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The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways

Current Mood:grateful emoticon grateful

Current Music: “Startin'” 浜崎あゆみ

So far this week has been busy; full of the usual homeschooling and running kids to activities. Unfortunately, yesterday things came to a screeching halt when my car decided to act up. I’ve known for a while that I need to take it in for an oil change and to check on the fact that my emergency brake light keeps flashing on at random. As I was leaving a parking garage last night, I heard a popping sound and then the front end just wasn’t sounding right at all. Then I figured out while looking at the paperwork before making an appointment with the garage, that I misread our mandatory inspection date per Japanese law…it was yesterday. So…I can’t drive until that whole process is done. Thankfully, the garage is working with me and towing the car in to get looked at next week so everything can be repaired and inspected properly. It’s a great place that will literally take care of everything if need be, and I’m thankful the owner was willing to answer my frantic questions yesterday evening via messenger when I wasn’t sure what in the world I was going to do with an expired inspection. Heh.

These are not typically the kind of mistakes I make, but life has sure been a bit hectic lately, so I’m not honestly surprised. Just super frustrated at the time as it was all happening. I had a full-on meltdown in the car, crying and making panicked noises that I’m pretty sure scared my kids into silence in the back seat. Thankfully, we’re all very open about our different neurotypes and how sometimes traits manifest in positive ways and others not so much. It’s a good opportunity to discuss afterward how they relate to feeling that way sometimes, too, and even adults get overwhelmed. If nothing else, living in a house full of autistic and ADHD family members certainly leaves us all a little more understanding and supportive when things get difficult for one of us. We’ve all been there at some point ourselves.

I feel better about the situation now that I know it will all work out. Just might have to miss some activities and errands in the meantime, which really isn’t the worst thing ever. We’ll all survive! First world problems and all that. Personally, I think something more pressing going wrong with the car was God’s way of forcing me to look at my paperwork before I was driving around with an out-of-date sticker later this week, potentially ending up with my car impounded at one of the base gates when the guards noticed. While the whole experience wasn’t pleasant, and I was exhausted last night from the aftermath of my meltdown – I know how much worse things could’ve been had I not realized my mistake on the last possible date I could even be driving the car around legally. I’m a firm believer in divine intervention and things happening for a reason. Thank you, Lord, for putting an obstacle in my way…but not too big of one. 😉

 

The Crystal Calls

Current Mood:nerdy emoticon nerdy

Current Music: “Sucker” Jonas Brothers

Not really sure what I even want to write about today; I just feel like I need to. It’s so nice to know this place is here, back to its original purpose as my online journal. There isn’t much I’m afraid of sharing with the world, though I know the people who actually read these more mundane, day-to-day posts are fewer than those who make their way here to read up on homeschooling or autism, which definitely takes some of the pressure off. Sometimes my ramblings will be significantly less entertaining than others. Such is life.

Since my last updates about the situation here, my doctor’s office sent me an online message pretty much confirming my fears that they think my chronic pain and related issues are mental in origin. I’m not really sure where to go from here, but I think I’m going to ask to switch doctors or get in touch with the patient advocacy office and go from there. It’s odd because some days I start to doubt myself; the days I can really take it easy and just do things I enjoy but don’t require as much mental power or physicality. But then I have to stand in the kitchen long enough to cook or bend down to get the laundry out of the dryer, and my back is on fire within minutes and my hips ache severely enough I have to sit down the rest of the evening. If I go to the grocery store, I’m done for the rest of the day from the leg pain. My hands ache all the time, whether I’m using them or not. When I have to work on things for school, the brain fog is so much more apparent; I just cannot put the pieces together, especially not the way I used to, but really I struggle to do it at all and spend days working on small assignments. I just keep powering through and hope the day doesn’t come that I really just can’t anymore.

On a happier note, I have been having an absolute blast watching the new Dark Crystal series on Netflix. Highly recommend! They did an amazing job; it is visually stunning, and the story keeps you engaged, laughing and crying along with the characters as their circumstances change. I got emotional during almost every episode, and I would definitely say the creators succeeded in making me forget I was watching puppets. If you’ve never seen the film, they also have it available for streaming, so get to it! If you have kids who are a bit jumpier or freaked out by dark imagery…maybe prescreen it before you let them watch it, if you let them watch it. My kids are super sensitive to anything visual that could be deemed creepy or scary, so I only asked Anya about it because I knew it would be too much for the others. As I expected, she opted to wait until she is older to watch it, as she knows that even at almost 10 she just can’t handle the visuals yet based on some of the examples I explained to her verbally. At least she is mature enough to know her own limits. I look forward to the day she’s ready to watch the film and the new prequel series together.

The number of fantastic female leads was fun to watch, and the voice cast is just full of so much talent. I think my favorite characters were Deet and Brea, but I won’t share too much more than that to avoid spoiling things for those of you who would like to watch it yourself and haven’t had a chance yet. The designs are beautiful, and I could watch hours and hours of more of this series with these characters in their dramatic fantasy landscapes. In my opinion, they did Jim Hensen’s legacy proud. It met my expectations and then some. I don’t know what I can possibly watch that would match up now that it’s over! Maybe time to go rewatch Labyrinth

My Weekend Brought to You by Team Ayu and the Supernatural Family

Current Mood:tired emoticon tired

Current Music: “Out of Control” by 浜崎あゆみ

I had a rare day of mental clarity and reduced pain yesterday, and, of course, I behaved as if everything was so perfectly normal because I felt so much better and overdid it running around doing ALL THE THINGS. It was my husband’s birthday, so I made cupcakes so we could celebrate with the kids in between finishing up some school assignments while my brain was in the right space to do so, then we got dressed up a bit and headed out for a dinner cruise he had surprised me with a reservation to a few weeks ago. It was a lovely, relaxing time, but once we were back in the car headed home, the familiar ache began to take hold in my hips, legs, and feet. What I’d give for one day doing remotely typical tasks without ending up in pain for it. I’m paying for it with mental exhaustion today more than with pain (back to it’s usual, constant baseline but not worsened as it can be after overdoing it on a good day), thankfully, but it’s still not loads of fun to deal with. I feel like I could sleep for the rest of the day, though I won’t, obviously, with children to homeschool and whatnot.

I’ve been trying to cheer myself up a bit by doing things related to special interests that had taken a bit of back seat in my efforts to fit in and be normal as an adult and mother. This is just the latest step in my journey of discovering the things I’ve done, or stopped doing, because of being autistic and how society, therefore, reacted to me before I was diagnosed. Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみ) has been one of my favorite musical artists since high school, and this weekend I finally joined her official international fan club Team Ayu so I can get news on concerts and releases a little earlier and just enjoy having an opportunity to win things on her website and the access to her blog she keeps for the club. It seems such a silly thing for me to do, something I would’ve done as a teenager had the international option been a thing at the time, but it brings me so much joy just being a part of it. I even discovered that she will be performing in Okinawa next fall! I’m hoping to luck out and get tickets through the fan club when they go on sale. That would bring my grand total of Ayu concerts to two, which is more than I ever thought I’d be able to do as an American fan. Fingers crossed it works out for me to attend because it would be amazing to see her perform again and take Anya with me this time to experience it since she was too young to go along during the 2014 tour when I saw the 15th-anniversary show in Hiroshima. It would definitely give me something to look forward to when I’m having a bad health day and hating everything else about being stuck here on this island unable to do anything about my medical predicament.

I also splurged a little and did some shopping online at Hot Topic. (Good Lord, have I time-traveled back to my 15-year-old self this weekend, or what?) As Supernatural is going into its final season, they partnered with the retailer to produce a limited time t-shirt design to be sold for proceeds toward hurricane relief. It coincides with the official fandom holiday Supernatural Day, September 13th – the day the first episode ever aired. I never get to do any of this kind of stuff either because of time or money or because I believed society telling me it’s not a productive use of my time and energy. It feels so good to just not care about that anymore and embrace what I love! I’m so excited to get this shirt when it arrives because it’s a little piece of participating in the fandom lovingly dubbed the Supernatural family in real-time, as things were happening, instead of just watching from the sidelines, as I have for so many years, afraid to get as into it as I really wanted to because it would’ve been viewed as childish or useless. While I was already there doing some digital shopping, I decided on an impulse to get a dress that mimics the one Ariel wears during her time exploring the kingdom with Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid and some glitzy Sailor Moon hair pins. It’s going feel like Christmas in the mail the day this all arrives.

I never do this stuff for myself, just for the kids, as we mothers are inclined to do. Don’t worry, my kids are still spoiled rotten with the things they love and time with me, but I’m not letting my own needs take a backseat to the point of neglect anymore. It’s a freeing feeling to be completely myself, regardless of what anyone else thinks, and my kids benefit from how much happier I am – they’re even getting into some of my interests with me! Anya has loved bonding with me over Sailor Moon binge sessions and old Disney Channel movies in recent months. Do the things you love, ya’ll! And don’t let anyone make you feel silly for it. I never will again.

To Be or Not to Be

Current Mood:anxious emoticon anxious

Current Music: Wake me up by 浜崎あゆみ

Despite the brain fog and chronic pain, I’ve been muddling my way through my grad school courses over the last few months. It’s getting more and more difficult to process the information and produce coherent assignments, which is all the more frightening because typically these things come so very easily to me. It’s like my brain doesn’t even work the same anymore. I’m in the middle of the fifth of twelve classes I have to take to complete the program. It’s a poetry course, and, thankfully, since I can write from a place of emotion and get a little more leeway on technique and academic work, I’ve been able to keep pushing forward. Even so, I lose points in places I don’t think I will, in places I never would have in the past.

I’m extremely nervous about moving into the next class in October. It’s a Shakespeare course, which normally I love so much and was so excited about registering for, but I already know that the materials will require a lot of the brain function I feel I have lost. I don’t know how I’m going to maintain the work required for analytical papers when I’m struggling to pen 10-line poems that meet course criteria now. I’m sure I can complete the classes, even if it means not getting a 4.0 GPA, but for me, the perfectionist and over-achiever, getting anything short of an A in the course is anxiety-inducing and causes me to feel like a failure, if for no other reason than knowing I’m normally capable of it without any worry at all, and it’s taking me days to accomplish what used to take minutes or at the most hours and yield better results. It feels like losing another piece of myself to whatever this is.

I can apply for disability accomodations through the university, but I don’t even know what to ask for. The paperwork requires a bunch of information from my doctors, who obviously are less than helpful already and weren’t the ones to diagnose me with Asperger’s, which is the route I would have to go in order to get the accommodations, even though it’s the mystery chronic illness that is causing me such difficulty. If I take a break now, not only am I unsure of the financial ramifications since I’m using loans to pay for this degree, but I’m also afraid that I won’t make it back if this condition continues to deteriorate my abilities.

As frustrating as it has been to be less physically capable because of how I feel, the loss of mental capacity is much more terrifying. My intellect has been such a large part of what makes me…me. Who am I if it is gone?

Heavy Thoughts from a Rough Morning

Current Mood:exhausted emoticon exhausted

Current Music: “Survivor” by 浜崎あゆみ

It feels so weird and yet so right to be blogging in a diary/journal format again. I held back from posting yesterday, still in the habit of posting snippets on Facebook instead. I’d really like to move away from that some, I think. Social media feels so fake and contrite these days. I’ll obviously still use it, posting Instagram photos and sharing memes and infographics; it’s what I do. But I’m glad to have a little extra space to sort my thoughts and type them out into the abyss, whether anyone else reads much of it or not.

I’m struggling a bit today. Whatever mysterious chronic malady plagues me is seriously affecting my day-to-day ability to function, some days worse than others. Today is one of the worse days. I woke up and had to stay in bed for about an hour, which has become pretty normal, but today my limbs felt especially achy and heavy. My head felt even foggier and groggier than typical; I ended up falling back asleep for a bit which is unusual for me. I’m finally able to get up and move around now, ignoring the constant pain in my arms, legs, hands, feet, hips, and back…basically my entire body. The brain fog is killing me, though. I made it through some reading with the kiddos, enough that they could move on to either playing or their independent work, depending on the kid. I have to rally at some point to make it through my own homework, as I have an assignment due this evening.

It’s really discouraging to know my options for getting medical help may be next to nothing. Right now, they just want me to take an SSRI (fluoxetine/Prozac) and wait for the referral to go through to see a mental health counselor on base. It’s pretty clear to me that they think my illness stems from anxiety and depression, rather than the other way around. Ironically, before my health started to degrade, I was in the best place mental health-wise that I’ve ever been in in my life – since I became a teenager, at the very least. I was feeling so sure of myself and ready to actually live instead of constantly worrying about society’s expectations or continuing to make myself small to please others. It was amazing. The physical problems took me by surprise and began to worsen exponentially about 6 months ago; I rarely have days where I feel remotely decent now. I’m always run down, in pain, and having trouble processing information that once came to me as easily as breathing. It’s infuriating that I’m being brushed off by the medical staff here, and it’s terrifying to feel like there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop the decline in my mental and physical abilities. We are not scheduled to move again for another year and a half, at least. I don’t know how I’m going to make it that long.

I’m afraid to even message my doctors and confess that I haven’t been taking the meds. (I insisted I wanted to be seeing a therapist first, but somehow they took that to mean I was cool with meds as long as I did eventually also see a counselor. By the end of that appointment, I was so beaten down and upset I couldn’t fight for myself anymore. I just nodded, smiled, and took the prescription home.) There are so many tests that haven’t been run that would make sense to try with my symptoms, but every time I go in suggesting something I feel like it just feeds their theories that I’m a hypochondriac. It’s a very trapped feeling to not be able to take control of my own health because doing so immediately makes doctors assume I am not actually in control of my faculties. This system is so horribly flawed, don’t even get me started. I’ve lost faith that I’ll ever get help, especially out here, and I’m worried about what that could mean. Suffering for at least the next couple of years. Worsening symptoms to the point of permanent damage. Or worse. I really just don’t know what to do, and it feels like there is absolutely nothing I can do. That’s where the anxiety is coming from; that’s why I’m getting depressed. Because they won’t actually help me. They can’t be bothered.