Tag Archives: aspergers

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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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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Getting out The Front Door..

Getting out that front door…can be one of the hardest things I do all day, and some days I don’t even manage.

I am scared of leaving the house, its my safe, though slightly lonely and boring, place. But don’t underestimate the power of the safe place. The further I am from the house the more unsafe I feel, the more anxiety I have.

I am ok with going with my husband in the car. The car acts as a mini safe house, and usually we take familiar routes or I’m in charge of the map, and I know exactly where we are, which makes me calmer. But long trips are hard.

Its easier going outside with company I trust, then I can also manage to go further because they distract/calm me enough for me to not spend all energy on thinking about bad stuff that could happen, (fainting in a bush and not being discovered) or being in a heightened state of awareness (how long till I can get home, how much time) all the time.

But going outside myself, it’s a struggle. That door, that hallway, it’s a bottleneck for all my anxiety. What I won’t do to postpone passing through it.

I must have a drink, pee, lip balm, do I have my phone, is it charged, are the bunnies secure, I have the wrong socks, do I need a hat, what temperature is it, which route should I take, forest or road, how long, what If I meet someone, are the neighbours home to see me…

hallway

Sometimes this takes so long that it starts raining, I get hungry, decide to make dinner instead or just plain give up.

When I am finally outside I usually feel much better, and when I get walking, in nice weather with my headphones playing positive upbeat music, I sometimes even forget to be anxious. From time to time.

If I walk the same familiar route, when I know exactly how long it is, and how long it should take, I like walking.
When I get to walk totally alone, where no one can see me, I like walking.
When I feel my muscles working and feel strong, I like walking.
When I get to feel I’m one with the landscape around me, I like walking.

But the anxiety comes back when I start to feel tired, or start to think of exactly how far I have to go to get back home, how much time, how many steps.

Forest

When I walk in the forest, the anxiety lightens. I have to concentrate more not to stumble on something, there are animals to see, plants and trees, and I usually walk by my very favourite lake.

summer

Taking a break on the little run down pier and feeling the water, putting my feet in when it’s not too cold, that helps. Its like the forest has a calm, serene aura that puts a dampener on feelings, especially negative ones. And the lake gives me positive energy, enough to get home. This works best alone.

But that door…


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How To Sleep

Do you know, because I certainly don’t?
(Well I do now, but that’s the whole point of the post so, shhhh!)

It is about three in the morning and I know I’m out of my melatonin sleeping pills so I don’t really want to go to bed until I’m really tired. So what better time to address this thing called sleeping.

I have never been a good sleeper, I’m a great napper though, probably because I’m so bad at sleeping at night. That’s my story, not the other way around, and I’m sticking to it!
No, seriously I have a hard time falling asleep and just as hard a time waking up, if it’s not in the middle of the night, then I’ll wake up just fine!
Also, I work best on a late timetable and need about 9-10 hours of sleep so about 2 at night to 10-12 in the late morning is quite good, that is if I have the melatonin pills, which I don’t…
It’s just bad planning on my part, I just have to go get them at the pharmacy.
I used to look forward to my extremely painful periods, because I got to take kodein and sleep for about three nights, a month! Pathetic.

night-television-tv-theme-machines

A few years ago this not sleeping very well thing accelerated to insomnia, and there was about six months where I was totally out of it, not sleeping at night and walking around like a zombie and taking micro naps all day.
After a while you lose the ability to do anything useful and you actually start becoming a bit dangerous, like with knives, driving and things like that. And I’m wobbly at the best of times, so there was a lot of stumbling and falling over.
When you were little you fell all the time and you mostly stood up and continued what you were doing, maybe after a cuddle from a parent, but now that you are an adult there is a certain hight to the falls, it hurts and you have to act all adult and stuff. 😦

Well anyway, I had my aspergers diagnosis and I was seeing a doctor regularly so she just said, ok we have to make sure you sleep before we do anything else! Such a great decision!
We tried sleeping pills that makes you just “fall asleep” and wear of quite quickly, which works great for a lot of people who has trouble turning off their thoughts at night. But for me it just ment that I woke up again two hours later… just as not sleepy as usual.
Then we tried a more advanced sleeping pill that makes you really sleep all night, but that made me even more groggy and hard to wake up in the morning, no good.
Then finally, we tried melatonin, our brain’s own sleeping hormone, and it’s just totally fantastic! The reason we tried the other ones first is that this is not covered by the standard Swedish healthcare discount that everyone gets when they reach a certain amount per year, so its comparatively expensive. But oh, so worth it! I had never slept so good before. It takes about an hour to kick in, so I take it, do my before bed routine, brush my teeth and watch a little YouTube in bed, then I can just snuggle down, turn on an audiobook and actually fall asleep! This is totally a miracle for me, I had never experienced this before!

pexels-photo-2 copy

So, I said I “had” never slept so good before, I still had the very nasty habit of waking up with a full-blown panic attack now and then. So horrible, because you totally miss the starting signs of an attack, where you can try to calm yourself out of it. When you wake up with it full on, you sort of just have to ride it out, and it takes a while for me to recognise that it is a panic attack and not the end of the world. Every time.
Luckily I have my husband that sleepily sits beside me and says “breathe, it will pass, breathe”. 🙂

So, then the, now new, (I hade moved) doctor and I had to deal with this problem.
I now take Lyrica, the active ingredient is pregabalin and is used for general anxiety problems and epilepsy! well, it works, and a low dose of a sedative, stesolid which is a benzodiazepine such as Valium.

Now, this is as good as I have ever slept! And as a bonus I have about 90% fewer panic attacks. I still live with general anxiety disorder and I still do have panic attacks, but I also have medication that actually helps! And I hate taking medication, so I am a very good patient when it comes to not getting addicted and asking for a higher and higher dose.

medications-money-cure-tablets-50997

As for the waking up part, I still struggle with that, and I have tried some crazy alarm clocks, but I seem to outsmart or ignore them all.
I did try an ADD medicine for a while, and that was an extremely low dose of something similar to amphetamine (no point in hiding that), the pharmacy people had to go get it in the locked cabinet, and that worked, but at night when it was out of my system I got horribly depressed. And I decided I’d live with the sluggishness and be happy that I could finally sleep.

Ok, im going to try to sleep now… I still have my sedative, so I wont be anxious.
I hope you like the new theme!

Goodnight.

full-moon-moon-night-sky-53153


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The sounds in my head

thesoundsinmyheadNo, I don’t mean I hear voices… well I do, but its my voice. Let me explain.

I don’t know if this effects me because I have Aspergers/autism, add or just because its me. But, my head, when I think about it as my consciousness/soul, not a hollow bone balloon full of my brain, ish, sorry, is never quiet. Never.

During most of the time it/I keep up a constant monologue, a constant quiet commentary on what is happening, what should I do, is it time to eat, and what did that person mean when they said that thing the other day, with interjections like “how can the universe be infinite anyway?”. It’s kind of hard focusing on everyday things, like say cooking, when your brain is doing that, should I put the water on first, chop the vegetables or did I do something wrong at the grocery store?

Other times I get a song stuck, and I’m not sure this is the same thing as when “other” people get this. Imagine an old LP record, with a scratch in it, so you get one sentence or snippet of the lyrics over and over, with the melody hopping from the end of the section to the beginning, just like a scratched  LP, you can’t get out of that same loop, then imagine it on a very loud volume… like it’s hard to concentrate and hear your thoughts loud. Quite annoying. It takes great concentration to block that out.

bucking

And sometimes it decides to drag up things that makes me feel bad, putting myself down, and really concentrating on the bad stuff in life. “It”, what else can I call it?,  especially likes to do this when it’s time to sleep.
It did this a lot when I was little, I had a list of embarrassing or sad moments that it went through over and over again, and I was to young to understand that these things were not really embarrassing or even my fault, and nothing to feel bad about at all.

black-and-white-person-woman-girl

A positive thing about this, if you can call it that, is that it/I can totally focus on a project I’m working on and solving all the difficult problems or making it way better, it likes to do this at night too, thanks. 😉 Sometimes you just have to give up on sleep, get up, make a cup of tea and start taking notes.

But I have found ways around this problem, that I didn’t really see as a problem until I read about a mother whose daughter really suffered from this and was trying out different medication to deal with it, I just thought of it as “the way things were”.
I usually wear a pair of headphones, with an audiobook or music playing, but I have noticed that it helps to just put them on, because I sometimes forget to start a book or the music. Funny.

It took some time to find a pair of headphones that I could wear for so many hours each day without hurting, and I must say that Bose is superior in both comfort and sound, and if you can afford a pair of active noise canceling ones, they are heaven.
I first tried a pair on in a busy electronics store, I stood facing the wall with the display, I put them on and flicked the switch, and the whole store just disappeared. I just stood there with my eyes closed and enjoyed the silence, yes, I got silence, I didn’t even try with the music on, lets just say I got a pair.

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At night I wear a pair of Sleepphones, it’s a headband of soft fleece with super thin speakers inside, and you can comfortably rest your ear on the pillow with them on. I do recommend the cordless ones, it’s a bit disconcerting to wake up with a cord wrapped around your neck (not that it ever was dangerous), and the cord tended to break too. I prefer to drift of to a book at night. I don’t really need to listen through headphones though, but then my husband doesn’t have to hear snippets of a book every night.

The sounds/monologue is not always a problem though, often it is in sync with what I am doing and helps me work out problems and how to go about stuff, then I have to turn the book or music off and listen and be “one with my head”, and when I have finished thinking and is back to doing things that doesent need my brain that much I put the book/music back on again. 🙂

Featured image from pexels by: Scott Webb


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