My prescription to myself:
click on image for larger view
Health issues are a strenuous part of life for me, and many others with autism. I am currently dealing with more health issues than I can handle with my current schedule. It is not easy for me understand what is happening with my body, nor is it easy to take the proper time to heal and recover.
Regardless of how this upsets many of my predictable and favored routines, I have come to the conclusion that I need to take a break from blogging, among other things, for a few weeks (I hope that is all), due to needing more healing and time than I am currently giving myself.
It takes my brain so much longer to process and adapt to anything different or new, that I constantly feel "behind" in life.
Transitions are one of the most difficult, demanding, and laborious things in this world for me.
I hope the transition to come back to my blog is as smooth as it can be.
April 11th, 2013, Updated to say:
I am feeling much better, but I am still not ready to come back to blogging, quite yet. Mostly due to some website changes I am having to figure out, and it's going to involve possible losing my old blog posts (and then having to repost each one over time, and it also means many of the links I, and others, have shared will be broken.)
Thank you to all of you who have given me kind, encouraging, comments and messages. My apologizes to anyone I have not responded to. I dearly want to, but have had to put my word priorities elsewhere.
I am exhausted, mentally, physically and spiritually.
I'm still in a "fog" and recovering from some health issues caused by extreme anxiety and shutting-down, from last week. My mind and thoughts are working fine now, but most of my thoughts aren't translating correctly through words and communication. I really pushed my limits too far. i do that a lot. Although, it happens WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY less than it used to; it is very hard to find out where those limits are. How far is too far? My good friend Jade recently wrote interesting blog post about limits here
These are the times in life that are more difficult...when I feel perfectly normal inside, but outside, and physically, everything is foreign, everything is scary, difficult, louder, painful, time consuming, exhausting...even more so than usual. I can always tell when I REALLY need to recover when it takes longer to figure out my fine motor movements- like writing, picking things up, and forming words.
The good thing is that it's not as bad as it used to be. The more I grow, the more I learn, the more I implement good coping methods, the more prepared I am for the world, the more proactive I can be - the more I actually enjoy my life.
Two important social events last weekend. Still recovering from overestimation, anxiety, under-awareness, over-awareness, and physical pain.
Unable to write WTSW
blog for this week.
Instead, Robbie has a question for all of you: What is a way of stimming that has often helped you? Share your favorite stim, or the stim that helps you the most! Or both!
-Anabelle & Robbie
Special blog post today!!!
Today is February 1st, which mean I have officially done a full year
of a-jelly-a-day AND
my blog!! This process has been very satisfying for me and I am very proud of myself for finishing this project. I started this project to:1) to improve my drawing skills
2) embrace my obsession for jellies, instead of hiding it
3) to prove to myself that I can and DO complete things
My original inspiration for this project:Make Something 365
As closure to my project, I would summarize of the last year of my life through my jelly creations (Also, I think I may have a small party. I heard there may be a homemade jellyfish cake in my future):
February 1st, 2012
My first jelly-a-day
February 9th, 2012
My first Jelly Girl
February 5th, 2012
one of my favorite creations
March 16th, 2012
My first actual, real jellyfish!!
Happy Way-To-Stim-Wednesday everyone!
Stimming (also known as self-regulating) is any repetitive movement that is calming to an [autistic] individual. Stimming is a way that many autistic individuals use to calm themselves, myself included.
It's winter and lately I have been a stimming fanatic! I am REALLY
ready for some warmer weather!!
I'm still not back doing WTSW videos
yet, but some content is just not great video material. For example, this week. Nobody, including myself, wants to watch me hysterically crying.
Crying is a way to stim that I find most helpful when I am so overloaded that there is no possible way for me to release energy without physically exploding. It's certainly much safer than stims such as slamming my hands and arms repeated on a floor or wall.
I used to cry at many things, not just out of sadness or anger. I still do this sometimes. Sometimes it is voluntary and sometimes it's not.
For me, crying was, and is, just a way to process and release various emotions.
Unfortunately, people tend to try and comfort me when I am crying. When I am that overwhelmed it's really hard to say something like "No, I just need/want to cry right now. When I am done, I will feel much better."
What I really need in that moment is to process though a pile of information by crying intensely for about 2-60 minutes. Followed by drinking some water, to avoid a major headache.
As an adult, I have more control over when I might cry, and I only use it as a way to stim/self-regulate when it is one of my only options, for various reasons. BUT, it is HIGHLY effective for me. It brings me back to a state of mind that is calm enough for me to focus on my breathing, drink some water, do a preferred activity, and then continue throughout my day.
There are SO many changes in life, all the time. Especially in winter. Everything is darker, colder, full of different daily processes, and outside activities involve a lot more preparation. Bleh.
But. . . there is one thing that doesn't change. . .
something that is always there for me, even when the world feels like one big attack on my senses.
And that thing is:
Seattle Aquarium moon jellies, photo by Rosemary
My mom, Rosemary, and the jellies.
Every time I have needed the jellies, they have been there for me.
What is something that has been there for you when you need some calmness and/or consistency?
Stimming is any repetitive movement that is calming to an [autistic] individual. Stimming is a way that many autistic individuals use to calm themselves. Myself included.
I've been taking a break from making videos for a few reasons. I plan on doing a new video about once a month, and my other WTSW blog posts I will be full of stimming ideas, and tips.
I am always looking for good fidget toys I can use for stimming. It is rare that I leave the house with nothing in my hand. Having a small object in my hand to stim with is my go-to way for stimming when I want to keep from jumping and vocal stimming.
Here are five fun fidget toy/jewelry/object ideas that are portable and affordable:
(click on the images below to be taken their website)
ImprobableConstruct on Etsy
Brandy on Etsy
VariGrip Hand ExerciserCOST:
$14.99WHERE TO BUY IT: ThinkGeek
PaperJayneDebbie on Etsy
presentandcorrect on Etsy
Notebooks for scribbling, sketching,
TwoPolkaDots on Etsy
AbstractGraphDesigns on Etsy
Living on a budget and having certain sensory, health, or really any kind of needs is quite frustrating.
It takes a lot of effort and creativity to find tools to help with the challenges that life hands us.
Many of the items in our home are secondhand either from Craigslist, thrift stores, trade, or given to us from the kindness of friends.
I would like to share some of my favorite finds that I have come by with a just a positive attitude, a little bit of money, and help from others.
All the items below GREATLY help me get through my day without meltdowns, and are priceless to me.
ITEM: dry erase boards (some of them have a magnetic surface)
COST TO ME: range from $1 - $7 each*
COST BRAND NEW: range $8 - $50 each
ITEM USE: visual communication, tracking anything, scheduling, making lists, organizing, drawing, brainstorming
TIMES I USE IT: everyday, in every room of my home
HOW I OBTAINED THIS ITEM: various thrift stores
*my motto with dry erase boards: "If you see a cheap dry erase board, and have a few dollars to spare, buy it. If you don't have a use for it, give it to someone who could use it."
ITEM: Able Planet
Noise-canceling headphonesCOST TO ME:
$30COST BRAND NEW:
blocks out certain tones and background noise so that sounds do not trigger me as much, and allows me to process more relevant informationTIMES I USE IT:
around the house when others are actively making noise, on public transitHOW I OBTAINED THIS ITEM: Craigslist
Virrig balancing cushionCOST TO ME:
$15COST BRAND NEW:
toy that helps with balanceTIMES I USE IT:
when I am feeling overwhelmed, and to make talking to others at home more successful HOW I OBTAINED THIS ITEM:
ITEM: LoveSac COST TO US:
$0COST BRAND NEW:
ITEM USE: furniture (like a giant beanbag, but filled with foam)TIMES I USE IT:
when I need to curl up and feel "safe" or simply for and incredibly cozy place to sit/layHOW I OBTAINED THIS ITEM:
two very kind friends of ours gave this to us because it is a really big piece of furniture to fit into many living spaces
IKEA POÄNG chairCOST TO ME:
$10COST BRAND NEW:
for sitting - great
for rocking and bouncing!TIMES I USE IT:
to stim, when I am escalated, having trouble processing my environmentHOW I OBTAINED THIS ITEM: Craigslist
No video this week, but I am going to talk a little bit about vocal stimming.
Vocal stimming is when a person uses their vocal chords to produce repetitive sounds to self-regulate emotions and to process information.
Vocal stims can sound like words, noise, songs, echos, sound effects, gibberish, talking, laughing, hums, animal sounds, and many other forms.
It is sometimes linked with echolalia. When I am at my most echolalic, I turn others' words and voice fluctuations into stims, by repeating them.
For me, vocal stims are both the best AND not the best.
I benefit greatly from vocal stimming. It keeps me more in more control of my physical body when I am overcome by miscommunications, anxiety, and too much of everything.
BUT it really does attract a lot of attention.
Button-making with Livia. We both really benefit from stimming vocally.
When I vocally stim, there isn't much warning, and I have very little volume control. I try hard not to be too close to someone if I think I am going to be loud, for the sake of their hearing. But it's difficult for me to control. It is the safest stim for me, but it can often disturb others, like in libraries, or if I am VERY close to someone's ear.
One of the ways I was able to replace bitting my wrist and arm (which is an unsafe stim) was with vocal stimming.
Unfortunately, I am still very self conscious about my vocal stims, so I still try and suppress my them a LOT.
Many times I will try singing instead of straight squeaks or noises, since singing is fairly repetitive. There is a cross over, for me, between vocal stimming and singing. Sometimes one turns into the other and it's lovely (at least it is for me.)
There are times I don't even realize I am vocalizing. . .until someone points it out. I don't mind that very much, except for when it is words that were meant to stay inside my head.
Here are some solutions that I have created for myself so I can do vocal stims AND be considerate of others hearing and sound sensitivities:
- I, myself, can place a towel (I do this after every shower. I have extreme difficulties processing touch and sound), blanket, or pillow to my face to soften my noises. But not for too long, because breathing is important. It is not OK for someone else to do this to me.
- try to give a few seconds warning to others around me by slowly increasing my volume
- move to a different area, space, location (with no people, or an open space)
- try to switch over to a singing version of any vocal stims
Making a video about vocal stimming is something I think about close to everyday. I hope to make a vocal stimming video at some point in the future, so that I can overcome my own insecurities about my vocal stims, and share with others that it really is ok to stim vocally, even if it is sometimes hard for others to take in.
Happy stimming everyone!
How to make a New Years memory jar:
STEP1 : Find a jar to use for this purpose
STEP2 : When something good happens in your life, write it down and put that piece of paper in the jar
STEP 3 : On New Years of next year, take out all the pieces of paper with good memories on them, read them, and be reminded that no matter how many difficulties you have experienced, good things have happened.
And share those great memories with others, if you feel comfortable with doing so.
STEP 4 : After the jar is empty, use it again for the next year.
"ANABELLE'S 2013 MEMORY JAR
Write down good things that happen, put them in here, and open and read them on New Years 2014"
With the new year comes many resolutions. Goals that many people make to better their lives by the next coming year; to see accomplishments. I don't see the point of purposefully setting goals that start at the beginning of the year and finish at the end of the year.
I set many goals for myself, both big and small. And I tackle them as I can handle them. Some goals take days, some months, some take decades.
I can be fairly rigid about certain. . . many things, but I make a point to give myself more flexible deadlines because of that. Otherwise it is too much pressure, and creates more rigidity (which I don't need or want). Being autistic sometimes means being REALLY flexible about deadlines (which is hard because I LOVE to set deadlines.) Sometimes a day -or more- can be overcome by a meltdown, too many changes, too much to process. . . or just too much everything.
So, to bring in the new year with something special, that isn't resolutions, I created a New Years memory jar. A jar in which I write down the good things that happen for me over this year, roll them up, put them in the jar, and read them all next New Years.
I like this idea much better than New Year resolutions. It's positive and successful, instead of disappointing and frustrating. This way I am writing down my achievements as they happen, instead of thinking about the things I was "supposed to accomplish."
Not even halfway through January and I there have already been many good, BIG things happening in my life.
So, in short, I will keep my regular goals I have set, set new goals as they come along, and accomplish each within the time my life allows me to. And during this time I will document all the wonderful leaps, bounds, and events that make me feel happy, warm, loved, and successful in life (instead of ending the year looking at what I didn't do, and thinking of what I could have done differently, and pushing myself way too hard).
Ideas for jars and containers to use for a New Years memory jar.
I encourage everyone to try making a New Years memory jar. It's a wonderful, positive way to look back on a past year. There are many examples of different New Years memory jars online here