Saturday, June 17, 2017

Executive Dysfunction

A surprise to no one, I'm having the worst time trying to write something about Executive Dysfunction (aka Executive Function Disorder). Executive function is a set of brain processes that allow you to organize yourself and get something done. EFD shows up in neurodiverse brains (autism, ADHD, etc.).
This comic from XKCD shows what EFD can be like on a good day. A bad day is all of these balloons (plus random unrelated ones that shine even brighter) swirled together in an impossible tornado that whirls tightly around you while you try to pick out steps for functioning in an organized manner.

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.