Monday, March 26, 2018

Finding Happiness

                                        picture by me

The diary posts were interesting to me,  I am analyzing a lot of life since the deconversion. I'm putting my whole life into a context.

My Old Diaries 1989-1990

My Old Diaries- 2002

 I am trying to figure out ways to form a new path. This is a period in life, where I am focused on forging a new path, with some hope of where it may lead.

I am older now, and there is this feeling of not a lot of time left but I want to use it the best I can. I have told myself despite the class and health issues, finding some happiness can be possible. In the last months outside of the illnesses, I feel overall, I have had some major depression lift. We are talking years of depression finally easing up. I didn't even know this was possible.

My endeavor now is to fill my life with things that give me meaning and happiness. I have succeeded on some counts with the new UU fellowship and new plans regarding art.

My no contact is finally producing positive results.  The earlier years can be harder but wait things out. Don't give up.  Since the religious deconversion, I have become a far happier person, it's like thrown a load off my back that weighed me down for a very long time. The god of fundamentalist Christianity was a tyrant making me miserable beyond belief. I have been able to enjoy music, nature, and other people far more.

 I'm 4 and half years in with main narcs--June 28th will be the 5 year freedom day there, 1 and half with the entire family. I was the scapegoat to the max. It's bittersweet you get deeper in, and it changes your life. I changed. I am no longer the same person. When I told myself I could be who I am and no longer had to blame myself for everything it created a shift. It allowed the door open for not only the physical escape but the emotional escape.

It even changed my religion. I am happier back in the Unitarian Universalist church and leaving fundie Christianity. That has been like slicing chains off my wrists. I now warn others about the prison of fundamentalist Christianity elsewhere.

I am happier that now I don't have to stress about bad relationships anymore. I don't have to impress anyone anymore. I had literal decades of severe panic attacks lifted, now if I get one it's rare and a medical cause like physical breathing problems. Even dumping all the friends, I have felt relief, I know this sounds crazy, but I had a lot of people around me who were putting me down. The ones who were more subtle about it were doing enough harm that it was something that needed cleaned from my life. When I dumped the ex-millionaire friend and she didn't fight for the friendship or anything, and went to go smear me immediately, I knew I should have ended things decades before.

It can be lonely with the clean slate. It's scary but you have both positive anticipation for reforming yourself and finding a different way of being and different kinds of people be with. You think about what kind of people you want to connect with, and realize you want people who are loving, and who care about justice. You meet more kind people online, and realize the difference.

  You feel like you are out there with everyone wiped away but there is happiness that comes from not being around assholes who put you down overtly or covertly anymore. You can think. The air clears. The fog is gone.  A lot of energy is being reserved for yourself. I became done with trying to earn anyone's love or notice.

I don't have to worry about being told I am too fat, or lazy or a loser. I am astounded with the shit I even put up with one other bad friend I got rid of. I would rather be alone then having bossy mean people around me.

My husband told me he is relieved no more trips and social stresses with the narcissistic family too. One day we were both kicking back and I said, "Well look we don't have to worry about that shit anymore, having to get money together for trips for a bunch of people who won't even talk to us, who just brag to each other." He said he is relieved too. Oddly this whole thing, led me to simplify life in other ways to make it easier and better.

It's hard though because you do see people who have happy families. It wasn't until I was no contact until I realized what I lost out on. You imagine what life would have been with decent people in it. There's holes standing where the family you should have had should have been.

I noticed funny things like people had friends who hugged them, who cried when they cried and who loved them. [I have some good friends online, I kept and others who are deceased who were not narcs] but it's funny, I started noticing right treatment more. I noticed people who had families who looked out for them, where everything was not about a competition and cutting each other down. I saw people who were truly connected and loved each other. I fortunately did end up in a marriage, where we have love and connection but here's one thing too when I kicked all the damn narcissists to the curbs, our marriage grew better and even closer and stronger. One thing every narcissist had in common in my life from the ex-millionaire to my mother was putting down my husband. They had no respect for our marriage and I am glad to be gone from that too.

We had struggles who doesn't from financial pressures years ago but I knew I had at least one loving person in my corner and these other people never were. It's scary even several years in you will notice things, like how the family was sneering at you in photos while you stand there smiling and even bad friends you ended up with far too many years trained to take bad treatment.

You can find more happiness, and in my case, I walked from so many people, it was over 35-40 people near the end.

I don't know what the future holds, but honestly life is a lot better without abusive assholes in it. Get rid of everyone who puts you down. I am serious about this. They don't help you and only sabotage you, cut them off. Criticize you all the time?, Cut them off. Think they are better then you? Walk. Live your life for yourself and people who truly love you. Even if I am down to one person and few others, I am glad I have him. It's worth it.

My Old Diaries-2002

                                                                                      2002, I have lost down to 450lbs from near 700

 This is going to be a two-parter with the first diary from 1989 first and then the second from 2002.
I was cleaning out my closet and found these old diaries. I did destroy some of my old journals, and ripped out pages that were worthwhile, that folder is buried somewhere, I haven't found it yet. If I do maybe I will do a third post them.

My diaries were so hard to read, I kind of threw them away, because I would get sick, if I even took a glance at them. Let's just say they were rather triggering. I do regret that now. However maybe if I had them I could put more into context. Don't throw your old journals away!

My Old Diaries: 1989

This second diary is one is from 2002 and what is interesting about that one, is this is two years after I have escaped from Chicago. I had just lost a bunch of weight from medical treatment going down from near 700lbs to 450lbs.

 At the time, I thought I would keep losing and would "get better" but it did not happen. I would be down to 460lbs even as late as 2013, but I have unable to get my weight down more. My weight 6 months ago was 513. I weighed 526 this week. I had been up and about a lot. My husband thinks it was water weight, because while it warmed up, I was out more days but obviously the never ending battle to not gain remains. Keep in mind I can fluctuate 30lbs within a week which always freaked the hell out of the Weight Watchers people and they would tell me, "Please go see a doctor."  They gave me a year to shrink my present kidney stone at the kidney doctor.  I was 530lbs last year.

 If my weight doesn't go down from FINALLY joining a gym next week, I will know I am screwed. There's a point a person can only do what they can. I picked the day to join when I get paid and finally figured out one I CAN AFFORD. Yes I am scared. I hope I don't die of breathing problems and that I will fit on the equipment but I talked my husband into it, and figured out a place where two poor people can afford it. Finances delayed this far longer then I wanted it too. I hope to turn this into a new hobby so there is some eager anticipation too.

In 2002, it was two and half years after I had escaped Chicago to our very old small rural town. I was diagnosed with PCOS the year earlier, and my sleep apnea was finally treated about 18 months before this, which definitely helped with the weight loss too. I converted to be a born again fundamentalist Christian in 2002, and was totally in love with my new rural community with it's nature, peace and quiet, and friendly people. I had these odd ideas about finding a "proper" life and trying to "fix" everything.

This diary is full of a lot of religious writing and tons of prayers. This includes a lot of bible prophecy. 9-11 impacted me way too much and even today I think we are paying for some of the manipulative hysteria and fear.  It was interesting to read from that perspective, all those prayers were never answered but I mean well. Trauma took me into fundamentalist Christianity. I know it did. I wanted a God to care and with all the severe health problems I was a drowning person grasping at what I could grab. I had the idea too that if I became a good person and a nice Christian, people would love and accept me as well.

"God has blessed me with a sweet and kind husband"

"I read "The Merciful God of Prophecy about the end times."

I wish [friend's name] could know the real Jesus" 

"I need to replace my old nature with the Holy Spirit's new nature"

"I have too many sinful thoughts"

My husband is still sweet and kind, but there's some religious cringe here, though I understand my mindset at the time in it all.

I still have major health problems even with the weight loss, there's a lot of desperate prayers to God in here about breathing and a lot of problems related to it. I literally struggled just to breathe so many years. My anxiety because my lungs are so bad, is very high.

"Please God don't let me go mad from asthma"

COPD medicine a few years ago really changed my life, even comparative to that many years ago. I was housebound too by then, and still am but I did escape the constant breathing problems and asthma/COPD/bronchial spasms. I still have troubles breathing now but back then it was totally undertreated.

This journal is full of a lot of love stuff, technically we are still newlyweds, and trips and positive things too like a trip to my husband's college town with his best friend. The love stuff still applies. LOL

Even as I deconvert now, I understand WHY people become Christians, I get it. I was there, it was filling me with bliss, hope and eagerness, later the guilt, shame, disappointment and crash of reality would happen but back then the religion was bringing me new happiness and hope! I had survived. My husband and I had escaped the ghetto and extreme poverty, and he then was a newspaper reporter! We could have a great life, no we weren't rich, but we could find happiness. It was time to heal from trauma, and find a good life. I saw the lives of other happy small town Christians and wanted to be like them. It wasn't to happen but I understand what appealed to me even now.  It is strange to explain how this time was both very happy and had it's hardships too all at the same time.

 I had been low contact with the family since around the mid 1990s but around 2002, via my religious conversion to fundamentalist Christianity, was on this kick to "love" and "forgive" and seek to rebuild ties. Many ACONs make the mistake of thinking if they "fix" their lives, or overcome severe problems like an obesity problem, or unemployment etc, that it will change their family's hard hearts and they will be seen in a new light. Don't make that mistake. If you go no contact as a poor 20 something living in a rented room, don't think your new family, career or suburban house will changed their minds or their ways either. I thought since my husband had his newspaper career revived, he was a newspaper reporter in the early 1990s before we were in Chicago, and he had a book deal, and I seemed to be getting my health together, with a 250lb plus weight loss, that my relationship with them would improve.

I had this idea that my family would change their minds about us as we became more economically stable and I escaped severe uber-obesity. ACONS never make that mistake. If you hit the Lotto or you suddenly have your career zoom to heights, don't expect things to change.

However even as I tried to make this all happen, and I did things like visit my sister and her household for a week in 2003 and made a cartoon comic book for nieces and nephews and had my husband take me for trips to my mother's family out of state, about 120 miles south of where we lived back then, I still had a lot of moments of trepidation that show in this diary.

With this one, I had my severe infection in 2001, that brought in severe hearing loss, and I had become severely hearing impaired:

Thanksgiving went well but [my brother's then wife] freaked out. I think she's going to end up divorcing my brother. [They did end up divorced a few years later] I feel sorry for the baby.  Poor kid.  My mother seemed mad at me. My mother would keep ignoring me and I got lost in conversations and no one seemed to care. I got mad and said, you all do realize I can't hear but they didn't seem to care. I am going to talk about my sister about this. [she didn't care either] 

They were mortified to watch my brother's wife go on her spaz fits cussing everyone out. My brother is always apologizing for her and did so on this last go around. The condemnation is always there.

His ex wife probably had reason to cuss,  she was majorly scapegoated by my mother, but sadly she included me in the cussing out and there was no hope in any alliance. She had already smeared me to her. When I went no contact, I wanted to talk to her again and tell her I was sorry for not sticking up for her more but too much damage had been done. My mother made sure of no alliance happening there.

My family freaks me out, always has. My mother seems to forget I am in the room when others are about, even when no kids are there. I think I bore her and she looks at hearing impairment as being idiocy and retardation. When I say, "What?" she gets annoyed. I can feel her thoughts inside she's thinking, "She's so stupid."

My brother said weird stuff to me when we were alone and told me don't you dare tell my kids about any bad stuff about mom or dad being abusive when they are older. His baby isn't even a year old yet.  I said "what about when they are 21 and we are sharing deeper personal stuff?" He said, "Not even then, keep your mouth shut, and don't cause trouble."

I talked to my brother about his wife and said, our mother treats her badly, that's why she is so upset and cussing the entire family out, but he got mad and threw 12 year old stuff in my face. I think my family really doesn't know me at all.  They still think I am crazy and can't see beyond the weight.

I ran into this at [Aunt Denial's] house--she got mad at me and annoyed at something I said, and brought up in front of everyone how I would deny the family and how I would say I was adopted as a kid and I would get so weird. She embarrassed me in front of everyone. 

I should pray for all these people.

Extreme Christianity can set one up to be a doormat, and tells you to try and reconcile and forgive people there is no hope of it with. One freeing thing for me lately that has elevated a lot of depression for me, is realizing I don't have to be a doormat to anyone anymore. I don't have to do it for any God nor do I have to live with this idea of constantly being subservient to people or trying to get them to like me.  If someone treats me bad, the me of today just gets away from them.

Praying for these folks was a waste of time.  I do note how they treated my deafness, that worsened in the years after 2002, where no one cared if I ever heard and had the negative effect of adding to my voicelessness. Later I would get hearing aids.

I gave myself some bad advice in this journal. ACONS can make that mistake of trying to shoehorn themselves into conformity thinking it will bring better treatment. It won't. In 2002, I had learned about my Aspergers. If you ever get advice like this from a therapist, or anywhere else like a church being told more repression or silence or conformity will fix things, run like hell!

Why can't I be more normal. It's like a constant fight in my head. Is it the Aspergers nature? Try and get along with people.

* Make sure you are nice
*Try not to talk about yourself too much
* Hide more emotions, try and have normal emotional reactions. I screwed this up today but we all make mistakes
* Act Normal

This is all bad advice. Acting nice, actually is a way to get more abused!  Sadly my IFB church was filling my head with this advice. Counselors were admitting I was severely abused and diagnosing me with PTSD but since I lived in a very rural Christian area, most were Christians, and telling me the path to wholeness laid in reconcilation, they couldn't have been more wrong.

The trauma at the time too shows in the diary, I would have troubles with the violence in Chicago for YEARS. The me of today doesn't anymore, but this was some serious stuff.

 I know I have written about this before but my anxiety disorders were very severe. I have had major recovery when it comes to anxiety disorders since my no contact. If that was on gift I was given, from it, that definitely was it. Not being able to breathe physically can still elicit panic, but I am free from constant emotional panic attacks. I have theories too about how fundamentalist Christianity is tied to extreme fear. In that world, people are kept afraid, and focused on God solving their problems instead of being able to turn to others or self empowerment. Trauma can really take people into extreme religion.

Why am I always scared and worried

I think fear alone is messing up some of my hormones
Its oh no all the time and worrying about this
This is not an easy way to live. It's aged me
I find the entire world to be frightening
I wish I had no emotions
Having to hide this fear and anxiety all the time is never easy
I've known for years health problems or not
a creeping terror in my bones is not normal
and yes I'm saying a creeping terror.

I don't feel afraid like this anymore and that took many years to come. I do believe that severe narcissistic abuse is tied to extreme anxiety disorders. Oh, when I removed the last of the narcissists from my life, the anxiety abated even more. It was a step by step process. For many ACONs, you will realize your environment does impact your mental well-being, and when you fix whose around you, it will bring solutions to some long standing problems.

It's good to be free of stress even from simple phone calls:

I called my mother today big mistake because she threatened to quit calling me
because I was not home for two phone calls. She said, "I called on Saturday and you were not there."
I replied I had more to do then just sit around waiting for the phone all day. Her insane pursuit of the "perfect house" continues. My family drives me crazy. My brother hasn't called recently at all. My sister ignores me too. I truly connect with none of them--I even understand I have tried but their values and outlook on life are polar opposites. There is no communication.

Here's a snippet, that seems to point to Aspie problems.

Through the glass wall, I watch them all
I am glad the rain is back, the sun hurts my eyes

This one says something regarding this older article about how narcissists keep secrets:

My mother yelled at me, "You can't keep a secret!" This made me laugh inside. Myself is a secret to you. You have never known me. You knew your Longenberger baskets and objects of desire more then your own daughter. At best it was all mundane politeness with some feigned duty thrown but not much relationship. You said to me, "Sometimes you just keep things to yourself" Too bad this included every feeling, every motion, every introspective thought for 35 years.

My Old Diaries--1989-1990

This is going to be a two-parter with the first diary from 1989 first and then the second from 2002.
I was cleaning out my closet and found these old diaries. I did destroy some of my old journals, and ripped out pages that were worthwhile, that folder is buried somewhere, I haven't found it yet. My diaries were so hard to read, I kind of threw them away, because I would get sick, if I even took a glance at them. Let's just say they were rather triggering. I do regret that now. However maybe if I had them I could put more into context. Don't throw your old journals away! 

In those old journals, my depression and anxiety is so extreme. However a few survived the purge. 

There's another box with the removed pages from my old journals somewhere in my boxes of papers. I have tons of writings in my closet, remember I tried to publish a book about being fat in the 1990s after my severe weight gain. If I find that I may do third post.

This first one is from 1989, and what is interesting about that one is I had my first deconversion, a couple years earlier, and it was full of free-thought stuff and writing about religion and my participation in the Unitarian Universalist church. Since I have gone full circle and gone back, reading that one has been entertaining.

My understanding at this age is far deeper, with my sojourn into fundamentalist Christianity, but the same seeking thoughts are still there today at near 50.  In 1989-1990, I am in college, and still having to live at home between semesters. I graduated in 1990 with my art education degree. I did manage to keep this diary hidden from narcissistic snoopers.

You can tell I am a UU:

"Go to a place where questions are more profound then the answers"

[I like that saying now]
A sad poem:

Pitiful Existence
Vain is Resistance
Destiny Controlled
Sad are the Bold

I guess that sums up life with narcissistic parents. This short poem sums up life with them too:

Passive People Controlled
by the God of Conformity
We, the different
apply our protestations
against the emotionless

Hmm, that sums up some of what I was dealing with. Uber Catholics can be just as bad as Quiverful fundies in the religious oppression games. It's funny I see the god of fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity today, definitely as the god of conformity. The emotionless were the cold fish, my life was full of.

Living with those who care not for me wishing to discourage me at every turn
Why must I live with those who hate me or treat me like an inferior being
incapable and incompetent

This sums up life with narcissistic parents too. One thing with my latest no contact doings is removing everyone from my life who saw me as inferior, that was the foundation alone in ending some bad friendships.
I am home from college and sum some stuff up:

This uneasing boredeom
with a life once full now a life empty full of boredom
living with the dull, wishing the hours away to return
to a full life once again.

I was an intellectual young person. I put in quotes from Joseph Campbell, the Bhagavad-Gita, TS Eliot, "The Wasteland", Robert Ingersoll, The-The lyrics, Mission-Sisters of Mercy goth band lyrics, Unitarian Universalist quotes which I find refreshing now and quotes about art like this one:

"Art is much less important than life but what a poor life without it."--Robert Motherwell
The car accident where the truck runs me over, appears. Of course I got yelled at for the truck smooshing the 20 year old family car when three newer cars were in the garage.  I think I realized then, they were disappointed it wasn't me and just the car. I was working too many jobs trying to get money that summer before senior year.

It was a shitty summer, I was lonely and ran up huge phone bills, the only time I had fun or did anything was when I saw my college friends or visited them. I crashed my car and almost got killed by a truck, I was tired, damn tired of everything.
One thing that can happen to ACONs is this feeling of belonging no where in life. I can't even say this emotion is fully gone, the other day I was talking to my husband about how when I meet or even know people they move away or are gone, even if I stay living in the same place. Outside of him, it seems my connections with others is all fleeting. I have to admit one thing I have struggled with in life and I believe this comes from no secure family or love foundation when young, is this feeling of not belonging. It definitely shows in this diary. ACONs are definitely homeless in every meaning of the word.

I wonder fleetingly at the edges of other's lives
People come and go while
I restlessly wander aimlessly
No place to call home
No place to be
Fighting to sustain friendships
Separated by time, distance, money
Starting to say goodbye involuntarily
to the friends I have and see everyday today
I am so tired of the homeless life.

When I saw this entry, this one floored me. I thought, I KNEW, even then what they were doing to me, but I didn't have the answers to know what to DO about it until my 40s and my no contact of 2013.

[Family's Last Name]
I am the black sheep of the family
The [last name] are Catholic
I'm Unitarian Universalist
The [last name]'s yell to solve problems
I see no point in this
The [last name] use me as a scapegoat
and don't accept differences in people.

I was treated like a far younger person in my household:
Mother says to me, "you have to go Mass or you are moving out tonight". 
I was threatened with constant homelessness after the age of 18, and having what help I did get with college rescinded. I wish I had taken her up on the offer, but I was not prepared for adult survival and was clueless at the time. 

My first no contact would come in 1991-1992. I disappeared where they didn't know where I was. You can see I am already preparing. I would have to live at home for a year, and I saved money to escape. I write on the page before this poem, "Why can't I have my fucking last semester" as during student teaching I was forced to move home. The dorms would not allow me to live on campus while student teaching. I notice in this poem with some alarm, that my sub-conscience was warning me, that they were a danger to my life, and they were. I would get very sick very soon during this time.
Be where I want to be

Let me be where I am
and stay where I live
Don't pull me away into your choking hold
stifling me , my creativity
You are the source of my problems
not me, without you I am free
No more of your demands, your guilt, your criticism
I shall leave, this is not a family
but a group of people forced to live here
But let me go, for my life I fear.

I didn't do well when college ended. College and art had been a life-line to me. The joy of my art classes is hard to describe, that is happiness I still find now. This was written when I was forced to live at home. I was having problems finding that first job to escape. I would with some time get my juvenile home art teaching job which served as an avenue out. I used to tell my husband, that one reason I did not give in to the despair, is I had this feeling that I would find some love and someone out there was waiting for me. I would not find him until 1994 but I had the feeling I would not be alone forever, and had to not give up. One can see the repression and emotional disaster in living with narcissists here.

How did I end up this way?
Trapped in loneliness, rejection poverty
Seeing no future
the end of an era, the end of times so actively found
no reward for hard work
my sorrow overfills an ocean 
as I beat against these walls
looking for a soulmate
someone to trust
having and fearing separation 
not by choice
between those I hold dear
and those I may meet
Am I trapped forever
in this life of desperation
smile on the outside
black on the inside
I feel inadequate as of late
morsels of support
I've learned the world does not care
conform, be nice, smile
but to speak up, don't you dare.
We [I meant the narcissists here] take that what we want
as we pull here and fro
Fit our picture
Depression is not a part or allowed
Loneliness is not a part or allowed
They tell me I am a failure for having those things.

I added this quote below.  at the time, I was being discouraged at every step, told I never could be a teacher, I look back and am astounded at my ability to press on irregardless. My student teaching was even actively sabotaged, but I did get the degree I worked hard for.

"The man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything."

One thing, is I developed more forgiveness for myself in reading this diary, realizing what I was up against, the severe health problems and more, and it helped put things into more context. I am a young Aspie totally unprepared for life but pressing on. This journal oddly served as a life line-as I sought freedom in religious thought during my recent deconversion from fundamentalist Christianity.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sednas Daughters

Sednas Daughters: International Network of Daughters Surviving Family Shunning

Chart of Abuse in Family Daughter Relationships

about Sedna's Daughters

"Behavioral Chart of Abuse in Family—Daughter Relationships
Expecting daughters to endure lifelong abuse from their mothers is as damaging to women as expecting mothers to be perfect.

Possessiveness and Minimization & Blame
• Family does not take responsibility for their actions • Mothers claim birth of daughters ruined her life • Family claims daughter’s feelings are drama • Refuses to discuss or heal relationship issues • Tells adult daughter how to think, dress & act • Condemns daughter for moving away or having a partner • Telephones excessively/demands details of daughter’s life • Accuses daughter of abandoning them if she has her own life  • Sabotages daughter’s relationships with others or with family members/turns younger family members against her."

I had a reader suggest this website. It has some good articles. I hope I can find their Facebook page and wrote and asked where it was, since the link was not working. This website is different in that she focuses on the whole ostracization phenomenon and focuses on those who lost the whole family. I do think this outreach is important. While some can keep some family relationships in going no contact, for some of us who walk away, it is the loss of an entire family.  The malignant narcissists have "won", we end up with no one by our side from the family. Our decades of abuse and shunning have culminated in being free of kinfolk down to the last cousin, niece or nephew.

The chart detailing the various abuses basically sums up what happened to us. We all have to remind ourselves it is not our fault.

With the hoovering, some of it is strange like recently being invited to a cousin's wedding where he just grunted at me in 2006 and never has spoken a complete sentence to me in my life.  I never got in one argument with him but would be friendly and he would simply turn away. The same went for his brother and sister to a lesser extent. I and my husband left that family picnic right after I sat at the table, and asked him about college and he just grunted and turned away.

It occurred that if this person who lived at home until the age of 32 with no job in his parent's attic was somehow able to find a wife, this means he actually probably SPOKE to other people and did more then grunt at them. He wasn't some extreme savant or schizoid. I was so used to rudeness and being treated badly, some things escaped my attention. Others around him supported this treatment of me. There's a reason my grandmother told me before she died, that he was her favorite grandchild. I won't be there of course but it's funny the new things that still occur to me now, even this many years outside the fog of scapegoat abuse.

I do wonder if family "shunning" is growing in modern society, social media, has given smear campaigners more power and ability to reach an audience. In the past, families were expected to take care of their own, and too public of a shunning, may have had worse social impacts when everyone lived in the same town, and knew each other for life. There's positives in modern society in that there's more avenues of escape now and information, but there are those negatives too.

Life Recently

1. I caught a "cold/flu/severe respiratory infection, three times in the last two-three months. Some of these illnesses lasted 2-3 weeks. Obviously I am a bit worried. I have to get tested, I've basically been sick on and off since December 15th. I'm not sure what is going wrong? What's wrong with my immune system? I got bronchitis on the first bout and took antibiotics, but the second two, I got over it and then they merged together.

My husband gave me all three colds/flus/illnesses from hell. He suffered badly too. This was a really bad cold and flu season this year. When he came home with the third one, I even discussed one of us leaving, but where does a person go to escape an illness they don't want? Then you wonder if the other person will need your help and you don't want to leave them! Do you run away from cold germs and race to the homeless shelter when one isn't homeless? It's winter.  I discussed us wearing masks, but they are harder to breathe with and I already have to keep hearing aids from popping out, and hold on to the walker, so that's too much to keep track of. Wearing latex gloves makes me sound like a weirdo. I plan to discuss this with my doctor. My fatigue is still a major problem. Tomorrow I have to get a kidney scan and hope there is no big kidney stone in there.

My diabetes has been kind of messed up since these illnesses. I had 131 this morning but had some blood sugars in the 140s, 150s and even hit a 160 once or twice. Hopefully it will come back down.

2. I got to tour gyms with husband, he was doing something work related. I found myself wondering what could I have done with this body if I could go on a treadmill and be able to breathe? Thin people's bodies work so differently.  All you thin people, don't take that stuff for granted. If you can get up on one of those treadmills, you are fortunate! I still think something more is wrong with Whitney Thore as she gets sicker and more messed up trying to exercise instead of more fit and stronger. She screamed about her feet hurting at this one 8K walk and they looked like they had bloated up to me.

Going into the Y, I got tired because it is so big. That was ironic. They gave us a free day pass. Well that may be good, I plan to use it to go lift weights. The gym nearest my house I could afford the bus to get to, is too expensive at this point but I am trying to figure things out still. One thing the gym people were nice. It was a place more young people were hanging out. I forget the reason I see mostly older people is because everyone is at work or the gym.

I have to get weighed in a week and half. My Flexitouch still fits and my underwear still fits the same, so I guess I am okay. I worry when illness makes me sedentary. One irony of being in bed, is I do debloat, and get wrinkly in places, and I can walk "lighter". Some of the Lipedema pain is lifted. I'm coughing my head off, but there's less pain except the aches of the flu to deal with.

3. I still miss Q. Losing a friend even online is hard.

4. I worry I am bad at giving advice. Modern life is far too complex. I have to remember I can't figure out every puzzle and quit doing it. Comforting people comes natural to others. I would never call myself an empath as some ACON's do because I often lack the right words to say. With the Aspergers that's one of the things that sucks about it, like this feeling of always failing people. "Oh I said the wrong thing..." [AGAIN]

5. I've gotten shyer with age. I need to deal with some appearance issues, and get a new hairdo and new clothes, but I keep spending the money on "practical things"  and just ending up running out of money. I was buying better food, but this was from fears of the illness and diabetes. Well a person can only do what they can. I did finally get my carpet cleaned. I was happy about that! The apt had a brief moment of appearing near normal since we just got it painted last year and the carpet was cleaned. I may hire these people to clean grout on the bathtub.

6. The social life needs work. I still plan to work on it. One doesn't want to get caught in people pleasing or anything like that of course. The reality of disability is only so many spoons, and even a day totally inside, it seems I have enough to do. One weird thing occurred to me, "Why did I remain friends with people who had no respect for me for so long? Even homeless people befriend other homeless people they respect. Us recovering ACONs got too used to no respect. That's one to add to the rule list, "don't stay or be friends with anyone who looks down on you".

7. Cheeto is still president. Please vote at Midterms. Save us. I missed some protesting via weather and illness but plan to go back. We did have a small Woman's March here. I can't march but joined up with them at the end point.  I get tired of the media telling us how great the economy is. I'm not seeing it around here. They are opening Dollar Stores on the "rich side" of town while great sections are shuttered. I plan to take "ruin porn" photos this spring for the heck of it. Today watching Washington Journal on C-SPAN it was scary, they had all these pro-Trump people calling in.

8. I joined a UU fellowship. They treat us pretty well and it's an interactive place, I like that. The minister has good sermons and the services are very multi-media and full of poetry and art too. They seem to have a respect for my husband I find refreshing unlike the other church experiences. He's no longer the "lost soul" and me the "pitiful unequally yoked wife". It's funny I got some good memories back of my earlier UU years. I had missed the intellectual freedom. I know my environment of living in that extremely rural town trying to seek after some idealized life after escaping the horrors of Chicago, did influence me greatly. I guess I'm getting a look at life, kind of going full circle. I've been happy being there, and enjoy the discussion and intellectual stimulation.

9. I got bifocal glasses, my husband had an extra writing project and the money was finally there, I had to get cheaper ones from the "free" clinic for 200 bucks instead of a mainstream Optical place wanting 550 bucks but they look good.  I may try and get some online ones later too as a back up. I didn't realize how bad my vision had gotten, now I can read signs, and I can see bark on trees. I wonder if it will help my art. It was great to be able to see and not squint.

10. I'm working on the zines, reprints of articles and ones to add. Also painting an unusual painting of war protesters but hoping it will turn out.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Books Recommended for Autistic Women

Book Recommendations for Autistic Women

The Gaugin Connection – Estelle Ryan
nonfiction book about an autistic art insurance investigator.
not the best writing, but nice for representation.

Thinking in Pictures – Dr. Temple Grandin
Grandin presents her life & mind.

[I read this one, she is a much more spatial/mathematical thinker then I am, I sometimes wonder if Grandin has Kanner's Syndrome, the subset of autism, where connection to other humans is not so desired, Aspies like me miss it if we don't have it and yearn for it. One thing her "thinking in pictures" applies to me. I don't always think in words but in pictures and sensations. ]

Asperger’s on the Inside – Michelle Vines
Vines’ memoir.

The Autistic Brain – Dr. Temple Grandin
Grandin explores recent research & gives advice.

[This book was interesting. It is kind of technical on medical things. I disagreed with some of her hard-edged stuff regarding careers. I am not sure every Aspie is going to find the same degree of career success. She is right Aspies need to work hard and try their best but not every Aspie has the same physical health or family support. I think she is naive about some of the social demands put on Aspies in the workplace, where people without super-star skills, may not be able to wind their way through so easily]

The Highly Sensitive Person – Dr. Elaine Aron
Recommended to be post-Dx, 

[I read this one years ago. It kind of triggered me. I remember feeling over-stimulated by the book which probably wasn't her intention. One thing in life, I have dealt with is making myself less sensitive so I am not crying all the time. It did have some information on dealing with anxiety and seemed to be honest about how a complex world seemed to overtake me. Of course it would take years to realize my hyper-vigilance was born out of severe narcissistic abuse, then a natural born tendency. Of course Aspergers plays a role in anxiety, but no contact reduced my numbers of panic attacks so much, it was amazing.]

22 Things A Woman With Asperger’s Syndrome Wants Her Partner To Know – Rudy Simone
Read this with my partner & it helped us discover strategies to better support one another.

[I skimmed this one at a book store, was too poor to buy it. I always saw myself as married to a fellow Aspie anyway but one therapist told me he is just very intelligent and not an Aspie. She agreed with my diagnosis. He can talk to people far more comfortably then me though.

The book seemed more geared to AS and NT partnerships. I don't think I would have lasted with a typical NT though.  They probably would have bored me to death. Do normal couples sit around discussing history and politics? He just came in my bedroom to tell me about a book he is reading about global warming called "The Water Will Come". I asked him "What large American cities are on the list?" He said, "New York". That's a bit worrisome. I did research global warming and changed my mind on it, I read scientific descriptions and finally figured out what they meant. It's happening.]

All the Weight of our Dreams – Brown/Ashkenazy/Onaiwu
Re: the intersection of race & autism. Racialized & pathologized bodies like mine.

Bittersweet on the Autism Spectrum – anthology
A lovely read. Various & individual perspectives/stories/paths.

I am AspienWoman – Tania A. Marshall
Shows profiles of several successful adult autistic women. Great for self-esteem, planning, & motivation.

Pretending to be Normal – Liane Holliday Willey
Memoir on late-diagnosis. 

[She got diagnosed as an adult. Well I did too, but at least this told me this had happened to others. She does have some flowery language I had a hard time grasping and she seemed higher functioning with children and a career, so I didn't relate to all of the book. I think she does have Aspergers, it's just not as severe as mine, and she had diagnostic end notes that helped me.]

Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder – Sarah Hendrickx
Sarah researched autism from the outside looking in. Then she was diagnosed herself. 

Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate – Cynthia Kim
Based off her blog, a memoir on late-diagnosis & coming to terms with it. Highly recommend.

[love the title on this one want to read this one]

Aspergirls – Rudy Simone
Very popular & relatable but read it in chunks because it can get quite heavy. 

[This one is the best, I wish I could afford a copy for everyone I want to understand me. She sums up my life. I loved one section where they talked about aging with Aspergers. I think that is a topic that needs explored more in depth.]

Odd Girl Out – Laura James
So relatable I had to take breaks to cry & process. Beautiful.

The Empath’s Survival Guide – Dr. Judith Orloff
Recommended to me post-Dx. Incredibly affirming, validating, and helpful.

[I read this one years ago. I don't consider myself an empath. I know some ACONs do but when it comes to nurturing and comforting people, I'm the biggest stumbler and bumbler out there. I did used to have people come and use me as a counselor, but I think that may have been more bad boundaries on my part then any would be skill in it.]

Asperger’s and Self-Esteem – Norm Ledgin
Great examples of wonderful achievements done by autistics.

Neurotribes – Steve Silberman
*not pictured but absolutely necessary read for everyone before they speak about autism. Steve gives an overview of the history of the concept of autism.

[I definitely want to read the ones I haven't yet.]


This blogger is an atheist but I find some of his videos hard-hitting, this one definitely puts the negative view of God, especially in the evangelical and fundamentalist branches of Christianity on display. I asked myself as I was deconverting, "How can there be true love and respect between two beings when one is under duress and "threatened" with hell?