Sunday, October 4, 2009

Breaks in the bathroom

What a weekend! I've successively made it through all of my obligations, I'm happy to say.

I got home from work Friday night and said "hi" across the house to the company, who was sitting down to eat dinner. I ran upstairs to change. I worried that they would try to hug me, and took a little longer than I needed to getting dressed. I hate when company hugs me. I don't even like it when my mom hugs me. Hugs are good, but only when I ask for them... and then, they have to be good and tight, or they're just painful. Company certainly doesn't know that, and they always do it wrong. I guess I sent sufficient "don't hug me" signals, because I didn't get any hugs. Whew.

It turns out that my mom's cousin loves cats. Loves, as in, she has 6 of them! We talked cats. We pet my cat. We talked to my cat. We talked more about cats. Cats, cats, cats. It was great. I told her how I love to sit and pet Elsie, but that Elsie sometimes likes to be her own cat. I said that someday I'd like to have a boy Maine Coon, which are known for being super loving and affectionate toward their humans. She said, "Well, if and when I see one in the shelter, I'll get him and bring him up to you." I told her my mom would kill her. Anyway, this company turned out to be alright!

Yesterday, Saturday, was such a long day. I had my morning counseling appointment, during which we discussed the ridiculousness that is the DSM-IV, along with the people who use it. People just don't fit into the little boxes that they've drawn! And then, many doctors like to re-draw the boxes of their own accord, complicating things even further. After a 4 1/2 hour shift at work during which I was sufficiently bored to tears, we went out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. The waitress was fussy at me about ordering not-quite-from-the-menu. They had barbeque fish, and they had grilled chicken; why couldn't I have barbeque chicken? Gosh. Then, because I need to stay gluten free, she fussed about the potatoes. She insisted that they contained gluten, because "potatoes are made of gluten!" Sigh. Okay, thanks for your advice, I'd like a baked potato. I had noise issues in the restaurant and spent a lot of time stimming. My stepdad kept telling me, "Put your hands down." I wanted to tell him to shove it, to be perfectly honest, but I didn't. It's so hard to be out with a dozen people and unable to follow/hear any of the conversation. I just can't handle background noise at all.

I started to text Leigh and did that throughout the meal, and that kept me from panicking about the noise. I stayed calm enough that I even went to someone's house afterward "for dessert" (although I couldn't eat the dessert). I did take one "break in the bathroom," though. Now, that's not to be confused with a bathroom break. I take sensory breaks in the bathroom wherever I go. I always worry that people will wonder what takes me so long. Nothing at all. I just sit and hold my ears for a few minutes. It's wonderful! Amusement parks, restaurants, church... I do it everywhere.

Today, I had my first meeting with the autism group. We met at a coffee shop downtown, where we tookover the bathroom and had it to ourselves to talk. I met a girl who is 25 and has HFA (in case anyone is wondering, "mild autism" or "high functioning autism" describes me best). She has a degree in accounting but works at the dollar store. She lives very close by and works just down the street from me. Her boyfriend, who also came, doesn't have autism. She's really nice, and I hope we can be friends. I also met a guy who is 23 and works at a gas station. He can drive, which he loves. He has Asperger's. He asked me lots of questions, from what I like to make for dinner to what kind of trash bags we use in the house. It was nice to sit and talk to someone, and I really liked him. I met a guy who is 27 and was diagnosed at a very young age with classic autism, told that he wouldn't amount to much. While he was certainly one of the more severe folks there, and his autism is evident immediately, he went to college and now works with an MHMR group as a one-on-one social worker and lives alone. My mom even met another guy's mom, and they got to walk around the shopping district and talk about us. I'm glad my mom got to meet someone. It's good for both of us to know that there are people like me out there, I think.

Anyway, there you have my weekend and how I managed it. I hope yours was as enjoyable as mine. I also hope that it included a cat :)


  1. My weekend didn't include a cat. It included a dog I love very much and he was tied to his clothesline barking. He was obviously disturbed.

    Good on you for successfully managing it - and for finding out that your Mum's cousin loves cats. Hope you get that Manx Coon.

    Bathroom breaking is a very normal thing. I used to use it myself, sometimes to get out of things (what might be called 'task avoidance/work avoidance' rather than overwhelms/meltdown management per se: when I am overloaded, the last I want is to be confined in a small space).

    Last, the group. Great to meet these three through your writing, and good to hear about the woman who works across from you in the dollar store.

    Probably your mum and his mum were talking more about themselves than about you. I hope that was so. But then that has two sides.

  2. SOunds like you more than got through. I am very proud of you (from a distance I feel rather protective of you!).

    I think the group sounds really positive and I hope you get to be good friends with these people.

  3. Delighted to say I had two cats in my weekend both competeing for my attention and both being outdone by the dog!

    I would love to hear from your mum - just because it would be great to have her perspective on things and how she found her way through various stages. Could you ask her if she could contact me? Maybe through my blog -

    Great to hear one of your visitors was a cat person and even better to hear you not only got through the weekend but had a good time too.

  4. yeahhhhh get your mom to write something!

  5. Amanda, my mom can definitely navigate the computer, but the blog scene might be a little bit over her head. Can you email me (, and I'll give her your e-mail address? She'd be totally happy to talk to you via e-mail. That, she can figure out. I don't want to confuse her. She's just working on Facebook right now :)

  6. GMail is really good (I don't use it myself, as I don't have an account).

    Social networking is something else again.

    Having said that, people like your Mum master it every day.

    And it's getting easier to use all the time, particularly as Web 2.0 is mainstreamed.

    In general the mum-and-daughter construct can be good. In the last few days I have been reading a blog called Class of 2008: the real life in the twenties (Sarah Ely). In recent times, the blog has talked about the dangers of social networking, particularly for siblings and parents.