Tuesday, May 9, 2017

"Mental Health Awareness Month" Story

Three years ago today, I left the first (and only, so far) psych ward I've ever visited. I mentioned then that I didn't know why I hadn't gone before, but I've since remembered. I tried to go once several years before, but was married to someone who was having none of it. He was embarrassed and didn't want to pay any money for it. So, while I was desperately trying not to commit suicide, I was also tending to his feelings. I ended up doing outpatient therapy instead, but it's not what I needed. Frankly, I'm impressed with myself for not dying despite this blatant lack of support.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Note On Caregiving

Sometimes, people need long term help because of an illness, injury, or disability. These are a few things I've learned through personal experience on multiple sides that mostly never get talked about. They aren't the only things out there, but they are important. Caregiving is an important and necessary role in life, and it is not easy. We may not get to choose whether or not we end up helping someone who needs it in this way. Caregiver fatigue is a real and legitimate thing.

Keep in mind: 

  • You truly can't take care of someone else if your own needs aren't being met. This counts for medical and volunteer staff, parents, spouses, siblings, friends -- anybody. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it's a necessity.

  • When you are under the impression that you're helping someone, make sure you're actually helping. Are you helping in a way the person truly needs, making assumptions, or helping the way you think it should go? 

  • If you're performing this role for your own validation instead of being truly helpful, rethink your motivations and accept the possibility that maybe you need extra support or you and this position are not right for each other. I'm well aware that it's not always possible to change a situation, and I definitely understand how difficult it can be to ask for help for yourself, but do ask if you can. Unhealthy situations left to fester can become dangerous from anger and frustration.

  • It is impossible to tell the quality of a caregiver's assistance only by their word. If you are in the position to, and it is at all possible, periodically check in with the person receiving help. They may not be able to tell you if something is wrong, but you might get an idea of any patterns that might be arising.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Backdate: Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

"Asperger," says my psychologist. "The DSM-5 rolled it into ASD (autism spectrum disorder), but I still say Asperger -- and so does pretty much everyone who has been diagnosed."
Welcome to the named parts of my brain, Asperger syndrome. Forward moving times, I am on you!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Backdate: Disability Is A Social Construct

Person comes up to me and Henry near a parking garage elevator room.
Person: You trying to get in?
Me: I'm taking a picture of how the only button that opens this door is on the inside.
Person: Wow, it is! That's retarded.

So close all around.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Backdate: "Yes I Can, If..."

This is a realistic response to the slickly produced ad for the Paralympics that aired earlier this year. The ad proclaimed "there's no such thing as can't", which is woefully incorrect due in part to existing infrastructure. It also leads able bodied people to believe that anyone can "overcome" disability, which is not the case. I did enjoy that ad for the most part, but I enjoy this one better.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Backdate: Ableism In Activism

Sometimes, lending one's voice is literally all someone with disabilities can do. It can be disheartening to hear reinforced messages about how you're not doing/being enough or only doing the bare minimum when you're trying your hardest to show up for the larger community. Just because you can't see how we're contributing doesn't mean it isn't happening or isn't valuable. We are not a lazy demographic.
Right now, I'm not strong enough to march or attend rallies or sit-ins. I am currently in a place to be able to make modest donations, but this is certainly not always the case. The internet gives my disabled voice a potentially powerful platform that it wouldn't have otherwise. I'm going to use it when it's a viable option.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Backdate: Disabled in Trump's America

Speaking for myself. The incoming state of all branches of federal government is poised to take a crowbar to my health insurance and prescription coverage, my only source of income, my reproductive rights, my right to love and build a life with whomever I want, my right to exist as myself. My life and the lives of others hang needlessly in the balance for myriad reasons. They always do. This is not whining or being dramatic. It's my very real, actually happening life. You're damn right I take issue with that.
The way this brain communicates used to work well enough on social media, but not so much right now. If you feel like saying "Well, actually" or anything related to bootstraps, keep it to yourself. You don't know shit about it.