>Work, or the lack thereof

>Looking for work = sucks. A lot.

I just graduated magna cum laude from a top college, degree in Elementary Education. Important note, though, is that I am NOT certified to teach. I cannot be a teacher. I was unable to complete my student teaching… I only lasted about 2 weeks. Can you say sensory and social overload? It was way beyond me. I knew going in that it was NOT going to work if I didn’t have some accomodations, but since the school wasn’t willing to work with me, that’s exactly what happened. That said, I do have a college degree.

So, up to this point, I’ve put it 54 job applications all around the city. Due to seizures, I can’t drive right now, so I have to be local enough that my mom can leave work to drop me off/pick me up from work. Places that require a lot of socialization/conversation just wouldn’t work, as I kind of shut down and stop talking after an hour or so of that. My ideal job is the local pet store, not a chain, where I got my dear kitty. I would also LOVE a bookstore (good call, Jess!), but nothing seems to be hiring. Right now, my best hope is Walgreens. It’s very close to home, fairly quiet, and small enough that I won’t get distracted/lost like I do in grocery stores. I’m hoping for maybe 20-25 hours and to work up from there. Hopefully, I will be able to stay on my parents insurance as a “disabled” (don’t get me started on that word!) adult and be able to maintain part time for at least a few months. Full time would result in a very non-functioning Lydia.

On my best days, I could definitely do things like teach in a pre-school or something similar. But on the bad days, my focus and my ability to respond to people is so bad that it would be hard to work at all. The more I push too hard, the more bad days I have, hence not wanting to jump into full time work. I’m hoping that for the next year or so, I’ll be able to get used to working consistently at a job that I can do on ANY day. I’ll keep my brain occupied by reading in my free time. Then, once I have worked up to full time and know that I can handle it, I want to go back to school so that I can do something in the the sciences/research/working with animals, something that allows me to do my own thing without a ton of interaction. To be honest, that’s actually my mom’s plan, that I completely agree with… but I couldn’t really come up with a plan like that on my own. Oh, executive function… how I want you.

On another, unrelated note, Elsie’s clicker training is… making her fat, and not much else… so far. She already knows a handful of words/phrases (upstairs, shower, what’s the kitty say?, bedtime), but I want to see if she can learn to give the same response, every time. As long as she’s getting treats, she is up for it!

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>Can’t. Contain. Myself.

>There is something that I absolutely must get out of my head.

I WANT A DOG. I REALLY, REALLY WANT A DOG.

Yes, they are cute when they’re puppies, but then they grow up. Yes, they require long walks and baths and feeding and picking up poop and grooming. Yes, yes, yes. I’m not 8 years old; I am 21. I am capable of all of those things, if they are written on my schedule board and part of my everyday life. The cute little puppy stage is great, but what I really want is a companion.

I want to go for long walks, twice a day, everyday. I want to sit on the floor and read with him. I want to work hard to teach him sit, stay, wait, okay. I want to socialize him with other dogs from day 1. For the next 10 years, I will have a best friend. MY dog. I will care for him because he will care for me. People don’t make any sense sometimes, but animals always do.

I’ve NEVER asked for a dog until a few months ago, when the answer was, “No way, not in my house. Do whatever you want when you move out.” Okay, but in the foreseeable future, I won’t be moving out, because I go from “hanging in there” to “completely disfucntional” when I’m alone for any period of time. Living on my own is not an option. It almost feels like I’m being punished for not being able to live on my own yet. Given that I do the vacuuming and cleaning, the shedding issue should be, well, a non-issue. I would not get the dog until I have a steady job, so the food and vet bill will be entirely on me. I will walk him and brush him daily. So why, WHY, is it so horrible to have a dog in the house? It would certainly mean one much less monster-feeling, sometimes monster-acting, daugther.

I’m trying so, so, so hard to contain myself and not even bring it up to my mom. But being home all day, everday, by myself doesn’t help, because I do get lonely here. I don’t know if I can keep myself from exploding it until I move out. Sometimes, it causes IT (er, see previous post?) to start coming out, because I just can’t keep it in. But mom said no, and no means no. I need to be patient. Being patient has NEVER been so hard.

So, now that YOU are convinced that I should have a dog… well, that gets me nowhere. I’m trying to stay busy by attempting to clicker-train my cat 🙂

>What’s the word???

>There’s this… thing… that is ruling my life. I can remember it back to being two years old, and although it has been better at times, it has always been there. I’m not trying to be deceptive here. I really don’t know what that thing is.

Frustration, maybe? Anxiety? Um… anger? I don’t know. I can’t figure out what causes it most of the time… sometimes, being bumped unexpectedly, or someone else being in the kitchen while I am trying to do things can set it off. Other times, it seems to come out of nowhere. It makes me cry, or yell, or want to scream. Sometimes, I even feel violent, usually toward myself. WHY?

I know what makes it better: medication, animals, or to an extent, my weighted blanket. I prefer the animals route, but at times I resort to the medication (a fast-acting, low dose sedative). But what is it?! How can anyone help, if I can’t tell them what it is or even what it feels like? It does change my behavior, I think, so my mom may be able to tell when I feel that way… but she doesn’t seem to pick that up very well. If I can’t tell them what causes it or what it is, how can anyone make it go away?

I think that “frustrated” is the word for how I feel about the situation. I’m wondering, though, if autism is the reason that I can explain it. Beyond “I feel bad,” I’m stuck. Recent changes in my medications make me think that the increase it IT could be related, but who knows. Certainly, not I. I’m so close to just begging the psychiatrist to FIX IT!! She is an autism specialist, shouldn’t she know what IT is?!

Sigh. In the meantime, where’s my kitty?

Catching Up

How I Got Here
I grew up with a lot of frustration and misunderstanding. I was a tantrum-ing, has-to-be-my-way, zero-to-sixty kind of kid. Academically, I did extremely well and was tested for the gifted program in first grade, so no one really looked into the issues I did have. School reports say that I would only do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it; refused to work to my potential; lazy, forgetful, disorganized, inattentive. I had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and  other things like OCD and ADD (minus the H) were mentioned, but no one was quite sure what the problem was. I was annoyed, because a lot of what they said seemed wrong even then, but I didn’t know how to tell anyone what really was wrong, so it came out as shutting down or melting down and being angry with my family for not understanding.

Finally, at 21, I was diagnosed with ASD (the exact diagnosis on the spectrum has flip flopped and now depends on which chart you’re reading). Whether or not I had a language delay is up for debate, because while my articulation was good and vocabulary was great, looking at old home videos, I was so disengaged from everyone else. So, no speech delay, but using language to communicate was a big challenge.
Where I Am
I am living at home with my parents, trying to get my feet on the ground. It’s a struggle for me to do the basic things I need to do to get by, like taking my medications and remembering appointments. My mom is helping me a lot. Health insurance is the Big Thing right now. I am, as of the other day, off my father’s plan and have to fend for myself. Right now, there is no way that I could manage a full time job. Heck, right now, I can’t FIND a job! I can stay on COBRA, but it’s really expensive, and without a job, that’s pretty tough. My mom will pay if she has to, but I’d hate that. We’re all hoping that I can stay on my mom’s insurance through a waiver that allows a disabled adult to stay on the parent’s insurance. That would be ideal. In the meantime, I continue to desperately search for a job that is 1) very close, as I lost my license due to seizures therefore needing rides, and 2) something I can manage (i.e., grocery stores, as most restaurants are completely out because I would be overloaded and overwhelmed).

Where I’m Going
In the next few months, I hope to find a job and get used to working 20-25 hours a week. I hope to get my psych meds corrected, so that I’m not such an anxious, frustrated mess. I hope to get OFF Klonopin, which calms me down but makes me “act autistic.” I’m always right on the edge of keeping it together, so… I hope that I can.