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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Monday, September 3, 2018

I'm Winning Right Now

I don't know why I thought of that title. It just popped into my head.

Last time I blogged, it was before my trip to Chicago. Now I've been back for over 2 weeks.

Here are some of the things I did in Chicago.
- Went to Santa's Village Azooment Park with my parents, brother, nephew, and brother's girlfriend.
- Went to the county fair there and saw the demolition derby.
- Went to a George Thorogood Concert, which I sat through with earplugs in my ears while playing my Fishdom game on my phone. I know some people probably think that was a waste of money, but first of all my mom bought tickets for my whole family so I didn't really have a choice, plus it was the first real concert I had ever gone to and all the noise and people were a little overwhelming. I explained to my family that I could enjoy the concert if I was allowed to just sit and listen with my earplugs in, playing with my phone, no pressure to dance or scream or any of the stuff that people apparently are expected to do at concerts. It was a pretty good experience. I would do it again.
- Went to House On the Rock. It was so awesome. House On the Rock is the weirdest place ever. I have heard of it all my life but my mom told me that it was boring... she assumed it was sort of like the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oak Park. Not that the Frank Lloyd Wright house is boring. It is cool, if you like historical homes with interesting designs, which I do. But... House On the Rock was... different. I do not know how to explain it. It was an explosion of visual delights. It was the sort of place where I felt like I needed to peel my eyeballs open as wide as they could go so that I could see more things. It was basically built by this guy who must have been either manic, tripping, or both. First he built himself an interesting house with a lot of weird secret rooms and stuff. Then he just kept adding onto it. And in each room he put weirder and weirder things. They should call it the House of Weirdness. You should go to it. It has become a minor obsession for me. But I digress...
- Went to the beach at Lake Michigan. It was such a beautiful day, the water was calmer and warmer than I've ever seen it. I had an innertube and I just floated around all afternoon. My aunt and cousin came also. It was so awesome.
- Spent a lot of time with my little nephew, who is 5 and is amazing. And I do not use that word lightly.
-Made banana ice cream with my mom and nephew.
- Got to see my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and two of my cousins several times.

This time, the transition wasn't as horrible as usual. I did get really upset when it was time to leave my parents' house, but not as upset as usual. I think it really helps that my mom is now allowed to get a gate pass and come through security with me. I hate going through O'hare. I can navigate the Portland airport easily. But at O'Hare, the workers are often mean and snarly. Sometimes it seems like they're being mean on purpose because they hate people! There are also some nice ones. But the mean and angry ones just make it so stressful. I hardly run into mean and angry workers at the Portland airport.

I was still crying a little when my mom left me and Lily at the gate in Chicago. But the good news is, by the time I got off the airplane in Portland, I was not distraught. I did not cry when I left the airport with Auntie Em and Uncle J. I was in good spirits. I didn't cry that night when I called my mom. I didn't cry myself to sleep that night. And the next day I went to the county fair with my friend Kathy and had a good time. For whatever reason, the transition was much smoother than usual.

Here are some of the things I've done since I've been back...

-Spent the day at the river with Kathy and our two dogs.
- Went to some activities at the local mental health drop-in center, including a picnic, where I got to play BINGO and won twice.
- Went to an autism Meetup group.
- Went to Autism Camp and had a great time. And by the way, I was a camper, not a counselor. The camp I go to is for all ages of people with autism, and their friends and families.
-Also got to go see the ocean on my way to Autism Camp, because it is on the coast. I purposely took the longer route so I could drive along the coast. I slid down the dunes on my bottom and walked on the beach and put my feet in the water. Sadly, it was far too cold and wavy to go swimming if I wanted to live long enough to actually make it to Autism Camp.
- Went to a party/fundraiser at Odd Man Inn, where many of my best friends live! (Most of my best friends are goats, cows, sheep, pigs, geese, and llamas.)
- Worked on my plan for starting my own little school next school year. (I now have a board of directors, and have applied to become a nonprofit corporation in my state!)
-Got to see my other cousins Carla and Ben (which is actually still happening right now because they are here now.)

So, I've had an awesome summer, and I am still trying to milk the rest of summer for all that it is worth. In fact, it is sort of a mixed blessing that I don't have to work. If I had a teaching job right now,  for example, I would not be getting to spend the next 3 days with my cousins who are visiting. My master plan is to sub, do some other odd jobs, collect unemployment to fill in the blanks for days that I can't sub, and work on my project of starting my own school.

I can honestly say right now that I am mostly happy in life, although still sometimes paralyzed by depression. Is it even possible to be happy while also dealing with depression? I think it sort of is. My apartment still looks like a train drove through it, and I still have a terrible time peeling myself out of bed and convincing myself to do anything beyond sitting in my video rocker and watching SVU reruns. Sometimes the only way I can get myself out of bed is to tell myself, "Its okay. No pressure. All you have to do is go turn on the TV." And then once I have made it that far, it is sometimes a little easier, if not to actually do something exciting, then at least to do something small like take my dog for a walk in the park across the street, or make plans to do something the next day. Sometimes depression swallows me for the whole day, but it is more of a dull, low-grade, gray depression rather than a black whole. Other days I make it past depression, and the world is rainbows and sunshine! And I can honestly tell you that, overall, I am happy.
Selfie in front of the ocean in Florence, Oregon.

Swimming in the Washougal River. It was very cold. 


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