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Sat, Aug. 4th, 2012, 01:42 am
Slowtime Check-In Day 8 of 14 (Friday): Depression Falls

I've been feeling much better today than yesterday, at least mentally. Physically, I feel awful, sore with achy joints. The depression still lingers, like a cold draft seeping around corners in my mind. It's so hard to stick to schedule, to not be constantly distracted by things. Spent too much time organizing papers; I created a collage of expensive things to buy someday and decorated this post in the corner of my office area. I sorted all my office supplies and, after buying more of the pencils I like, freecycled the other 70+ new pencils of every type and design -- the rejects, if you will. Basically, I added up all the tiny 'someday' items and bought them all at once for about $200 dollars. This includes four magazine subscriptions (Psychology Today, Scientific American Mind, Cooks Illustrated, and Saveur), a bacon chocolate bar, two boxes of the most amazing fennel shortbread cookies, and some gourmet peanut brittle. Extra items went to my Amazon wishlist, like a jar opener, more crazy varieties of chocolate, and organic protein powder for my smoothies. Sure, I got a ton of stuff done, but it wasn't stuff I needed to be doing today. These were things that should have waited until I was more recovered.

Stitches came out no problem, there were four, not three like I'd thought. There's a new dressing which supposedly I can wash and should last another week. No baths allowed, only showers, and after I told her about doing things I probably shouldn't do yet, she told me if the skin pops open just to pack it with gauze and put a new dressing over it. Then, of course, she admonished me for doing physical activities and told me she was surprised none of the stitches had pulled apart. It's healing quite nicely with no infection; the lump tested benign (a lipoma, as suspected).

Once again made an unsuccessful attempt at napping. I don't think I can sleep without chemical aides anymore; though I guess that's better than the alternative which is no sleeping at all. Still, I think I'd have felt a ton better if I had actually slept this afternoon instead of laying in that drowsy half-place with buzzing all through my head, drifting on the wave of sleep but never leaving shore.

Comprehensive List of Tasks

  • grooming & wound care = yes, with extra points for going to the doctor
  • eat healthy meal = yes, leftover pasta and finished the rest of the leftover Thai
  • Spanish = worked on lesson 15
  • coping = no, I couldn't it was just too much for my brain to handle right now
  • paperwork/emails = tons and tons of it
  • Movie review = had to add a Captcha plugin to combat the spammy comments, and am slowly wading through about a thousand comments on the site, 99.9% of which need to be deleted
  • fun reading = a little
  • meditation = no, and I would like to concentrate on this tomorrow

Medication = yes
Sober (no drinking/drugs/cutting) = yes
No Compulsions = fail. I don't feel like the shopping was compulsive, since these were all items I wanted for awhile now and simply hadn't gotten around to buying. However, the organizing.... I'm feeling the obsessive-compulsive disorder kicking into high drive.
No Strenuous Acts = fail, making a collage up one wall was definitely a strenuous act
Plenty of Fluids = yes

TOTAL SCORE = 11/15 = 73%

Today's Revelations

Could I be ADD? It's hard to differentiate between the autism spectrum and attention-deficit disorder, and I have traits of both. It was only recently I discovered that ADD is also characterized by periods of hyper-focus, and anyone who has seen me reading a good book knows how hard it is to distract me. Even when I put the book down, I'm still 'in' it. I wonder if there is a link between the two disorders, since some of their characteristics certainly overlap.

Pinterest is how I naturally shop. AgtOrange just showed it to me today (I'm often resistant to joining the latest and greatest social media sites) and I knew instantly I was doomed. It's going to be great for visually organizing all the stuff I want for this Zen living space/office area I'm decorating. And then we get to clothes.... yup, I'm doomed.

I think my body has adjusted to these new medications. First I get depressed, and then my OCD and compulsive behaviors start to kick back up, when they've been largely dormant the past couple of weeks. I'm also easily distracted and having a hard time staying on task. Of course, I'm taking a pretty fair dose considering how sensitive to medications I am, but there is still room to go up (which will put me in the 'schizophrenic & bipolar' treatment range) without serious side effects.

I have to have a system for everything. It's what made me a good secretary, executive assistant, and events planner, but it can make for a lousy home life. AgtOrange helped me come up with a solution to my spice rack problem that I think will work. Yes, I'm still working on my spice system, I know it has been over a year since I started looking into the most workable solution for me. I'd settled on cylindrical glass jars with plastic lids some time back (even though I have yet to purchase them). Stainless-steel looks nicer, but has the tendency to rust. The triangular jars I'd bought were a great idea, and they even stack, but they are messy to clean and the lids tend to break. My problem was once I got the new jars, what to do with the leftover spices; they come in plastic packets like envelopes for the most part. His solution was to get an accordion file. I can then arrange them like regular envelopes, and the sealed case will help to keep them fresh. So we are trekking to the Container Store tomorrow for a few things.

He says he still regrets ever buying me a label-maker. We're cleaning the fridge tomorrow before the grocery order comes, to include checking all the condiments in the door, and I insist on labeling all the open jars with the date so I know they were already open when we cleaned. That way at the next cleaning, if they didn't have a legible expiration date, I still know to throw them out. (I clean out the door about every three months.) Initially, he offered to clean the fridge because I'm not supposed to do it, but when I told him how I normally label all the contents he told me I was crazy and we could make it a couples project. So I'll be labeling everything that goes back in the fridge after he cleans it. I label all my leftovers too.

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Sat, Aug. 4th, 2012 07:28 am (UTC)
misty_moonlight: I dunno, but I don't think Autistic

I just got done ordering a bunch of Autism books, - some for the boy to learn emotioal responses and some for Bri and I - seems I'm not the only one that has problems being married to someone that's not capable of seeing me. heh. So, you know, this is just all thrown in my face within the last couple months but one thing i know for certain is that people with Autism spectrum dissorder can easily be confused with people with Narcissm. Very in your own mind and focussed on yourself. From what i've read is very very common. I can't even Bring Brian to meetings at school about the kids because they quickly become about him. It's not because that's what he wants, he's just so stressed about the meeting that he turns inward, and unfortunantly regurgitates.

I see you with compassion, and using your gut, and knowing when someone needs you. I don't know how you are in person, but even your writing doesn't have that "autistic flare" LOL. Go read the reviews on Amazon about the Autism books. They are flat and emotionless and as though a computer is kicking words out of someone's fingers.

Sat, Aug. 4th, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Re: I dunno, but I don't think Autistic

Well, it wouldn't be full-blown autism, but Asperger's anyway. I was tested for a study on prosopagnosia (face-blindness) because the tools they were looking at for treating face-blindness did not work if you were autistic. (These conditions tend to run in the same family.) I am somewhat faceblind and have visual memory processing problems. I can remember two-dimensional faces, but not faces in 3D. Meaning, if I don't have a picture of someone to pull up in my head and compare them to, I simply have no idea what that person looks like. I even do this for myself.

Most people on the test they used fell easily onto one end of the spectrum. Either 'normal' or somewhere on the autism spectrum. There was a small grey area of the test, about four points. I was the only person tested to fall into this grey area (usually it was very far in one direction or the other). To which, of course, the study folks said 'cool!' but then admitted they had no idea whether or not their training program would improve my faceblindness or not.

After the study, I tested slightly better, but I did not perceive a noticeable difference in my social interactions at first. I think now that it did help, but at the time I thought it was a total bust. The best thing they did for me was to give me the idea to carry a card in my wallet describing prosopagnosia. For some reason, you can tell someone a million times and they either forget or simply don't believe you can't remember faces or put it in the category of "oh well, I'm terrible with names, we have something in common", but if you show them a card, even a home made card, they suddenly believe you are legit.

The Temple Grandin book I'm reading, Thinking in Pictures is really explanatory about what it is like to live with autism. I'm fascinated because she is totally a visual learner, and I'm totally auditory now (I wasn't as a child, but I think the processing problem swayed me over). This is why I'm such a prolific writer. The big difference she states between autistic and normal is that normal folks think of a concept first and then specifics (so the concept of a dog followed by images of dogs), while an autistic person will think of every specific first, and then use that to construct a concept they can work with. When I think of a dog, I actually see the word 'dog'. That's how auditory I am (reading & writing are actually auditory skills).

ADD & autism are often confused. They have many overlapping symptoms. I've been trying to see how I learn concepts, but to do so I need to find something I know nothing about. Do I grasp the concept first, or do I need a bunch of specifics over and over before I can build a concept that works for me?

Although I may have just answered my own question. My associations are almost entirely based on song lyrics. Interesting....

Sat, Aug. 4th, 2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Re: I dunno, but I don't think Autistic

Oh yes, over time I have gotten better, which can happen in milder cases. As a child I could not wear patterns, did not even like looking at them. They made me itch, they were just so loud I could feel the colors crawling all over me. I still sometimes have issues with bright paisley.

Sun, Aug. 5th, 2012 06:33 am (UTC)
misty_moonlight: Re: I dunno, but I don't think Autistic

I think that I do some of those things. I bring fragments of ideas together and somehow try to connect them in a way that people might be able to understand. I've been looking inward to see if I might have it too because my oldest boy has a more severe autism, and he has a different father.

I'm hoping that the therapists can help my husband to work out of a lot of it. He has trouble holding a job, and in every single instance it's because every single person there hates him, and he just doesn't even see that happening. Now he's in college running up a huge college loan bill, and it frightens me. You know? 85% of Autistic Spectrum Dissorder people don't have full time employment. BUT - the best computer engineers are Autistic, and that's where he's going.

One of the books I ordered for my boy is a picture book and you go through it with him and evaluate what kind of social things are happening, and what would be appropriate responses.

Sun, Aug. 5th, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Re: I dunno, but I don't think Autistic

That is so cool!

Both prosopagnosics & autistic folks have problems with social cues and appropriate social behavior, for different reasons. Prosopagnosics can't read facial expressions (although I'm good with tone of voice). Obviously those in the autism spectrum would have all kinds of other social-cue issues.

I wish there had been someone with a book like that for me growing up. To this day, not only am I often confused when people say one thing but mean another (if you aren't going to mean what you say, why say it??), but I also have an anxiety complex about it because I know how often I have been wrong in the past. I'm much better about those things now, but the years of misreading have taken a toll on my emotional health.

I finally just started telling people I believed in radical honesty and let them like me or lump me. And my real friends have learned to just be honest, and to just say what it is they mean without inferences I'm not going to catch anyway.