The meeting today went…..?

I went to the meeting with the mental health employment helping people today.

It was pretty much what I thought might happen.

I showed up 3 minutes early and waited outside of this apartment building which housed the office on the first floor. The fellow pulled into the parking lot 1 minute later. He opened the door to the building and let us in. The building reeked of cigarette smoke. He unlocked the office door. We went in and sat down. He looked at my resume, said it looked pretty good – he’s seen lots worse. I gave him a short run down of my employment history and stated I’m having a problem moving past my anxiety to find work. He asked what kind of work I wanted. I said maybe office – not sure – what did he think? He said let’s look at the job boards then. He emailed me a few links. He said I shouldn’t have too much trouble finding work eventually. He told me to not settle for work unsuitable for me and to be sure I like the company I’m considering working for. He said he sees people way worse off then me. He said there will be lots of data entry behing-the-scenes jobs out there for me. He said the CMHA (mental health association) aren’t taking any new clients right now but to let him know if I want to become a client once they’re new funding kicks in in a few weeks. I’m not sure what more could happen if I became a client.

I was extremely uncomfortable the whole meeting.

27 minutes later I was out the door.

That’s about it.

What now?

 

Taking a step tomorrow…where it will lead, I don’t know.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at 1:00 at the Canadian Mental Health Association in regards to their employment program.

I saw an ad at my local recreation centre a couple of month ago. The gist of it was if anxiety or depression is getting in the way of one’s seeking/obtaining employment, they say they can help. I mulled this ad over (yes, anxiety gets in the way of EVERYTHING I do or try to do) and mentioned it to my husband last week. It was a combination of my agonizing “What should I do with the rest of my life” ruminations, guilt over not having a job and making money and recent increased financial pressures, due to the fact that my husband’s new job came with a lower starting salary and has set us back around 5 years.

Just in case you’re new here, I left my last part-time job 5 years ago because my girls had requested to be homeschooled and I couldn’t work and do that at the same time. I continued to work an evening here and there doing medical transcription until we finally moved too far away for me to walk there in the evenings, since I have a visual impairment and can’t drive in the dark. I had also run a small Etsy shop for 10 years but closed that up last fall, as the anxiety I was experiencing over it was becoming inordinate. I had hoped that something might fill its place once I let it go but that hasn’t happened.

Fast forward to now: we’re still rural but only 15 minutes’ drive from town now and it’s summer so I can be out later. In 2 months we will be moving into a community with public transit and places within walking distance so my chances of having a part-time job there would be much better.

However, lately I have been more crippled than ever by anxiety. I feel stuck. I read the job ads and fall into despair. Here is the email I sent to the association:

Hi there,

I saw your ad at the Community Centre about anxiety/depression causing problems getting work.

I am 47 and quit my last part-time job doing medical transcription 5 years ago to homeschool my 2 girls. The homeschooling has just ended, as my daughter has graduated grade 12 and now I am looking into job opportunities.

I am quiet, introverted and dependable. I have struggled with anxiety and some mental health and other issues (ADHD/suspected autism) all my life. Over the last few years I have found the anxiety has been much worse.

The thought of finding employment at this point in my life is very daunting, but I would still like to try. However, I don’t seem to be able to find anything on job boards that would suit me. I also have a mild visual impairment which also makes my choices somewhat limited – I am not able to see and read fine print in a quick manner. My anxiety and additional executive functioning issues makes some jobs not suited to me either. The “energetic, outgoing person able to multitask in a face-paced environment” is the absolute worst job for me.

I have always thrived in quiet jobs in a back room with a pile of work to get through and transcription and bookkeeping were things I have done successfully in the past.

It seems most jobs out there that aren’t McDonald’s require degrees, which I don’t have. I did take some accounting courses but learned everything else on the job.

I’m not sure that I want to get back into office work – maybe. I have no recent experience/references and am not great at fast paced jobs or working with the public.

I am hoping there still might be something suitable out there for me – I just don’t know where to look or how. I hope I might be able to get some help from the CMHA?

So….I’m going there tomorrow. I am very nervous about it (of course). I have tried to prepare myself mentally as best as I can but I honestly don’t know what to expect. If they just whip out the same job boards I’ve been looking at and send me on my way, that will be a total bust. However, that doesn’t really make sense, as I don’t need help to do that. I can look at the boards just fine by myself – I just can’t get past them. I realize that they will want/need to know my sordid history and mental struggles and these are things I’m obviously going to have to divulge. Otherwise, there is no point in even going. This is scary but I feel in a place right now where something has to happen. I am stuck. I am struggling. I am unhappy. I am beyond frustrated.

I am afraid it’s only going to get worse.

But there is one tiny of glimmer of hope that I am reticent to entertain (it would fall into the too-good-to-be-true category): that something positive might come out of this in regards to my autism. I have mentioned it to them in my email. I had to. I believe this is at the root of all my anxiety ‘symptoms’ and other issues and I know this is where this needs to go. If they just try to tell me how to manage my anxiety symptoms, suggest a doctor’s visit, medication and another support group, it will be another appointment like so many I’ve already had over the years. However, this will be the first appointment where I will actually be telling them what the root cause is.

But then the fear is also there. The main fear I have is that they won’t listen and will just label me as crazy. I’m afraid knowledge-wise they will be 50 years in the past. I’m afraid they’ll tell me I don’t look, don’t seem, don’t act, am too smart, and am too old to be… autistic.

I’m afraid I’ll know more about autism than they do.

But I hope not. And I obviously have some hope or I wouldn’t be going at all.

(I didn’t want to post about this beforehand because I wanted to see how it went and then post or not post after the fact. But, here’s me putting myself out there anyway.)

I’ll let you know how it goes – wish me luck.

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I suck at making YouTube videos.

If you want, for only $12.99, I’ll lead you through my 5-step program on how you can suck at YouTube as well.
Just Kidding. Not about me sucking – just about the 5-step program.

So, I’ve been feeling pretty much like a cross between this:

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the this the last couple of months:

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As a result, I haven’t been writing much lately.

I tried to make a couple of YouTube video last month. I decided, after editing, that they sucked. So yesterday I decided to give it another try. I was feeling a little inspired…a good thing.

I made 2 attempts at videos yesterday – one in my van and the other in my bedroom later. The video in my van ends mid-sentence with me exclaiming “F*** it!”

I then started the van and went home.

Once I was home, I waited until my daughter was in the shower (so she wouldn’t hear me talking) and went into my bedroom and made another video about how I was frustrated about not being able to make videos. Even that one sucked.

Awhile ago I applied for a Craigslist gig writing scripts for another YouTube channel. I sent in my ‘test’ script. I never heard anything back.

So here I will submit my own script for today’s video that I DO NOT intend to upload. Maybe it’s more of a transcript but you get the idea – let’s not be nitpicky here.

So without further ado – I submit to you the transcript for my LAST YouTube video attempt:

Scene opens with me sitting in my bedroom. A headboard, bed, closet and closed door are in view.

Me:  “So today, I decided I was going to try to make a YouTube video. I’ve tried a couple of times already and (hits hand on desk) they haven’t really worked out the way I wanted to. Um…I did my thing, I did my talk, I got my husband to watch them for me and I said “you know, honey, just give me your honest opinion – if they’re terrible, just tell me, (scratches cheek, smooths hair), Cuz I don’t wanna put these online if they’re terrible.”

So he watched them, watched each of them and said “Um…maybe you could have a topic.” and I said “I… thought I had a topic?” and then he said “Well, maybe you could have a nicer backdrop.” Like background of the room. And I said “I can’t!  (pans camera to the wall you can’t see which is lined with boxes up to 7 feet high)

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Because we live in this stupid! ugly! small! 950 sq ft rental for 4 people and we have boxes on the walls and there are stupid curtains on the closet and this is just the way it is, so I don’t have a pretty backdrop. And, I have to sit here and try to look at this stupid camera (points to camera with a look of consternation) this tiny little thing right here. (sits back, tosses hair.) It’s just all very distracting. I tried to have a topic, I had things written down and I still just ended up staring out the window and losing my train of thought and so I though “Okay, fine. FORGET IT!! F*** IT!”

(calms down, sighs and regroups)But I tried again today. Sat in my car, tried to find a nice quiet parking lot. I drove everywhere and everywhere and everywhere and I couldn’t find a place and finally I found a place and I sat there and I started again and I was just like “Ah, this just feels so fake.” I’m just not the kind of person who can go:

(puts on a  baby voice)”Hi guys! It’s Candy here! And today I’m going to teach you how to make bubble angel….floating fairy dust for your pink unicorns”

“I’m also not the kind of person who can go “Hey, it’s Dr. Joe from iknoweverything.com and today I’m going to tell you everything about everything – 5 things you needed to know about this and 10 things about that.”

(After this, I ramble on for another full minute that I’m too lazy to transcribe about how I feel that it’s all been talked about, it’s all been said. I just wanted to make some videos to explain my experiences with learning I’m autistic at age 47 and I can’t even keep my thoughts together to make these stupid, flippin’ videos. Fine, I guess it’s not meant to be. And I end with)

“So, that’s what I wanted to say today. I wanted to say that I suck at YouTube and…..that’s it.”

 

ps. I didn’t actually say the F-word. I only said Fudge and Flippin’ but you don’t know that.

pps. I hope this post made you laugh.

 

Crawling out of the dark tunnels

I am in a dark tunnel myself right now. I am finding it very hard to write about anything of substance because of it.
This post spoke to me.
So here you go…

Yesterday was riddled with crippling fear.

We all get nightmares but there are very few of them that make you scream in sleep. And when it involves your loved ones it’s nearly impossible to deal with it.

For hours I was shaking. 10 hours I was constantly fighting the fear trying in vain to at least get up from my bed.

Every theory, every survival tip, my own formulae had failed me.

Yesterday I could check almost all the symptoms of ptsd.

But I am sitting here. Typing. Alive. Still sane.

Because not for a single minute I stopped trying.

I didn’t stop trying to save myself. I used whatever I had to fight and survive. Even though until the end of the day it all looked like a big huge failed attempt.

First thing, I looked for somebody I can talk to and that somebody needs to understand me…

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Mandala update: End of Part 3 (Sophie’s Universe)

Well, we have been plugging right along on our projects, Hannah and I, and we now proudly display to you our progress to the end of Part 3 on our Sophie’s Universe CAL Mandalas.

Here is mine (it measures about 24″ right now):

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and here is Hannah’s:

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Aren’t these impressive designs?

We will continue to plug along and post updates. I’ve just started on Part 4 yesterday, which begins to square up the pattern. Fun!

My first Mandala.

Further to the possible occasional mention of my crochet addiction, I am please to announce that I am starting my first Mandala!

I’ve been wanting to make one for awhile – they are absolutely beautiful – but I can get very easily overwhelmed with patterns, eyesight issues, colors, types of yarn, amounts etc. and then guess what happens?

Nothing.

But since I’ve been doing the Seaside Stash Busting Blanket Crochet Along, with 4 – 6 rows being doled out each week, and finding this a good way to work for me, I decided to google other Crochet Alongs, specifically of the Mandala variety. I landed on this fantabulous project (Sophie’s Universe CAL 2015):

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Yowzers! I love it and Dedri even has two other color examples she’s made:

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and

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I don’t know about you but I think these are splendiferous so I decided to go for it. I am also twisting my 17-year-old daughter’s arm (who has just graduated from high school and suffers from the similar project-starting paralysis as me) into joining me. We are using worsted weight yarn so our finished blankets/mats should be around 6 feet by 6 feet.

So, yesterday we got our yarn stashes out, figured out how many colors we needed (11) and decided what sort of color schemes we wanted to do. She wants to do something similar to the last one pictured and has a good supply of different tans, blues, greens and orange so just needed to get some cream.

I, however, decided that I want to make mine to match the colors in our living room rug and couches which are greens, burgundy, tans, browns and a little black. I needed to purchase 4 new colors of yarn to go with the existing colors I had in my stash and I did!

So, once again I went to the website, copied the instructions and pasted them into Word and blew the font up to 18. Then I printed out the color suggestion for each style and changed them to the colors I’m using. Today I sat down and quickly worked rows 1 – 8. The instructions are perfect and very easy to understand, with lots of tutorials and links etc.

So, without further ado – here are the first 8 rows of my first Mandala blanket:

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Yipee!

The end of an era: we’re done homeschooling.

Wow, just like that. When I wondered if my daughter would EVER finish her last assignment for her last class for Grade 12 (which she’d been dragggggging out since February) she declared to me yesterday with a tiny smile that she had submitted her last assignment.

I’ve been waiting for this day. More for her sake. She can be a big procrastinator so usually each May I watch her fall into a self-inflicted state of dread and panic over finishing up her courses. She’s been doing school at home since grade 8 (her choice) and I’ve been the facilitator of that. We have been enrolled in an online school so she has had access to teachers and most of her courses have been taken online to ensure that they met the requirements for graduation in our province.

Her “Dogwood” certificate is on its way.

But the realization that this is all coming to an end has been brewing for awhile in me now. That whiff of change in the air. That ‘what next’? that follows an ending to something. My job as her homeschool facilitator/motivator/whip-cracker is over. That’s it. I knew it was coming. My job is finished. Just like that.

I feel this change-related anxiety/Twilight Zonishness every school year. Getting back into it is an adjustment and it takes me a few weeks to settle in and figure out what life looks like during school times. Then when school is done for the year it takes me a few weeks to settle in and figure out what life looks like during summer holidays

I still have one daughter in public high school. She’s just finishing up Grade 10 (provided she passes her courses) but dropping her off at school each morning is mostly the extent of my daily participation in her schooling.

So now that homeschooling is over forever there will be an adjustment again – a much bigger one – how will life look now that this major focus is gone?

We shall see.

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I have a thing for making blankets.

Okay, it’s Show and Tell time.

I’ve been making baby blankets, big blankets and lap blankets for years now. Today, I am going with my mom and daughter to our local Senior’s home to donate 4 of my latest blankets. They are lap blankets that measure around 32″ wide by 44″ long. Just enough to tuck in over a lap but not big enough to get caught up in wheelchairs etc.

Now, in terms of my blankets, I love making them but since I am on the shy side I have been giving them to my mom (who is not shy) and she has been donating them to a couple of places around town for me. I am the drop-in-an-unmarked-bag-by-the-backdoor-at-midnight type. However, today I am going in with my mom and daughter because I’m interested in (possibly potentially tentatively) volunteering. Or at least finding out about volunteering. There are lots of things to do there and not enough people to do them. I also play the piano and they would love for me (anyone) to play there. I LOVE playing. However, I have incredible “stage fright”. I don’t throw up or anything but my hands shake so badly and my mind goes blank – sometimes – not all the time. This makes playing in public a little daunting. But I am thinking about it. (Can I pull a Jim Morrison and play with my back to the room AND be behind some kind of curtain?) I’d love to quit living in so much fear, thus I’m thinking about it. And I’m going in today.

I took some pictures with my phone (sorry if they’re not so great) so you can ooooh and aaaah over them. 😀

These are the 4 I’m taking in today:
(They are made with 7″x7″ squares with a 1/2″ seam and then seams on the top are cut rag-quilt style. The back is lined with a solid color)

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2 Like this camo one

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And then here is a sampling of some of the baby and lap crocheted blankets I’ve made:
(as long as I can keep finding homes for them, I’ll keep making them!)

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I will leave you with this picture of Sarah, our chicken, looking in our patio window at our old house. She used to fly out of the chicken yard most days to lay her egg in the wood shed and visit us.
I miss our chickens.

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Yes….I am still alive.

Just in case you were wondering.
You probably weren’t, but just in case you were. (but just in case you weren’t – don’t feel bad.) 😀

But, I wanted to pop back in here because a friend mentioned to me today that they’d noticed I hadn’t posted lately and this is true.

In fact, my snake-peeling post was dated May 24th – 2 weeks ago! I’ve been posting several times a week since December so 2 weeks is a pretty long time between posts.

Things have been up – yes. “Life” has been happening and not in the greatest of ways lately. Until today, I had no desire to post anything and didn’t know if I would again.

I’ve been dipping in and out of the abyss of sadness over the last month or so. Some days are okay, some days are better and then some days I cry a lot. I know that I and my family have undergone major changes in the last 4 years – selling house, buying house, the end of the homesteading dream, job changes, a failed business, crawling out from a monumental amount of debt, selling house again, buying a house not-yet-built which requires us to live in a tiny suite packed with boxes for 6 months, job changes again, family struggles, teenager troubles which got very scary.

So I get it – lots of stresses. Then around 7 months ago, discovering the roots of my neurodivergence and re-processing my life through a completely different lens – that’s been something. Mostly good but some not good.
Yes, these are enough to put anyone over the edge now and then.

But last week my 16-year-old daughter’s friend committed suicide.

And I just hit the wall with everything.

I. Just. Can’t. Even.

My heart breaks for this world and the pain that so many of us endure. I hate that there is so much suffering. I know that there is but I still hate it.

I hate that this boy was in such pain that he just wanted to end it all and so did.
I hate that his family and friends are suffering through the aftermath.
I hate that we all lose. He lost. We lost.

None of this can be swept under the carpet by some neat and tidy platitude.

I am just struck with the stark reality of life. There are a lot of scared parents in my community right now and my husband and I are two of them.

But I am still here and we still live and breathe.

So we keep going.

I will keep going.

During the last while I have also been mulling over topics I ‘wish’ I could post about here but don’t. I have entertained the idea of starting another blog completely separate from this one and I had decided on a title for it: “The Neurodivergent Theist”.

I have withheld a piece of myself from you guys. because I am afraid that you won’t like me anymore. Even on this blog, I am still masking, hiding because nobody wants to be disliked. I am hypersensitive. My skin is so thin that it’s practically not even there.

I live in fear that people online won’t like me and I live in fear that people in the real world won’t like me. I’ve been afraid since I was a little girl and, at 47, I’m still afraid. Don’t laugh – I am.

But, hey, we can all change and that is what I’d like to do.

When I set out to write this blog I wanted to be honest and I have been. There have been things I’ve left out but what I have written about is 100% completely honest.

Just like I mask my neurodivergence in real life so that I appear less “weird” or immature (not sure that it works all the time) I’ve been hiding my belief in God online because I see how unpopular my beliefs can be and I want to protect myself. I don’t want to get hurt. I guess in that way I’m being selfish. I know my beliefs influence every post I write because they are at the foundation of how I feel about life and what I believe but still…have I hidden it well?

So, in the interest of honesty and wanting to include the “Christian” side of myself in my blog (it IS my blog after all!) here I will go. If you feel the need to unfollow me because of this so be it – but I hope you won’t. I mean, you already know me – most of me, anyway.

I am NOT an evangelist – let’s get that clear right away (how can someone terrified of other people be an evangelist???!!??) but I do believe in God and since I am neurodivergent I feel/know that I have a different experience than the mainstream in regards to this.

This is what I want to talk about because I also know that there are others out there that don’t ‘get’ it in the traditional sense either. Does that make us ‘bad christians’? I have certainly felt like a failure as a Christian and have quit ‘church’ multiple times and even deconverted completely from Christianity and religion around 10 years ago. But I came back because at the end of the day I still believe in God. Not the God that whacks you around and gives you a list of 1000 things you can’t possibly do. But the God that loves us all and, for reasons I can’t understand fully, made us and wants to know us.

If that makes me a Bad Christian then so be it. I’ll wear that.

I don’t convert. I don’t evangelize. I don’t debate. I don’t make self-righteous comments on other blogs. I don’t understand parts of the bible. I don’t see God the same way that neurotypical people around me seem to. But I still believe in my own way.

I accept people. Life is complicated. Humans are complicated.

I am once again a square peg that doesn’t fit into the round hole.

So that’s what’s been going on lately.

To leave with you with something lighter, here is a beautiful picture my mom took and sent me today. These grow wild along the sides of the road in our rural areas and smell wonderful.