says, “get some sunlight in your eyes”.
  • And do fun things that will take my mind off the bad day for a little while, like a great (not sad!) movie or a captivating computer game.
  • Don’t beat myself up about it if I fail at any of these things, as I said, move on, try again, work on it.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Breathe.

breathe1


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A Helping Paw?

service dogI have recently learned that there are service dogs that can help people with mental health problems!
That was a bit of an eye opener. I thought service dogs helped blind people find the way, disabled people pick up stuff off the floor or alert diabetics that they need to take insulin. Well, it’s all of course way more complicated than that, and know that there is extensive training involved, but still, basically.

So what could a service dog do for someone who has mental health problems, like me who has Aspergers and panic issues?
They can be a calming presence that always stays by your side, and that you are allowed to bring “everywhere”. They can alert you that you are starting a stressed behaviour, and abort a panic attack by coming up and laying in your lap or demanding that you focus on them, or help you out of the attack with their calming presence.
They also make you get out of the house for someone else, it can be hard to motivate yourself to go for a walk, but when there is a cute dog that loves walks, fetching balls and otherwise will pee on your plants, there is a whole new incentive to going outside.

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I have started to learn more about service dogs in general and I am amazed at how well-behaved they are, how devoted to their owner/handler they can be and the tasks they can perform!
They give their owner a whole new level of independence and so much unconditional love, though the love part seems to be reciprocated in abundance. You are bound to get very close to a service dog because it takes about two years of training, and that means lots of training everyday, for a dog to be considered a “finished” service dog. You are a team.

I started following these two channels on YouTube that I found extremely helpful, and otherwise enjoyable in general. Where we get to follow Jaquie with service dog Harlow and Mary with service dog Oliver.
These two girls have medical disabilities but I have still been able to start imagining what a service dog could do for someone with  mental health problems.
Also I am so very humbled and impressed by their strength in fighting their illnesses.

Here are their channels:

harlow_and_jaquie_header_
Jaquie and Harlow
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Mary and Oliver

Here in Sweden the official training for service dogs for a neuropsychiatric disabled handler is quite new, but it does exist and you can still use a lot of the parts of “normal” service dog training.
First it comes down to general obedience behaviour and then more focused training for what that particular handler needs.
There are courses, these are of course expensive, why would anything be easy. There are also grants to apply for and you can do a lot of the training yourself, with the guidance of a professional, if you are dedicated.
The dog should be one year old but not yet three when the training begins, but you can of course start to train simple commands as soon as you get your puppy, if you are getting a puppy that is.

sitt

Good things to start practicing are:

  • Eye contact – Good contact is the basis of all other training.
  • Environmental training – let the dog be in different environments until it is calm and curious.
  • Social training – give the dog positive experiences of different kinds of people and dogs.
  • Relaxation – Train the dog in different environments and situations until it spontaneously settles down and relaxes.
  • Apportion – encourage the dog to carry items and reward every time it shows you what it’s carrying.
  • A bit of the basics – heel, sit and come.

What kind of dog is suitable to be a service dog.
The breed  does not have anything to do with it, it is more about the dogs temperament, willingness to please and ability to learn. The dog should of course be appropriate in size for what you want it to do, and common service dog breeds are Labrador, Golden retrievers, Poodles and the Doodles.


I of course fell for the Doodles. 😉 The most common ones are Golden Doodle: Golden retriever + Poodle and Labradoodle: Labrador + Poodle. These seem to make great service dogs since they have the Labrador and Goldens gentle manner and willingness to please and the Poodles high intelligence and ability to learn. Also they shed less which is great for us (yes, me) who are allergic.labradoodle
But as I stated before it all comes down to if just that individual has the right temperament for being a service dog. You can get great help choosing a potential service dog from a good breeder.

In Swedish a service dog for mental disabilities is called an NPF-Hund, (NPF står för  neuropsykiatrisk funktionsnedsättning) and here are some useful links with information about this.

This is what I found during a shallow search, I am sure there are lots more information.

All this has awakened a thought in me, and I am looking at kennels and dogs, dreaming about the possibility. labradoodlepuppy


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How can a weighted blanket help you

how can a weighted blanket help youWhen I was discussing my sleep problems with my doctor and we were going over what medication I could take and what I was already taking, she mentioned that a weighted blanket might help. I thought that it was definitely worth a try, I had read about them and knew that they helped some people settle down and be calmer.
We booked an appointment with the department that was supposed to find out if I would be eligible for getting/loaning one. I had to make a two-week sleep diary, which wasn’t a problem since I always wear a step and sleep tracker, I just had to print out the last two weeks and we could quite obviously see that I was not sleeping very good.
So then I got to test some of the blankets. I tested two kinds, one that is full of plastic balls, like in a children’s ball pit, and its huge and really I could not stop giggling because It felt like it was childhood all over again. That one was not for me. But people who like to feel pressure on parts of their body to “know they are there” can benefit from a blanket like that.
The second one I tried was a chain weighted blanket. It’s like a duvet with channels lengthwise with chains in them. This one was definitely for me, I felt sleepy and calm after just a few minutes under it. So, we ordered one of those for me.
These blankets are extremely expensive, I have an 8 kg blanket that costs 8000 kronor, about 900 dollars, it’s on loan, but it’s not like they are ever going to demand to get it back.
I sleep under 8000 kr, it’s a bit ridiculous.

chainsSo, what benefits do I get from this chain weighted blanket. I know It sounds crazy sleeping under 8 kg of chains, but It makes me feel safe, hugged, grounded, and it calms me down in stressful situations and I tend to lie more still when I’m sleeping, and not toss and turn so much. I can even get a longing just to be under the blanket during the day, not sleeping, but feeling the security and safety it gives me. It has definitely helped me sleep better in collaboration with some melatonin and a sedative.

There are three kinds of weighted blankets on the market that I know of:

bolltäckeThe Ball Blanket: “The weight of the balls affects the central nervous system via the comfortable pressure you feel on the body. Moving underneath the blanket creates new pressure points and thus new tactile signals to the central nervous system. The ball covers help to clarify the limits of the body”

These blankets are usually made of a duvet filled with plastic balls that come in different sizes and weights. 3-10 kg for adults and 0,5-1,5 for children.

600510The Chain Blanket: “The chain blankets function is based on scientific studies on the calming impact of gravity. Through the weight of the cover, the user gets a clearer feel of the body’s limits. The comfortable weight releases a number of body-wise hormones that seem to calm anxiety and sedation for both blood pressure and heart rate. The effect is that you can relax, and get better sleep quality.”

A chain blanket is a duvet with channels lengthwise with chains running through them, these also come in different weights, 4-15 kg for adults and 1,5-3,4 for children.

fibertacket-300x216and The Fiber Blanket: “Fiber blanket is a weighted blanket and a mind-stimulating cognitive tool. The fiber blanket is unique because it is soft and has gentle and enclosing features that gives a sense of peace and security. Unlike other weighted blankets, the fiber blanket provides an even pressure throughout the body.”

The fiber blankets are made from polyester and comes in weights from 4-14 kg for adults and 2,3-5 kg for children.

The weighted blankets are a great help for som people and I certainly recommend it.

There is also the option to make your own weighted blanket, here are some great tutorials for the diy blanket.

in-progress-held-upCalming the senses with weighted blankets.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 22.47.56The Weighted Blanket: An Easy Quilting Project by Rob Appell of Man Sewing.

DIY-weighted-lap-pad-using-pillow-petP1450841-One-project-closerDIY Weighted Lap Pad Using a Pillow Pet!

20161208225818013211127890_sbigKedjetäcke (Swedish)


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Having a Haircut From an Aspie Point of View

I hate having my hair cut…
I hate not knowing what they are doing back there, they could be up to anything, and I hate when they tell me to take my glasses off so they can get it right by the ears. I’m practically blind without them.
Im in very great need of control, its my hair, I know exactly how I want it and I have to sit there, sharing small talk and letting them do their job…
that they have an education in…
and do everyday….
ok…
they might know what they are doing…
Maybe…

Yes, this is me with long hair. Hello!

I have had long hair for years, partly because then I didn’t have to go through the haircutting ordeal, and also, it was cheeper. And I liked my long hair. I learned to cut the tips myself.
But it was time for a change. I think I had the same hairdo for 15 years, ad or subtract bangs.

This is what I gave the hairdresser to work with. But skipping the lavender, I love the lavender, but I’m not up for the upkeep.

With the help of my sister and her very talented hairdresser friend, I took the leap and cut it all off by the shoulders… and you know… it looked great… I loved it, and she understood exactly what I wanted, talked me through it, and calmed me down, though she had to take my glasses off at one point. 😉 I loved the feeling of it skimming my shoulders.

This is me after, note the happy grin, and look how nicely I’m sitting, still wearing my glasses. 🙂

Now I have to do it all again, thats the problem with short hair. The great hairdresser is an hours drive away, so I thought I would see if the local one here is ok. Im scared, but at least the first cut is done, and she sort of just has to follow the “mould”. I don’t want to say/write it, but how bad can it go?

haircut5

So, as an aspie, what can you do to make it easier?
Well I start by telling them that I have aspergers, not everyone knows what that entails, but at least you have given them an indication that you are not the average customer.
I like to show pictures of what I had in mind, and also say that I am very particular and therefore a bit scared.
And I definitely tell them that I can barely see without my glasses and that I would appreciate it if they tell me as soon as I can put them on again.

Actually it usually goes great and becomes beautiful!

Havingn a haircut


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Tackling the Front Door

So what can we do about this looming front door and bottleneck of a hallway. How can we make this a little easier? These are some things that have been or are helping me get out.

  1. Have a plan: in a comfortable location, make a plan beforehand on where you are going to go and when, what you will wear, make sure you pee, drink and have a lip balm. Then just go through the bottleneck and front door at speed (trying) not to think about it. plan
  2. Know what you are going to wear and have it accessible.
  3. zriphoneIf you have a smartphone, make the walk more fun with apps that measure your distance and time, like runkeeper, or make it into a game with  zombies run!. Play upbeat positive music or listen to an audiobook.
  4. Make the walk more fun in other ways, like with walking sticks for nordic walking, or measuring how fast you can do a certain distance and see if you improve over time.
  5. Walk a small distance to begin with. When that feels comfortable, increase it just a little, seriously, very little, like 20m. And when that is comfortable increase it a bit more and so on.
  6. Are there any animals anywhere in your surroundings? Make a point of going by their pasture or garden to look or say hello.
  7. Or there might be something else you especially enjoy that you can make a point to pass, for me it is water.
  8. Have nice walking clothes and good shoes, stay within your budget so you don’t feel pressured to use them or anxiety that you are not. Ten tips to
  9. Walk with a friend and have a nice conversation on the way, maybe you can schedule a weekly walk together.
  10. Get a dog. Ok this one might be a little drastic. I for one is allergic, and there is a bit more to owning a dog than just having a walking buddy. But maybe you have a neighbour with a dog that wouldn’t mind you “borrowing” the dog for a walk now and then. And there are also organisations where you can volunteer as a dog walker. dog

I know that some, or all of these can feel totally daunting some days, I know I couldn’t ask my neighbour to walk his dog for example, and its ok to feel that way. Maybe one or two things on the list is possible for you. Maybe a few more on a good day, or with company.

The important thing is to keep trying and not to give up on the things we want to do. map


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