urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I got a pretty bad PTSD attack, finally replying to a comment on the epilepsy post, and thought I would write a little about it.

I've talked about the medical PTSD before, but this might help illustrate how that kind of thing can happen. A few days ago, rather coincidentally when I was thinking about needing to see the GP to try to get my blood sugar managed better and try to get a neurologist referral, I ran across the NAS Patients with autism spectrum disorders: information for health professionals sheet, which I hadn't seen before. I really, really wished that (a) it had been around when I was little, and (b) somebody had known it applied to me.

It also struck me pretty hard again that I've tended to keep feeling embarrassed and not wanting to discuss this kind of thing, but there is no good reason that someone should be ashamed of having run into problems from un/misdiagnosed autism.

May be triggering, with medical settings and some violence )

Yeah, that was a rather extreme example, but in the back of my mind, I am still half-expecting to get treated that way.

Reading the NAS info sheet, I couldn't help but get a little more hopeful, though. At least now I do know why I behaved so "inexplicably" in overloading settings in the past, and that I did not somehow deserve shitty treatment because I'm autistic. At least with most of my mind, I'm no longer ashamed and as likely to let other people run right over me. I no longer feel crazy for getting overloaded, now that I know what's happening. And I am less inclined to let other people treat me like they think crazy people should be treated.

And I have someone who is willing to back me up--and whom I trust to do so, without deciding they know what is really good for me. Now I have a better idea of what kind of help I need from someone who goes with me to the doctor's, and can discuss what might work to keep me from getting so overloaded that I shut down and can't half remember why I'm there, much less communicate properly, in the first place. (This has been a persistent problem in past.) And I trust him not to take over with his own agenda if that should happen, and act like I have no right to complain. Hopefully, with backup, I'll be less likely to get talked down to and dismissed--or assumed to be batshit crazy--because I am not communicating the way they expect. Much less worrying about getting sectioned if I do end up having some kind of meltdown. (Also, I have Asperger's and not bipolar with psychotic features in my file now; shame this probably does make a practical difference.)

Hopefully, having backup will make the expected (if not exactly appropriate) browbeating over not having been to see the GP in years now easier to deal with. It doesn't exactly help one feel secure and comfortable talking to the doctor, getting treated like some kind of naughty child. And in past I haven't been able to say anything much, never mind object to getting talked to that way for any reason, much less because of disabilities.

Very importantly, I know that I do have the right to leave at any point, whether or not I'm able to explain myself verbally at the time. And, having actually discussed it with Ingvar, he's prepared to call the cops if anybody lays their hands on me to try to stop me. Funny how the NHS zero tolerance BS is actually described as "Policy on violent or abusive patients":
We operate the NHS Zero Tolerance Policy to safeguard staff and patient welfare. Our Team shall always show due respect and courtesy when dealing with Patients. In turn, we would request Patients to reciprocate the same. No form of aggression, verbal or physical in nature would be tolerated and may result in Patient removal and being reported to the Police.

I guess they'll call the cops if they assault you. I have already been impressed by what kind of respect and courtesy some of their staff have considered "due". Maybe you just get arrested if you reciprocate? *snort*

ETA: I do know of a couple of cases, involving people I knew back in Virginia, where similar policies were actually used against them. Including one middle-aged man who got an assault and battery conviction because he kicked a staff member who was manhandling him around and trying to strap him down in restraints because he was "argumentative". (As would most people not diagnosed with a mental illness, I imagine--turn argumentative, too, under the circumstances!) And it apparently did not make any difference to his legal culpability that he was on a 72-hour hold (in the same state hospital I was afraid of winding up in), because of a manic episode, at the time. Nor that Virginia's whole state hospital system was at that time under federal investigation for abusive and punitive use of restraints that killed people. (Including one woman who died "after lying in restraints for 300 hours, including two stretches of nearly 110 hours straight, as punishment for outbursts against staff", after they had been warned that she had health problems that might kill her if restrained.)

So I am not just being sarky here; it's a very real problem. /ETA

But, just knowing these things makes me feel less helpless and like I do have some control over what happens. As anyone should have. Maybe that will be enough to get me to the GP's for more diabetes medication.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Sorry I haven't been up to much interaction lately. I can read or write, but coordinating the two into commenting has been harder. Again, it's not that I'm disinterested!

Yes, I'm still down with this weird virus. It's proving to be quite the learning experience.

As you probably know by now, I've got some chronic health problems, which include pain and fatigue. Throwing the amazingly strong viral fatigue in on top of that has been making me look at and deal with some of the hurtful crap I've been telling myself all along.

It's painfully obvious just how ridiculous these self-judgments are, when I am undeniably very sick. It's also helped expose the perceived differences between a limited-term illness with its more understandable to a lot of people impairment (to go along with its clear beginning and end), and chronic problems.
Read more... )

This acute illness has helped me understand on a deeper level that, as part of the instilled perfectionism, I really haven't been accepting that the stuff I described in Culture, how we view human difference, and abuse also applies to me. Perceived caregiver burden, in dealing with your own chronic health problems? No better than laying it on other people. It's just as likely to lead to abuse, not to mention imbalance and unhappiness. Peace within yourself? That can be the hardest part.


Mar. 4th, 2009 04:29 pm
urocyon: (water)
We hadn't been planning on getting a dog, but I ran across a 10-year-old Staffie who needs a new home, and am sorely tempted to try to give him one.

This isn't just because I'm a chump when it comes to animals, though I'll freely admit that I can be. There aren't nearly as many people wanting to adopt older animals. Trying to find other arrangements for 15-year-old B.B. made me even more aware of this. It also isn't just because I love dogs, and miss B.B.--who made me realize just how much I like Staffies.

Spending time with B.B. again helped me realize just how much she was helping me day to day. I was aware that there are helper dogs for auties, but had taken for granted all the ways in which B.B. taught herself to help, beyond the basic emotional support. This was probably also a good bit of the reason my Nana made sure I always had at least one dog with me as a kid, without even thinking about disability! That wasn't just for snake protection. Having spent most of my life in mutually beneficial relationships with dogs, I'm really missing not having that.

Dogs and support )

Most of this help just falls under the category of "being a good dog friend," and reciprocity. I was mainly interested in the companionship and emotional support, but have gained a better appreciation for the practical side of things. Living with B.B., I just took that for granted. I don't expect a new dog to do all the same things, but with a little encouragement and training, s/he could provide a lot of support which the cats cannot. Not too surprisingly, it's easier for me to request and accept help from an animal, without feeling ickily vulnerable, as just part of the relationship.

My main concern here is, indeed, the cats. ([livejournal.com profile] vatine is a bit of a concern, too; even though he liked spending time with B.B., he's just not used to being around dogs.) This dog is supposed to be good with cats--again, can't expect him to love cats like B.B.--but I'm not sure how the kitties would react. I was not as concerned about B.B., when we were still hoping she'd travel OK at her age, since she puts out such a strong "ooh, I adore cats" vibe that she doesn't scare most of them. I would take great care with the introduction, of course, and sure do hope that's enough. At least none of these cats has had reason to develop a serious fear of dogs, unlike a couple of rescue kitties who have lived with me in past.** I've considered trying to find a small dog, preferably as a puppy, which they might find less intimidating. (But, that might remind Feist of a fox, and bring out aggression!) Max is an adult, but Staffies aren't very big, and he's old enough to have calmed down.

Decisions, decisions! I couldn't resist sending Max's human a message--before consulting anyone else :/--and should try to get back to her today.
* Pretty good description of the fun of a supermarket, even for an adult
** One was terrified of a tiny 8-week-old rescue B.B., to the point of leaving. He would periodically check back in, to see if she was still there! He and his littermates had spent at least a couple of days abandoned in a neighborhood with roaming dogs, at less than six weeks old. :/

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