RSS

Tag Archives: autism home

Autism: What Change May Come

It has been a cold, wet spring. I am not sure what to make of it as thoughts of ‘typical’ are replaced with an idea that things are changing and perhaps what once was will no longer be. I must prepare myself to accept what changes may come, for I know that flexibility is not natural for me – yet can be survived, perhaps even well, should I accept ahead of time that “all shall be well.”

All winter, for instance, we had our bird feeders hanging from the maple tree in the front yard, filled with seed – but the birds didn’t come. “Oh well,” I thought, “we can take the remaining seed up to the lake in the summer, and feed the squirrels and chipmunks.”

Then, a little over a week ago, the birds started coming. I have refilled the feeder twice since. True, it was meant to help them survive the winter, and there are many other things they could be eating now, but it sure is nice to watch them at a time when I am able to sit outside (even if I remain undercover, bundled in a sweater.)

It is a change, but I am okay.

There is another change that I am considering for this year. It is not so much the change itself that causes me to hesitate, but the ability (or rather inability) to express it well… the need, that is. The idea – and one vocalized as a suggestion from a friend, and confirmed as a… sensible choice from a relative – is that I not go up to “the lake” this year.

Vacation July 2016 014

The more I consider this, and the more I observe “my girls” growing calm and content in the safety of our yard, the more I come to believe this to be the most logical course for me to take. There are just too many things about that trip which cause me stress and anxiety:

  • food issues which have always lead to meltdown and humility there
  • eagles, osprey and other wildlife that actively seek to eat my girls
  • where I will sleep (tents are no longer suitable as I fear for safety for my girls)
  • how to stop my girls from barking and chasing neighbours, family, and their dogs
  • cows – yes, cows! Clara will chase them, which also becomes a danger, and they are free range up there
  • how to safely contain my girls when I go swimming, kayaking, or playing games with others up there
  • a more than 2 hour drive each way to get there in a vehicle without air conditioning (again, safety and food issues, and there is the motion sickness on top of that)

As I consider all of these things, and my anxiety grows, I return to the comment from my friend. “Wouldn’t it be better to stay home?”

Is it better to stay home? Pretty much always!

And the truth is, I live in a beautiful tourist town where my pastor frequently reminds us, “people save all year to come to a place like this.” And he is right!

My house is a short walk from the lake, and two beautiful nature trails. I live maybe a five minute drive from a really nice beach. I have a fully fenced yard, with many shade trees and bushes, a lawn swing and a freestanding hammock, lots of wildlife (though easier to keep my girls safe) right here in my own home.

My girls are happy here, and I am able to relax, so… why would I want to leave?

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Autism: Much As I Can Handle

For anyone who would have seen me the past few weeks, I believe the general opinion was that I was healthy enough to work. Day after day from early in the morning until later in the afternoon, I was out in the garden, with my girls. I was turning the soil, and pulling the weeds, grass, rocks, and lots of June bugs out of the ground, trying to get the gardens ready for planting.

The work was steady, and repetitive, and took a lot of work – though not a huge amount of focus.

At the end of each day, I was dirty, sore, and exhausted. Yet each morning, as long as the weather cooperated (and to a smaller degree when it didn’t) there I was. Working.

There was this time pressure to complete, as spring was coming fast. Well… it was spring, but… the last frost date, or whatever. We have a short growing season, and this year even shorter as it was a longer winter than normal. So things need to be planted ‘on time’, or so I have read.

Though I study the material, and try every year, I really don’t know what I am doing in the garden. But this task was pretty simple. Dig and flip the soil, crumble it in my hands, remove all weeds, grass, rocks, and bugs that look like they might eat my plants, throw the soil, worms, and ground beetles into the ‘good’ pile.

People walked by and commented, as they do. I tried to reply appropriately, and went back to work.

My ‘girls’ chased anyone passing, and ran through the garden, and very much enjoyed themselves. I gave them the attention they needed, watched for eagles (that live just down the road), fed them on their schedules, ate on mine, and went back to work.

July 13 008

Unusual to me, I was somewhat thankful for the rainy days, for then we had to stay inside. Perhaps I should have rested then, but there was so much to do inside in preparation for my mother’s arrival, that I was nearly as busy inside as out.

For three weeks I worked hard, and anyone who saw me would likely think I was well enough to get an actual job.

Though it was something I really wanted to do, however, I started to crash at about the 1.5 week mark. By 2.5 weeks, I was really pushing myself. Those last two days I almost didn’t make it through – and had it needed more work, I couldn’t have done it.

Three weeks for a job I liked, that I could do at home with my girls, and where I was mostly alone doing something for myself. Three weeks, and I crashed.

And there lies the problem of seeking another job at this point in my life. I would go into the interview having to prove to the manager that I was the best person for the job (and in the beginning, I just might be.) I would take the job with everyone hoping, and even expecting, that this would last. It would almost be like I was telling them they could count on me – for what else are we really saying when we agree to take on a job?

Yet I would know it was a lie. I would give that job everything, because I can’t give less (for I am always concerned about what people think of me) and I would try really hard to keep going. But, as has been true pretty much my entire life, and certainly from the start of high school at not quite 14 years old, the crash would come.

If it was a particularly good time in my life, and the job was one that suited me well, I might (if not asked for too much change, or too much time, or too much…) last 5 or 6 months before I fell apart. And then, if it was still something I was enjoying, and I was getting along with the people I worked with and for, I might be able to hide the fact that I was crashing from the people at work for a few months more.

At that point, no amount of effort on my part – or incentive from outside – would prevent me from falling apart even there. Meanwhile, the effort would have taken a strong toll on my marriage, my home, and my emotional state.

And that is for a good job, that I want to succeed at.

If it were any less, I would still give my all (for I can’t give less) but I would likely not last a week before I was really struggling, and in less than a month, everyone else would know it.

So here I am, doing the very best I can to take care of my home (which is of top importance for me) and after three weeks of working hard, I am crashing. Thankfully I am at home. This is my work right now. Thankfully, though I could lose the work, and have everything come crashing down around me (it happens) a few days, or even a few months of ‘crashing’ won’t be viewed as a public failure. And that is about as much as I can handle.

Yet I always feel pressure from outside that I should/could be doing more.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Autism: Dream Within a Dream Within

I had a dream, within a dream, within a dream last night. It isn’t so clear now, but I suddenly found myself in Toronto – like I had teleported there, or something. There was this… ride a bunch of us were told we had to try; a “flying experience” I think they said.

It was like Ferris wheel seating, joined together in a train like a roller coaster, but without a track. It flew above the Toronto skyline, past the top of the CN Tower. It dipped, and turned, and twisted – but the seats tipped, and only had the front bar to hold us in. It was really scary.

Then I was in an airport, watching people moving around. I saw a young couple with a baby from my church. They asked me why I was there, but I really didn’t know. I went down an escalator. There were many floors below me.

I walked into an office with glass walls, and sat down by a desk. I was having an adoption home study interview. When the interview was over, I went to another floor, which was a museum, and started looking around. Some people I went to cadets with came up to me and started talking to me. They were warning me against a person I was supposed to meet, as the person had changed from when I knew them so long ago, and it would be dangerous; but I knew the person was struggling, and I knew why. It made me sad, and I wanted to help.

I walked away from them, and was on a deserted street with a large mountain on my right side, and several shop like stands, and other things I couldn’t see so well. It was Canada’s Wonderland closed down for the season – only the colours were dulled.

I was really nervous. Scared even; for this person I was supposed to meet was coming around a corner towards me. I could hear their footsteps, though I couldn’t yet see them, and I was afraid I wasn’t strong enough for this.

There was a cold stone bench, and I sat on it to wait, trying not to look nervous. Wonderland turned into a Sea Cadet camp (which is in BC, but I was still in Toronto – this I knew) which was also deserted. The person was still coming, and I was rehearsing in my head what I would say.

For the whole dream, I kept thinking: “This should be a dream, but it feels real,” and I was sure that it was.

Then I woke up on a bench at the airport in Toronto, and I saw the couple from my church, and told them I had a dream, and I was sure it was real until I woke up on the bench in the airport. I said I didn’t remember arriving at the airport, but it was okay, because I could get home from Toronto (meaning Hamilton where my family is) and would go see my mom.

When I left them, I repeated the dream I had had before, certain that this time it was real, only to wake up in my bed with my dog crawling out from under my blankets and asking if it was time for breakfast (cute squiggly, wiggly girl!)

030

The day after wasn’t great as I was so exhausted, but I love it when my dreams are so real it confuses me while I am dreaming.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Autism: Dream House

There is this house I dream about: Victorian in style; five or six stories; large; white. From a bedroom on its top floor, there is a curved staircase behind a door which leads to the attic. The attic is filled with boxes, toys, pictures and other things from my past… and it is haunted.

The house has several stairways, and I often get lost on them. There are secret passages that lead to rooms – often rooms I spent time in as a child, like my aunt’s basement, or the playroom under her stairs.

Last night I was on the main floor. My husband and I decided that we needed more money, and would turn part of the house into a motel of sorts. We would move upstairs with our two girls, who were asleep at the time (the foster girls we tried to adopt, I presume, though they were quite young – 3 and 5 maybe – and I never saw their faces clearly, and I never thought their names.)

“But the attic…” my husband said.

“Never mind,” I responded, “we just won’t go in there.” (In the past dreams, I have often gone in. It is always haunted, and the spirits follow me into the room below.)

As we were speaking, an agent showed up with clients who wanted to rent the two bedrooms on the main floor. (I clearly knew there were two bedrooms on the main level, and two bedrooms on the second level to rent, with a bathroom on each floor.) I hadn’t had time to make the beds, or change the sheets, or anything. My husband got the girls up and brought them upstairs.

I explained to the clients that we had only just decided to rent the rooms out, and I hadn’t had a chance to clean yet – but if they could give me a couple of hours, I would have it ready for them. The sheets would be changed, and the blankets as well, because I didn’t believe in sharing unwashed blankets between guests (as many motels and hotels do) though I did worry as I had quilts on the beds which would get ruined with many washings.

004

While my dream house stays the same between dreams, what I am doing there often changes. I am not sure where the house came from – the style is somewhat like the older houses in the city where I grew up, though this one has white siding, where those ones were all brick. I have stood outside of it a few times, but for the most part I spend the entire dream inside.

Most of the time I am in the room with the staircase that leads to the attic. It has a bay window beside the door. The room itself is empty of furniture, though sometimes I bring things down from the attic to sort through (which I am never actually able to get far with in my dreams, for as I mentioned, the attic is haunted.)

Though I have dreamed of this house at least since my teen years, it has recently become more frequent that I find myself there, and I begin to wonder why this is. I suppose the motel idea is due to the fact that my last job was working both the front desk and housekeeping part of a motel. I am sure that 4 rooms would be much easier to maintain than 35 – however I do not see myself running a bed and breakfast; I don’t have the personality for that.

I wonder if I will ever find this house during my waking hours, or if I will ever find out why the attic is haunted. Until then, I suppose I will just spend my nights exploring the house, and getting to know it more.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Autism: Dreams of Home

Last night I dreamed that I was moving back to my hometown. I have dreams about that a lot! I guess it has to do with my regret for moving so far away from home, and my constant longing to see my mother. It isn’t that I don’t like the place that I now live. If it weren’t for family, there would be no comparison.

I love the town I have lived in for the past sixteen years. It is beautiful – lakes, mountains, hills, trees… no comparison. Where I am from has a lake as well, but that lake is surrounded by factories, where this one is surrounded by nature. My hometown is crowded, and busy, and dirty. Where I now live only has about 20,000 people, and is nowhere near a big city.

005

Here I have my church – the only one I have ever called my own. I have been attending that church for sixteen years, and just about everyone that I know goes there. Here I met my husband, raised my son, learned to drive… Here I had my first job, owned my first house, grew my first garden… Here I grew in faith, and here I learned of my Autism.

Yet so many nights I dream of moving ‘home.’ For years and years I have dreamed of moving back, and in all of those dreams, despite the large size of the city, I am almost always wandering along the same street, on the same city block. There, where I spent most of my highschool years. There where I lived when my son was born. There where my grandmother had moved the last time I had visited her before she died.

I walk along the street, searching for my new home. It has to be there. It cannot be anywhere else. One road, one block, within a huge city – and that is where I need to be. I spent seven years of my life on or near that part of the city. Seven years that encompassed the time from the beginning of highschool until just after my son’s second birthday. I guess those years meant a lot to me, for it is always where I return.

Last night, as I was walking along that road in my dreams, I met with a couple from my church. They were there, on the parking lot of a plaza on the corner, as part of their vacation. When I said, “Hello,” they asked me what I was doing there. “This is where I am from,” I told them. “I am looking for a place to live.” Then I continued on my way.

Often in these dreams, I have ended up in the city impulsively. I suddenly found myself on an airplane, flying ‘home’ despite the fact that I had to work the next day, or had someone to meet. I am there thinking, “I am not supposed to be here,” and it causes me to panic. Still I am there to find a place to live, and find that place I must.

Always I have it in my mind that once I have found a place to live, I will go to visit with my mom. Sometimes I get that far in the dream, and hop on a bus, and go for those visits (with my mom, and my brother, and my niece and nephews) but mostly I just know that is what I am going to do.

In these dreams, my husband doesn’t come with me. He usually doesn’t even know I have gone. It isn’t that I intended to leave him behind, just… suddenly I was on a plane going home. There was no time to think of him. So while I am searching for a home, and noting that I will visit with my mom after, my anxiety grows. Sometime I will have to call my husband, and let him know that I am almost the full width of the country away from him, and I wonder… will he come to live here, too?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: