So in my last blog, I talked about my personal struggles about possibly being autistic along with my son. Self-awareness is beautiful and so I wanted to talk about what it has been like discovering this part of my identity.
First– I have found people like me. (lol I can now sing the sound of my people–ARROOO! ARROOO!) They have sensory food issues (i was not kidding how horribly i hate avocados/mushrooms and mustard), qerky fun things about their personalities, dye their hair or do their makeup in the most amazing colors ON PURPOSE (not for style but stimming) and have similar struggles like when I watch movies where I get stuck in the movie world and it’s hard to transitions out without acting like the movie. And other autistics don’t mind if you emotionally need a break or if you’re going through a burnout — they get it. No explanation needed. And no one is “putting on face.” or “playing a game.” We really don’t know how. Neurologically speaking. Most of wear our hearts on our sleeve or if we do hide, we get really good at it. And even if by some review of sorts I’m NOT at least neurodivergent (not sure how I feel if that were to happen…considering things) — everyone should have an autistic friend in their life. Support and love them and learn to see a little of their world. As Agony Autie says (WATCH HER VIDEOS!) — it’s a privilege.
Identifying as autistic has also helped me understand some very major aspects about myself as a child as to why I just never felt like I ever fit in. Oh, wait, not fitting in, that’s a qualifier without me even realizing it. I am general an extroverted social person. But I can only slightly read people and NEVER know the right response. Or don’t have the time to process things. Check more on the autistic list.
Item Two: my friend count was low. Not bad. I had really great friends that many I am still friends with today. But no true one BEST FRIEND. When my mom got sick and I had to find a friend to take care of me because my dad would probably not be able to–I was scared because I had no 1 person (you got two choices anyways, but still.) And frankly– a lot of them I rarely hung out with outside of the environment I knew them in.Band Geeks (loud and proud) but never got along with band people. Was in honors but did not mesh with the popular crowd. I did girl scouts which I know struggled with keeping friends there because some girls used me (don’t worry I have a friend I live near I am grateful–but she’s half church half scouts so I don’t count that lol.)
Three (which will lead into the next part): I analyze and process SEVERAL THINGS A DAY. I am the truest sense of the word Curious. I like learning, reading or getting into the details. There were many times i thought to myself or my own mother said “people don’t think about this all the time, do they?” As an adult I have said this WAY more often about the simplest of things in which I revealed to my therapist who noted her head with that expression “Oh, NOW I see what you mean…” They usually get kicked into gear because of something I see or hear.
Lastly I am so excited to travel thru adulthood knowing my qerkiness was not just a phase. Remember me mentioning about having eye contact trouble? And expressive language issues? — I STILL struggle with those. I could never figure out why. A neurotypical person should be able to practice & get better as they work through something. But I didn’t. And i know friends & co-workers hardly have noticed. I just thought they were bad habits or me with just bad grammar. But then i realized I communicate better using things other than language. (I felt like music filled up your whole body vs. speech and therefore auditory because the things that mattered..oh wait, sensory stuff again…sorry 😛 .) I excelled at being in school. Task-oriented functions are my speciality. I’m probably an expert on data entry (patterns). Hey-I even tried telling a guy I like him by saying ” you have to listen to this song-because it will tell you how we should feel about each other…” Yep. That was me. And I wasn’t 8. I was 18.
So i hope i haven’t bored anyone. Or scared (definitely something you do not need to be. ) Just trying to be honest. I have a habit of being too honest before. Oops..
If 5 years ago you would have told me I was going to be writing what i’m about to say–i would have looked at you with the utmost confusion. 5 years ago I knew nothing about kids, about development and speech milestones or about sensory issues or …Autism.
But I’m tired of hiding behind hushed words. I’m tired of people telling me “my kid is fine” until he falls off the 5yo playground equipment because the toddler stuff doesn’t stimulate him enough. I’m tired of wondering where his sensitivities may have come from (so I can understand them) while I get nauseous around avocados and scrap off each topping of a pizza just as he does. Yes–I feel my son may be autistic and that I may be to. And yes-I’m seeing a therapist as is Austin (several in fact) to figure out if this is it or something similar on the neurodivergent spectrum. But let’s go back a little, shall we? Autism is not “just” those things.
It all started with a book Nuerotribes by Steven Silverman. I wrote about it here. My mind was turned on to how people could be so negative to those who are just “different” and the history of something I didn’t see as weird or diseased or needing to be fixed. I grew up in a house where all mental processing was accepted. My dad was bipolar and had infarct dementia along with his diabetes/Parkinson’s. My mom was a grade school teacher and was trying to escape her bad self-esteem issues alongside parenting really 3 kids. (i’ll keep where that came from as private as possible.) I grew up liking classic music, never seeing a major horror film or concert and protected by a parent at school who knew how to address my every need in learning. I made it to GATE despite almost not qualifying for language. That being said — I’m pretty geeky and nerdy and have been My whole life (not sole descriptions of autism btw.)
But then I saw a video by Agony Autie about being autistic. And another. And more videos by Neurodivergent rebel And learned an old friend from church had an autistic daughter. I learned autism isn’t a disease that needs curing, but a different way of communicating and thinking. I learned about neurodiversity (something I LOVE). I learned that we need to provide more support for the autistic community and just not drop them off in adulthood to fend for themselves or criticize their behavior. Then all these memories and connections to my childhood came flooding back. Something I had been trying to reach for a very long time since i have a hard memory block for what happened before my mom got sick when i was 12. I found pictures like this where I see nothing but a mirror image of what my son asked for the other night at the table.
See me?? Hands over my ears? Yep–Austin begs me to hold his ears and head like this when he has had too much. Occasionally when he’s trying to process a new noise.
So you’re probably thinking “you’re crazy Sara.” “you’re not autistic.” “Don’t worry you’ll be fine.”
Well first, I am fine. There’s nothing wrong with me. Second –I’m not crazy. There’s A LOT of things i cover up (technical term “masking.”)
1) I actually do have a problem with eye contact. I remember doing speeches in 4th grade and it was something I always missed (as well as talking too fast.) I learned to mask really young (typical for girls) and remember being told eye contact is super important so I forced myself to do it. It requires a lot of energy…but i’ve been doing masking so long I don’t even know if I can turn it off. What it feels like? – Like I’m staring. Even if it is for a couple seconds, I feel like I have stared into someone’s soul. And if I can’t pull away– i’m sucked in staring. not my fault I just haven’t satisfied my curiosity and thoughts about what’s going on with that person.
2) Transitions are SUPER BAD for me. I mean extremely super. Especially sudden change or if I have established myself in a good place (I.e. a Disney Cruise). Or if my routine (or what I think my routine is) gets adjusted too much. I sit and stew on exact words said and i go into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety. I’ve already been pseudo-diagnosized with Adjustment Disorder and possible PTSD. People that know me know i’ve been through a lot in my life before I was even 30.
3) I prefer to use music to express emotions. Blaring it so loud I can tune out the world. I sink into the notes and I don’t even register what or who is around me.
4) While I have PCOS (comorbidity occurs a lot with autistic, especially things related to healthy gut) which provides me with excess body hair and limited head hair– in college i plucked out 2 inches of hair on my scalp. Don’t. Believe me?-see my first passport photo. Why?-Because I didn’t want “fly aways” and I could see them on EVERYONE’s hair. I can still picture it now sitting in a dorm building meeting looking at peoples hair.
5) I fidget. More than I realize. I originally thought it was just habit. But when I’m dealing with stressful stuff–i click pens, spin fidget spinners, and tap my fingers a lot. Today I pinched my fingers together. It’s a stimming technique. And I guess so was my dancing, singing, music playing. Today I bounced up and down on the curb at Disneyland because the parade had just come thru and I was trying to watch my son thru the whole thing.
4) It is very likely I have expressive language issues. When I was in grade school I had grammar/spelling issues. I had trouble catching up to my thoughts racing through my head. I also titled my head when learning how to write handwriting. I do some of this still. Austin likely has this too… He also has clear speech delays, doesn’t express things that are personal (like “mine” or “i like”) and lacks some major (beyond normal) focusing abilities.
Don’t feel pity on me. This is a new experience and I’m learning a lot of things I’m very happy about like why I would get crying upset but not a really anxiety attack. It’s because my cooling skills were gone and I had “lost all my spoons.” And I have talked to my therapist who while noticed I was talkative and social could see why I may have dipped my toes in the rainbow you see below. I could go thru all the categories and show you where myself and Austin struggle with things. But that’s a whole other blog post. 🙂
So there. I have put it all for all to see/hear. Some may not be surprised. Others will criticize. But I’m getting the help I need and I am 150% and more here for my son. 🥰
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019.
As the New Year begins–I thought I would “muse” about the to come. I know, it probably will consider better eating, being more present with my child and family and trying to become more focused on my priorities and values.
But I do that every year. Just like everyone else, I try to better myself, to focus on things that more me up the “human later” (if you can say there is one.) I’ve decided that 2019 needs to be different. It needs to take out the expected and pull in the fun, silly, happy go lucky feeling that we all wish upon our children. Or ourselves.
So instead of focusing so hard on a diet that is near impossible without planning and thinking–I am going to work at remembering why i enjoy eating the healthier foods. Trust me–not eating bread and things that way my gut down helps me feel better. Getting a big bag of cooked veggies is tasty and flavorful. And the colors i try to eat, the more excited I get about “eating the tainbow” (as I like to call it.)
So instead of stressing about always being there for my family–I am going to enjoy the moments I do have. Play tent with my son more. Smile with him as he drags me off the couch. Walk hand in ahnd with my husband through Disneyland feeling nastalic and yet parent proud about our son gradually growing up int he imagination we once (and continued) to explore in.
And instaed of worrying what others will say when I or whether or not i’m portraying the right image–I’m just going to worry less about the image and things that don’t exist and put my mental and emotional effort into the things that do exist. To the heart-felt missions I want to stand behind. Remember the blessings from those around me (at church, home or elsewhere) and how each person I know can truly have an impact.
What’s your plans for 2019? Do you have any? Is it worth making more? Let’s try to focus on what matters this year on a deeper level. Instead of living through the fake images that surround us.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get back to my blog. Kids happen and memories to me are more important that documenting it all.
But I realized that my blog was a little outdated and needed some help. And the only way it was going to get help was for me to get back into posting and writing.
So just be prepared for new posts, new items and (dare I say it) — its own Facebook “page.” Please help it gain popularity by liking the page, checking out the blog and even suggestion things on the page you may want to hear discussions on. I’m pretty much open to anything. Musings of an afterthought, afterall 😉 (of course subject to personal choice.)
So in efforts to both struggle and enjoy my ketogenic diet, I thought I would spend a blog entry venting a little about some of the things I miss now that I can’t eat them.
So one of the biggest things I miss is bread. Not pasta; not soy sauce. Fluffy white or crispy toasted bread. I absolutely love the smell of pretzels, of cinnamon rolls and sugar. Of cupcakes. Yep–even plain fresh baking bread. It just drives me nuts. If for just one day– I would devour all the bread I could eat. But yeah–that would probably damage me for life. I can dream, right? And ironically every time It think about having a little…I get worried i’m going to have a night in the bathroom or be sick. And I don’t want that. I prefer just not eating it.
That being said–the second thing I do miss is copious amounts of sugar. As in i would eat icing out of the can regularly beforehand. Cookies. Candy. Yum Yum. I could even be gluten free and still enjoy a ton of sugar. But again, I think of how my body can’t process it and how much damage I did eating straight sugar so I am okay living this one on the side. The only thing I get frustrated is learning all the things that have high levels of sugar that I didn’t expect. Like BBQ sauce. Or even coleslaw. Fraps and smoothies and Jamba juice. Tons and tons of sugar. ::sigh:: I’ll be alright. I’ve learned to let it go.
Finally–if I could give up these two things. I would probably want to be able to enjoy rice. When i was in college I used to cook rice in a rice cooker and cover it in butter and pepper for dinner. As I got older– I added spices and sauces but whenever I was depressed, a good big bowl of white jasmine rice and butter.
In regards to missing actions. I think the biggest thing I miss is being able to go out and get anything to eat. Taco Bell, Del Taco, Jack in the Box, you name it. Drinking milkshakes, eating french fries and tacos. Yep–i wish I could do it all. But then I think about how that always made me feel and I back away from it very quickly. My only small goal is if I have a good doctor’s report in February- Shawn and I are going to enjoy a heart-shaped pizza for Valentine’s Day. And maybe a milkshake in the morning and taco bell for lunch. For One day.
So I am on day “ugh I don’t know” on my Keto diet. Just thought I’d pop in, comment on how I’m doing and let y’all in on some secrets/tips helping me out.
So starting this last week I noticed my body finally fighting back to this new diet. All the books and writings tell you to expect this in the 2-3 week so I was prepared a little. But not in the way I reacted. Dieters of getting Keto “sick” as they call it, I got Keto emotional. Seriously. I cried over commercials, got snappy and no, it wasn’t THAT time of the month. And no baby either so don’t go getting ideas 😝 I know my body well enough that “three” is the magic number for my hormones to check themselves into and out of things. 3 months after Austin was born, 3 months when I went off birth control. 3 weeks for Keto. It all fits with my body chemistry which is fun to know.
s–I was meal prepping late last night and thought there are a lot of tips and tricks I use to keep on this. We can not talk about the huevos rancheros I ate Sunday night but at least I stayed busy cooking afterwards and I walked 14k+ steps so hopefully that will help.
Tip #1: plan!
Keto doesn't work without planning. Every time I don't think ahead about what I'm eating…I'm eating boring bland food or something super expensive. Neither of which I like doing. The weeks I did great I planned. It just works better. I lucked out the two books I've been using have 30 day or 4 week challenges to keep you Keto. One with pictures and how to use leftovers. I'll let you know those at the end. This week since I slipped a little, I decided working on writing down everything I knew I needed to factor in. I scanned the books, kept things the way I liked them from last week and wrote out on a sticky note and pasted it to the fridge. Helps Shawn and I are working to eat at home more.
Tip#2 : No Distractions
I know–I'm crazy asking this. But for this momma it's more a safety as well as a separation anxiety issue because my kid is a distraction. But I highly recommend doing this after kiddos go to bed or if no kids, blocking out time so you can focus. The times I do meal prep if I don't have any distractions, I get it done faster. And yes that does mean minor sleepless nights sometimes but hey-it's the only time I've got and in the end it's fine.
Tip#3 : your tools
My meal prep time has been seriously affected by what tools I have. This is why planning Is important. If you plan, you can shop Friday/Saturday or whatever day your goods. Then you plan a prep day. Plan small at first (3-m days or all family dinners for a week) and eventually you can move to two meals or the whole day plus snacks!
Also make sure you have the kitchen hardware. Currently I have a Hamilton beach smoothie " bullet" type blender. I currently love making protein shakes for my morning meals. I even have sugar free s'mores and other syrup flavors making the shake world exciting.
Last night I used my cast iron and I would highly recommend using this if you're cleaning as you go, then going from one recipe to another is a snap. I made my dish of no tortilla breakfast burritos, rinsed and oiled and went right into a pseudo "pasta" dish. It's so simple, easy to clean and quicker than the dishwasher.
Find help!–honestly A quick and easy guide to ketogenic diet cookbook and The Wicked good Ketogenic cookbook. Have made foods easy/quick and simple to understand how it fits the diet.
Here are the links:
Quick & Easy Ketogenic Cooking: Meal Plans and Time Saving Paleo Recipes to Inspire Health and Shed Weight https://www.amazon.com/dp/1628601000/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_zL9gAbFC1XCBZ
The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook: Easy, Whole Food Keto Recipes for Any Budget https://www.amazon.com/dp/162315734X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_bM9gAb8QY6GXY