the first step is admitting…

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In 2013, I was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. 

Just months before my diagnosis, I applied for several jobs – all at once.

For about a day and a half, I had three jobs. THREE jobs. (I was hired at three different places, but didn’t work all three jobs in that day and half.) I was pretty excited!

Before I was able to work as much as I was hoping I would get to, I had to quit two of the jobs. 

I felt like I had the whole world on my shoulders, having been hired at so many different places.

I was newly pregnant with my son Isaac. ( I’m going to stop calling my babies by their blog nicknames. I just don’t think it matters anymore. :-p )

The job that I chose to try to keep was at a Subway. If offered the same job today, I would quickly run away.

Subway requires a massive amount of multi-tasking and an ability to process information at quick speeds. Neither of which am I capable of doing.

Any way, yada yada… in 2014, while pregnant with my daughter, Juliet, I had a data entry job at an insurance agency. Contracted position.

If I could give 2014-Stephanie some advice, I’d tell her… “don’t talk to your co-workers.” … “sit at lunch, alone.” … “just do your d-mn work.”… and … “emotionally prepare for Chloe’s adoption anniversary in October.”

So, it’s 2016… and I can very readily admit which jobs (and housing situations) I can handle and which ones I should run away from – faster than …whatever’s really-really fast.

I’d describe my current situation as OK. It’s not a long-term solution for homelessness and unemployment, but I’m OK. 

I think it’s been a little over a month since I’ve seen Daphne. I think my friends would agree that I’ve done the best I can do to be apart of her life. And that’s all I can really say, right now.

Formal Diagnoses

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I am sorry to my supportive, encouraging blog readers, but I’ve had to disable comments on my blog. This is due to certain people having too much time on their hands and too little understanding of the situation(s). 

Oh, well. Here we go! It’ll be a struggle to explain this peace I’ve found. Not only for and due to the continued adoption plans… but also within myself.

Yesterday (October 28th, 2013), I was given my formal diagnoses by a neuro-psychologist, PhD.

Some of you may think it would be wise not to blog about my diagnoses. Maybe you’re right.

Here I go in my wrongness, though!  (I’ve gone 20 years not understanding why I’m different than other people, why I’m not able to complete tasks, why I have a definite low tolerance for frustration and/or stress…) By the way, in case some of you don’t know – I’m 28 years old. I began seeing that I was different, at the age of 8.

1) Asperger’s Syndrome (a mild case)

2) Generalized Anxiety – with Obsessive Compulsive traits

3) Dysthymia ~ (chronic type of depression in which a person’s moods are regularly low. However, symptoms are not as severe as with Major Depression.)

4) Sensory Processing Disorder ~ (A person with sensory processing disorder, SPD, finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks.

# 4 (Sensory Processing Disorder) should probably be listed as # 1, though. – – Why? …because my sensory processing is in the 4th percentile (meaning: I did better than 4% of the population in processing information through the senses). Another way to word this: My sensory processing speed is very low.

My verbal skills are in the 74th percentile. Concerning verbal skills, I did better than 74% of the population. My verbal skills are very high.

I have an average IQ, with my verbal IQ being quite a bit higher than my non-verbal IQ.

Especially when I am nervous, I don’t always understand the non-verbal communication being presented. 

I have a lack of spatial skills. (Spatial skills involve your ability to understand problems involving physical spaces, shapes, or forms. )

Sometimes, my affect is flat. (Affect, defined: “a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion.”)

My former diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder has been wholly terminated. This neuro-psychologist (PhD) found no evidence of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and called the doctor, who wrote that on my papers, “a quack” for diagnosing me with BPD after an hour long discussion with me. (My neuro-psychologist spent 4.5 hours testing my intelligence: emotional and academic, observing my behavior via distractions that I didn’t realize were part of the testing, etc.)

One behavior noted, through the distractions that I didn’t realize were part of their tests: if you give me an assignment, something to focus on or think about… and then you leave the room… and then you walk back in… it is very, very difficult for me to return to my previous state of focus. AKA – I need to be left alone and not distracted, in order to do my very best work. 

The one OCD trait that I can validate with my own agreeing opinion… I really need to do things perfectly. It’s an internal pressure to be perfect in all that I do. If I mess up at all, I tend to give up altogether. 

I deal with some  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) issues, but not enough for any sort of ADD diagnosis.

My neuro-psychologist thinks I’d do well in becoming a research assistant.

…well, guess what! At the latest, I will begin college classes this summer!!!  Yes!!!

Question & Answer Session –

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Bona Fide Birth Mother’s Question & Answer Session. . .

I love you, Lady-Bug,

Precious-Picklette,

and Sweet-Sesame! ❤

Presently, what percentage would you put yourself for the adoption?

90%, – leaving 10% for parenting.

We all know that you changed your mind (on October 15th) and announced your choice to personally raise your son. What factors have you since considered that cause you to turn back to the adoption plan?

First of all, I moved out of the Steyer (friends of Mr and Mrs Zumba) household, desiring to be on neutral ground. Hurting the Steyers, in any way, was not my intention. I did know that my decision would cause a rift in the friendship(s), but I knew that I needed to be on (completely) neutral ground – in order to know (for a fact) that I was making the best decision for my son.

I’ll explain.

– – – – -The Steyers did their absolute best to remain objective and supportive. I appreciate them more than they may realize. This is the best way that I can explain why living in their house (while making this decision) was not a good idea (even while my stay there is and was very much appreciated):

Picture yourself needing to make a decision between two different colors. Your choices are brown or red. You’re sitting in a tan building, which has interior walls painted a beautiful mahogany (a shade of brown) color of paint. The tables are beige, as well as the chairs. The front door, though, is auburn (a reddish-brown) in color.

You can see that this building isn’t entirely influencing your decision between brown and red. You appreciate the front door’s color of paint. You sit in the shade-of-brown chairs, for months. You stare at the walls’ color, ruminating your (life-altering) decision between brown and red.

Then, there comes a day that you realize that the colors you’re surrounded by are probably (unintentionally) creating a comfort in your mind – for that one color. You’ve been talking to a few people (outside of that tan building) about your decision between brown and red. One of these people tries to explain that being in a shade-of-brown building, while making this decision, is not the best option available. This person realizes what a blessing this tan building has been to you, but wants you to consider the subconscious influence that the tan building and its shade-of-brown components may be having on this ever-important decision.

You discover that there’s a white building that has an available room. You need that available room for the next 1 to 2 months. You’re appreciative of the tan building, but you know that the tan building’s construction workers and interior design team may feel hurt that you’ve decided to drive to the white building, after all they’ve done to make your tan-building stay as comfortable and stress-free as possible. You’re unsure of how to express what you’re feeling about the tan building, so you pack your decision-making supplies and leave… hoping everyone working on the tan building will eventually understand, as well as believe that you’re appreciative of the tan building’s friendly atmosphere and months of freely-given resources. – – – – –

After arriving at “the white building,” I felt a new comfort that allowed me easy access to my desire for “red” (parenting my son). The one hindrance to my choosing-to-parent-my-son was that I had nothing for him. No car seat, no clothing, no diapers, no baby seats (bouncer / baby-swing), nothing at all. I didn’t want to make this decision (of adoption) based on the feeling of having no other choice. There are plenty of resources for single mothers, if you look for them. I looked. And looked. I was given a lot of clothing. I was given free diapers. I was given hand-me-downs. I was given a free car seat (after attending a 1-hour car seat safety class.) Google car seat safety class, car seat distribution, and your state of residency. I had (and still have) everything that my son would need – if I chose to “keep” / raise & parent my son.

After approximately a week of being adamant that I am capable of raising my son (which, I am), I began returning to thoughts of the adoption plan. A friend suggested that I compile a Pros & Cons list for Parenting and for Adoption. Those lists truly opened my eyes. Then, on an online Asperger’s Syndrome group, a woman (another “Aspie”) said that I should ask myself these questions: Why do you want to keep him? And why do you think he should be adopted? (similar to the pros and cons lists, but the change of wording helped me continue in a serious inspection of my reasons, motives, and desires.)

I will post another blog post, sometime soon. My back hurts and I need a break. 37.2 weeks pregnant… I’m sure you understand.

My Logic Hat

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My therapist calls it my “logic hat.”

When I have that thing on, I can think through things with great logic.

I’m not sure what to call the other hat, but I don’t like wearing it. If it were all up to me, I would never wear this other hat. Ever.

It’s the hat I’m wearing when my emotions overwhelm me. My emotions, when I do feel them, have the power to make me do things that my logic hat would shake its fist at.

Right now, at this moment, I’m wearing my logic hat.

If someone could, please, come out with new technology that allows me to lock my logic hat in place? Thank you.

Why I Prefer Written Communication Over Verbal

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Why I Prefer Written Communication Over Verbal (especially while discussing serious matters):

I’ve found, since I was a little girl, that I’m unable to verbally speak the things I want to convey to people. I very much dislike being required to read into a person’s tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. When doing these things isn’t a requirement (like during an in-person job interview), I prefer not to.

Do you want me to know what you’re thinking and wanting to say to me – without misunderstandings? Then write me a letter. Send me an e-mail.

I also find that texting isn’t the greatest form of communication, for serious discussions. Letters and e-mails are the best way to communicate with me.

– I won’t be misunderstood, as I’m a lot more articulate in my written communications.

– I won’t misunderstand your facial expressions, tone of voice, or body language.

Evaluations / Children’s Nicknames

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Ow, ow, ow! …to these Braxton Hicks contractions I’ve been having. I’ve actually been experiencing fewer of them, since increasing my water intake… but still, ow! – when they do happen.

Any way, let me tell you what I’m so excited to blog about! In 9 days, I will have my “neuropsychological evaluation!”

I also have a vocational evaluation in a little over 2 weeks. They’ll be testing my abilities, interests, and personality – discovering what type of job best suits me.

If I felt like making noise, I’d probably do my happy scream right now …but I’m kind of sleepy today.

Yesterday, I hit the 33-week mark of my pregnancy.

Somehow, that reminded me that I want to go through all of my blog’s posts and edit my children’s names. I’ve been reading other blogs and realized that moms seem to make up nicknames for their kids – just for their blogs. Good idea, peoples!

My 3 year old daughter’s nickname will be… Lady-Bug

My 1 year old daughter’s nickname will be… Precious-Picklette

My son’s nickname will be… Sweet-Sesame

( ( ( ( Nicknames are subject to change, in the event(s) of specific personality traits being revealed. ) ) ) ) – but I’ll keep the nickname changing to a minimum. I promise.

Disclaimer: (some) people, like me, who have Asperger’s syndrome rarely use pet names, so – honestly – coming up with my kids’ permanent (blog) nicknames will be a matter of observation… of what my kids’ loved ones say about them.

Hugs / Asperger’s

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I’m going to try to describe what hugs feel like to me. Hugs feel suffocating. Hugs feel like an invasion of my personal space. Hugs feel like an invasion of my boundaries. Hugs feel like I’m being forced to express an emotion that I may not (at that moment) have. Please, please – don’t hug me unless I verbally tell you that it’s okay to hug me. You motioning for a hug and me internally sighing because I feel obligated to hug you is NOT me giving my actual permission.

It’s not only feeling suffocated that I hate. It’s the fact that it’s apparently socially acceptable to hug someone without warning and/or having a person’s permission, beforehand. That’s not acceptable, in my book – and if I weren’t always trying so hard to fit in, I’d probably push you away and tell you off for hugging me without asking!

Another blogger’s thoughts: 

“If you have Aspergers you probably don’t like hugs, you might even have a fear of hugs. This is pretty normal for people with Autism, HFA, PDD NOS, and of course Aspergers. For some reason most people on the spectrum dislike hugs. It probably has to do with disliking touch– all I can say is hugs are an odd human ritual exposing people to illnesses.”

” If you think about it, hugs are fueled with emotion, something NTs are good at expressing, but us Aspies aren’t good at.”

http://aspergerssearch.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/people-with-asperger-syndrome-do-not-like-hugs/