My Mom is Not a Therapist

Family upon couch
Family upon couch

My family

My mother is an amazing person. She cares for and loves me to the best of her abilities. However she is not perfect. In fact, she is not even my therapist.

Often times, I interact with my family as if they were my medical caregivers. When I self-harm, their confused and angry response terrifies me. Times when I need consoling, they might be warn out and unable to listen. The way my Aspergian brain works still bewilders and annoys them. Thus, I am left longing for therapy from people who (despite their love) do not have the training or energy to give me that.

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Perfect Everywhere Except with Family

saint on building

A saint at Oxford

Growing up, most people had one of two comments after talking with me for a little while – “You are so sweet/perfect/nice/angelic/holy/happy!” or “Did you grow up under a rock?’

Neither one of these comments is completely true or fair. I certainly was not raised under a rock, in a barn, or locked in a tower. Also, I am not perfect. My family can attest to that.

Being thought of as an angel on earth was reassuring at times but also stressful. Suddenly, the pressure to be perfect came not only from myself but also others. Everyone seemed to expect me to do the right thing, keep a smile on my face, and never understand anything crude or kind. Thus, I constantly worked to be innocent, cheerful, and sweet.

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What I Am, What I Am Not, What I Could Be

Ruth and me

My friend and me at her wedding

Today, my mother and I went to the baby shower of my best friend through high school. Since then, we have remained close at heart but taken very different paths. She did two years of mission work, finished college two Mays ago, married last November, and is now pregnant with a little girl. That is miles away from anything that I have experienced.

Going to Oxford proved to myself that I could accomplish great things. Now, I am more confident about my future. Although nothing is easy, the strength to go far and be a bright light is inside of me.

Balancing what I am, what I am not, and what I could be one day is difficult. Sometimes I wish that I was different and had a life more like my friend. Thus, this post is mostly a coping skill for me to practice learning to accept where I am and press forward with hope.

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Does Technology Build Social Barriers or Unity?

Earlier this week, I wrote about how I feel alone in a group of people. Some of the reasons for this include mental illness, Aspergers, normal fears, and people being unkind or focused on themselves.

There is another very prevalent reason that the video below introduces as a problem for barrier with others: technology.

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Working in Customer Service with Aspergers

Tea and teapot

Some tea that I was served in Oxford

Working in customer service can be difficult for anyone. However, having aspergers or autism adds to this challenge. For a year now, I have worked as a hostess in a restaurant. This job has taught me a great deal and helped me to grow. One of the biggest lessons was how my aspergian brain affects my work, especially when dealing with customers.

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that this is my own experience. There are people with aspergers who have never experienced these difficulties and those who had more troubles that I did not mention. Despite those differences, this post will hopefully resonate with people on the autism spectrum. My goal with this post is to bring hope, humor, and camaraderie to fellow aspies as well as show people without aspergers a glimpse of what an average day at work is for those on the spectrum.

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My Blog and Brain Just Exploded!

Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers

Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers

Okay, so my brain did not literally blow up as my aspergian thoughts first think whenever I hear this phrase. However, today has been extremely long and stressful. I am ready for a break. Job training, internship starting, finishing up a rough night – there was a lot going on that made me anxious. The important thing to remember is that I fought my way through it and am still in one piece. Expect for my brain which feels like it is in pieces.

On a brighter note, I have had over 4,000 views and over 3,500 visitors in the past day! Usually I have over 100 but not much more. Somehow, my post from some months back about Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers has been circulating on Facebook in the United Kingdom and Australia. How amazing is that?

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Feeling Alone in Groups

Group of people around dog

Sometimes I feel loneliest in groups.

One of the loneliest feelings in the world is being surrounded by people but not feeling part of the group. I have struggled with this for years. Even places with friendly and kind people can make you feel miserable if you do not belong. The theater, youth group, retreats, parties, my own home – I can feel miserable just about anywhere.

There are many reasons for this loneliness. Some might say that it is a normal part of the human experience. We all get caught up inside our heads and become nervous that everyone is judging us. Since we cannot read minds and know what people think about us, we have to guess continually how they are perceiving us. This can lead to us assuming others are trying to exclude us when they are simply focusing on something else.

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Comforting Others

When you struggle with depression or an eating disorder, getting outside of yourself and noticing the world around yourself can be difficult on some days. At the same, many people with mental illness care deeply for others. Many are caregivers to the point where they wear themselves out and are left wearied each day. Finding a balance between being stuck in my head and focusing on others to the point of hurting myself is difficult. Many times, I go to one of the two extremes, but I am trying to get better at loving others and myself.

Even though caring for others can be stressful and tiring, this selflessness can be very healing and life-giving. We are meant to help one another, rejoicing in good times and mourning in hard ones. As someone with aspergers, empathy can be a bit confusing for me. I previously wrote about how I both take on the feelings of others but also struggle to read people. However, the overall function of empathy is an amazing thing that keeps us close to others.

Everyone loves in a unique way. We need to find the way that works the best for us and those around us. This video shows one way that comforting others and empathy can look.

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Just a Burst of Thoughts – And a Choice for You to Vote on my Tuesday/Wednesday posts

Mario holding up food necklace

Mario and I made an eatable necklace as part of Christine’s present. This is a practice one that we made for him.

Sorry, this is coming out so very late! Today has been hectic, to say the least. My sister, Christine, turned 21. Mario and I spent the day together. We went to see a show, buy gifts, make gifts, have lunch, read a book, etc. Then I had to finish working for the dinner cruise of retreat center that I live at with my family. Just now, I finally tumbled into bed.

However, so much has been on my mind lately that I have thought about writing about on this blog. Instead of just bombarding you with information that might be boring or strange, I would love to hear your opinions on some topics. These could be addressed in posts this week or later this month.

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Everyone Struggles Even Bullies

Last night, my co-worker and I were discussing how her ten-year-old son is being bullied at school. Hearing about such young children with great sensitivity being treated unkindly brings back horrible memories. I am thankful to my parents for homeschooling me because my experience with teasing could have been much worse. Still, the cruel way that some kids treat others breaks my heart.

One of the hardest parts is that many of those bullies are suffering too. Few kids are mean naturally, in my experience. Some are hurt by their parents while others have been teased themselves and are trying to protect themselves. One child might have a behavioral disorder and another is struggling to understand with a sibling died. Whatever the case, bullying others is still wrong. Yet, realizing the pain of even the unkindest of people is important.  This video really touched me and validated my views.

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