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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Friday, August 11, 2017

I Tried A Treat Box!

Have I mentioned to you that I've been very interested in subscription boxes lately? It is mostly because, sometimes as a way of falling asleep, I listen to YouTube videos on my phone (not really watching them, because my eyes are closed, on account of I am trying to fall asleep) and I've listened to a lot of ASMR unboxing videos. It made me want to do some unboxing videos of my own! Unlike  many unboxing videos, I actually ordered and paid for this subscription box. Treats is a subscription box where they have a different country each month, and you get a box of snacks from that country. I had a hard time waiting for my Treats Box, (#trytreats) and now I'm going to have a harder time waiting for the September box! For now, here is my first unboxing video. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Incentives

I've realized lately that I've been slacking off on a lot of things in my life. I frequently just don't have the energy to do things that usually would be considered part of someone's normal day... for instance, taking a shower, or making a lunch to bring to work. My life seems to have turned into a quest to get as much sleep as I can. I've always considered myself a person who likes to live life to the fullest... but in times like these, it is a struggle to get myself to live life at all. Not that anything bad is happening, really. It's actually been pretty good most of the time. I finished my nightmarish school year job, I got to go on a weekend trip to the coast, and then the autism conference, and then my trip to Chicago. I guess it is more like, because I had these two trips back to back, combined with the homesickness I felt after returning from Chicago, I've had a hard time getting everything reorganized and getting a routine in place.

I was thinking about it and I remembered how, when I first moved to Washington, I was working as a substitute teacher. I had so much anxiety about going to work, that I ended up making my own incentive plan, the way I would for one of my little kids with behavioral challenges. For every hour I worked I got a sticker, and once I got 100 stickers I would get myself a treat. Once I had that visual reminder hanging on my wall, and the satisfaction of putting stickers on it each day, it was somehow a lot easier to go to work. Don't ask me why, but it worked.

So I've decided to try something similar for now. I wrote down all of the things I might have to do in a day to take care of myself and my apartment. I assigned points to each of the things, with things I hate the most being worth the most points. I broke things down into small pieces... instead of "clean house" or even "clean kitchen," it was "load dishes," "unload dishes," "sweep," etc. Each day I will add up the points I've earned. Once I get to 100 points, I will get a treat. I don't know what it is, but most likely I will order a new subscription box, since I've been fascinated with them lately.

Here is the list of activities and points so far.

Unpack - 20 points (I really hate unpacking, especially from a trip to Chicago because it makes me feel homesick to look at all the things that I haven't seen since I tearfully packed to come back. So, my suitcase from Chicago is still in my trunk, and my duffel from the coast is still at Auntie Em's house!)
Shower - 5 points. (Yeah I know that sounds like it should be worth less, but although I love taking showers, it can be really hard for me to motivate myself to actually take one. There are just too many steps involved.)
Grocery shopping - 3 (Should maybe be worth more... sometimes I do it online and get groceries delivered, but I find it somehow stressful to grocery shop at all, and tend to avoid it.)
Take Lily for a walk - 3 (This is worth a lot of points because Lily walks as slowly as a snail, so going for a walk with her is very time consuming!)
Fun extra thing - 3 (This is included, and worth 3 whole points, because it is hard for me to motivate myself to leave the house for any reason if I don't have to leave for work. My apartment is like a nest of safety.)
Making a healthy lunch - 2
Scrubbing the floor - 2
Taking recycling out - 2
Taking garbage out - 2
10 minutes of decluttering - 2
Vacuuming - 2 (I actually like vacuuming, but having Lily barking her head off and Yoshi hiding under the bed refusing to come out makes it a lot more difficult.)
Clean fish tank - 2 (Probably should be worth more, but I actually like doing it.)
Fold laundry - 2
Put away laundry - 2
Go to work - 2 (because that should be worth something, right?)
Eat breakfast - 1  (Less points than making lunch, because I am actually hungry for breakfast when I wake up, which is sometimes a motivator, whereas packing a lunch is impossible because I am not going to eat it until later and I can't imagine ever being hungry for it.)
Load dishes in dishwasher - 1
Put away dishes - 1
Sweep floor - 1
Mop floor - 1
Wipe counters - 1
Dust - 1
Wash laundry - 1 (Less points because all I really have to do is carry it down to the laundry room and toss it in. The washing machine does the hard part.)
Dry laundry - 1 (See above.)
Take Lily out -1
Take meds - 1
Scoop litter box - 1 (I do this multiple times per day because Yoshi demands a clean litter box, so this should help me rack up lots of points!)
Stay awake - 1 (Yes, I get one point just for staying awake all day and not taking a nap, because when I get home from work I'm exhausted and drained, but napping messes up my sleep cycle. Weekends are an exception because, you know, its the weekend. )

After I manage to get to 100 points once, I may up the ante and add in some more things, such as 1 point for drinking a glass of water, 1 point for making a phone call, etc.

For now, I already made 7 points today, so the system seems to be working!

I probably seem like a lazy bum. But if I was truly lazy, I wouldn't be trying so hard to find ways to get myself moving, right? RIGHT?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Day My Head Almost Exploded

This is just a quick post which is more like an addition to my previous post. There was something interesting I wanted to point out, and I meant to put it in my previous post, but by the time I actually wrote that post it slipped my mind.

In my last post I wrote about how upset I tend to get when it gets close to the time for me to leave Chicago and come back here. My anxiety gets really high and I can hardly focus on anything. It tends to come in waves, where I will spend some time totally freaking out and bawling, and then I will be able to distract myself and be somewhat calm for a while, and then it will start rising again. This goes on and on for multiple days... meltdown, calm, panic, meltdown, calm, panic. And even during the "calm" times, I just mean I am calm compared to my previous state, but still very tense.

 During one of my somewhat calm stages, I went to CVS with my mom to pick up her medication. I was antsy and trying to amuse myself, so I took my blood pressure using the giant blood pressure machine in the pharmacy. I wasn't seriously worried about my blood pressure, because I've been to the doctor a few times recently and they always say it is fine. (My cholesterol is a different matter, but I digress...)

So I took my blood pressure, and it was 165 over 80! That fell into the highest possible category on the chart on the blood pressure machine that tells you whether you have high blood pressure. It said, "Stage 2 Hypertension."

I was amused by this and it sort of cheered me up for some reason. Not that I was cheered up about having Stage 2 Hypertension, but I was just distracted and interested about it, and that made me chill out a little. For years I have always tried to tell people that when I am feeling anxious, I actually feel physically ill, People are usually like, "Hmm, yes, sucks to be you," and try to explain that although I may feel like I am dying, I am fine.

But now I actually have proof that anxiety can effect your physical health. PROOF! My blood pressure was so high, I was surprised my head didn't explode.

So if you have high anxiety, this is a reminder to try to take especially good care of yourself during that time. I shouldn't even be saying that, because I am awful at that... my self-care tends to go down in direct proportion to how far my anxiety goes up. So I guess this is also a reminder to others... if you have people in your life who have high anxiety, try to take especially good care of them during those times. Because you wouldn't want their heads to blow off.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I'm Going To Camp! As A Camper This Time! And Other News.

The thermometer in Washington right now! 
Hi everyone! This post is mostly just a check-in with some random information.
So I arrived back in Washington on Sunday evening. I had an awesome time in Chicago with my parents and got to see my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and little cousins! I spent Saturday evening and most of Sunday bawling and having a lot of anxiety about leaving. If you were to scroll through my blog posts since the beginning of this blog, you would find a ton of posts covering that exact same experience. For instance, June 2015November 2015April 2016, and December 2016. I'm a wreck when it's time to leave Chicago. I am usually bawling and making a scene in the airport. Then after I've been back here for a few hours or at least a day, I get back to normal. I don't know why. It is kind of like when I was a little kid and I would have dreams where I would know I was dreaming, I would feel sad about having to wake up because I felt like I was leaving my "dream family." There were my parents and brother in my dreams, and then my parents and brother in real life, but I felt like when I woke up my family in my dream would still be existing and would be upset that I was gone. (I was an odd child.)  I feel like Chicago sort of exists in another dimension, and when it is time for me to leave and come back here, it feels like a much huger separation than it actually is. I mean, I see my parents multiple times per year, much more frequently than most people do who live far away from their families! But I just can't seem to make that transition work for me.

Anyways. I'm back now and back to normal. Once I've looked around a little at the trees and the river and everything, I feel better about being here, although I do call my mom at least once a day. I had taken 3 weeks off from my summer camp job, and then went back to work on Monday and Tuesday, and then it turned out that camp is closed for Wednesday and Thursday due to excessive heat. Usually the Pacific Northwest is a little dramatic about any weather other than rain. For instance in the winter, if they see one snowflake, they cancel school. But this time, I have to admit, the heat is excessive! It was supposed to get up to 108 degrees today! Now they're saying 105, which I think may be because the sun is partially blocked out by smoke from some fires in Canada and northern Washington. (That also explains why my allergies are going crazy and my throat feels scratchy!) Not having air conditioning in my apartment, I was worried about how Yoshi and Lily and I would survive. The town has opened up emergency cooling centers, and I could bring Lily to one if I went, because she is a service dog, but Yoshi is not a service cat. Plus cooling centers are probably boring. Luckily, we are at Auntie Em and Uncle J's house hogging their air conditioning!

Oh yeah, and the title of this post... I should probably get around to mentioning that. I enjoyed the Autism Conference so much, I decided I wanted to go to Kindtree Friends And Family Camp, which is a one weekend long summer camp for autistic people of all ages and their friends and family. ( I don't know if any of my friends and family are going to come with, but if anyone wants to, you totally can... for $75! Plus you have to pay $25 for a bunk in a cabin, or you can get a tent there or bring a tent. I picked the cabin because I can't find my tent and when you get a tent from a camp it is usually full of spiders and junk, so, yeah.) I thought it would be fun to actually get to do camp activities, instead of having to look after little kids who are doing the activities. It is going to involve campfires, swimming, canoeing, Qi Gong, martial arts, nature walks, arts and crafts, and other cool stuff. I can't wait!

Okay. That is really all I had to say. I have about 42.5 more hours before I have to be back at work, so I'll just be relaxing and enjoying it. Stay cool, everyone!