Friday, March 25, 2016

See the person not the disability! ...Why?

"Person With Disability, NOT Disabled Person! Person first language is less demeaning!" is something you hear a lot of Non Disabled people insist on, especially when it comes to Autism. "Not autistic! Person With Autism! See the person- not the autism!"

BUT the reasoning behind this is incorrect and often very secretly-ableist in the case of autism. This is another of those cases where ableism is happening even though people don’t realize it.

For those of you reading along, let me explain this:

Point 1:
It isn’t a thing I have, I am not “a person With it”, I would be a corpse Without it.
A Person with Diabetes is a human individual who Has diabetes. If you take the diabetes away they will be happier and healthier.
People who think autism could be taken out of an autistic do horrific things to us to try to make that happen- they want to cure us of how our brains work. To take the autism out of me, I would be a dead body.

Point 2, and the really creepy part when you see what you’ve been told your whole life:
People reason that the girl with autism should be called that because the girl should be first not the autism… why? because the autism is….. bad.
“See the person not the condition.” Where does this kind of thinking come from? Why don’t you want to see my autism, people? See me, not everything about me and how I think and live? Why not? What’s wrong with seeing my autism? What’s so horrible? Why won’t you see me as I am, instead of with a qualifier about how I still count as a human?
Person First Language is sadly based in the assumption that you should NOT see the Disability. That it is a tragedy to be hidden or ignored. That I am human in spite of my disability, not Along With it.
So, unless someone asks for person first lang, (and they’ve probably been told to do so, sadly) please try not to use it.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Aikido update

I have hit a kind of awkward spot with my Ukemi. But I am finally at a point with most other things here in whitebelt land that I no longer feel like know nothing, you know? I see a beginning now. I am staaaaarrrting to grasp the edges of it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Auditory Processing Disorder? I thought you were autistic?

Yes, but the two often go together. I was never diagnosed with APD because if I wasn't autistic I probably wouldn't have APD either. It's just another part of how my brain works. (Some people have APD without being autistic, though.)

The main thing about it, for me, is that I have No Cocktail Party Effect. This is the casual name for the thing your brain does where it listens to the thing you’re trying to hear, and totally doesn’t register the things you’re not trying to hear.

Mine can’t do that.  I hear everything. All the time. And I have excellent physical hearing, boosted by autistic hyper-sensory abilities: That is, my physical ears are just like everyone elses’ who has typically functioning Hearing ears, but my autistic brain has all the sensory intake areas turned up to 11, so my brain picks up way more from my auditory nerve than a neurotypical brain would.

End result, I have freakishly good hearing, but that’s not as useful as it sounds because of the aforesaid Auditory Processing Thing. I hear everything, and my brain doesn’t see a need to sort out any of it. If there’s a room full of people I can hear every single conversation at once, every rustle of cloth, every exhalation and footstep, and understand none of the things being said.

I often do not tell people, especially strangers, that I am Autistic, but I usually have to tell them, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that last thing you said- I have an auditory processing disorder, and I hear everything else in this room as well as you. Could you please face me when you speak?”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Doing or Not Doing. Yeah more zen.

Q: “What do you do to get more energy?”
A: “I… don’t.”

That. That’s it. I do “nothing”.. in the sense that I do less in order to have more energy. To keep my energy for things I need to do, I have cut back on things I do not need to do so often, or could do slowly, or could do another day. I have Chronic Clinical Depression as well as being autistic, so I do often feel that I run out of energy very fast.

What I do is choose very carefully how much activity or sensory input I will engage in each day. I realize this isn’t something that most people can do sometimes, but you may have to make a lot of changes to address energy in this method.

I am not saying it is the best method for everyone, but it is working for me. It is hard to get used to being so gentle with myself. I do not like turning down some invitations to save energy for doctor appointments. Sometimes I would rather go out on the town with my friends than sit indoors and watch a movie with them, but these are the kind of choices I make so as to limit my use of energy.

Now, I am not saying, “Do only necessary things and have no fun at all.” By all means do not do that- it would not be a balanced lifestyle and could lead to problems. Humans are often better off with a balanced life. Do some fun things. Do some needful things. But do less of both, and try not to do everything all at once. I do my healthcare routine of shower etc., then one or two needful things per day like a class or appointment, then I do one or maybe two fun things, either with friends or by doing my art.

I have, I realize, the privilege  of being able to set up my life right now so that I am not very busy. It might not be possible for you to do exactly what I do but you can find ways to be a little less busy, which might lead to being less overwhelmed or tired out. Personally, it is healthier for me to avoid being too busy.

Culture right now is very insistent that if you’re not super busy and always tired, you must be “uninformed”, “unpopular” or “unsuccessful”. Ignore that noise. Slow it down. Life is not a competition. Life is life.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Be a stone in the river.

When you have a Chronic condition, any disability or illness or trouble that lasts longer than other people have patience for, they often talk up how great it is for you to always be fighting, always "keep fighting this". Guess what?

They mean well but that is *exhausting* and irrational to expect.

 I'm not saying give up, I am saying you do not have to fight all the time. No one can be in an aggressive mode every day, "inspirational" only when thrashing about against the current. Sit in the current. Be a stone in the river. Let the river go past. 

“Heaven is where you are standing, and that is the place to train.” Aikido founder O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba.

I’m not saying you have to be pleased to be where you are. Being sick or disabled in some way often just sucks. It isn’t sunshine and rainbows.

But it is where you are right now, and it might help to know
that you do not have to wait to be happy
until you get better.
You can be happy or at least At Peace in some ways here and now.

Once more: You do not have to wait to be happy
until some future or impossible time when you get better.

You don’t always have to be “fighting”. You deserve to have peace now. Let yourself have it.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Aikido and Recovery

 How do you manage to balance (or not) martial arts and other parts of your life?

Aikido is a big part of my mental/personal health. I learn lessons there to apply to my personal emotional challenges. It’s been instrumental in the healing and recovery I am trying to do. It shows me in a kinetic and physical way where my fears still are, and what I can do about them.
Getting personal here, TW mentions of abuse and trauma:

It’s not an official “diagnosis”, but I have a decade or two’s worth of Complex-PTSD, which in my case is the slow trauma I got from long term bullying or emotional abuse, with threats or incidents of physical abuse. I have complex trust issues and problems ever feeling safe. Besides the obvious physical empowerment of a martial art for some self defense, Aikido is teaching me to practice trust, to enforce boundaries, and to speak up when people hurt me or I am uncomfortable.

That last is very difficult as I have had a lifetime of being "trained", told repeatedly and firmly, to be silent when I am hurting or unhappy. In our Aikido Dojo, if you ask someone to stop hurting you... they stop, instead of laughing, ignoring you, dismissing your pain, or increasing it for their entertainment. That is very new and precious to me and I am learning from it.

I am learning which motions still make me uncomfortable, and then in my outside therapy I can address the reasons for those. I get severely dizzy doing a certain turn and I realized it’s because I hate moving backward when I can’t see what’s behind me... because of fear and hypervigilance. I was able to then talk to my counselor about that.

I am also learning how to move with and around things instead of fighting against them. That’s the literal principle behind Aikido but it’s also been helping me in my emotional and personal struggles. “It is far easier to roll a rock, using its own momentum, than to try to carry the same rock. Stop trying to carry the rock!” I put myself through a lot of mental anguish I do not have to actually deal with any more  if I would just stop trying to carry it. So now it’s in inner mantra- “Stop trying to carry the rock!”

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Post Sinus Surgery- day 2? -Ish? Wow, pain meds are great...

I had the sinus surgery and it was successful. I will write more later. Currently quite loopy. Thank heaven for good medicine or my face would be hurting wayyy more.

Update coming soon.

Doctors told my parents that the Silent Sinus was indeed very small and closed up and had been full of seriously nasty gunk, which is probably what made me sick all month. They sent a sample off to be lab tested to check for anything notable. I kinda wanna hear if there are results.  So that sinus has been kind of re-carved out, they shaved down the Turbinates, and they did a Septoplasty to straighten my deviated septum so that I can breathe through regular sized nasal passages for the first time ever. I can't wait to try deep breathing once it's healed, I have always wondered what it would be like to breathe freely and deeply just through my nose.

So, Monday:
the surgery itself was about an hour or two, they say. I had a bad hour or so afterward, in the recovery room, because while I was asleep my body still felt the surgery, and my neck and shoulders had clenched tight into knots, and I was hurting and druggy and pitiful. Dad was sitting right there, and  they fed me pain pills and applesauce, and then I got home and got over the Effexor withdrawal by taking my daily dose of that, and they even gave me a lil' anti nausea drug to go with the pain pills. The surgery staff were all terribly kind to me the whole time. Lovely people, and that's not just the Percocet talking.

The post-op nurse was really surprised by how coherent I was even after the pain pills kicked in. She  had to help me up to get me re-dressed, and kept saying how remarkably well I was doing. I laughed and told her I've had a LOT of experience being medically compromised. All those times I was wrung out on Effexor withdrawal and had to try to function anyway gave me a lot of training at this sort of thing. Being able to move, talk, and balance while chemically compromised is a skill you can actually practice, it turns out.

Mom and Dad are looking after me now. I have thick squishy blankets, and a nose rinse to use. Daddy bought me GF cookies but I sadly cannot taste them. I can only pick up broad basic flavors right now, like salt in my omelet, or sweet green smoothie. Trying to relax my shoulders- I won't be able to lie face down in a massage table for like a month at least, since those face rings put a lot of pressure on the sinus bones.

 I have to take pills every four hours, and rinse out my nose a lot, and sleep sitting upright, and wear a face bandage so I don't leak draining saline or blood on anything.
What I really want to do is lie down on my side like I usually sleep, and sleep for 8 hours straight.
It'll be a little while before I can do that, but SOON.

Just now my face hurts and I am tired, because I have to take 1 pill every 4 hours, and the pills give me a heinously dry mouth, but that's helping me make sure I stay hydrated, so there's that.

Percocet makes me chatty, but I am also talkative (typeative?) because I am bored and a bit lonely. It's hard to talk out loud with a hurting face so my verbal communication is limited. Besides, Mom is busy. I am excited to be on my way to healing.