Tag Archives: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

IOP Update

My last day at the IOP program I have been going to is December 8th.  I feel really good about having done this program.  I feel better about life because I have a reason to get up in the morning and I have actually been going everyday.  One of the reasons I never could hold down a job was because I never actually went.  I believe the reason I did that was because I told myself I was unreliable and I believed that I could not change that.  I believed that that was who I had become and I couldn’t do anything about it.  This group has taught me that I can be reliable and I have it in me to do what is expected of me.  I feel a little more confident in myself.  As much as I want to get back to the super driven person I was in high school, I just have to accept that I can’t do that at the moment.  I might someday get there, but I can’t expect myself to jump right back into that life.

I have been doing pretty well about not isolating myself in my bedroom lately either.  When I get home from group I will go in the living room and read or go online for awhile.  Before I would just spend the entire day in my bedroom and wouldn’t see anyone.  I did isolate myself today because I just wasn’t feeling like being in the living room this afternoon, so I spent time with Willie in my room, which she was happy about.

I’ve noticed that I have been having memory or recall issues lately.  I don’t know if it is my meds or something else though.  It feels like if my brain is a maze and the destination for what I want to know is just right there, my brain takes the super long route around and through the maze to get to the answer when it was just a few simple steps ahead.

I have been working with a nonprofit here that helps people with autism find jobs, so I am hoping I will have a job pretty soon.

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I’m Still Here

I saw my psychiatrist on October 3rd.  I managed to survive those two days.  My shrink essentially told me to take a few weeks off work and get off the night shift because the overnight hours seem to have been worsening my depression.  I ended up just quitting my job because there simply isn’t a job there that isn’t overnights.  So yet again, I am unemployed.  I applied for disability, so we will see if anything comes from that.

As much as I hate to say it, life has gotten a lot better since quitting.  I don’t have any money and I am basically dependent on my parents, but I feel like I am free from that anxiety.  I hope to someday soon be able to get back into the workforce but at the moment it isn’t something I am actively pursuing.  I have found myself laughing a lot more than I was the last two months.  I feel such immense joy when I watch Castle.  I missed that.

My shrink recommended me for a couple of partial programs.  I went to an intake appointment last Friday, but they didn’t think their program was the right fit for me, so they referred me to three other places.  I made an appointment with one of them in Chanhassen for next Tuesday.  I want to get started on all of this.  I want to change my life.

School is Back in Session

Classes started up last week and I think I’m going to enjoy this semester for the most part.  I may not like my online class that much because the instructor has so much stuff to look at on the class website that I am having trouble knowing when things are due.  I am excited for my HTML class because I can directly apply what I learn to my career goals.  I am taking a magazine writing class and that overwhelms me a bit.  I want to be a writer, but I don’t think I have a lot of good ideas.  Once I get a good idea though, I struggle with actually writing.  I keep feeling like my brain is too jumbled and clogged with unnecessary stress and worries that I find it really hard to break through that and actually write something.  I love to write, but I find it so hard to do lately.  I think my computer is the problem.  I am always on it and I can’t seem to step away from it.  Everything I ever want to do is on my computer.  TV shows, friends, the Internet.  I hate that this thing has such a huge hold on me.

In my magazine writing class we have to write three articles and I am struggling to come up with an original idea.  I wanted to start by doing an article on my personal experiences with autism, but my instructor doesn’t want us to write in the first person, so I have to find a new topic.  I was considering writing one on the supposed “Moonlighting Curse” when it comes to TV shows, but that has already been written.  I was getting some interesting ideas while I was driving home from class tonight and I thought about possibly writing an article on how hiring a person with autism will be beneficial to the employer.  That is basically the only idea I have right now.

Life is still life.  I have been discouraged by my chronic unemployment.  I have a job interview skills seminar next Monday and I hope that helps me a lot.  I am feeling sad all the time because I have been cooped up in the apartment for basically the last three months and I haven’t seen anyone but my roommate.  It gets really lonely not doing anything but hang out in your room alone on your computer.  I have my stupid cat, but she can’t offer advice on life.

Everyone is trying to help me with my job search but I feel very disgruntled toward them pushing me to do things I don’t want to do and giving me advice I don’t really want to hear.  I realize they want to help but I still feel like they are just disappointed in me and are tired of me being the person I have become as an unemployed person.  I hate feeling like I am resentful for people, but it really does piss me off when people comment on my Facebook nagging me to get a job.  I get interviews quite a bit, but the fact of the matter is, I have a demeanor about me that is off-putting to employers and I have no idea how to change that.  My autism affects the way my face looks when I’m relaxed, so people assume I am angry or apathetic toward something, but really I am just being my normal self.  When people tell me to just be more engaging, I don’t know how to do that.  I try to keep a smile on my face while interviewing, but having to constantly think about smiling and appearing interested causes me to forget everything I had tried to rehearse prior to getting there.  I rehearse before every interview, but I can’t do the smiling and saying the right thing at the same time and most of the time I get so nervous that I don’t say the right thing.  It’s an all around frustrating thing.

So here I am, three months unemployed, still no health insurance, so I can’t pick up my medications because I can’t afford them and I am basically feeling like a complete failure.  It’s hard to stay positive when you kind of suck at everything you do.

The Correct Diagnosis

I had an appointment with the autism therapist yesterday where she confirmed that I am indeed on the spectrum.  I took a diagnostic test that I thought was called RADS (maybe it wasn’t, I don’t know) and in order to be considered autistic you need a 65 or higher.  I scored 110.  The therapist and I then went through the DSM IV and DSM V diagnosis tools.  In order to be diagnosed with autistic disorder with DSM IV, I needed a certain number of items in each category and I met the minimum requirements for each one.  So I don’t actually have Asperger’s.  I have autistic disorder or simply autism.

I wanted some help from the therapist about an upcoming job interview (that happened this morning), so she helped me brainstorm some ideas of what I should say and what I shouldn’t say.  I asked her if I should mention that I have autism because the job I applied for is with a non-profit that works with people with disabilities.   She said it was up to me and I decided I wouldn’t divulge it, at least not initially.

About the interview though, I thought it went pretty well, but I was still hesitant to get hopeful because I’ve been let down so many times in the past.  The interviewer said that she was going to call the top 2 or 3 candidates for second interviews and within an hour of leaving the building I got a call asking to come in on Monday for another interview!  I’m still trying to not get my hopes up because again, I don’t want to be let down again.  I want to be hopeful so badly though.  It’s just who I am.