Too Concerned with Mental Health at Times? 

When I heard an actress, who had recently given birth, was getting health with her postpartum depression, I felt that concern time was over because I somehow knew she was in good hands. I often wonder if that concern was prematurely ended. I mean, since she was in good hands, she was getting good help, right?  

I was wondering: when should you be concerned with a person’s mental health, and when should you be NOT concerned? Also, could you be too concerned? Could that concern actually be thinly-veiled fear? 

When you’re dealing with your own mental health, I think concern should be best had by the person themselves. Mental health persons, when dealing with it, can be their own best advocates. Besides, they know what is best for them a majority of the time, especially in dealing with the tedious trial-and-error method of mental health medication. I am a fan of telling the doctor everything that is going on with your body, mind and mood. I know it’s long and drawn out. I myself had to tell my own prescriber that I was not feeling and functioning when they switched my prescription on me once. I am even glad there is somebody who looks out for me and my mental state as well. Unfortunately, few of those with mental illness have that person who really looks out for them. I know I am blessed in that aspect.  

About excess concern: that is usually a veiled fear of mental illness itself, and the various aspects of the behavior. I must speak again and again of the stigma, fear and hate that surrounds us who have mental illness, and our families. Pushing it under the rug will do nobody any favor. As a matter of fact, stigma gives mental illness a cover of darkness, and darkness is the perfect environment for the illness to spread and fester like bacteria, claiming lives and families as it grown. It is only in exposure to the light of day that we can fight it. 

So, what is the limit of concern? Where do we stop being scared for the person and begin to help the person in their fight for their health?  

Ways to Get Through April and Other Tough Times

I can promise you that you will have tough times. But what I can also promise you is that you can get through it. As I have said before, April is a tough time for adult autistics, especially around April 2. The trouble is, Autism Speaks hijacked the conversation about autism, and with its generally negative tone, many autistic people are vilified and pitied to a certain extent. As you can see, it is a tough time for us. We have to work extra hard to get ourselves through this month.

I’m not a doctor. I’m just an autistic wanting to help other autistics.

1) Acknowledge your feelings – and FEEL them

I’m sure you might have begun this particular technique if you are here. I’m not going to give you a platitude, I’m just saying that acknowledging what you feel is the beginning of getting through things.

2) Find someone to talk it out with that you trust

“That you trust” is critical. You need a safe space to talk about what you’re going through. For some people, it might be a fellow autistic on the other side of the planet – and that’s okay.

3) Practice Self-Care

You need to take care of yourself to fill up your particular spoons of limited resources. I have said before that self-care is not always luxurious and pretty; sometimes, it is choking down large amounts of pills up to several times a day. Need I say more?

4) Stim, stim, stim

That’s right; I’m going against all Applied Behavior Analysis training and saying that you could need a stim. It’s a comfort, and may even be a form of self-care. The only stims you need to avoid are ones that, obviously, injure you or others. If you need to find a stim idea, Tumblr has a blog called “stimmysuggestion” that has many ideas. My own stim is moving around; I can easily work that into public life. I am no hater of stimming; just find one that suits you.

5) Go crazy so you don’t go crazy

This was the entire point of MASH, a TV comedy in the 1970s-80s that centered around doctors in a medical unit during the Korean War. If you need to act WAY out of turn, go ahead and do it. Comedy and other forms of silliness are welcome in the self-care category of psychology. Go play on something (but make sure it can hold you). See a kid’s movie, even if you need to grab a niece or nephew to go see it. Play with a toy.

6) Try to See Past the Hardship – Consider that it’s only during one month, and drops off greatly after April 2

Also, remember that June 18 is Autistic Pride Day. I’m just saying.

7) Let Go of those Autism Marbleheads

Marble is a dense stone. Dense, hard and continues to be itself. Sounds like the anti-vaccine camp, huh? It often takes a dramatic, usually harmful event to get through to those who stubbornly hold onto false beliefs about autism. You can’t change a mind unless it wants to change.

8) Ask for help

There is nothing wrong with getting help. Considering the apparent stigma surrounding help, asking for it is a sign of strength. You are not Superman. You do not have to be.

9) Bonding with Other Autistics is Good For You

One of the things about finding your “tribe,” if you will, is that it feels good to know someone who understands you. That’s why so many of the actually autistic forums do so well. Besides, if you’re an eagle, wouldn’t you rather learn how to fly from other eagles?

10) Remember, everyone heals and deals differently

Again, if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Everyone needs their own specific combination of mindfulness, bonding, and even help to get through this tough time.

11) Think, Then Take Action if You Can

This is probably what this particular post is doing. Sometimes you need to just see what action you can actually take, and go with it. I say see what you can do first, because it could be wrong, like a bad movie. Thinking and then doing something is the best course of action. Perhaps other autistics can guide you.

12) Religion or Spirituality Helps

It helps to be part of something bigger than just yourself. This might help you remember that you’re not alone as well.

*****

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s just a few ways to get through upcoming tough times, using the actually autistic person’s relationship with Autism “Awareness” Month as a background.

No More Self Hate 

Recently, I’ve been going over some of my posts. I’ve noticed a pattern of pity and self-loathing. Will I die alone? Am I pretty enough for love? Am I too fat for love? It has come to me what I have been doing, and what drives these posts. I have been listening to what the haters say, and not what the people who love me say. It’s a vicious cycle. The haters scream and shout, while those who love you are drowned out. It’s vicious what I’ve been listening to. Well, it’s time to make a definite change. I’ve come here to say NO MORE. It’s time I reverse my ears and listen to those who really love me – those who say that love is there, even if it’s not in a partner.

Autistic people find love. I have known a chemist/inventor who has been in Time Magazine, and she has been married for years. Of course, no one has to marry their partner, but isn’t that sweet? I have decided this: If I am bound to find a soul mate, they will come at the right time. If not, oh well. Maybe I can look at the other ways people can be loved – you know, without partners.

I’m going to go off script and talk about this – it’s related: Ashley Graham – yes, the plus-size Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model – says she’s not ashamed of her body. Why should she be ashamed of it? She’s a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model! Even now, I can hear the cracking and crumbling of the plaster statue of broomstick beauty dictatorship. I’m not a broomstick, but why does that have to shut me out of love and acceptance? It’s sickening.

The worst part of it is this: It recurs almost every now and then. It’s like a pain that flares up with this trigger or that trigger, and I want it to stop. I want to stop feeling like I am inadequate to find and give/receive love. I’m tired of being disqualified because of things I can barely control, let alone things I can NOT control. I can’t control that I’m autistic. I can’t control that I’m short and stocky. I can’t control your attitude, either. So why lament about it?

The Maple Bush -Archive Post-

Let me tell you a story of recovery. Recovery is not cure, or making an illness or disability go away. I must admit my mother has trouble with the word recovery, because it implies these things to her. I have autism, as I have said before, and know it will not go away, but I never let it hinder me for the most part. There were setbacks, and there were times I had to give things up, this tree is a good metaphor for anyone who is in recovery from anything that strikes them.

 

There was a young maple sapling near my home; in fact, it was near the mailbox I use. It was growing, tall and strong, but not as much as its elder relatives across the street. It would get there in time. However, a winter ice storm struck the area, and the weight of the ice stripped the tree down to a stump. It was no longer a “maple tree” in the traditional sense. Why did the garden tenders not pull out the stump? Nobody knows-I guessed it was a lack of money, but the stump stayed. The next spring, little branches grew out of the stump. The tree did not look like a tree in the traditional sense, yet it was growing. The maple tree resembled a bush. So, I called it the Maple Bush. In the summer, the Maple Bush’s branches had grown green leaves. In the fall, the leaves changed color and fell. In the winter, there was snow; the branches did not break. In the spring, more branches and leaves began to grow. In the summer, the leaves grew to a lovely green. In the fall, the leaves changed color and fell. In the winter, the bush rested. In spring, leaves and branches grew. Now it is late spring again. The Maple Bush is actually a tree, but it has not formed a traditional trunk as of yet. In time, the trunk will come back if left to grow.

 

That is the way with recovering from something that could be tragic. You could let go of the potential and dig out the stump, or you could try to grow again. I can tell you this, because I have been in “recovery” since age 3. I give the Lord and my mother the most credit, since the Lord gave my mother the insight to know what to do in growing my branches. I also give credit to friends I have made over the years. I did not mean to treat you harshly, or arrogantly, when I did. I am sorry. Whatever is making your life hard, whatever had cut you down to the stump, you can outgrow it.