WOW This is so me.

I found this on a website about female aspergers so thought I would highlight which I relate to never been diagnosed but  it’s come up a few times.

“This is a non-official checklist created by an adult female with Asperger’s Syndrome who has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome. Samantha Craft holds a Masters Degree in Education. Samantha Craft does not hold a doctorate in Psychiatry or Psychology. She has a life-credential as a result of being a female with Asperger’s Syndrome and being a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. She has created this list in an effort to assist mental health professionals in recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome in females.

Suggested Use: Check off all areas that strongly apply to the person. If each area has 75%-80% of the statements checked, or more, then you may want to consider that the female may have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Section A: Deep Thinkers

1. A deep thinker

2. A prolific writer drawn to poetry

3. Highly intelligent

4. Sees things at multiple levels including thinking processes.

5. Analyzes existence, the meaning of life, and everything continually.

6. Serious and matter-of-fact in nature.

7. Doesn’t take things for granted.

8. Doesn’t simplify.

9. Everything is complex.

10. Often gets lost in own thoughts and “checks out.” (blank stare)

Section B: Innocent

1. Naïve

2. Honest

3. Experiences trouble with lying.

4. Finds it difficult to understand manipulation and disloyalty.

5. Finds it difficult to understand vindictive behavior and retaliation.

6. Easily fooled and conned.

7. Feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed

8. Feelings of being misplaced and/or from another planet

9. Feelings of isolation

10. Abused or taken advantage of as a child but didn’t think to tell anyone.

Section C: Escape and Friendship

1. Survives overwhelming emotions and senses by escaping in thought or action.

2. Escapes regularly through fixations, obsessions, and over-interest in subjects. (sometimes)

3. Escapes routinely through imagination, fantasy, and daydreaming. (sometimes zone out when I am doing art)

4. Escapes through mental processing.

5. Escapes through the rhythm of words.

6. Philosophizes continually.

7. Had imaginary friends in youth.

8. Imitates people on television or in movies.

9. Treated friends as “pawns” in youth, e.g., friends were “students,” “consumers,” “soldiers.” ( maybe I didn’t feel like I had friends in highschool)

10. Makes friends with older or younger females.

11. Imitates friends or peers in style, dress, and manner.

12. Obsessively collects and organizes objects.

13. Mastered imitation.

14. Escapes by playing the same music over and over.

15. Escapes through a relationship (imagined or real).

16. Numbers bring ease.

17. Escapes through counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging.

18. Escapes into other rooms at parties.

19. Cannot relax or rest without many thoughts.

20. Everything has a purpose.

Section D: Comorbid Attributes

1. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

2. Sensory Issues (sight, sound, texture, smells, taste)

3. Generalized Anxiety

4. Sense of pending danger or doom

5. Feelings of polar extremes (depressed/over-joyed; inconsiderate/over-sensitive)

6. Poor muscle tone, double-jointed, and/or lack in coordination

7. Eating disorders, food obsessions, and/or worry about what is eaten.

8. Irritable bowel and/or intestinal issues

9. Chronic fatigue and/or immune challenges

10. Misdiagnosed or diagnosed with other mental illness and/or labeled hypochondriac.

11. Questions place in the world.

12. Often drops small objects

13. Wonders who she is and what is expected of her.

14. Searches for right and wrong.

15. Since puberty, has had bouts of depression.

16. Flicks/rubs fingernails, flaps hands, rubs hands together, tucks hands under or between legs, keeps closed fists, and/or clears throat often.

Section E: Social Interaction

1. Friends have ended friendship suddenly and without person understanding why.

2. Tendency to over-share.

3. Spills intimate details to strangers.

4. Raised hand too much in class or didn’t participate in class.

5. Little impulse control with speaking when younger.

6. Monopolizes conversation at times.

7. Bring subject back to self.

8. Comes across at times as narcissistic and controlling. (Is not narcissistic.) (? not sure if I seem like that to people)

9. Shares in order to reach out.

10. Sounds eager and over-zealous at times.

11. Holds a lot of thoughts, ideas, and feelings inside.

12. Feels as if she is attempting to communicate “correctly.”

13. Obsesses about the potentiality of a relationship with someone, particularly a love interest.

14. Confused by the rules of accurate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, stance, and posture in conversation.

15. Conversation can be exhausting.

16. Questions the actions and behaviors of self and others, continually.

17. Feels as if missing a conversation “gene” or thought-“filter”

18. Trained self in social interactions through readings and studying of other people.

19. Visualizes and practices how she will act around others.

20. Practices in mind what she will say to another before entering the room.

21. Difficulty filtering out background noise when talking to others.

22. Has a continuous dialogue in mind that tells her what to say and how to act when in a social situations.

23. Sense of humor sometimes seems quirky, odd, or different from others.

24. As a child, it was hard to know when it was her turn to talk.

25. She finds norms of conversation confusing.

Section F: Finds Refuge when Alone

1. Feels extreme relief when she doesn’t have to go anywhere, talk to anyone, answer calls, or leave the house.

2. One visitor at the home may be perceived as a threat.

3. Knowing logically a house visitor is not a threat, doesn’t relieve the anxiety.

4. Feelings of dread about upcoming events and appointments on the calendar.

5. Knowing she has to leave the house causes anxiety from the moment she wakes up.

6. All the steps involved in leaving the house are overwhelming and exhausting to think about.

7. She prepares herself mentally for outings, excursions, meetings, and appointments.

8. Question next steps and movements continually.

9. Telling self the “right” words and/or positive self-talk doesn’t often alleviate anxiety.

10. Knowing she is staying home all day brings great peace of mind.

11. Requires a large amount of down time or alone time.

12. Feels guilty after spending a lot of time on a special interest.

13. Uncomfortable in public locker rooms, bathrooms, and/or dressing rooms.

14. Dislikes being in a crowded mall, crowded gym, or crowded theater.

Section G: Sensitive

1. Sensitive to sounds, textures, temperature, and/or smells when trying to sleep.

2. Adjusts bedclothes, bedding, and/or environment in an attempt to find comfort.

3. Dreams are anxiety-ridden, vivid, complex, and/or precognitive in nature.

4. Highly intuitive to others’ feelings.

5. Takes criticism to heart.

6. Longs to be seen, heard, and understood.

7. Questions if she is a “normal” person.

8. Highly susceptible to outsiders’ viewpoints and opinions.

9. At times adapts her view of life or actions based on others’ opinions or words.

10. Recognizes own limitations in many areas daily.

11. Becomes hurt when others question or doubt her work.

12. Views many things as an extension of self.

13. Fears others opinions, criticism, and judgment.

14. Dislikes words and events that hurt animals and people.

15. Collects or rescues animals. (often in childhood)

16. Huge compassion for suffering.

17. Sensitive to substances. (environmental toxins, foods, alcohol, etc.)

18. Tries to help, offers unsolicited advice, or formalizes plans of action.

19. Questions life purpose and how to be a “better” person.

20. Seeks to understand abilities, skills, and/or gifts.

Section H: Sense of Self

1. Feels trapped between wanting to be herself and wanting to fit in.

2. Imitates others without realizing.

3. Suppresses true wishes.

4. Exhibits codependent behaviors.

5. Adapts self in order to avoid ridicule.

6.  Rejects social norms and/or questions social norms.

7. Feelings of extreme isolation.

8. Feeling good about self takes a lot of effort and work.

9. Switches preferences based on environment and other people.

10. Switches behavior based on environment and other people.

11. Didn’t care about her hygiene, clothes, and appearance before teenage years and/or before someone else pointed these out to her.

12. “Freaks out” but doesn’t know why until later.

13. Young sounding voice

14. Trouble recognizing what she looks like and/or has occurrences of slight prosopagnosia (difficulty recognizing or remembering faces).

Section I: Confusion

1. Had a hard time learning others are not always honest.

2. Feelings seem confusing, illogical, and unpredictable. (self’s and others’)

3.  Confuses appointment times, numbers, or dates.

4. Expects that by acting a certain way certain results can be achieved, but realizes in dealing with emotions, those results don’t always manifest.

5. Spoke frankly and literally in youth.

6. Jokes go over the head.

7. Confused when others ostracize, shun, belittle, trick, and betray.

8. Trouble identifying feelings unless they are extreme.

9. Trouble with emotions of hate and dislike.

10. Feels sorry for someone who has persecuted or hurt her.

11. Personal feelings of anger, outrage, deep love, fear, giddiness, and anticipation seem to be easier to identify than emotions of joy, satisfaction, calmness, and serenity.

12. Situations and conversations sometimes perceived as black or white.

13. The middle spectrum of outcomes, events, and emotions is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. (All or nothing mentality)

14. A small fight might signal the end of a relationship or collapse of world.

15. A small compliment might boost her into a state of bliss.

Section J: Words and Patterns

1. Likes to know word origins.

2. Confused when there is more than one meaning to a word.

3. High interest in songs and song lyrics.

4. Notices patterns frequently.

5. Remembers things in visual pictures.

6. Remembers exact details about someone’s life.

7. Has a remarkable memory for certain details.

8. Writes or creates to relieve anxiety.

9. Has certain “feelings” or emotions towards words.

10. Words bring a sense of comfort and peace, akin to a friendship.

(Optional) Executive Functioning   This area isn’t always as evident as other areas

1. Simple tasks can cause extreme hardship.

2. Learning to drive a car or rounding the corner in a hallway can be troublesome.

3. New places offer their own set of challenges.

4. Anything that requires a reasonable amount of steps, dexterity, or know-how can rouse a sense of panic.

5. The thought of repairing, fixing, or locating something can cause anxiety.

6. Mundane tasks are avoided.

7. Cleaning may seem insurmountable at times.

8. Many questions come to mind when setting about to do a task.

9. Might leave the house with mismatched socks, shirt buttoned incorrectly, and/or have dyslexia.

10. A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming.

11. Trouble copying dance steps, aerobic moves, or direction in a sports gym class.

12. Has a hard time finding certain objects in the house, but remembers with exact clarity where other objects are.

Taken from : https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/day-62-females-with-aspergers-syndrome-nonofficial-checklist/

Art and writting in recovery

I haven’t posted in a while and it’s because I have been struggling, I had a couple slips but I am now back on track.  I really like the difference between a lapse and a relapse because if I had told myself I had relapse I probably would have gone full out into my addiction but instead by calling it a lapse I got back on track and it did not seem so devastating.  I have been inspired to write again because  I am getting frustrated with the lack of mental health and addictions awareness there is and I want to do all I can to raise awareness.  I come at this from two points of view from a recovering addict who struggles with mental health  issues, but also someone who volunteers in the field and is hoping to become an art therapist one day. I have my undergrad in Psychology  so I have the educational background as well. I realize I am in an unique position that not many people are in, I have first hand experience but I also have the education and the potential to go on and help people who struggle. I’m hoping just maybe I can help raise awareness  and bridge the gap between someone who uses the mental health and addictions system  and someone who works in that system. My long term goal is to become an art therapist. I am going back to school in January. I am so excited!!! I am going to add a Studio Art Major to my BA in Sociology/ Psychology with the goal of applying for a Master’s in Art Therapy at Concordia.  Art has really helped me in my recovery and I want to be able to pass that on to others.  Writing has also been a huge help for me in my recovery and I hope  use my voice to share my story and write about the issues surrounding mental health and addiction awareness. I’m not sure how to do that yet but I can start by writing on this blog. I hope someday to write my own book.   I am going to be involved in a craft sale at the end of the month and I’m looking at organizations that I could possibly donate a portion of the proceeds too. I have never done this before so I am not sure how it works or even if I will make enough money to cover my own costs not alone donate.  All I can do is try I guess.

Perfectionism

I haven’t written on here in a while. I guess I have been getting a little off on my recovery. I am still sober but staying focused on  recovery is hard.  I am thinking my recovery is starting to slip a bit because my perfectionism is starting to kick in  hard. I’m taking an online course and I got a “C” on a quiz. I was devastated wanted to give up on the course, forgo my plans of doing further schooling, thought the world was over and I would never achieve my academic goals.  Ever since I can remember I have never felt good enough, smart enough, and felt like I didn’t fit in.

Doing well in school was my way of being in control. I was an “A” student for the most part in high school, entered first year university with a scholarship that covered my entire tuition.  Mind you that didn’t last long because my perfectionism started to play havoc.  To get my undergrad degree was a huge battle.  It took me 8 years. I dropped out twice and came back due to mental health issue, eating disorder and addiction.   Though I think for the longest time after I cleaned up the first time school is what kept me sober. I didn’t go to meetings except for celebrate recovery once a week and when I got deep into my school work I would sometime not go a semester because it conflicted with a class. Yet I still managed to stay sober.  Though my self harm and eating disorder started to act up more.

After I graduated from university I got a job right away and was doing well until about 6 months in I relapsed and I’ve been trying to get back on track ever since.  I have 5 and half weeks sober today which is awesome but it is really hard. Some days I just want to say “F” it and after getting a “C “on that quiz I really did want to say that because I felt like a failure all over again. That I wasn’t good enough. I am planning on going back to school in January to add Studio Art to my degree with hopes of  applying and completing my Masters in Creative Art Therapy later on.  Though that “C” on a collage course has made me wonder if I can even pull this off. I did well in school before and it kept me sober but not getting a good grade as also been a huge trigger for me to engage in eating disorder, self harm or addictive behavior.

I’m scared I will fail and part of me is too afraid to try. I am afraid going to school for fine art will ruin my ability to be creative. I know it did in grade 9 art. On the other hand I can’t be sitting at home doing nothing. I don’t want to  put all this effort in it only to fail and not be good enough.   I am terrified of doing this and then not getting into grad school.  I know I’m very all or nothing, I get that. Like I am less then two months sober and I am already planning the rest of my life and what success and failure will be. Probably not the best idea. I know I need to let go and let God. I did the big book study at my sponsors house today and she was like call me. I haven’t been calling her. I will text her once in a while.  I don’t know I just don’t feel comfortable opening up. I feel like she won’t understand me.  Yes I am an alcoholic but I am also an addict and I know it’s all addiction but there’s some stuff I don’t think that people who have never used drugs get but then again I didn’t feel like I fit in NA either. A lot of times I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere.

I guess it is like I need to be productive to actually feel like a worthwhile person.  Today I was getting really stressed out with applying for school and other stuff, and then I sat down and painted for like 3 hours and I calmed right down.  Art calms me so much but I am afraid I will lose that if I go to school for it, but I also want to be able to use my artistic talents to help others. I’m going to start volunteering soon doing art type activities, and even that makes me nervous. What if I mess it up kind of thing.   I know I need more confidence in myself and I find that is slipping away.  I’m not even really sure what to do. Everyone says go to meetings but I know if I do more school and volunteering I will get to less meeting, but I don’t want to become addicted to AA and that is all my life is.  I am even finding the bid book study hard because it’s like ok it was written in the 1930s yet its taken as fact, and the ideas are good the steps are amazing and I can see there value but stuff has changed since then.  I can’t see AA being the be all and end all of recovery.  I wish I could take a magic pill and all this stuff would go away but then again if there was a magic pill I would probably get addicted to it and abuse it, using substances to numb my feelings is what got me in this mess in the first place.

30 days clean today :)

Today is 30 days clean and sober for me. It feels weird but good.  I have hit thirty days before but not outside of treatment. I went to church today. Church is ok, so not sure what I think about everything but I felt welcome. Went to a newcomers lunch, and apparently they have a group for people my age so I may check it out.   I feel like I have hope.  Still in between stuff not sure what to think  and worried about the future but I know I need to take it one day at a time.  I’ve been looking at the possibility of going back to school  not for another year  unless it’s a continuing education course but no idea how that will work because have no money.  I guess take it one step at a time. At this point looking into becoming an art therapist that would be my dream job but not sure how I could pull that off.   Most of the schools are in a different part of the country. Though I would love to move.  I don’t know.  I wish I could predict the future but I know I can’t.  Well 30 days for me and still need to take it one day at a time.  The desire to drink and use has left for the moment but I know I need to watch it because it could come back at any moment.  I have a bad habit of relapsing around the 30 day mark so I need to put stuff in place to stay sober and work on my recovery this week. Tomorrow is busy. I have a doctors appointment and then an art journaling course over the phone through a treatment center I went in the past and than I see a therapist and then going to another 12 step program called Celebrate Recovery, they are having a dinner ahead of time which is awesome.  Tonight will probably go to a 7 o clock AA meeting which is a Jo and Charlie big book study and listening to there taps. Yes they still play tapes.  I really like that group. I love to study, so using the big book and following it is really helpful for me. Probably why I like AA better then NA because  AA book more in-depth and has the historical background. I love history. I hope one day to use my experience, strength and hope to help others but until then I need to work on myself and my recovery. I can’t anyone if I can’t stay sober.

Day 29: Higher Power moment :)

I had a very weird day today, but I would say it was too coincidental to be chance so it must be my higher power talking, or what one of the counsellors in one of the treatment centers I was at calls “God shots”. I really like that term.  So anyways was out at a conservation area with my parents which was nice, we go out for dinner  and I texted my sponsor from AA asking if she was going to the meeting I have been going to on sat night. She wasn’t going.  I looked up and the table behind us was someone I recognized from NA. I have been going to more AA meetings recently  but I did try NA for a while. At this moment I find AA working better but maybe it’s just that I’m ready now.  I knew there was an NA meeting tonight so I thought I guess I can go to that haven’t been there in a while. So I did.  I probably wouldn’t have gone if I didn’t see this guy at the coffee shop might not have gone to the meeting at all.

So anyways I get there and there’s a lot of cars and I realize it must be a birthday meeting.  So many birthdays this month between NA/AA it’s crazy I guess a lot of people got clean and sober in September.  So anyways I get out of the car nervous because I haven’t been to this meeting in a while and look up and see someone form my AA home group. She was so glad to see me because she knew no one there. She had just come for the birthday as she knew the guy celebrating but that’s it.  I introduced her to people since I knew quite a bit of people.  She said she felt more comfortable once I was there. It was weird because I wasn’t even planning on coming to that meeting but it was like I was suppose to be there.  We celebrate the birthdays and afterwards a lady comes up to me and she is like were at “blank”  a couple years ago and I was like yes.  She said when she was there she noticed the cuts on my legs and wanted to say something (this was at a camp like 5 hours drive from where I live),  but didn’t but apparently she talked to a friend of hers and asked her to pray for me and that friend turned out to be my best friend from high school… weird.  So anyways that week was brutal for me as I had been drinking straight the week before  and my parents figured the best way to solve that was  to go away for a week. That week was brutal as I was going through withdrawal and was not a happy camper at all, hence the self harm.  The week after that ended up drinking and ended up in the psych ward and got introduced back to AA and NA. This lady\s husband has 11 years sober and was the sponsor of one of the guys celebrating. Small world. I guess she had be praying for me.  We exchanged numbers. It’s just a really small world. Even though I only have 29 days today my higher power was looking out for me back in July 2013 and had someone praying for me when I ended up in psych ward and ended up starting to go back to NA/ AA meetings.  Coincidence I think not.

Step 2 says I came to believe that a power greater then myself can restore me to sanity. I am starting to see this in my everyday life. I know there is something greater then me out there.  Turning my will completely over as in Step 3 seems really hard  but it is a process.

Day 28: Read 12 promises at birthday meeting

I went to a birthday meeting today it was good. I got asked to read the 12 promises it was good to feel involved.  It’s interesting that although I am very new to recovery I am already seeing stuff change and that I better able to handle situations that used to baffle me.  I have had more sobriety before but it’s been in treatment centers to actually have almost a month outside of a treatment center amazes me.  I have been able to stay sober despite having a huge migraine for 4 days, going to a wedding and having intruding thought of trauma and wanting to numb out.  I have been able to take buses in locations that before I couldn’t.  I was able to say no to someone when they offered me a drink for the first time in my life. Usually I’m the one trying to get other people to buy me drinks. Yet I have said no thank you.  I am definitely starting to be able to handle situations that used to baffle me.  I like sobriety. I feel much better being sober.

Excerpted from ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS Chapter 6
“INTO ACTION” (Page 83-84)

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

  1. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
  2. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
  3. We will comprehend the word serenity
  4. and we will know peace.
  5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
  6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
  7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain insight into our fellows.
  8. Self-seeking will slip away.
  9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
  10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
  11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
  12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

I am finally starting to believe that this are not extravagant promises.  I am already feeling less useless.  My relationship with a higher power is better.  I am starting to feel happiness and peace and serenity. It’s amazing and it’s only been 28 days. I can’t wait to see what is next to come. The future is scary but I know if I stay sober there is hope and anything can happen.

When they say in the program that your worst day sober is better then you best day using. I can now see how that is true.  When I first got sober that made no sense to me as I was craving so bad and going through withdrawals and I thought how can this be better then drinking/using.  Now  every time I make it through a situation that I would normally drink over I feel amazing. The feeling is more amazing then any artificial high I could get and I don’t feel hung over afterwards.  I am loving recovery, but I also know its hard work and I need to ne vigilant or I could relapse and I don’t want to go back to that hell.  People say that  religion is for people who are afraid of hell and spirituality is for people who have been to hell and don’t want to go back. I can definitely relate to that. I never want to go back to the hell of addiction it is not worth it.

 I wasn’t as nervous reading in front of a group this time.  The women loved the card I made, which was awesome.  Now I have no one to make a card for, for a while oh well I am sure I can find other people to make stuff for.  I really like making cards for people it really helps relax me.  Maybe I can find other people to make stuff for. One girl saw something I made and asked if could make her one. I might just don’t have money. Though I get my welfare check at the end of the month so maybe I can buy some craft supplies to make some and then ask for basic money to cover it. I don’t need money but if I am making more complicated stuff for people money to cover the basic costs would be nice. Cards are no big deal. People in AA were right when they say doing service is important. It helps me feel involved. This time I have followed suggestions. I got a home group, a sponsor, been doing service and reading the big book. I’m starting to find a connection with a higher power.  I know I still have to take it one day at a time because that is all I have, but for today I am clean and sober and that is what matters.

Day 27: First Big study yesterday :)

Yesterday I went to my first big book study. It was awesome. There was four women which is nice at a small size and all women.  My sponsor is leading the group at her house. We are starting at the beginning of the book and the plan is to read the first 164 pages.  We read the prologues to each addition and stopped before the doctor’s opinion. I was amazed I actually got a lot out of the prologues.  Tonight going to a meeting, another birthday 🙂 I made the card for the lady. It is my home group. Going early to set up. Excited because I missed last week due to a migraine. So happy to be feeling better and able to go to meeting.