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If you’ve read my blog you already know I’ve had to deal with chronic sleep paralysis for a large portion of my life. For those who haven’t I’ll give you a brief history.

 

It started when I was under the age of nine. I don’t actually know how young I was but I was old enough to remember it. Of course it was traumatic so it’s no wonder I remember. That first episode took place while we still lived in the house in Orange County. I don’t recall having any more episodes there but it’s possible I forgot. I do remember them being what I call chronic sometime after moving on the boat.

My dad said he had them as a child as well along with vivid nightmares that he sometimes would end up sleepwalking with. So, I’m not sure it was actually sleep paralysis for him or not. But I do know sleep paralysis can lead to very vivid nightmares. I was also a sleep walker but that was not attached to the sleep paralysis episodes for me.

Through out my teens I had the most episodes of sleep paralysis. My mother discovered that it often happened after she and my sister had a fight, which was often. So she suggested the two of them make up before going to sleep so I wouldn’t have the “attack”. And when I say attack, I mean “demonic attack” because that is what she believed it was. She thought that because I was being targeted because I was the youngest and most vulnerable.

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So, most my life I dealt with sleep paralysis as though it were demonic attacks. And as you’ve likely figured out already, that idea makes them so much worse.

 

For those who don’t know what sleep paralysis is, I’ll explain real quick. It’s when the chemical in you body that causes you to not act out your dreams doesn’t recede in time so you wake while it’s still present which means you are temporarily paralyzed until it finished receding. The best way I know of to handle it is to relax and let it finish receding. It’s a time you can use to just chill or even play with it. While in that state you can also lucid dream. Since you are still in a dream like state you can fly, jump high, and do whatever amazing thing you like cause there are no laws of gravity and so on to stop you. Fighting it wears you out, it’s better to relax.

When you’ve had years and years of dealing with it as demonic oppression it takes more than a notion to just relax and enjoy the ride. I’ve had to have talks with myself and help myself get out of the nightmare and not fight and take it easy and maybe have some fun.

By the way, I didn’t know the science behind it till a few years ago. Although I stopped believing it was demonic attacks, I really had no idea what was happening so it was still pretty scary.

 

As a Christian who believed in demons and believed it was demonic attacks , naturally I dealt with it from a “spiritual” aspect. I used my beliefs in Jesus to “overcome” it. Although I was harmfully misinformed I did learn a great deal from these terrifying episodes. Some of the lessons were actually very helpful in real life. But, like I mentioned before, I’ve written about this before and this blog is about my latest experience.

In my twenties and thirties I rarely had sleep paralysis but I did experience it from time to time. After leaving Christianity I still automatically reverted to my religious way of dealing with it. It was a life time habit. Those things don’t just go away. When I have several not far apart from each other I stop dealing with them religiously and do what I know is better and  more effective. I don’t really enjoy it most of the time though. There’s been some exceptions. When I don’t have it for long periods of time I revert to my default settings of fighting it with religious ideas. However, my brain always has a conversation with me about it in the dream state and reminds me that I no longer believe in such myths. It’s actually always quite an interesting conversation I have with myself. Lol! Once I do fully wake up I find it very interesting and entertaining, and I usually learn something new.

Okay! So, here’s my latest sleep paralysis experience.

It happened about three nights ago. I was dreaming about something and in the dream I laid down to rest. While laying there I felt a presence start to lay on top of me, a freaky scary presence. This is a common start to sleep paralysis for many people, btw. Even folks who are not spiritual.

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My automated system came online so I called out to Jesus to help me. Then I heard a voice challenge me by reminding me that I didn’t believe in Jesus. I playfully challenged back, “Yeah, but he was a nice guy!” Not that I believe in him, I was having fun challenging the voice back. Of course the voice was my own, and I do challenge myself awake, so it’s no surprise that I would do it in my sleep state as well. Than Satan was brought up. I shrugged and said I didn’t believe in Satan. I than started singing a fun church song. I was challenged about that as well but I ignored the challenge. I decided that as long as it made me feel better it didn’t matter. Singing has always helped me deal with fear. It gives me courage and helps me think things through.

And thinking is exactly what I did. I thought about hypnotism and how people use the “one, two, three, wake up” method to bring people out of it. I wondered if that would work for me. I decided to give it a try and right away started the count. While counting my mind reminded me that one had to be told to do it first in order for it to work. Not that I’m an expert, I’m far from that… Or am I? Lol!  But I was already in the count so I finished it with the “wake up”. When I finished I felt a jolt on my right side by my eye area as if that area had dislodged from the paralysis. I’m not saying it did, just that that’s how it felt.  So, this time I told myself that when I counted to three and said “wake up”I was to wake up. I counted, I said “wake up,” and immediately my eyes opened and I was fully awake.

Yeah, I was actually shocked. But happy. It was just so strange yet cool. The science behind it? Well, I’m sure there is some but I don’t know what it is yet. The brain is so very interesting. It’s possible anything would have worked because maybe the paralysis chemical had already receded. Or, maybe not and there more to it. Even if it did receded already, waking one self from the dream state can still be difficult. Possibly the hypnosis thing worked for that.  I’d love to know! I’m sure there are folks that will still try to attach something spiritual to this. To them I will “smile and wave” and keep learning the real facts instead of the alternative “facts” .

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I don’t look forward to trying it again. I don’t look forward to having sleep paralysis period. Though I know one can have fun with it, I have too much baggage, lol. It’s more than just dealing with it, it’s also dealing with my past which makes it tasking. But, I do enjoy the stuff I learn and experience when they are over. It’s really quite interesting.

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I thought this pic was funny. And funny thing about it, after mentioning to my daughter that I had a sleep paralysis episode she said it was likely due to the cat sleeping on me. The cat didn’t actually do that, but it’s still funny.

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Blog started Sunday 3/12/17.
There’s a lot of abused folks out there. Even the ones that have healed and are doing fine often still have triggers. PTSD isn’t just a military thing.
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Religion is a common cause of stress disorders. While it provides hope for some it causes both mental and physical harm for others. Well meaning people often make the matter worse. They think they are reaching out to people offering them hope, and while this may help some, it actually does the opposite for others
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When you “share” how great your god is and all he’s doing for you and those around you with people who have been abused with religion, you are not helping them, you are hurting them. You are pushing the trigger button over and over. Then, you wonder why they are so angry. Anyone who’s “buttons” are pushed over and over and over again will most likely “blow up” or as folks like to use on atheists, become angry.
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Normally I’m all about coexisting. I understand there are a lot of folks out there who hold onto their religion for cultural reason and community reasons and many who feel they need it. I’m fine with all that as long as it’s not causing any harm to anyone. However, this evening if religion were a person I would have murdered it.
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Blog continued Thursday 3/16/17.
Although I’m over it and back to my version of normal, I haven’t forgotten. I can still feel the frustration. I’m just not angry right now. But the issue is still an issue.
Although I suspected the kids and I likely have PTSD, I never really faced the issue. That is until Levis psychiatrist let me know, with out me ever mentioning it to him, that the kids and I have it. I was surprised at my reaction, after all I should have been prepared for that. But I wasn’t. I think I was actually avoiding it and he made me face it. It didn’t feel good. I even cried. Later I laughed. Talk about a slew of emotions. Even after laughing I wasn’t happy about it, I was frustrated. It just felt so unfair. Not just for me but more so for my kids.
I do know from experience that as difficult as it can be to be diagnosed, it has the great potential of having more benefits than not. Once you understand why you or your family members or friends act and react a certain way you can move on and learn how to work with what you or they have and improve and use the talents that may come with it and help others and get the help you need from services and such. The big benefit is understanding why you do, feel, and think the way you do. Understanding yourself really makes a big difference in healing and improving.
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So, this Sunday the acknowledgement of the PTSD did help me understand my emotional reaction to the previous days. From Friday all the way through Sunday I was affected by other peoples religion. One was a friends Catholicism and the other was my moms United Pentecostal type way of being.  Neither of them meant me any harm and I love both people. One was just trying to please her parents by being where they wanted her to be cause they were out of town. Going to mass and or church can be more superstitious than going because you need encouragement, community and wisdom.
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As far as my mom, she attempted to leave me texts about what god was doing through her. I may be wrong, but I felt intent, not just sharing and conversing. Like maybe she read or saw something I posted and wanted to try to “fix” me. I had posted a few atheist meme’s on my Facebook wall, so that could be it.  When she learned that only one of her text went through she decided to just tell me all about it on a phone call. It was a very long dialog about how god was using her and speaking through her and answering her prayers. The result? Hallelujah! I’m now magically “saved.” Thank you Jesus! I now know, again, that everyone else in the world that believes and has the any “evidence” and hope and “proof” and all from their god(s) is wrong. Us European type people are the only right people on earth. Our religion is correct and every one else is wrong. Our god is superior and everyone else is a myth. Yep, it doesn’t matter that everything in the Bible was taken from different religions, nope, it’s all true cause a bunch of white men said they were empowered by the holy ghost and so it’s true even when it’s proven not to be. So, praise the Lort! I’m just gonna throw common sense and being awake and aware out the window and trade it in for the shackles and nonsensical rules and regulations of a god who can do anything and every thing and knows all but won’t feed the masses of starving people, not even the starving babies in their mothers arms who are so malnourished their bodies can’t produce any milk. Now there’s a good idea! I mean, after all, it’s clear in Genesis that we are not supposed to know  “the knowledge of good and evil”, cause if we did we would realize that man made gods, not the other way around.
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Let me set this straight, in case you are getting my drift incorrectly. I Was Not Mad At God. I can’t be made at him/her/them. Why? Because I don’t believe him/she/they exist. Who was I mad at? People and their superstitions! And the poisonous ideas they shove down your throat, nose, ears and even up your butt, thinking they are helping you.
Folks, it’s not helping, it’s hurting. You hurt people with your religion and then you wonder why they are angry when you are responsible for triggering them. But no, it can’t be your fault, you were just sharing the love of Jesus. It’s got to be them, if they only would listen and give their lives over to your god then they would be set free from the things oppressing them. Dude! Stop, you are the one oppressing them. You want to help them? Than stop with the religious vomit!
I want people to heal too. I want them to recover and lose their “buttons” over time.  I am aware that pushing their buttons over and over doesn’t make the buttons go away, it makes them worse and adds to them. Maybe there are some exceptions, but the majority of people will not get better this way. Become aware of the fact that a person may have been religiously abused and back off with trying to feed them your beliefs. You can be friends with people with PTSD. You can love them and you can help them. I am not writing this blog about how to help them at this time, I’m just writing to wake folks up to the possibility that their religious “help” may be doing more harm than good.  There are a lot of good online articles out there about how to help people without using religion.
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So, back to last weekend. By Sunday night I was angry. I get frustrated and depressed at times, but anger isn’t something I usually feel for prolonged periods of time. So I was curious about myself and why I felt so angry. I realized it was a PTSD reaction, that my buttons had been repeatedly pushed, the PTSD had been triggered. So I let myself let it out. Not on anyone, but alone, in my car. I had a good couple hollers while driving. No one could hear me so no police were called, lol! I just had to release some tension. I didn’t feel awesome after that, but I do think that’s when I started to recover from it all. The next day I was grateful that I didn’t have to work. I felt like crap till late afternoon. I think the stress of the previous days physically took a toll. But like I mentioned, I felt better as the day progressed. By the evening I felt fine so on Tuesday I was ready and good to go for work.
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I know my mom loves me. I also know she gets caught up in her head, we all do at one time or another. I don’t mind hearing an occasional tale of how “god” has done this or that. It brings her happiness and I’m glad for her. But to go on and on and think it’s gonna convert me is just plain annoying and when I’ve already had a tasking couple of days, it’s harmful. My mom isn’t alone in this way of thinking and acting, not by a long shot. Which is why I am writing this, maybe someone will care and understand and make the changes because it not only makes sense, but because it’s love.
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I would like to add that how I felt doesn’t describe how others with PTSD may feel. How it affects people can differ. Even our own reactions and feelings can be different for different circumstances. And some folks do find comfort in religion and religious ideas. It’s just good to not assume or think cause it helps you or you’re told it does that you should use it to “help” others.  Be careful and don’t assume. This blog barely touches on what PTSD is and what religious induced PTSD is. (Also known as Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS).)It would be kind of you to research and learn more about it. Most likely you have and will have friends, family and associates that have it.
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If you or someone you know is suffering from religious trauma or maybe just needs someone nonjudgmental to talk to, here’s a web site to a hot line that has people ready to listen. Just click here-
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The burning man!

I used to think of two things when I heard those words. One was the movie called The Wicker Man with Nicholas Cage and it’s strange sequel, and the other the giant event that takes place in the desert.

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Now I can add another image, myself!

This is the second time I’ve had an ablation procedure. Last time was several years ago while I lived in Spring Field, MO. I had an atrial ablation procedure. They burned 13 areas of my heart. That one I had to be awake and aware for with very little pain killers. They simulated a heart attack over and over again till they found all the areas that needed fixing. Those areas they burned. Music got me through that ordeal. Thankfully, last minute, a nurse informed me I could take my MP3 player in with me. The music helped distract me and keep me calm. Both of which made a huge difference and made the experience not as bad as it sounds. I think without music it would have made for a terrible memory. The worst part of that memory was the medical bill.

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So this time, as in last Thursday, I had an endometrial ablation procedure.

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I’ve been living just above the line of anemia for quite a while now. During my periods my blood levels have gotten quite low. I’ve had to use a pad and a tampon at the same time and there have been days I used two tampons as well. Often I’ve had issues with the pads and tampons irritating my skin. Then there’s the money it takes to keep the pads and tampons in stalk. Being anemic or on the verge of it all this time explains why I have had low energy, problems with memory, and a craving for raw beef. I have also had a great understanding of how vampires must feel, lol!

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Mostly my periods were on a schedule but on occasion they would last for a month or two.  This happened last summer. I got so anemic that my arms ached and I would get random pains in my muscles in random places. Sleeping was difficult because of my arms aching. I still can’t completely understand why I didn’t see a doctor. By the time I did I was already on the mend from that. However, regardless of already being better, my blood test caused my doctors office to call twice, the first time telling me to take an iron supplement and the second time telling me to take two iron supplements. Later when a different doctor checked my blood levels history he was shocked at how low it had been and I wasn’t hospitalized. Not cool on my old physicians part.

I think maybe I didn’t go in earlier cause I was dealing with my youngest sons extreme behavior. He was having bad reactions to being on the wrong meds. It was a very difficult time and I was just trying to get through each day. It’s crazy to think of now, I remember not having energy to even get out of bed but still making myself function. I would just lay down in between everything I did. I’ve pretty much always desired a romantic type relationship but during that time I gave that idea up. I just didn’t have the energy for anything more than just surviving and taking care of my kids. It’s so strange how we can adapt to things we shouldn’t even adapt to. It became normal so I just dealt with it with out taking care of it. I do regret not taking care of myself and seeing a doctor. It was stupid of me. So much worse could have happened.

Although I haven’t had a extended period since than and my periods had gotten on schedule I not only have had the over bleeding problem but I have also been aware that any period could end up one of the extend ones. It was just a matter of time.

I was glad my new doctor was on board with helping me figure this out and fix the situation. He also had me see a OBGYN that is just wonderful. It was the OBGYN that came up with options and we chose what seemed like the best one, endometrial ablation. I didn’t need to be “fixed”, which is what a lot of folks think of when bringing up such a subject. Last year I had an Essure put in which permanently seals off the  fallopian tubes, but doesn’t stop the PMS. I just needed to control or stop the excessive blood flow.  So endometrial ablation seemed like the best option. Basically a device is inserted into the vagina and the lining is burned. Thankfully I got to be put under for the event.

I am not sure if this will fix my being on the edge of anemia all the time or not. The doctor thinks it will. If not than we’ll have to investigate further.

The procedure went well and at this time I’m on the mend and doing my best to take it easy. That meant instructing my youngest that if he was to stay this weekend he had to be on his best behavior and get things for mommy instead of the other way around. He was really good the last weekend he was here but he has been known to do that every so often and not do that in between those times. So I also let him know that if he wasn’t well behaved I’d have his dad come get him. I didn’t include that his dad wouldn’t likely actually do that due to the weather. Kyle arrived a day early due to there being no school Friday. And so far, so good! He even made me breakfast Friday morning.The only issue so far has been a few sibling spats and that both boys think they need to sleep with mommy.

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I mostly feel good but I am making myself chill so I don’t set my healing back. I have work to return to and I really can’t afford to not return to it. It is kinda nice to have an excuse not to ferry my kids around all over the place this weekend. And, I’m actually getting some writing done! I do have some cramping feeling which if needed Ibuprofen helps. And I will need to wear a small pad for a while.

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I was very happy and surprised that some friends at work helped me get to the hospital and back. Hannah and I had planned to use the metro system. She’s eighteen so she was allowed to be my “person”. But neither of us really liked the idea of using the buss to get there and back.

I’m not superstitious but I do enjoy the different zodiac’s and such. They are fun to identify with and use like one would use their months birthstone. Funny thing about my “element” is that it’s fire.

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But don’t think I’m okay with getting burned in general, I am so not okay with that! Lol! Hannah and I were joking around about it last night. I don’t think “burning woman” sounds as cool as “burning man”. It just doesn’t have the right ring to it. Maybe “smoldering woman”. Lol! Or, “Mom on fire,” and than I could dress like Katness.

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“The burning times” refers to when people were accused of being witches and burned at the stake. So, I can’t use that one. My burning was to help me, not kill me, or ruin my reputation and take my property.

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Although what I’ve been through is on the serious side I do enjoy finding humor in it regardless. Humor get us through so many things.

 

I would still love to one day go to the Burning Man event. It’s on my bucket list. I would also love try fire breathing someday as well.

Burning Man: Art on Fire

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The boys shoveled most of the side walk a moment ago. I didn’t want to get fined for not doing it. It took them a while to get going but I’m glad they did it after all.

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Now for some just for fun pics and videos!

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I have this crazy evolution of dreams I have apparently been going through all of my life. Due to having what I call “excessive” sleep paralysis as a kid, teen and in my early adult years, I’ve had to learn how to handle it and how to handle the nightmares that came with it. Quite some time back I learned some lucid dreaming without even knowing that name.

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I’ve written before about how I didn’t know about sleep paralysis and was taught and believed during the time I had it often that it was caused by demonic attacks. So I won’t go much into that now. However, knowing that background about me, it is understandable that my first inclination in a sleep paralysis or night mare state is religious in nature. During my first sleep paralysis after leaving Christianity I aromatically called on Jesus for his help. My mind quickly challenged me with, “but you don’t believe in Jesus anymore”. I countered my own mind confidently back with, “you’re right, I don’t” And then took my own steps to wake myself up. This was also before I knew the name sleep paralysis and the science behind it.

 

What I’ve learned in the sleeping world hasn’t just been about sleep paralysis, it’s been a lot about nightmares as well and even just dreams in general. Thanks to dream expert Laurie Lowenberg  from the Dream Zone which I learned about from 95.5 WIFC, I learned that dreams are psychological. They basically tell us in abstract what we are thinking and understand deep in our minds that we don’t even know we know.

 

While awake we aren’t always good listeners, even to ourselves. We see things and hear things that we don’t even notice or remember. And in real life we have limitations, whereas in dream life, we have none. So we can go all abstract in our thinking and reveal and figure things out that we can not do in the awake world. However, translating the abstract from dream to reality can be difficult. Which is where a dream expert can come in handy. I have paid attention and figured a lot out by listening to Laurie’s show segments on the radio and reading her articles and other things written by experts, just working through the puzzle, and by figuring out what makes sense and adds up.

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It’s rare for me to have nightmares anymore. When I do have one I figured it out as soon as I fell that strange feeling and then I deal with it. I’ve felt like the nightmare imp was getting disappointed in me. lol Of course that so called imp would be part of my own psyche. So instead of scary things chasing me or scary things happening to me, people from my past started making appearances. It wasn’t scary but I woke up disturbed. I’ve had some break throughs in that area so that hasn’t happened in a while.

Last night I tread on new dream territory, new to me anyway. I don’t recall the dream leading up to it, but I remember going into a small room with a lamp light on. I flipped the light switch on the wall to turn on the main light which came on but then the lamp light went out. This made me curious so I  attempted to turn that lamp back on. When I did that the main light went off. There ended up being three lights and I couldn’t get two or all of them on at the same time. I do recall that there was a person in the hall that I was making comments to about this expressing how odd it was.  And then I felt it, that nightmare feeling of fear, like a ghost just entered your dream and is messing with you. I knew something was wrong. My first inclination was to call on Jesus. Talk about “old habits die hard.” I caught myself right away and decided to go ahead and chant the word “Jesus” cause it felt good to chant something. Since leaving religion I’ve found that many religious things like prayer and chanting do have some value cause they can help calm us and/or get our minds off things so we can think clearer. While I chanted my mind was racing, then suddenly I  thought, “I wonder if this is a dream?” Then everything went black.

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This wasn’t actually from my dream. Lol! I wish I could record my dreams. That would be so cool!

I could feel the fear sensation get stronger. But I wasn’t afraid, I was waiting, waiting to see what would happen. The blackness only lasted a moment then everything around me changed to gray. The kind of gray you see when you are in a super thick fog but without the moisture. The fear sensation grew, I could hear and feel the pressure of it in my head. I stood there looking into the gray nothingness, feeling the fear but not feeling afraid. I considered that possibly the chemical that our body releases for caution that usually is translated as fear was likely released in my body. So I just virtually stood there feeling it yet not being emotionally affected by it. It was intense and something I’ve never experienced before.

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It didn’t last long. I calmly opened my eyes into the awake world. I didn’t like the left over feeling but immediately decided it was time to turn over. So I did, then fell back asleep peacefully.

 

Truth is… I’ve been having guy trouble. Lol!

 

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Bill Nye is currently still not my boyfriend, never met me, and still doesn’t even know I exist.

This is the second time since I decided that I might be ready for a relationship that a guy has deceived me. Thankfully I did not get into a relationship with either of them,  I just had hopes and no signals that they were not interested in me at all after expressing to them how I felt. When I like someone I really care about them, so I get hurt easy and quick. I really wanted to believe that this latest guy was genuine but it was all just “artificial light”. He kept everything vague and at a distance and then started sending mixed messages which explained the lights taking turns turning off and on again. This guy is on the high IQ geek side. My ex is a high IQ geek. It was hard at first to not see all high IQ geeks as people like my ex. But that wasn’t fair so I have done my best to put that prejudice off and give high IQ geek like people a chance.  It’s really not been an issue anymore for a while now.

I saw some of those characteristics like my ex in this guy but I liked some things about him too and wanted to give him a chance. When he started sending the mixed messages I was a bit confused and hurt. Thankfully a friend helped me put it behind me and let it go. And thankfully my mind knew and was trying to help me too. I don’t like feeling confused and not knowing what is going on so I just feel so much better now that I get it and can move forward mentally.

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I admit, smart intelligent men are attractive to me. But so is kindness, honesty, affection, thoughtfulness, non-whinnyness. Oh, and NO F’n games! 

I really got a kick out of being in that dream state knowing I was in a dream and knowing the fear I felt was likely chemical and I didn’t have to respond to it but just be there and let it go it’s course and then be done. If it’s happened before I don’t recall it. I’ve known I was dreaming on many occasions, but not this new chemical caution/fear recognition. It was pretty cool.

 

 

 

I copied most of the pictures from Bing Images.

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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

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I especially appreciate this awareness because of personal family experiences. Sometimes these awareness may seen trivial or just too many, but no one is asking you to get a degree in each and every issue. They are just asking you to become familiar with it, to have a little understanding, and to not be judgmental toward people you don’t understand. Many mental and physical illnesses and mental and physical differences are not seen so people don’t understand them.

I have children with high functioning Autism and like others like me I sometimes get frustrated with other people who don’t believe my kids are facing challenges because they look “normal”. I am not trying to downplay people with physically obvious disabilities. While things are better for them than when I was a kid, there is still a lot of ground to cover. I’m just writing about my own families personal experiences.

When I say people don’t believe my kids face challenges due to having Autism, I want to explain that it isn’t always someone being obstinate, but often it’s just ignorance. My kids don’t mind telling folks they have Autism, but it’s not something they announce everywhere they go. They don’t have a special mark or a tee shirt with it written on it. So when they act odd or say something socially unacceptable people just assume they are rude, mean and so on.

This is where raising awareness for Autism and other mental and physical comes in handy. If people actually take some time to learn about it, listen to those talking about it and not assume they already know everything, then more folks won’t just to conclusions so quickly.

As a mom of Autistic kids I fail at this from time to time. However, the more I’ve learned about Autism and various mental challenges the more I stop myself before judging and wonder if the person acting oddly has Autism or something unseen they are dealing with. That doesn’t mean I excuse inappropriate behavior, but it does mean I change the way I deal with it. I can point out a problem or correct an issue with kindness and the readiness to learn more about the person.

Many people with high functioning Autism can learn to “act” normal and even come off as neuritypical, aka normal. The rate at which they learn this differs and is more challenging for some then others. Even the ones who have mastered it work harder mentally then they appear. Rather then things coming natural to them they have to mentally work at it.

As a mom knowing the progress of my autistic kids isn’t easy. How they conduct themselves at home, at school, at work, etc can vary. While they may behave well at home, there are so many possible triggers at school and other places which can drastically change their behavior and their ability to maintain calm and keep their manors.

When it comes to working, so many things affect them. For instance Walmart. My daughter was looking for work and a lot of folks brought up Walmart. Problem is, it’s too large, it has big bright florescent lighting. Both issues for her. Often the easy to get jobs have issues like that for people with mental challenges.

My children work with the local job services. The job services provide training classes, sometimes clothes for interviews and so on. They also help their clients find work and if the work place will work with them the services will pay the clients instead of the job place for a certain amount of time. After the time is up the job place can say good bye or hire them on themselves. This way the client gets training, work experience and something to include on their resume.

My oldest daughter, Hannah, now 18, got her first job through the services at Pet Co. It seemed like the perfect place because she loves and is good with animals. They started her off stocking shelves. Over time she began to ask about learning other jobs but they insisted she continue stocking shelves. She did learn about fish but that was because she asked. When the services person came in to check on her progress she heard one of the supervisors tell the services person that Hannah wouldn’t take initiative and do anything else. This of course upset her because she had tried. The job ended when summer was over.

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Cotton and Candy. Our hamsters.

The next job the services found for her was at Biggby Coffee Co. It’s a coffee shop like Starbucks but not quite as pricey or high end. Again she was excited about it. Things started off well. The owner told the services person he was very happy with her. He liked that she was artistic and everything seemed peachy.

Now these employers whom the job services are working with are told about what ever disability their are dealing with. However, it has become very clear to us that that doesn’t mean they have any idea what the “disability” entails and that they will inform or even educate their other supervisors and employees about it.

While working at Biggby’s, Hannah didn’t see the owner much. He had several other Biggby’s he owned and spent time at. Most of the time she worked with a young lady I will call Beth. Beth’s older sister was the manager and the managers best friend was either the assistant manager or another employee. Neither of them were there much either.  Mostly when Hannah worked she worked with Beth and no one else.

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A cup of coffee I had likely from McD’s.

 

Although my daughter started off with a positive bang, she had trouble learning the various specialty coffees. She learned the simple ones but for some reason the manager got annoyed with her and told her she was not allowed behind the counter. So she spent the rest of her time working there moping and cleaning tables. No one explained to her why and they never told or complained about her to the services.

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One particular day Beth was not working so Hannah worked with a young man who had been away for a long time. A rush of people came in and the drive through became full causing a lot of trouble for the young man. Although Hannah was told to not go behind the counter she felt bad for the young man and decided to help by only making the easy drinks she knew how to make. After some time the manager and her friend arrived. They quickly shewed Hannah out of the way. Hannah didn’t have time to put the shot glass she had in her hand down in the correct place so she put it on the near by counter before finding a place to stand that was out of the way across the room. This resulted in either the manager or her friend knocking the glass off the counter and shattering it on the floor.

When Hannah told me what happened I told her to call her services person and tell them what happened right away. When she did the services lady told her not to go back to work and that she would contact them. When the services lady contacted the coffee shop the manager told her that Hannah dropped a glass, got glass in a costumers coffee and tried to serve it to them. I don’t believe the services people believed Hannah at first. But after we met with them in person and Hannah told her side of the story they seemed to be more convinced since her account actually added up.

Regardless of Hannah being wrongfully blamed and treated (like a cleaning maid) there is always something to learn and take from the experience and improve on.  Hannah’s mistake was not contacting the services more often and letting them know about how she was being treated. It’s possible some of the conflict could have been avoided if the services knew that they were not allowing her to work behind the counter. After all, the point of it all is for the clients to learn the different aspects of working at the work place and be taught as well as being helped with improving things like communication, social issues and so on.  As far as Biggby, well, they also should have called the services and kept them informed about Hannah’s progress instead of just having her clean and learn nothing. And maybe hire managers who are not clickie and don’t lie about their free employees and maybe have a owner who regularly attends how to manage people seminars, and so on and so on. Oh and maybe take a few classes or read articles online about autism or what ever mental challenge or disability their employees or free labor people have so they can help them and work with them better. And also teach their managers and supervisors about such things. Thus, the point of this months awareness and this blog.

I may have wrongfully indicated that the manager was “clickie”. She just sounded that way to me. She also lost interest in hiring someone we knew when she learned she knew Hannah. So, maybe I’m right, maybe not.And maybe it just sounds like I’m complaining and venting. Understand that I am using this as a true example of what life is like for people with disabilities in the work place. And I would guess it’s not even the worst story out there.

After Biggby the services found another coffee shop for Hannah to work at. This time it was a privately owned one and the owner and her husband are there working the place themselves. As a mom, I have a hard time knowing when it’s appropriate or not to intervene. I want my daughter to be independent but if things keep failing, then maybe I need to step in minimally. Seeing as the jobs are services paid experimenting with this is probably best now rather then later when she is hired and paid by her employer instead. So I went in on her first day, introduced myself to the owner and asked if she was familiar with autism. She told me her oldest son has autism. Right away I felt a sense of hope.

Hannah has been working there for a while now and so far so good. There was a miscommunication a while ago and the owner talked with the services about it, they talked to Hannah about it and it was cleared up and things were better then ever. They are actually teaching Hannah how to do just about everything. Some things take longer then others and they have been very patient and encouraging. It’s really wonderful to find a place that doesn’t take advantage of the free labor and actually puts time and effort into helping my daughter learn the ropes. I wish this wasn’t so odd. But people really don’t understand how difficult it is for people with various disabilities to get employment, then when they do find employment, to actually keep it.

The more people become aware and educated the more they can help others become aware and educated, the more people with disabilities can find a place in this world and take care of themselves and earn their own dollars and feel empowered. Many of these people have amazing talents to share with us, they often have a divergent way of thinking because their life isn’t normal and that sort of thinking can make huge necessary positive changes and additions to life. But if they are continuously misunderstood, not hired, easily fired, and so on, not only are they missing out and barley surviving, if at all, but so is everyone else.

So educate yourself. Encourage others to do the same. Step up when you see abuse and unfairness around you. Be a light, a beacon to those around you. Awareness is like a indicator light saying, “Hey, attention is needed here!”. And when it comes to people being hired, and not used and fired, there should be an big indicator light blinking because there is much improvement to be had.

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My daughter gave me permission to write about her experiences in order to help others. I think what she went through is an excellent example of why there needs to be awareness and how so many people are ignorant of the everyday struggles people like Hannah go through. I hope this will help others to improve themselves as well as reach out to those around them wither in person, online, through media, et cetera.

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Be sure to join the Facebook awareness event page for Oct. 2016 at https://www.facebook.com/events/1818899638328565/?notif_t=plan_reminder&notif_id=1475290786535584 and let others know about it. It’s an event that is all month long and beyond and it’s located everywhere.

You can help by talking with friends, family, co-workers and people you see here and there. Write about it or share helpful articles on social media and blogs as well as share on vlogs. You can use your Facebook banner a place to post awareness. You can ask for more ideas and information on the above Facebook link and you can get more info from the link below.

For more info from the US Department of Labor and for downloadable material go to https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/.

I made a banner you may use of you like. Here it is for you to copy. –

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Definition of selfie according to the Urban Dictionary;

Selfie 

A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them so they resort to Myspace to find internet friends and post pictures of themselves, taken by themselves. A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.

***

If you want a good social media profile picture you likely need a selfie. Not everyone can afford or even want to pay for a professional to take a realtor looking portrait or senior grad pic just to have for their profile page picture. So many of us resort to the all too popular, hold the camera out at arms length and high, snap a pic.

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For some a picture of themselves on social media may be a bad idea. Maybe they are a criminal and on a wanted list, maybe they are being stalked and want to remain hidden, some folks have experienced excessive bullying and find it better to keep the picture non-personal for their own mental health, and so forth. Some parents rather their kids remain social network faceless for their protection.

However, there are also reasons to have a profile pic, such as a selfie, on ones social network profile as well as in the various albums on ones page. A lot of spammers, trolls, con-men and people out for shady things such as net-sex with folks they never met have either no profile pic or questionable ones. They usually do not have many, if any, family pictures and pictures of themselves doing normal everyday things and vacation pics and so on. This is not always a sign of a problem but it is a “heads up, there may be a problem” kind of sign.

So what about the person who takes lots of selfies? What does that say about them?

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I looked this up online and found some articles I plan to read about it, but before I read someone else’s ideas or studies I wanted to share what I came up with.

Sometimes I see negative comments about people who take a lot of selfies. I wonder why the person complaining even cares. What’s it to them? They just seem judgmental and “bitchy” to me. However, as a self psycho-analyzing type person I can’t help but turn this inward and ask myself why I have moments of taking a lot of selfies. What is going on in my brain when I do. I’m pretty sure I am not yet covering it all since I only recently asked myself this question. But off hand, I have come up with three reasons I do it… for now.

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One

I am very honest about my life and I feel the picture of me from when I had a different hair cut and color and look in general isn’t a true representative of how I really look now. So I update. I do like to look my selfie best so in order to get a good pic I have to take a bunch of them and then once I am ready to upload the pic I can’t make up my mind. So, I end up picking one for the little profil pic and uploading the rest in an album.

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I don’t like the idea of not being honest about how I really look. So every now and then I take a full body pic that isn’t angled to make me look thinner and post it. Usually, I am only willing to post one of these, unlike the bunches of the ones that look better.

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When I used to be on the online dating sites I would do the same thing. I didn’t want to meet some guy who was completely shocked about how I really looked. I’d rather meet a guy who had a clue from the get-go. Less awkwardness and less likely to feed the low-self esteem rejection thing. I dated this one guy for a while that I met on POF who told me he found it refreshing that I didn’t hide my neck. I didn’t even know ladies were doing that. Not surprising when I think about it though. I mean, in my “nice” selfies I hide my tummy. Since I have some extra there in the tummy reagon I don’t want to shock anyone when they meet me so I include that one honest pic whether I like the way it looks or not. It’s me, take it or leave it.

Sometimes I find I look good in something or my make up came out really good or unique so I snap a pic just for the record. However, often those pics don’t come out as good as I hoped they would. Sometimes I post them, sometimes I don’t.

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Two

I find I get in a try on various clothes, outfits, costumes and or the sexy look type selfie mood when I need an emotional personal boost.

When I feel down I normally do not want any pictures of myself. I don’t think that’s unusual. But it seems when I go through a difficult body hating episode, or feelings of rejection, depression, etc. I sometimes end it with a selfie photo shoot.

I love doing the sexy kind. They are a great body hating lift. But posting any of them takes some guts. I have my past to overcome since such things were considered sinful. Also as far as posting I am aware that many of my online friends are religious. Not that all the religious ones feel the same, but many do. Then there’s those folks who think sexy type photos mean you want to have sex with anyone and without discretion. While having sex is a great thing, that doesn’t mean that’s what I am aiming to tell you. Then there’s those folks who think I am inviting them to be lewd and suggestive to me on my page. No! Yeah, no, I just want to appreciate me and make myself feel beautiful and have fun with photography art. As far as those who insist on believing otherwise, well, I don’t live for them. Inappropriate comments can be removed.

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Another issue I have had to overcome here is the selflessness I grew up with and doing my best to be. Loveing ones self, pride and such things were set ups for trouple, or so I was taught and believed. So sometimes I outright rebel against that notion. Sometimes being obnoxious and “just doing it” is the only way to break it in ones self. I don’t live for judgmental, religious right, finger pointing people.

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I have overcome a lot, but I have 38 years of that crap I have had to weed through, it doesn’t happen over night. I’m a week away from turing 46, I’ve come dang far, however, I suspect it could take the rest of my life. So cool, I’ll keep at it. And although I hate this, sometimes I back track and then I have to make up for that in order to move forward. But that’s okay, I’m human after all. And as I so often say, I’m not the only one.

For the record, when I say sexy pics I am not talking about nudity. I don’t have a problem with nudity but I understand there are places for those kinds of pics and social media isn’t one of them since children are often on social media sites.

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Three

I don’t have a model or the money to pay some one to model for my photo shoot idea. Sometimes I can get one of my kids to poise for me with their pizza at a restaurant, usually Kyle. Thanks Kyle! Or at a Con in their cosplay outfit. Thanks Hannah and Kara! If I need a silly face I can count on Levi or Kyle. But otherwise, they usually are not interested. Plus, if it’s a sexy type photo shoot I’m not gonna ask my kids to do it. So, if I get an idea and no model or it’s a sexy deal, well, I get to be my own model. In this case, it isn’t usually selfie style but I pull out the good camera and tripod and props and such and snap away till I get the look I had in mind. So it’s not really qualified as a selfie, except it is me so in a way it is.

Warning
 
I do want to add that some carriers and jobs and so forth will judge you by your social media pictures. Even though it may be unfair, most of us need money to survive, thus those judgmental, social media peeping toms, can be a cause for concern and if you need such a job you do need to be cautious about what kind of selfies you post and share. If this is the case you can always store your controversial selfies on your computer or something and then when you get a different carrier or retire post them. Or … something like that.

Okay, now reading other articles about this.

Hum, this one says, “In a recent Ohio State University study, men who posted more photos of themselves online scored higher in measures of narcissism and psychopathy.” (From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/12/selfies-narcissism-psychopathy_n_6429358.html) But then again, those symptoms are more common in men as it is. So, maybe the reason some men take excessive selfies and why some woman do may be different. Okay, okay, the article goes on to explain, “Narcissism measures inflated self-image (often motivated by underlying insecurity), …” That goes along with my perspective there. The article ends more in line with my ideas after all.Not that it has to, just does.

I found this article to be well written and address the issue quite well – http://mastersinpsychologyguide.com/articles/what-do-selfies-say-about-psychology-you.

There’s plenty more out there to read on this subject. I just don’t have the time. Plus it seems many of the articles are opinions and while that is fine, not everyone is nice about it. It’s okay to believe that selfies are bad, maybe, but it is bad to put selfie-takers down and call them names. I know, haters gonna hate! Lol!

Whatever reason you have for taking selfies, I say, snap away, post away, and be proud of how awesome you look in those pics! You Go You Person You!!! (Unless you’re not a person but you somehow know how to take selfies than I mean you too. 😉 )

This video explaining selfies was super funny to me. –  https://youtu.be/k3_WvmTCA1I

Now for some selfies of myself!

The ones where I have blue bangs are the most recent. 

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My thoughts regarding the above-linked article.
Interesting article. (I couldn’t watch the video. Sound issues.)
I had duct ectasia in my left breast and had to have the duct removed. Before removing it they couldn’t tell if it was duct ectasia or cancer. I wonder if bra wearing has any impact on something like what I had.
I was an avid bra wearer most my life because I was taught to believe it was a decency thing. My church leader who dedicated my life to me insisted the woman of the church be fully dressed and ready for anything as soon as they got up. Naturally, that included wearing a bra the entire day. It’s taken me time to mentally get over that concept. I’ve had to declare in my head that this is my home, my sanctuary, my safe place, which means I can dress as I see fit here in my own home. If anyone comes over and doesn’t like it, they can leave.
This mentality has been rushed into being and timely for me because I have abdomen issues and wearing bras can be extremely painful. I’ve tried taking the wire out and getting the crappy wireless kind, but the pain is still intense. I do have some week lazy looking bras I wear when I go out. Sometimes I’m kind of okay with them but often in a short time I am in pain. Same with shirts and dresses with either a built in bra or a band.
Apropos of society are so overrated and stupid in many cases. If something is harming us many people just can’t take initiative and stop. However, when one does take initiative and do what is right and better, they give others virtual permission to do the same. We are a society of people who need permission. So by all means, give them permission by doing what is best.
I know, easier said than done. Getting over the mental bondage & brain-washing takes some clarity & determination.
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