Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Autism Something Month!

Hi! I am finally getting my very first Autism Awareness/Acceptance/Whatever floats your boat blog up for Autism Whatever Month - yeah!!! To avoid conflict, blue is my favorite color and I don't care if you light it up neon pink, as long as it's not around me. Whether you celebrate awareness, acceptance, avoidance, or whatever floats your boat, then this blog is for YOU. I don't believe in cures, that vaccines are the sole reason for autism, or that there's an epidemic of massive proportions at hand (Diagnostic tools have improved and are now almost too easy to use).

[Pause for just a beat there. Me getting something done is a MAJOR accomplishment. Mostly my brain will go "Yeah! Great idea!" and then proceed to the next shiny idea. It's no wonder I tend to go about in circles with nothing much done.]

If all goes as planned, I will be shoving my long-ignored "Cooking on a Budget" blog out of the way to post a daily picture of a peek into my life. To get it out of my system now, today's pictures will include my two adorable guinea pigs who will have to sacrifice "Mom time" in order for me to post blogs every day this month. As a bonus for Blogger having URL coding issues, I'll post two additional pictures tonight. Five pictures for the price of two, no coupons or store card required - how awesome is that!?

Since this will be the "introductory" post, I will introduce myself. The name is Serenity. I'm 31, my favorite colors are blue and green (for Father Sky and Mother Earth, respectively), and I love chocolate and coffee. I'm told I have a big heart, that I am funny, have no hidden agenda (I couldn't lie to save my life), kind, generous, and all sorts of other warm, fuzzy adjectives. Truthfully, I know my weaknesses better than my strengths (yes, that's the autism). I received my official diagnosis at the age of 22 and count myself as very lucky to have been able to do so (not only can most people figure out I'm autistic, but, at that time, I did not have steady income with health insurance. Florida's CARD program rocks!!!). I'm both a sensory seeker and avoider (it's complicated) and among my medical diagnosis (in addition to the autism) are ADHD (executive functioning disorder or "attention issues"), anxiety boarding on PTSD shadow traits (I'm on medication to help control seizures related to anxiety), auditory processing disorder, dyspraxia, anemia, asthma, diabetes type 2, glaucoma, Mitral Valve Prolapse, hyperlordosis with a pinched sciatica nerve currently wrecking havoc on my left side, and early arthritis. I'm probably missing one or two in there. If you didn't catch all that, don't worry. I'll introduce you to them one by one so you don't get so overwhelmed (and, no, I don't know how I do it, either. I'm used to it because, well, it's my life and I know no other).

Disclaimer: I don't mean for this blog to be viewed as a "Pity Party Blog for One." That's not my goal. My goal is to raise autism awareness. How I choose to live my life is my choice, and I do the best that I can with the knowledge that I possess. Which means, I'm not open to ideas about alternative treatments, experiments, or drinking coffee out of the cup backwards. This is simply who I am and my only focus is to survive to the next day. Super Librarian Girl away!

So, now the GOOD part. The pictures!

Sonic Boom: Waking up the living dead, but not Serenity.
Yes, that reads 7:30 PM. That's when I had breakfast yesterday, seriously. I have a really screwy sleep schedule. Sometimes I sleep 15 hours, other times 3 hours. The number of sleep hours vary and I have no control over it. It's not something I am willingly choosing. I have sixteen alarm clocks and wake up to none of them (nor the fire alarm or hurricanes or earthquakes or ...). I tried creating a bed time routine, but would often lay in bed until 7 AM the next morning, bored out of my mind. Or, I'd simply run out of time and still have a lot of household chores to do (small apartment and dyspraxia means keeping up with myself, a difficult chore indeed!). I strive my best to work eight hours a day for work. Taking melatonin gives me nightmares and sleep medications only make me really calm. Benadryl, allergy medications, and pain killers have some affect, but my brain is in control of the sleep cycle. It's really sucky because I don't always get to do what I want or need to do. Sometimes I can and then I stand up and CHEER! Mostly, though I just feel depressed because I long for a typical sleep schedule. I used to have one a long time ago, before graduate school or college. It must have been nice. The psychiatrist, the counselor, and I are all in agreement that it's a result of a mixture of the autism, situational depression, inability to effectively manage stress, and my lifestyle (I work way too much). Some where in there is the answer.

When he sleeps, he means business!

This is Benny. He likes blueberries, anything mom is eating (e.g.. peas from Whole Foods. I kid you not, he will eat defrosted produce anything, except for Bird Eye's peas), cuddling with mom and watching YouTube or Netflix videos, being read Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" (he loves attention!), his blankets, and willow ball. He doesn't like the word "No." He's my playful, demanding, stubborn, opinionated, loop-hole-loving smarty pants. He will be five in May and (knock on wood) shows no signs of slowing down.

See my new teddy bear?

This is Zeke. He's my sweet, sarcastic, opinionated, stubborn, stick-it-to-you calmness of my life. He's recently learned how to play and has taught Benny how to bite your finger with just enough pressure to let you know that they want down (joy! /sarcasm). He came into our lives 5 months after Benny's best friend, Oreo, passed away. Benny was in a funk and Zeke turned things around 360 degrees. Since they're both alpha males, it took time for them to "play nice," but now they're sharing, playing, and acting like brothers. They both share a play area in front of the TV and Sunday nights are anything but quiet :-)

How do you make me right side up?

This was the original picture I was going to post tonight. I washed the blankets and sheets on Sunday, but fell asleep on the couch the last two nights and have as of yet to make it. Will be doing that *soon*. One of my co-workers graciously gave me a ride home, so now my injured knee (which may or may not have a torn something or another - I'll find out tomorrow, so stay tuned!) doesn't have the excuse of "I'm too sore to make the bed," ha!

Yup, Gandalf personally sent me birthday wishes. Don't be hatin'.

. . . Then I remembered my birthday cards (from left to right): from a good friend, my mom, and my co-workers at work :-) These are the peeps who keep me going and I am thankful every moment of them. They're my sanity in this snow globe snowing world.

With that, it's time for me to sign off so that I can go figure out dinner, clean the guinea pig cages, feed the guinea pigs (oh, who am I kidding? They're going to be eating first!), and then work on other stuffs before bed. And it's already 11:39 PM, sheesh. If you have questions for me, post below in the comments, and I will answer as time allows. Guinea out!