Tag Archives: Ask Away Friday

#AskAwayFriday for July 4, 2014

Today, I am pleased to participate in #AskAwayFriday again. This time, I partnered up with Carol Graham from Battered Hope. I know some people say I’ve overcome a lot, but when I read Carol’s blog, I was astonished at all that she’d endured and how she still manages to keep such a positive attitude. Check out her blog and get to know her through the questions I asked her. Below are my answers to Carol’s questions.

1. You were born the same year as my daughter. She was two months premature. My heart reaches out to you and I know you have had some incredible challenges in your young life. What challenge are you the most proud of overcoming?
Surviving prematurity against all odds. That may not be something I remember, but without overcoming this challenge, I wouldn’t be here.

2. As an advocate, what are some ways that you have raised awareness to help the mentally ill?
Mostly blogging. I’ve also been in a recovery group, which is a group where mentally ill people help each other on the path to recovery. Recovery, here, is not cure, but living a full life in spite of mental illness.

3. Do you have any brothers or sisters? If so, please tell me about them.
I have one sister. She is two years younger than me, so now she’s 26. She is about to earn her Master’s degree in history, for which I admire and envy her. I don’t really know what else to say about her.

4. You have been living in a facility since 2007. What is the most difficult part of institutional life?
Having the staff make decisions about my daily life. Institutions now claim to be all about rehabilitation, which in theory means the patient directs their own life. In practice, it means staff tell you to be independent in practical skills but still make important decisions for you.

5. What is the best part?
The day activities.

6. Do you have any hobbies other than surfing online?
Writing of course, but also reading non-fiction and autobiographies (I’ll be sure to check if yours is available as an ebook). Oh and crafts. I love cardmaking, polymer clay and jewelry making.

7. If you were not limited by finances or any disability, how would you like to help others who have experienced similar anxieties?
I would start my ideal supported housing and working project. It would be similar to workhomes for autistic people (where they can do day activities close to home), but it would be all about clients truly directing their own lives, with staff available to meet the clients’ needs and help them have a comfortable (as opposed to productive) life.

8. You said that you were legally blind. Do you have a guide dog?
No. I would like to get one someday though. The largest guide dog school in the Netherlands also trains service dogs for autistic people, so I’d like to get a guide dog who is also an autism service dog.

9. I admire your courage and positive attitude towards life. How do you encourage people with similar problems?
I don’t know that I have all that positive an attitude. Honestly, I have no clue how I encourage others. If they’re inspired by my writing, that’s great.

10. And finally, a question I ask anyone I meet for the first time — tell me about yourself in FIVE words.
I am creative and imaginative.

#AskAwayFriday for June 6, 2014

I’m participating in #askawayFriday for the first time this week. #AskawayFriday is a way to get to know other bloggers. You partner up with anotehr blogger and ask each other ten questions. This week, I’m swapping questions with Echo from Domain of the Mad Mommy. Check out her blog and get to know her through the questions I asked her. Below are the answers to Echo’s questions to me.

1. You’ve been blogging since 2002. How has the blogging world changed since you started?
Well, in all honesty I’ve been doing actual blogging since 2007. Between 2002 and 2007, I kept a number of online diaries. These are much more personal, and with me being on DiaryLand most of that time, there was no way to comment (a commenting system cost a ton of moeny). That being said, when I started actual blogging in 2007, I wasn’t nearly as aware of the blogosphere as I’m now, and kept mostly to the tiny niche of autistic advocacy bloggers. I don’t know whether the blogosphere has changed, but my blogging certainly has. when I started blogging here at Blogging Astrid, I wanted to make my writing accessible to people not familiar with disability advocacy, so I started blogging for a wider audience.

2. You grew up with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. Do you think a diagnosis would have helped you in your youth?
Definitely. My parents were unwilling to have me assessed because they thought I’d be seen as intellectually disabled. Then again, Asperger’s Syndrome specifically requires no intellectual disability. It’s not always wise to look back, but I think I could’ve benefited from more tailored supports had I been diagnosed early on.

3. You feel very strongly about advocating for mental health. Is it your own experience that drives that passion?
Yes. Besides autism, I have a diagnosed mental illness (borderline personality disorder). I’ve also lived in a psychiatric institution since 2007. I like to advocate for the rights of mentally ill people, because I’ve myself experienced the authoritarian system that psychiatric care still is. I also want to raise awareness, so that people without mental illness will understand what it’s like being mentally ill.

4. You live in the Netherlands, but have you ever traveled outside of Europe?
No. The farthest I’ve traveled is Russia in 2000.

5. If you could visit anywhere on Earth, where would you go?
The United States, definitely. I’d like to someday take a culinary trip to the southern U.S. When I was a teen, I dreamt of living in the U.S., in fact.

6. What is your favorite way to relax?
Hanging out online and writing.

7. What is your favorite song right now?
Take It Easy Altes Haus by Truck Stop. It’s a German country song. I don’t think it’s on YouTube and besides, I have YouTube blocked for now, so can’t go find it.

8. What is the best thing you have ever eaten?
Kofta.

9. Where do you see yourself in 2 years? Still blogging? Advocating?
Hopefully still blogging, if the blogosphere doesn’t disappear entirely. I think as for advocacy, I’d still do it online mostly, but I’d like to expand my horizon and advocate in the real world too. I also hope I’ll have left the institution in two years and right now I’m thinking that wherever I reside then, it’s got to have Wifi. 😉

10. If you could give us one piece of advice, as an adult on the spectrum, what would it be?
Accept others as they are, which doesn’t necessarily mean accepting all their behaviors.