brightrosefox: (Default)
So. Multiple friends have suggested I write something like this, because no matter how often I say it, I still get invalidated, scolded, told I shouldn't be doing it because it upsets people. And of course, it would be talking about my life, my disabilities, my personal health, in public forums.

To paraprhase a friend: "...taking someone's lived experiences as they apply to their particular disability and how it expresses itself, and saying that they can't talk about that because it will make other people feel bad, is not okay and it invalidates them to varying degrees. Different disabilities affect different people in different ways."

In other words, sometimes comparing things is bad. We are human. Humans all have problems. Each human has their own set of problems. Some humans want to talk about their personal problems in ways that other humans find annoying, upsetting, unsettling - but other humans find those ways comforting, eye-opening, powerful.

I don't know how else to say it, so I'll be blunt, and this time I am not going to pull any punches:
Read more... )
brightrosefox: (Default)
Yes, obviously. Sheesh.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6081918

Friends have been sharing this back and forth into repetitive boredom, so I'll just add: Yes, this is obviously a strategy I've been implementing for a while in order to manage my mental illnesses, it is totally part of a very very specific personal therapeutic ritual that will take at least another couple of months to complete, and for Loki's sake, this stuff takes time, quit asking if I'm better yet. I've only been ritualizing for three years; most of this takes at least five. Plus, I can't just magically fix damaged neural pathways by thinking happy thoughts. Most people spend decades in therapy, while their acquaintances urge them to fix themselves faster. The frantic urging especially comes from people who've never even been in states of extreme anxiety, clinical depression, endless chronic pain, obsession, compulsion, memory disintegration, traumatic stress, dissociation, depersonalization, derealization. I often hold back from just punching walls. Therapeutic ritual and mindfulness in mental artistry takes time and a large amount of control. I've only been doing it since 2011. By 2015 something will at least be, as they say, Fixed. At least enough to allow other treatments to fall into place. Until I finish that intense ongoing ritual, I'll keep on battling where battles must be fought.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Okay, first thing:

Bad day bad day. Brain misfires, pain everywhere, spasticity, OCD episode, distractions, hypersensitivities, gut issues. I will say, however, that probiotics and omega-3 supplements of specific kinds are actually doing good things to my brain. It's not really evident in any of my outward behavior, but I can absolutely feel something going on.
Dear neuroweird science students: Is impulse control mainly frontal lobe? I have a Thinky Thing I'm thinking about, but I need medical professionals and medical students to confirm. I know of Things that can help me personally and specifically, but I need to make sure I'll be doing it properly. Also, this means staring slackjawed at my MRI photos and calling my neurologist.

***

Unrelated, copied from Facebook.

Well, this person said what I was thinking.
https://www.facebook.com/thautcast/posts/830987393625539?fref=nf&pnref=story
My personal need for disability labels is personal. My need to be able to relate to people via stories and fiction. So many people have told me things like how they "don't see disability" (sorry, I have to laugh at that) and don't see labels... and that's cool. Really. That's fine. But that is not how I see the world and that is not how I view myself. Being able to say, "Yeah, I'm disabled, and these are the medical issues I have" is indescribably relieving, even powerful; it gives me a power to choose and know my own self in a very intense way that I honestly can't describe.
My disabilities are not really eccentricities or special powers; they are painful and they will get worse as I age - and I'm talking about the comorbid, co-occuring, associated syndromes and symptoms. Eccentricity? Gift? Er. Yaaa...aay? I mean, sometimes my seizures cause wicked euphoric hallucinations when I close my eyes? That's... fun? And I suppose having severe anxiety and ADHD-PI and OCD and SPD could be my mind working out itself and it's environmental relationship?
So, um, so far I'm not seeing eccentric quirks and gifts. But I don't see myself the way someone who thinks that way would see me. I've met disabled people who say they aren't disabled, and a part of me marvels at the cognitive dissonance, a part of me wonders if they're completely rejecting the medical model of disability, a part of me wonders what they do when symptoms and syndromes kick them around and act truly disabling. I say nothing to them because I know it's their thing. The only time I'd want to try to sway them is if they want to spread their belief that disabilities are not disabilities, because that can become harmful and dangerous to the social model. As Stella Young said, no amount of smiling at a staircase will turn it into a ramp. So, as much as someone refuses the disability label, I really need them to consider it beyond their beliefs.

I'm just saying. We all have very different ways of talking about, discussing, portraying, coding, and having disabilities. I'm just glad that right now, I am able to very very openly discuss mine the way I want without being punished for it. And so should others, particularly those who think differently than I do. That's what makes discussion.

***

Also? I find it funny that so many people are like "OMG aliens, what if aliens come here, wouldn't it be amazing, we should learn alien languages, I bet they don't even communicate like we do, so we should be open to new communicative experiences!"
And then they're all like "WTF autistic people you're so weird we don't want you weirding us up we don't like you why can't you be normal like us!"
And I'm all, "*throws hands up* WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US, YOU JERKS!"

***

I am having A LOT of thinky thoughts on why people reject the term disability in favor of eccentricity, quirk, gift. Not just abled folk but people with mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia. I am still determined to wrap my mind around visibly physically disabled folk, like with cerebral palsy, who say they aren't disabled. It fascinates me because that view is so so alien to me. As long as the conversation is civil if course.

***

http://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/just-try/
http://webcast.ucdavis.edu/llnd/467b5ad7?channelId=0abfe11894d742c7b159a535058c09ce&channelListId&mediaId=29f030d8c24a4b718c1c2936187278b8

***

I don't do Twitter. But lots of my friends do. Fuck Autism Speaks. I'm not pushing anyone to do the #Notmssing thing. But I do believe it is vital to send Autism Speaks the crucial message that autism is not a "thieving disease to be eradicated" because IT IS OUR BRAINS. WE are autism. We are born with a different operating system that doesn't really comply with the standard. People laugh about meeting alien cultures with other ways of communication, and yet we are right here, a metaphor, and they not only turn away from us, they actively seek to erase us. So. No. Bad Autism Speaks. No. Stop it. Nobody is missing. We are right here. We are staring right at you, angry and sad. We have been here all along. We have been speaking out all along. You just haven't listened.

Also, hells no we're not ready to meet any alien cultures. Not if we keep trying to erase members of our own.



***
http://webcast.ucdavis.edu/llnd/467b5ad7?channelId=0abfe11894d742c7b159a535058c09ce&channelListId&mediaId=29f030d8c24a4b718c1c2936187278b8
(Nick Walker is awesome)
Autism as a neurocognitive variance. Indeed. It's a disability because it hinders how we interact with life all the time. But there is nothing wrong with us. It's just a rewiring of our brains before birth or at birth.
Like, with me. I was born a fetus. I was a 26-week-old fetus when I was "officially born". My developing brain didn't have time to pick and choose. It just grabbed whatever it could, crammed stuff in, got a random shiny new operating system that was able to work around all the dead white matter, and figured it was good enough because I still needed to finish growing into being a baby, you know? Like, "Fuck it, we'll deal with this brain damage later, just keep the body going, okay? Move it move it move it avoid the gaps in the dead parts, come over this way, this construction project is gonna take a few more months than planned, so we don't have time for sick days, guys. What's that OS? It looks kind of tangled. That's fine, it's shiny, build it in, hook it up, whatever. Hey! I told you guys to avoid the dead zones! Awww daaamn, somebody get a new team over there please? No workman's comp here, this is preterm, okay? Just go go go..."
And that's where I got my brain.
So, dear allistic and neuro-typical assholes who question my right to exist, who insist that kids like me are missing, stolen, lost, forever silent: Fuck off. My brain worked hard to be itself, and just because my OS isn't yours doesn't make me lesser.
brightrosefox: (Default)
I did not realize how weirdly difficult it can be to answer the question, "So, what triggered this C-PTSD episode and panic attack?"

I mean, how DO you explain all the fucked up, freaked out, screaming neuronal mess that can cause brief blackouts, episodes of time agnosia, obsessiveness bordering on mania, hyperventilation, emotional outbursts, etc etc etc.

And there is no one thing, two things, any things. That's why it's Complex PTSD. It can be anything and everything. Maybe it's because I read some news articles about police violence against disabled people with no legal consequence for the police. Maybe it's because a friend got triggered by their own things and during our conversation something triggered me completely innocently. Maybe it's because I had a nightmare about that time years ago when a skeevy dude tried to hurt and assault me near a shopping center and was beat up by another guy who just looked at me and said, "Run!" and I fled up the stairs until I couldn't breathe and never looked back. I don't know. I don't KNOW, guys.

You know? You know.

I have reasons for not talking about this stuff outside my psychologists and certain friends. Support is better than silence, though, and I have so much support and empathy to give, so when I need it I reach out to the friends who know.

Anyway. Yes, I took my meds. Yes, I did my exercises. Yes, I ate well enough.

And my cats have not let me out of their sight. (KITTIES)
brightrosefox: (Default)
Holy random acts of kindness, Batman.
After getting my flu vaccine, I went to look at the cane rack, because they have this beautiful blue and silver one that looks like dragon scales, and I have been waiting for discounts and coupons so I could get it. The price is under twenty dollars, but still.
A middle-aged man who looked so much like Idris Elba that I did a second take, also reached for the blue silver cane. Our eyes met, I smiled briefly. He said, "You know, I bet this would make an awesome magic staff for cosplay."
I grinned and said, "Good plan! I should at least join a game just so I can brag. Or just be my paganish elf self and cosplay every day." Which was blurted out because my filter is so thin.
The Idris Elba lookalike chuckled. "I adore that idea. I just pray to all mighty Atheismo that we aren't going too deep. Like that Tom Hanks movie."
My jaw dropped. "Duuude," I said. "Futurama reference plus obscure D&D rip-off movie nee book reference? Cripple high five!"
We high fived and missed on purpose, stumbling. "Mild cerebral palsy, spastic hemiplegia" I said. "Mild cerebral palsy, diplegia mixed," he said. "And knee arthritis."
"And sciatica," we said in union, surprising ourselves.
"Fibromyalgia and epilepsy and autism too," I added.
He said, "My twin nieces are autistics! Their world is so awesome. I think they prefer me to my brother when they're in meltdowns, they talk about what's going on in detail."
"Awesome!" I said.
At this point, we had been staring at the canes and I had been avoiding too much eye contact. I was about to ask the Idris Elba lookalike about advocacy. Then I saw a gleam in his eye and sensed a topic shift. "Hey, listen," he said. "I'm a proponent of the pay it forward thing. I know we're strangers, but I do know enough about you that you really want the dragon scale cane."
I tilted my head. "Yeeeaah?"
"So, okay." He pulled some pieces of paper from his pocket. "I've got a buy one get one half off for this brand of canes. I will buy you your cane. What do you think?"
I blinked a few times. I looked at him. He wasn't hitting on me. He wasn't being creepy. He was just a fellow cripple offering help.
"Okay," I said, "thank you! That's really kind."
"Hey, the community needs all the assistance we can get from each other. Cripples helping cripples, you know?"
I smiled. "Totally."
As we walked to a register, he said, "I want you to know that I had no intention of hitting on you. I see your rings, and for all I know they could mean something else. But while I think you're a gorgeous-looking person, I have no plans on being a That Guy. I punch Those Guys on a regular basis."
"Huh?"
"Physical trainer. Not so much punch as pinch in sensitive areas. Men can be scum."
I giggled. "Hashtag Not All Men!"
He laughed. "Anyway, let me pay for everything." He nodded at my basket, which had a few comfort items. I immediately said he shouldn't, since he was getting me the cane.
He then put my basket on the conveyor belt, looked at me until I noticed that his eyes had gold rings, and said, "Then pay it forward. Help another cripple." The corner of his mouth turned up. "Even if it's just donating to help someone get better access."
I nodded. I was going to cry any minute. He paid for everything, put his things in two totes and put my things in two more totes. He saved me almost forty dollars.
He said, "I would offer you a ride, but my friend's picking me up so we can go back to Philly. It's been a great road trip so far."
I nodded. "It's cool. I'm going to take the bus home anyway." I was feeling giddy. "Well, obviously we had this encounter for a reason. So. It was lovely meeting you, clone of Idris Elba."
He threw back his head and laughed. "I get that a lot. Same to you, clone of Mia Sara. Anyway, I'm Laurence."
"Joanna."
We fist-bumped and he helped adjust my cane for my height. We walked outside together, and he stood at the curb to wait for his friend while I walked across the parking lot. I turned and waved. He waved back and kept looking at me. I realized it was to make sure I was safe.
I got to the sidewalk crosswalk and peered back. I saw him get into a green SUV. I realized I would probably never see him again.
I am definitely going to Pay It Forward.

***

Also! Links! For future reference!
http://www.neurodiversity.com/main.html
http://cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/associative-conditions/
http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/10/03/autism-common-cerebral-palsy/18775/

***

Also!
PMS is vicious. Although with oral contraceptives, it's technically withdrawal bleeding rather than menstruation. Besides, I haven't truly bled in over a year. Being on the highest dose of birth control for over fourteen years will do that to some women.
PMS is vicious. A veliciraptor chewing through my pelvis. There's a photo out there of a plastic female human skeleton, with a toy raptor stuck head-first through the pelvic bone.
And the bloating and bizarre fluctuations on the bathroom scale.
Having slid back to psychiatric anorexia after failing to control neurochemical anorexia, I know damn well I should not stand on that scale especially during this time. I know damn well that numbers don't mean as much as how my clothing fits. But paranoia bred from life-long anxiety over disordered eating patterns is paranoia. And then there was the entire food=growth=death connection when I was little. And then there was being under a hundred pounds until my mid-twenties. And then there was the anorexia voices insisting that I needed to get back to that, being under five feet tall. I was never overweight. I used to weigh something around the high "set point" - but I have no idea where I've constructed this memory of being convinced to lose twenty pounds. Unfortunately, my illness has burrowed deep enough into my subconscious that my thoughts have turned to the classic hallmarks of anorexia: "I absolutely must be below X number or I will never feel right". The unwillingness to stop. The belief that everything is wrong. I know where I am. I know what's happening. I've been able to compartmentalize and separate enough so that I smack myself when those thoughts occur, so that I at least eat an apple or two, or cheese, yogurt, celery, even cheesecake or dark chocolate. My friends are with me.
Sag Harbor will happen next week, with Thanksgiving. Part of me is in a total blind mute panic. That part doesn't want to eat anything. That part wants to Be Good, Be Perfect. It doesn't matter that I'm over thirty, says the panic. It only matters that I am extremely small and I must keep being extremely small.
To bring everything around again: PMS is not helping. PMS is several numbers upward on the scale because of fluid retention, bloating... losing that fight to not overeat. PMS is barely fitting into the purple dyed jeans yesterday and having them slightly loose today. It isn't helping anything.

But I look at that blue and silver dragon scale cane, bought for me by a total stranger with the same disability as me, and I think the best way I can Pay It Forward is to make sure someone I care for stays as mentally healthy as possible...
brightrosefox: (Default)
http://www.autisticsspeakingday.blogspot.com/2014/11/autistic-ways-of-reacting.html?m=1
My mother has always insisted that I be more self aware. I never figured out why that was so difficult. I'm learning so much. I feel like rediscovering myself.

" Low emotional self awareness means that i can be – often have – building up to full meltdown without even knowing it. On a really low self-awareness day, I can be crying or raging over something and not even know that I’m crying or raging, let alone why. Tears will be streaming out of my eyes, and I’ll insist I’m fine, it’s just my allergies. Not because I’m lying, but because my conscious brain is genuinely unaware of how upset I am."
brightrosefox: (Default)
This is the greatest.
http://yoganonymous.com/watch-ultra-spiritual/

Good news: Apparently, most of this small weight gain is actual muscle. Who knew.
Annoying news: Everything hurts in such a very specific way everywhere that most forms of exercise make it all worse. The only things that seem to make it better are isometrics and mild qi gong and a few basic Pilates-style moves... sooo, physical therapy with a spiritual bent?

Also, I still have a stress reaction to even the idea of "doing yoga for pain". None of my doctors are surprised. Plus, the physical therapist suggested some lovely snarky replies to "Have you tried yoga for your pain?" - my favorite is still "Well, yoga tastes like artificial banana, and I hate artificial banana flavor, so I don't want any yoga, thanks." Second favorite is "Nah, I'm still trying that floating Jedi thing in the swamps. I'd rather take the Dark Side with the cookies."
Seriously. Don't yoga push me. I did try it, it was painful, I found other things.

Now I feel like mimicking that scene where Bart draws a picture of Flanders and chases Homer around with it yelling "Howdily doodily! Howdily doodily? HOWDILY DOODILY?" Luckily, I haven't been pushed in a while, and the last few times, I remained calm and cool, because I am still fucking awesome.

Addendum:
Also, it's really interesting: I am totally fine with basic yoga, with flow yoga, with restorative yoga. But it is the way people talk about it as though it helps everyone heal everything? That is what I gripe so much about. Maybe some poses will help ease cerebral palsy issues, fibromyalgia issues, joint issues. Maybe. For some disabled folks. But if I say something like "No, thank you, I've tried that, it was too painful, it made things worse, and I have found other exercises that help me," I expect people to, if not back off, then at least acknowledge my reasons. The actual fact that many pushers have brushed off my reasons and kept pushing is what makes me want to slap them with their yoga mats. So when I talk about an exercise by calling it a name that is also the name of a yoga pose, please please do not assume I have taken up yoga. It's just that "Warrior Pose" is far simpler than having to describe the whole thing.
Comments:
Anna Sirén: Yoga? Us? Really? ...?
Joanna Capello Paul: LOL, it is to laugh. But by gods, people love to try.
Anna Sirén: Jesus, I can't imagine you with your ankles behind your ears, and that's not an insult.
Joanna Capello Paul: OMG ow. Ow ow ow OW.
Joanna Capello Paul: I'm just glad other CP folks get it. I don't know what's so particularly special about yoga, but it's become so elitist in many ways. And if I say I'm "doing Child's Pose" or something, I feel like I need to add "not actual yoga because that is painful" because just because it's a stretching exercise doesn't mean it's a yoga pose.
Cara Liebowitz: When a teacher who knows how to handle Ceeps is doing it, yoga can be nice. *coughcough* Kara T. Billingham. Yoga at crip camp was great fun, if painful.
Joanna Capello Paul: My mom teaches a certain type of yoga to seniors in Southampton sometimes, and the moves are so simple they're barely even yoga. What bothers me really is this culture of yoga-ier than thou elitism, and gods forbid I perform a "yoga style type pose" that is not yoga.
Cara Liebowitz: I wonder if Kara and your mom know each other. Next time you're in the Hamptons, stop by The Yoga House, LLC and ask for Kara, tell her you know me. One of my favorite things about Kara's yoga was that she encouraged us to laugh if we wanted to.
Joanna Capello Paul: Hmm. I'll ask my mom! Have you spoken with Kara lately?
Joanna Capello Paul: *looking at website* Well, it's good that she teaches Kripalu. My parents' basement tenant, who is a massage therapist, is a certified Kripalu teacher.
Cara Liebowitz: We speak every so often here on Facebook, last I saw her was over the summer. She is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful and so is her husband. Two very influential people in my life.
Joanna Capello Paul: I haven't been through Hampton Bays in a long time, but I do recognize that sign and building. I have a feeling that Kara and my mom have run in similar circles.
Melissa Boyer O'Doyle: I'd rather take the Dark Side with the cookies.
Heather Stover: I do vinyasa flow yoga and restorative yoga. It helps. With some things. It is not some magic cure for everything. If you're not into it people should leave you alone, your yogi wouldn't want you there with any less then a willing mind and heart.
Heather Stover: Gentle yoga classes are the bomb. I hate elitist yoga snobs.
Mad Miriam: You know you might just get people to back down more quickly by simply sating that you have a very satisfying home practice, thank you very much.
Joanna Capello Paul: ...except that when they keep nudging and insisting, I tend to feel backed into a corner, and I start snarling. I'm a very peaceful person. But I am also shy and isolated. I really don't like being pushed.
Mad Miriam: If your agreeing why are they still nudging and insisting?
Joanna Capello Paul: I really wish I knew. People are very odd.
Mad Miriam: I'll say. I'm sorry, I for one do not push cause well I know you have met the practice where you are at and since yoga means union isn't that the fucking point anyhow?
Joanna Capello Paul: Agreed. That's why I am so upset and pissed off when people don't seem to understand the whole damn point. Union is about, y'know, respecting people's choices. The fact that there ARE yoga practitioners who almost bully others into doing their kind of yoga - particularly disabled people - hurts me.
Joanna Capello Paul: For example, in the cerebral palsy support group I am in, there have been stories of non-disabled people pushing CP folks too hard, leading to injuries that were not fully recovered - physical and emotional. And that is just not right at all. And I feel like that is part of the weird elitist attitude that shouldn't even exist with yoga practice.
Mad Miriam: OMG Joanna Capello Paul I could not agree more, as a fairly mild arthritic I get the same shit and I don't get why its so hard for some teachers to understand that just cause I got into a really low lunge last week this week my knees and hips might just be too stiff to go there and that it does not mean I am not dedicated to the practice, it means I am listening to my body, something we should all aspire to do more often.
Joanna Capello Paul: Listening to our bodies! Exactly! I don't think people like that care about listening to the body anymore. You do what YOU must do for YOUR body. And I am so burnt out on teachers who don't listen. It's why I do restorative, flow moves with my mother over the phone.
I mean, I literally cannot be straight. When I try a lunge, or a pose that requires balance, I have to ask someone, usually Adam, if my body lines up. And when he helps get me into a straight aligned line, I start wobbling. It hurts. I am in serious pain. My body, my very bones, were never going to align like that. And so I need modification, compensation, compromise. And the fact that a lot of yoga practitioners have insulted me just for that literally created a stress reaction in my brain. So when I talk about yoga poses, I have to say "modified basic yoga" otherwise I start hyperventilating just from memories.
Mad Miriam: It is a myth that our bodies and bones can align to some artificial standard, we all all have such diffent experiences and phsyologies that make up who we are and it my mind if you are making room for the breath and creating sensation, but not pain you are doing it right. I totally agree through and think it is part of the problem with the comodifying of yoga, I think once upon a time, maybe there was the root of the notion that yogis practiced to access a place beyond pain and body and to reach a space where they could meditate and focus on breath and vein, but with institutions like lululemon and power yoga people see their yoga as about perfecting the body and not reaching past the veneer that is the body. Its fascinating and sick really.
Joanna Capello Paul: I appreciate you saying that, Mad Miriam. It makes me feel better, knowing that there can't be such "perffect alignment". I was always, always told that I'd never reach any ideal pose with cerebral palsy. So I stopped. And I found isometrics and just started doing meditative stretching, which was my version of yoga anyway.
Mad Miriam: Next time someone starts to push hard ask them if they practice Ahimsa, it is the first basic principal of yoga and translates into compassion for all living things, if they say "Of course." then tell them you do as well and intimately understand what is most compassionate for your body. Namaste.
Mad Miriam: I think all the wrong people have been foisting their opinions on you. I took up Kundalini yoga last year and the whole idea of it is that through the practice you are opening up channels on your spine for the kundalini energy to come spouting out of the top of your head, I expressed concern that I had a slight scoliosis in my spine and that according to this notion I was ineligible for kudalini enlightenment, my instructor said "No worries, the energy meanders its way around these things, it's like a stream." Thus I go with that notion.
Joanna Capello Paul: Ahimsa, eh? I shall look into it!
I have fallen in love with kundalini energy. I do what your instructor says, instinctively. I don't necessarily do all the poses and moves but I reach for that energy in my own way. Maybe one day you and I could get together and practice in our own imperfect methods?

*****
Copying stuff from other social media sites can be interesting...
brightrosefox: (Default)
https://plus.google.com/100400881094218310019/posts/2QhbpM1cg9c

So, that's the link to all the photos they took during my MRI. You know, from here:
http://brightlotusmoon.livejournal.com/1673757.html
http://brightlotusmoon.livejournal.com/1672704.html

I'm trying to still figure out where my neurological seizures happen, since I have problems in the corpus callosum but there's no mesial damage, so. Time to research neuroscience. And then talk to my neuroscientist.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Because part of All The Therapy is blogging my feels. And this was short enough anyway.

'kay.

I'm having a Being Elsa day. My symptoms are awful and well beyond control, and the smallest thing triggers the fibromyalgia pain and the mild C-PTSD symptoms. I cannot even hear or read someone speak from the cult of positive thinking without internal screaming.

I've seen many other friends here having similar issues. I'm not dealing with a terminal disease, but said terminal friends keep reminding me that we are all "In This Together" (that's my current ringtone. It's from Apoptygma Berserk).

I admit, the Being Elsa days seem to counter the Being Alice days (Being Alice is my code for epilepsy, seizures, and postictal aka post seizure state. Being Elsa is a new code for mental illness and neurological disorders including all chronic anxiety, social phobia, chronic stress disorders aka complex post traumatic stress disorder, sensory processing disorders, and some co-existing conditions linked to spastic ataxic cerebral palsy).
That was much words but I was born full of words. I blow word raspberries.

I totally do have gleefully joyful fun talking about my medical history. Interested friends have told me that I tend to discuss it clinically and technically, as though describing a patient who is not myself. I've been told that my medical and scientific wordening as a curious patient has helped fellow chronic illness patients examine their own conditions closely to find ways to help treat specific symptoms. That is such an honor.

Anyway. Is anyone else having their own version of a Being Elsa day?

(Alice is from Alice in Wonderland and Elsa is from Frozen. Because of what happens to them. Etc. I actually still have not seen Frozen all the way through yet. I will, obviously, and it will be many times. But I relate desperately well to Elsa, her hidden aspects, her representing disability, autism, childhood abuse, chronic anxiety, PTSD, personal orientations, and her love for a sister beyond a potential unnecessary husband. I only have chosen sisters and I love them so hard like the stars.)
brightrosefox: (Default)
...and then you find a blog post like this.
http://autistictimestwo.blogspot.com/2014/09/i-wanted-you.html
And everything you felt about being such, deep inside, comes up and out, and you catch it in a clear quartz prism, and you turn it and examine it, and you hold it up to as many lights as possible. And it is all beautiful and even those cracks and dark spots are beautiful.

People don't always pay attention when an autistic person is killed by their parent or guardian specifically because of words like "burden" and "burned out caregiver" and "mericful" and "for the best" and "couldn't take it anymore."

Like Kelli Stapleton - and yeah, typing her name made me feel a pain in my fingers. I have no emotion for her. I could hate her, but this is beyond hate. No sympathy. Kelli took her 14-year-old autistic non-verbal daughter Issy and attempted murder-suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning, rather than seeking actual help, therapies, and treatments for Issy and herself. And she has a cheerleading section. I cannot wrap my mind around this. People are supporting her, calling her brave, shattered, wonderful, because she "put up with lower-spectrum autism" in her child for so long that she finally snapped. Feel sick? Me, too.
This happens dozens of times a year, more, and rarely is it reported. Now, I didn't know until this past spring, when I began navigating the careful waters of autism activism. I can't swim. And some of my new friends are dragons. I keep a lot to myself. However, I need those dragons, those growling leopards, those night-seeing owls, to make sure I navigate.

The point is that when a neurotypicalm able-bodied person says "I love you because you are amazing because of your disability"... that is powerful. I have never, ever felt unwanted; I had intense, deep, powerful love my entire life. However, my social peers, educators, and adult peers obviously had different reactions.
One phrase I dislike is "Don't let your disability define you"/"Don't let your disability become your identity." I laugh a wry laugh. See, a congenital disability is part of what defines me. A congenital disability is part of my identity. I realize and understand completely when those phrases apply to acquired illnesses and acquired disabilities. But I'm someone who is, as they say, disabled and proud.

So that blog post is a big hug.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Copied from Facebook.

1 "When you’re going through a thing like this, you tend to latch onto ANYTHING that isn’t panic inducing and repeat it over and over to avoid the things that are terrifying..."

2 One time, a long while ago, I was having a panic attack, and so I shifted my thoughts to looking for a lost plush animal to move away from the panic, and I told Facebook because I have friends here who understand, and I was told by a random acquaintance that it was unnecessary to post about having lost a toy, that nobody cared because what good would it do, and that I should post more meaningful things.
Panic attacks don't care even more, but at least they start to fade once you work through them and work past them. Internet trolls don't. Especially not those who don't care what panic attacks do to specific people and how they get treated by specific people.
*quick deep breathing*
Goodbye, trolls. I turn away from you. I will quit talking about being harrassed and move on.
Also, panic attacks suck. So I am focusing on my stuffed animal toys and my cat Callisto, who is snuggled up with me like comfort.
That is all.

3 My phone case from Diztronics is deep blue with blue and silver glitter. It's like someone spray glittered the TARDIS. My Galaxy S4 is red, so it is amusing. :-D

4 I did a chaotic organization of medical supplements, loved toys, loved books, skin care; and all the patterns I'm seeing are making me squeal and dance. And now to watch all of Futurama on Netflix, and then Uncle Grandpa, and then The Amazing World Of Gumball, and today is a Soft Clothing day because my skin is being sensory processing disordered and hypersensitive to pressure. Etc. And The Amazing Amanda will understand because she and I are like autist sisterlings.
#littleAutisticthings

5 I decided that resistance bands are better than push ups for my capabilities and issues. Grab each end of the rubber band and lift up to my chest, pull and hold for one second and do as many reps as I can. It works various upper arm muscles, shoulder muscles, chest muscles, and ab muscles if I engage them. Then my brain sorts through patterns to connect to different muscle sets and brain signals that might work best with the hemiplegia. Sometimes I color code the central nervous system activities when I can. It takes a hell of a lot of meditative concentration and it doesn't always work. But it is fun and it is soothing.
Compromise, compensation, modification, personalization. My mother always made sure I could do stuff however I had do.
#LittleCerebralPalsyThings
#LittleAutisticThings

6 "So please, just listen. I know you’re afraid, but being afraid is alright. Because didn’t anybody ever tell you? Fear is a superpower. Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger.
And one day you’re gonna come back to this... and on that day you’re going to be very afraid indeed. But that’s okay, because if you’re very wise and very strong, fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind.
It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it’s okay to be afraid of it.
So listen. If you listen to anything else, listen to this. You’re always gonna be afraid even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion, a constant companion, always there. But that’s okay because fear can bring us together. Fear can bring you home.
I’m gonna leave you something just so you’ll always remember. Fear makes companions of us all."
- Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 4 "Listen"
-Now one of my own personal fear litanies

And also, see, as a signature, I tell stories and engage in conversations as though my Facebook friends are already with me.
It is highly frustrating for some, and I've been harassed over it by random strangered acquaintances and bored trolls because they want to know stone details in rational and logical ways that are opposite from my whimsical spontaneous blurting out wordenings, but they don't realize that I am waiting to reveal, I am preparing those stone details for later in the story and that is how I work and how I brain, because a neuroweird brain like mine isn't very straight, it is curvy and looping and wavy and look over there at the shiny. Autist? Sure. Artist? Yes. Atypical neurology? Forever.
Details are for the comments sections, in which the story continues like a deep conversation. I never plan to engage conversations, but when it happens it becomes magical and it becomes anything.
And so this monologue in an episode about facing fear and patterns of lonely and alone and companionship and need, I see stories and conversations that veer everywhere across a dozen thought processes, neural connections zooming and smashing and spiking as ideas slam into each other.
Come, friends, fall into the story with me! We can converse in the comments. But don't be harsh. Be kind. Be clever. Be an empathic friend, not a severe critic. Be companions, and we will ride these blurted engaged stories buoyed by the strength of companionship.
Spoilers.
http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2014/09/doctor-who-804-listen-quotable-quotes-points-to-ponder/

7 "Scars tell the story of our lives, inscribed upon our skin. I’d not remove mine for the world." -Failure To Fire Comic via comments section
http://ftf-comics.com/?comic=face-reveal-2
It took me so, so long to accept the scars I had as a newborn. Like... three decades. Alex has acquired scars, so I feel that I have a sort of mental dissociation with that for some reason. I still feel irritated, literally and figuratively, with my scars, since no matter what they hurt but are also stories.
Discussion to continue in comments. I'm in a weird headspace.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Sleep last night was interesting and bizarre. A lot of acquaintances - and a few friends - have claimed that insomnia must involve only being unable to fall asleep or only being unable to stay asleep. I've got a form where I can do both perfectly well, but at the price of chronic pain physically, which also transcends my dreams which really should not be allowed to happen, and neurologically, which is not only a thing but which keeps parts of me both awake and asleep. Therefore, it takes too long to reach Stage 3 NREM, and Stage 4 NREM either is cut off or doesn't happen. REM itself usually happens at a time much later in sleep. Essentially, unless I set extreme alarm clocks, I will sleep for twelve hours easily and REM will happen in those last three hours.

This time, I had slept on and off throughout the afternoon in thirty minute bursts, which probably helped me get a more normal ten hours while still being woken by pain. But this time, my dreams were deep and amazing. Since I had finally just finished reading "The Winter Long" by Seanan McGuire - now my favorite Seanan book - the concept of Faerie in a Toby Daye meets Lost Girl style story exploded, and there was even a blog announcement by Seanan that the October Daye series would become a television series. For fuck's sake, there was a character embodying both Tybalt and Dyson. And then somehow I became the protagonist, as often happens, and my husband and I struggled to release a literally faceless mermaid into the ocean before she destroyed the land. There were tentacles and it was gross. But wow, lots of powers. Many, many powers. I always get powers in dreams, usually psionic, some form of psychokinesis, normally elemental. I still recall the dreams I had as a teenager where I was pyrokinetic enough to set a tree on fire just by waving my hand at it from the window of a room.

I am especially determined to wake up after nine or ten hours to dial back whatever toll the oversleeping is taking. Then, slowly, eight hours, just to see if I can handle that "average" 7 to 8 thing that normal people talk about.
Adam somehow gets by on less than 7 per night, sometimes 4 when he's out of state working 18-hour days as an IT/AV trade show technician and manager (he loves talking about his job, and it is fascinating work, since he gets to gain secret access to some of the most powerful places in the country and listen to some extraordinary science and medical research breakthroughs during conventions; even just setting up hotel rooms full of projectors, printers, computers, and video screens means being the on site technician when powerful things happen behind closed doors. There is also fixing stupid mistakes, frozen computers, and hours and hours of human error, but more hours means more pay, and he can carry entire printers up flights of stairs).

Also, I think making myself wake up earlier than what fibromyalgia wants will keep other things stable, aside from the obvious. Since going on Zanaflex, most of my systems affected by fibromyalgia have mildly stabilized, which is amusing, since Zanaflex is just a muscle relaxer. People in various support groups kept trying to insist that it shouldn't be happening and that Zanaflex is bad for me. They are so cute when they're trying to be the arbiters of other people's realities, especially regarding brain chemistry!

I'll see my awesome husband tomorrow night, or Thursday, when he returns from another work trip up and down the Northeast.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/dream6.htm
I really must try dream incubation. With everything. Dream All The Things. I've used two phone apps so far to record my sleep, and one of them quit. No, really. The other one just became boring.
brightrosefox: (Default)
I should probably stop reading so many stories of airlines and the shit put up with by flight attendants.

This weekend, Adam and I flew to Atlanta for the Bar Mitvah of his niece, Jacob. Adam and his sister, Tina, were not close in their youth, and Tina was a fairly nasty young adult, spreading lies about their parents, but she's become lovely and less discriminatory. At the celebrations, she was very sweet and kind and devoted to making sure everyone is happy. Apparently, when Jacob and I began chatting about Star Trek and I recommended more science fiction, I became "the cool aunt". It'll be interesting to see how Jacob turns out in three years, at his brother Noah's Bar Mitzvah.

The plane, though. Everything was fine. It's been at least a couple of years since I last flew. No anxiety, no nerves. That three hour layover in Charlotte, NC, was fantastic. The four flights were absolutely uneventful. The Marriot room we stayed in was beautiful - Adam had checked that I was disabled during the booking, so we had a very accommodating room. During the long walks across each airport at Atlanta, Charlotte, and BWI twice over each, I was fine and alert, if not deeply fatigued bodily. Chronic pain cares for no airport walks. I sympathized with every flight attendant I saw.

Today, I mainly rested. Adam left for Boston, to return Wednesday night or Thursday. I'm always a little stunned and impressed that he does so well with travel, be it driving or flying.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Sooo, you know how I've been chatting with my neurologist a ton, and also with my psychologist? Neither woman has spoken to the other. But they both recently gave me the same diagnosis.
(Now, I need to stress that I am perfectly aware of the "Stop relying on so many diagnosis labels, it's just medical stuff, what does it matter, why do you care, why do you think people would care" cliche that has been poked at me by, well, many healthsplainers and people who just want me to stop talking so much about my medical history, future, and present. And yeah, I get that. But guess what, I don't care.)
The neurologist was kind of relaxed about it at first, and after I left her office I didn't really consider it. Not until that one session with the psychologist, when she looked at me with tears in her eyes.
It's just that the neurologist used one term, and the psychologist used a different term.
And I would love words from those who are there. Because fuck it, it does matter.
http://www.psyweb.com/articles/depression/chronic-stress-disorder
brightrosefox: (Default)
From Facebook, because I am very tired:

-So, here I am in my little hotel style room at an official neurology sleep center. My tech, Peter, is sweet and funny. I even have a big shiny red button to press when I need him. It's in a pack attached to my waist. My head is wrapped in gauze. Electrodes are hooked to my skin and wires are trailing at my feet. Adam took a picture. Go see!
The bathroom has a shower with a chair!

-LOL, gauze and sexy electrodes.
The reason for all this is because my neurologist is concerned about the several seizures per month. Hence, a ten hour EEG study. I get naps and Adam brings food. And when it's all done, the doctors will see if anything significant happened. Even if I don't have any seizures, this is a good move. For SCIENCE.

-Adam is bringing me lunch. And then, more specific tests will happen. Probably another nap? Apparently, the EEG has not shown any seizure activity. I haven't even needed to push the shiny red button yet, which amuses the technician.

-All done. I need a shower and a nap. Adam will take me home and then I'll wait for the neurologist to call. I'm actually disappointed that I never generated any seizure activity. It makes me doubt my brain.

-The days when you're just too exhausted to get back up and shampoo out the electrode goo from your hair. I'm just going to take a little nap. Then I'll get that shower. Just a little nap.
(Spoilers: I slept for one hour and took a really long shower with like three shampoos and two conditioners.)
brightrosefox: (Default)
Stuff to remember!

Quote on guarana:
""Guarana is one of those herbs that most people do not know much about, but should, because it is superior to plain old caffeine. The reason Guarana is superior to caffeine is for two reasons in my opinion. The first being that Guarana has more than just caffeine; it also contains two other stimulants in Theobromine and Theophylline. The second reason why Guarana is more effective is because it has different natural stimulants that seem to be released more slowly than regular caffeine so your energy levels seem not to spike and lull as much as regular caffeine. To add on to that, I will say that Guarana also contains Choline which is a powerful nootropic, as it increases mental function because it is a precursor to the vitally important brain chemical Acetylcholine. I enjoy Guarana because it really is an effective herbal Adderall replacement supplement.""

Stuff from Facebook:

I am starting to forget what it's like to have physical energy, like basic adrenaline and muscle strength. It comes and goes. I miss dancing and laughing. Maybe I can do it soon.

Okay. Okay.
It's fine; it's just a lost plushie owl. I'll find it eventually
For now, I can not focus on the bigger owl. I have a tiny owl, and I have that gigantic carnival owl. I also have the snow leopard, the massive carnival husky bigger than my cats, the Ponies, and the awesome Spherical Plushie Bunny. But I am still going to find that white and gray owl. It is so fluffy. You guys. It is so fluffy.

How funny. I looked in my bathroom mirror and wondered which foundation makeup I had applied. I realized I hadn't applied any makeup at all. It was a slightly alien feeling...
Those memes going around explaining "Why I Wear Makeup" and "Why I Don't Wear Makeup" are absolutely beautiful just to me. You know. Do not tell me I don't need makeup all the time. You are not me. I am not you. We can't obviously instruct each other's cosmetic preferences without consequence regardless. I personally need base concealer. Maybe you don't. We are both pretty.
It began with a severe anxiety-driven fear that my skin was covered in destructive blemished. It isn't ending. But it has traveled along a road that has begun healing.
Good enough, for now.

Still full of muscle exhaustion beyond muscle exhaustion. Still in muscle pain beyond muscle pain. However, the rest of the vitamin boosted coffee has kicked it, the moisturizers made my skin feel much more awesome, and the plain cake doughnut I just ate was delicious.
Besides, I have several couches and a bed to collapse on.
brightrosefox: (Default)
"...Williams died by the claw of the ghastly inner monster that severe depression lodges in the human spirit, losing a long fight with the unholy ghost." -Brain Pickings (included is a link to a book referencing clinical depression to a holy ghost)

In my last session with my therapist, I kept calling depression The Hollow and a Dark Ghost and The Nothing and, naturally, true pure abyss. In such violent howling emptiness, there could be sound and fury, signifying nothing. And sometimes there is just nothing. Fury would be an emotion, after all.
(And I know why depressed people don't tell the tale, lest they be called an idiot. They'll be mocked today. And tomorrow. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And they are heard no more, and as they are poor players, life is but a walking shadow. Out, brief candle. -And people wonder why we get angry when mental illness gets blamed for so many blameless things and things where mental illness is completely not ever the blame. This is why we can't have nice things.)

People always ask me why I cry when I say I am hollow, empty, ghostly, feeling nothing. Isn't crying an emotion? they say Doesn't it mean you feel something? they say. I think Allie Brosh, who wrote the greatest description of depression I have ever read in her blog Hyperbole and a Half, said it best: It is just something that is happening.
Because I don't feel like crying. I'm crying because my body is having a reaction. A symptom, if you will. Something needs to release. Some sort of physiological reaction must occur, lest I literally fade into ghosts.

I understand some of the reasons Robin did what he did. I don't know why he did what he did. No one knows why. No one can know why, because no one is Robin.
People have the same thoughts and feelings and illnesses as Robin had, and they see everything he saw. But none of them and nobody will ever fully purely viscerally know, truly know why he, Robin Williams, the funniest man of a thousand laughs, physically participated in his own death. Only Robin Williams knows.

Cool story, bro:
Someone who survied her own suicide attempt once told me that for her, there was only pain, agony, chaos, and the kind of despair that consumes utterly. Beneath it was a nearly robotic thought process. Any emotional thoughts came from a distance. As she began the process, she became enveloped in a still emotionless sedating transcendent serenity, and time slowed down, and she literally had no more thoughts. Since she was stopped by other people, she couldn't tell me much more. But she told me that during recovery, she experienced every single one of those sensations at once, from the pain and chaos to the calm transcendence. It took a lot of sedatives and intense biofeedback to help her out of that state and she was put on suicide watch again for a few days. They allowed her family to bring in her kitten, which helped so much that she now advocates for cat therapy when treating mental illness. I think of her when I talk to attempt survivors. I only remember her first name and some day I will forget some of her story. But she lives a different life. Not better nor worse, just different. She has learned lessons. She doesn't regret things. She still battles symptoms and switched to a new drug regimen and still does biofeedback. She hasn't had any suicidal ideations in over a year. She also treats her cat like the most important sentient being in the universe, since he helped save her life. Cats are awesome.
brightrosefox: (Default)
So, in my cerebral palsy support group on Facebook, someone posted asking about all the other conditions we all have that may and may not be related to cerebral palsy. I commented quickly in a very instinctual pattern, then realized that a part of my brain must have been saving it up in a fantastic pattern. I think this at least two dozen things.

Spastic and ataxic cerebral palsy... plus: epilepsy, autism, fibromyalgia, sciatica, asthma, hypersensitivity, sensory processing disorder, migraine disorder, anxiety, unipolar depression, chondromalacia patella, disorded spatial perception problems and depth perception problems, TMJ, lordosis, dyscalculia, OCD, ADHD-inattentive, anorexia recovery, light bladder leakage, seasonal allergies, sleep disorders, extreme myopia, chronic lumber back pain, eczema, panic attacks, generalized joint pain, generalized nerve pain.

They look like nothing but words. Words and labels. But they are identity bits. They are definition bits. I am not like people who are so adamant about not letting disabilities define them. Or take over their lives. Or whatever the latest platitude is. I know damn fucking well that chronic medical conditions are not the big thing in my life, not the main definition, not a thing I allow to control me. In fact, it is insulting to know that people assume that. However, look at that bunch of words. That bunch of words means things, to me and all my doctors and all my specialists and all my therapists and all my -path doctors. When I went in for physical therapy earlier this week, I listed every single thing because the guy asked me to, because neurology and psychiatry is interconnected with physiology in so many ways. People who are not involved with medical science or medicine in general love to assume I am lazy, that all I think about is being "sick" and that all I want to talk about is my medical health. I wish I were as telepathic and clairvoyant as they are. And also, fuck them. See, in cerebral palsy, spastic hypertonia alone can cause a disabled body to automatically, instinctively expend three to four times more energy than a regular normal able body. And see, in fibromyalgia, chronic muscle fatigue alone can cause a disabled body to automatically, instinctively expend five to six times more energy than a regular normal able body. I am terrible at math, but at least I can figure out the mechanics of physical energy output during basic everyday tasks, like walking. I could legitimately literally say that it is not my fault that I get extremely exhausted, fiercely fatigued very quickly during any task. I could say that and it would be absolute truth. But to most able-bodied folks, it would be another excuse.
I'm just writing this to tell them to fuck off. It isn't easy to "just ignore those idiots" as supportive folks like to say. Words wear you down, like storms against stone. But the more I remind myself that those detractors can fuck off, the better I feel about my life.

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