Tag Archives: Dreams

Home: Describing My Dream House #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to the #AtoZChallenge of random reflections, day 8. While on the phone with my sister today, we were talking house hunting and the A to Z Challenge and she suggested I pick this as my word for my letter H post. That’s a fabulous idea! For today’s post, I’m going to describe my dream house.

First, I’m going to describe my dream house in a mostly realistic way. In other words, I’m going to describe a house we will likely be able to afford in the foreseeable future. I did a post describing my dream house on an old version of my Dutch blog several years ago. Then, my husband and I still lived in a second-floor apartment. Well, I didn’t live there, as I was institutionalized, but I did pay part of the rent and intended on moving in there sometime. I never did.

I mentioned three things my dream house would have. These were a garden, a room just for me to be my office and a bath. I have two of these things in my current house: the garden and a larger office than I imagined back then. However, by contrast, my husband’s office is really small. In my dream house now, there would be three bedrooms like in our current house, but their size would be more evenly distributed. I, after all, could do with a somewhat smaller office while my husband deserves a larger one.

My husband would like our house to be at most the size of our current house to save on cleaning. He once said he’d like a larger garden, but I’m not sure he still wants this. I want a garden big enough to plant some berry bushes and an apple tree or two in, but I don’t need a lot of space.

The kitchen would be larger and/or more efficiently modeled than our current one. And yes, there’d be a bath in the bathroom. Or there’d at least be the possibility of remodeling the bathroom so that a bath can be placed there. I know this is the least likely wish to come true.

Now as for my dream house if I won several millions of euros in the lottery. In addition to all the things my “realistic” dream house would have, there’d be an additional fourth bedroom that I would model (or have someone else model!) to be a sensory room. It’d have a waterbed in it and lots of tactile and audible sensory materials. Because with the upstairs having four bedrooms, there’d be more room downstairs too, so I’d create a gym room with a large trampoline in it. I’d also like a pool. My husband would of course get a large garage.

What does your dream house look like?,?P>

Currently – October 2016

Oh yeah, another week and a half have passed without me blogging. Originally, I was planning on participating in #Write31Days this month again, but I couldn’t think of a topic. Then when I had something in mind, I couldn’t get myself to write my first posts, because I was sick and tired all week-end after my sister’s wedding on Friday. So no pressure this month once again. Because it’s already late in the evening and I badly want to publish a post before midnight though, I thought I’d do “Currently” once again. This month’s co-host is Jacqui and our usual host is Anne.

Cheers-ing

I don’t drink alcohol, but I would like to give a big cheers to my sister and her husband for their wedding last Friday. They had their wedding ceremony on the beach. Though it was so windy I couldn’t hear my sister say her vows, it was a beautiful ceremony.

Organizing

My soaping supplies. I have tried to resist the urge to buy more supplies, because I still don’t know whether I’ll be able to soap at day activities once I leave the institution. However, since i still don’t know when I will be leaving the institution, I’ve also thought that I might as well enjoy the craft while I still can. My wheeled bag is so full it won’t close properly now and some plastic bags were tearing, so I had to re-organize my supplies. I originaly planned on keeping some out of the bag unless I’d need them, but I have no clue where else to store them.

Dreaming

Way too vividly, if you mean dreaming while asleep. I have always had vivid dreams and they got much more vivid since starting my antipsychotic in 2010. Though the dose of this medication has been the same for several years, my vivid dreams are getting worse. Yes, I say worse, because it’s no fun.

As for daydreaming, I don’t do that much lately. So much is still unclear that I have little to look forward to except for the very next moment. You see, I’m practising staying present and enjoying the moment more. So far, I’m not very good at it.

Buying

Soaping supplies like I said. I also bought some new clothes for my sister’s wedding, as well as some body care products.

Listening

I recently discovered some new-to-me country musicians that I like. I’m also listening to a lot of audio lectures from a company called Home Academy. I used to listen to the ones I’d bought or gotten as gifts many years ago. Recently, they were added to the library for the blind’s collection, so I can now listen to them virtually for free, sine the membership fee is way less than what I used to pay for individual magazines and lectures and suchlike. The lecture I most recently finished was on the atomic bomb. It had me vividly dreaming about mushroom clouds for days.

What have you been up to lately?

Dear Transition

Like I said a few weeks ago, I bought the 22-day life transitions journaling workbook. I didn’t use it consistently, so I only finished the first day’s exercise and read the one for day two. It sounded particularly hard to me, but today, I’m trying to take up the challenge. The assignment is to write a letter to the transition in your life, in my case, the move out of the institution. You should be as honest as possible and can rant all you want. Then, let the transition respond. Here goes.

Dear transition,

Screw you, why do you have to happen? Why can’t things just stay the same. I know that’s not ideal, but that’s all I’ve known for the past 8 1/2 years. This institution life feels safe. Call me dependent all you want, I don’t care. I don’t know what happens when I leave the institutio. I fear I’ll fall flat on my face and not be able to cope.

Besides, I never planned on living independently again. I never learned to cope in a less restrictive environment, because that wasn’t the goal. Even since it’s been the goal that I live with my husband for the past 1 1/2 years, I still never learned to cope. I tried an afternoon at home here and there, but I still feel utterly overwhelmed when I’m at home for longer than a few days.

I don’t know what you expect of me anyway. My husband wants me to live with him, but I don’t even know wha the expects out of me. He probably expects me to take care of some housekeeping, which I haven’t done i years. Evernything else is uncertain too. I haven’t found day activities, haven’t been accepted by the mental health agency. I know you will happen – I will move in with my husband -, but I don’t even know when. So stop bothering me.

Astrid

Dear Astrid,

You sound angry at me. I’m sorry about that, because I never meant to piss you off. I am uncertain, I know, and I know that scares you. I know your control has been taken away by the psychologist, who decided seemingly arbitrarily that this is the point at which you need to stick to your decision. Then again, she’s right. You can’t waste your life away in the institution, and i know you don’t want to either. It may feel safe now, but safety isn’t all you need. You want to develop yourself, too.

Try to be confident that your treatment team will put a safety net in place should you not be able to cope. Try also to focus on the opportunities I will award you. I know you have so many dreams that you sometimes don’t even want to write about. I know that I won’t guarantee you that you’ll be able to make your dreams come true, but sitting on your butt in the institution certainly won’t make them come true. Try to stop dreaming and fearing and start living. Good luck.

Your transition

In Ten Years’ Time

I had the “kitchen table talk” yesterday. This is the official term for the meeting with your local social consultant to determine your need for services funded through the community support act. The meeting went well, though not much is clear. I’ll be eligible for supports, but I first need to go to the mental health agency near the tiny village to discuss my treatment there. After all, if I go into day treatment or assertive community treatment, part of the services from mental health will overlap with supports I’d be eligible for through the community support act. I’ll push my psychologist to get me an appointment with mental health as soon as possible. The consultant officially has to make a decision on community supports within six to eight weeks.

This has me looking ahead to my life with my husband. I hope to move in with my husband this summer. My mother-in-law had somehow gotten the idea that I’ll be leaving the institution in August, because she asked me how I felt about discharge. I have no clue where she got the idea that I’ll be discharged this August from, but I hope she’s right. After the kitchen table talk, I am somewhat more excited about leaving the institution than I was before. It’s still scary, but it’s a little less scary at least.

I was just looking at the 30-day recovery challenge from BelieveInRecovery.com. ONe of the challenges is to describe where you hope to be in ten years. I already wrote a letter to my future self in 2014. Today, I am going to take it a little easier and just fantasize about my life in ten years’ time.

Ten years ago, I resided in an independent living training home for the disabled. I had made the decision to postpone university till 2007, but had not yet found something to study for 2006. The idea that I am autistic had not been picked up by the staff yet. I was still, in other words, “just blind”. And miserable.

Now, ten years later, I’m not as miserable but still not very happy. I hope that in ten years, I’ll be more comfortable in my own skin than I am now. I obviously hope that I’ll have lost the almost 20kg that I’m overweight.

In the past ten years, if you look at the larger scheme of things, not much has changed. My parents at one point came to talk to my doctor at the locked unit and told him that I’d gone from the rehabilitation center for the blind to the training home and from the training home into a psychiatirc hospital. They overlooked the three months that I’d lived independently, but in the larger scheme of things, how much do these matter?

I hope to change more in the ten years to come than in the past ten years. However, I’m afraid to dream big now. I mean, in an ideal world, I’d go back to school and complete a program in counseling or psychology. Not to be an employed counselor, but just for the knowledge of it. I’d be doing volunteer work helping people navigate the social services field. I’ll have written and published my autobiography. Maybe I’ll do some freelance writing – if I can manage to learn to type properly. I had at least five typeos in that sentence.

One thing that changed within the past ten years and that I hope won’t change within the next ten years, is my relationship status. Ten years ago, I was single and clueless about relationships. Now, I’m still clueless but apparently doing an okay job at loving someone. I hope to still love and be loved by my husband ten years from now.

By This Time in Life…

Last week, the Finish the Sentence Friday prompt was: “I thought that by this time in life, I’d…” I discovered it on Thursday already but was busy all week-end traveling to my parents, being at their house and attending a concert and then traveling back. I can’t link up my post anymore, but that doesn’t keep me from writing about the topic.

I have written many posts about my dreams for my adult life. When I was a young teen, I dreamt that by the time I turned thirty, I’d have completed my Master’s degree, gotten a steady job as a high school teacher and become a Mom of three (technically four, because in my dreams one pregnancy would always be with twins). Obviously, this was before the economic meltdown, because I dreamt of being a teacher within a year of earning my Master’s degree. Interestingly, though obviously these three or four children had a Dad, I never imagined meeting the man of my dreams.

Obviously, these dreams were unrealistic, though I held onto some version of them till I landed in a psychiatric crisis and had to be hospitalized. It is once again strange that, even though I met my now husband before being hospitalized, I just thought I’d meet someone “someday” and was busier with thinking up my career than thinking up relationships.

Later on, I adjusted to the idea that I would never be a high school teacher, speech-language pathologist, or anything earning me money. I did enter a relationship and get married. Still, I had and to some degree still have a hard time fitting in that one success into my life story. I love my husband and am hopefully going to live with him this summer. Still, once I landed in a psychiatric crisis, I abandoned all my dreams and replaced them with the idea that I’d be in residential care for the rest of my life.

I seriously need to let go of this idea that, if my dreams of a college degree, a job and a child or four can’t come true, I can’t get any sort of meaningful life. Maybe I can’t have the life I imagined for myself. Maybe I won’t ever live in the United States – because that was another dream of mine. I can however have a life with my husband and our two cats in our nice home in the tiny village here in the Netherlands. I really need to work towards that goal.

Things People Don’t Tell You (or Even Know) about Borderline Personality Disorder

Having borderline personality disorder, I have severe and rapid mood swings. Usually, people with BPD experience chronic, low-grade depression, but it can worsen or spiral down into anxiety, paranoia or anger at the drop of a hat. I have experienced that during severe mood episodes, I have similar experiences that are listed as those common in mood or anxiety episodes for people with depression, bipolar or anxiety disorders. The difference is the episodes are usually more severe but last shorter.

Today, I came across a list of things people don’t tell you (or even know) about depression. I can relate to many of these and could add a few that apply to my BPD moods specifically.

1. Most of the things people tell you, are not going to register with you and/or aren’t helpful at the time. “Just accept that you feel like crap”, “just act happier”, or “it will get better”. When I’m in a BPD mood episode, I usually can’t see beyond this episode and am utterly overcome with emotion. Telling me to “just” accept it or “just” act ahppier will seem totally unhelpful, even though it is particularly the “just” bit that is making it unhelpful. It’s not easy, but acting opposite to emotions and acceptance of one’s emotional state do help.

2. It physically hurts. Particularly depression and anxiety can cause physical symptoms. I often experience a heavy weight on my body when in a depressed state. Intense fatigue is another symptom. Anxiety can come with a lot of physical symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat, chest pains, lightheadedness, etc. When you experience these symptoms for the first time, do see your doctor to make sure it’s indeed anxiety and not a physical health condition.

3. Your relationship with food changes to “it’s complicated”. Many people with BPD also experience eating disorders, usually of the not otherwise specified type, where they alternate between anorexic and bulimic or binge eating episodes. Mood episodes can, as the author of the article I linked to says, also cause you to overeat or forget to eat.

4. Some “friends” will let you down, and that’s okay. Being BPD, we often tend to cling to people and have severe fears of abandonment. However, those friends who let us down during a mood episode, probably aren’t worth our frantic efforts to keep them. Friendships are generally hard for borderlines, so especially when not in a severe mood episode, it may be helfpul to invest in interpersonal skills.

5. You feel like you’re absolutely losing your mind. When in a severe mood episode, I can’t see beyond this episode and usually think it is worse than it is. Even if I do recognize that my symptoms are mood symptoms and I’m not going to die of a physical health condition, I often do feel like I’m going crazy. I could’ve been fine hours or even minutes before, but in such a severe emotional state, all there is, is depression, anxiety or paranoia.

6. Everything will start to annoy you. Even you will start to annoy you. My sensory overreactivity gets a lot worse when I’m in a mood episode. So does my general irritabilty. Unfortunately, irritability in BPD is commonly seen as a behavior problem rather than a mood problem./P>

7. Everyday tasks will feel overwhelming. As I said, most people with BPD experience chronic, low-grade depression. For this reason, everyday tasks feeling overwhelming is not just a symptomom of a severe mood episode for me. It could also be related to autism in my case. However, it is true that, when in a severe mood episode, I find everyday tasks even mroe overwhelming than usual. It is important to keep some level of activity even when in an episode.

8. It’s nearly impossible to tell when it’s “just your BPD talking”. With BPD being a chronic mental health condition, we often get used to our irrational beliefs. They however do become worse when in a dysregulated state. At the same time, it is extremely hard to see beyond this mood to our (still distorted) everyday sense of reality.

9. Moods will wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. When depressed, people often experience disrupted sleep. They may sleep more during the day and less at night. On the other hand, borderlines can have periods of hyperactivity similar to bipolar (hypo)mania, when they seem to need less sleep. Sleeping pills may have opposite effects in BPD, causing agitaton and even aggression.

10. Sometimes, you will not feel anything at all. Feeling nothign at all may be a sign of depression, but it is also common in BPD (“chronic feelings of emptiness” is one of the criteria). I personally don’t feel empty or numb that often, but when I do, it’s often the “calm before the storm” and I run an increased risk of falling into a dysregulated mood episode.

11. Your dreams get weird. Both changing moods and the medications many borderlines take can cause you to start having weird, intense or scary dreams. I felt a wave of recognition when I read this in the article I linked to. When I was admitted to the psychiatric hospital in 2007, the psychiatrist asked whether I had scary dreams. I said “No”, but I did say I had these really weird, intense dreams. They quieted for a while and then came back when I went on an anitpsychotic. PTSD is also common among those with BPD, and one of the symptoms of this is recurrent nightmares about the trauma you endured.

12. Your mood will seem totally “logical”. As I said, it is hard when in a severe mood state to look beyond this state. Your mood will also make you feel like it’s the most normal, or even the only state to be in. Some research shows that depressed people lack healthy but unrealistic optimism. Therefore, your thoughts may seem or even be close to reality, but they aren’t helpful.

13. You won’t be able to think clearly about your future. When I was in my worst mood epsiode, even looking a day ahead seemed impossible. I not only had no hope, but no image of even the short-term future whatsoever.

14. Mood episodes distort your view of the past, too. When I am in a severe mood episode, I can not only not see that it will ever get better, but I exaggerate how long I’ve been in this state. This doesn’t happen consciously or with a purpose, but it’s impossible to look not only beyond this state, but also to the past before this state started.

15. BPD makes you feel like you’re alone. You’re not. I often feel like no-one has similar experiences to mine. Of course, it is true that no-one is in my head so no-one has the same expeirneces, but many people do have similar experiences. You are not alone with BPD.

Random Questions #TuesdayTen

Today for Tuesday Ten, people are answering ten random questions from the 100 random questions list. I love these questions. Would love to answer them all, but it’s Tuesday Ten and besides I’m too lazy, so here are ten.

8. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? I last went outside to go to my husband’s car so he could take me to our home. This was at around 3:15 this afternoon.

10. Do you remember your dreams? Usually, yes, but I don’t always realize they were dreams. Sometimes I dream that I checked my E-mail and then when I really do check my E-mail, I’m surprised at the number of new messages. Yes, I do dream about checking my E-mail!

17. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? I’d love to live in the United States just so that most people I know online would live in my country. The health care system in the U.S. sucks though, so I guess I’d go for the UK.

27. Type of music you like most. Country.

36. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? No, but to my defense it has fifteen strophes. In school, most people learn the first and sixth strophe. I can however barely remember the first as I write this.

58. Do you believe in love at first sight? No. It took me almost eight months to decide I wanted to be in a relationship with my now husband. I do believe people can be attracted to someone at first sight, but love is something much deeper than sexual attraction.

73. What do you do most when you are bored? I’d like to come up with something that doesn’t make me sound like the laziest creature on the planet. Go on the computer, read, listen to music… Truth is however most of the time I go into bed and sleep.

76. What did you want to be when you grew up? A writer or a teacher.

85. What kind of books do you like to read? Autobiographies, true stories (mostly from doctors), and juvenine fiction.

99. What is most important in life? Happiness, oh duh.

The Golden Spoons

Coffee and My Due Date

September 29 was my due date as determined by the doctors at my birth in 1986. It was also National Coffee Day according to one of this week’s writing prompts at Mama’s Losin’ It. What connects these two is that I received caffeine treatment at some point during my neonatal intensive care stay. I don’t know why. A quick online search found that caffeine citrate is used as a treatment for apnea (breathing trouble) in premature infants, so that may be the reason. My parents joke that my getting caffeine early in life was the reason I drank coffee from age six or so on.

I started drinking coffee with milk and sugar. My parents liked their coffee with sugar and I had to use cold cow’s milk both to cool the drink a bit and to prevent me from getting too much caffeine in me. There is a photograph I remember vividly on which I’m drinking coffee with a hideous grin on my face. I still look like I am drinking shampoo when I drink coffee, even though I like the taste.

I never stirred the sugar into my coffee. Rather, I would drink the coffee with milk and then eat the sugar from the bottom of the cup with my spoon.

At one point in I believe it was 2001, so I was fourteen, I dreamt a particularly scary dream. In it, an evil uncle or some other relative who wasn’t in our lives much, exchanged the sugar in the sugar pot for poison that looked exactly like sugar. Please note that I don’t have any eviel uncles or the like. It was just a dream, but when I awoke, I couldn’t shake the thought. I decided not to drink any sugar in my coffee anymore. It didn’t make much of a difference since I never stirred the sugar through my coffee anyway.

I think I got rid of the milk when I went to blindness rheab, but honestly I have no clue. I remember drinking my coffee black in the independence training home I went to out of rehab. When a psychologist came to visit me because I was having behavioral challenges, I judged his personability by the fact that he drank his coffee black too. Not that it could’ve been any different, because I think I didn’t have sugar or milk in my pantry or fridge anyway.

Mama’s Losin’ It

“Follow Your Heart!”

While looking at link-ups recommended by the women of the SITS Girls Facebook group, I came across the Pour your Heart Out linky by Shell from Things I Can’t Say. Shell has a great blog. Last week, she wrote a post for the linky entitled Do Your “It”. The message in her post was clear: follow your dreams. Don’t let yourself be held back by people who say that you can’t.

I immediately thought about my post about crafting. I have often been told that I shouldn’t try my hand at crafting, but I did, and, though I’m not particulalry successful, I enjoy it.

On the other hand, I’ve also often been told what I can do. People have told me that I can go to university and become a successful scientist if I stick to the right field. Yet I don’t want to become a scientist. I want to write and craft.

I have been overburdened at least as much as I’ve been underestimated. This is equally discouraging. When you fail time and time again despite being told that you “can”, you feel like a failure. At least I did. It often makes me eager to listen to the people who say that I “can’t”. At least I don’t disappoint them if I don’t try. Yet I disappoint myself.

One of Shell’s commandments is to follow your heart. I do this, or at least I try. I still have dreams that I feel kept from following because of the people who say that I can’t. Following a writing course, for example. I still have dreams that I do not follow because I’ve been pushed too hard in the past and failed, and now I believe I can’t. Finishing my intro to psychology course, for example. Yet this is not as strong a dream as it is an expectation. Really, I’m not too sure what following my heart entails, given all the “cans” and “can’ts” from the outside.

Parents’ Dreams and Expectations for Their Disabled Children

Today, Ellen from Love That Max wrote about wondering what her disabled son would do when he grows up. I wrote about this last week. As I said then, I knew early on that I’d become a normal or even above-average college student and later employee when I grew up. Up till age eighteen at least I didn’t show any inkling of thinking I’d not meet this expectation. I know that I had worries at night about burning out at my first job (as a teacher) and returning to the workforce several years later at an entry-level administrative position. I didn’t share these thoughts. I shared my dreams of going to the United States on a college exchange student visa and never returning. Cause, you know, with affirmative action and all my minority statuses, I’d surely get a green card. Sure!

Ellen shares her son’s similarly big dreams. Max will become a fireman when he grows up, and not only that, but he’ll live at the fire station. Ellen knows this is an unrealistic dream, but then again, maybe not. She refers to a news story about a man with an intellectual disability practically living at a firehouse. In similar ways, my parents probably knew the moving to the U.S. dream was unrealistic, but they tried to keep a positive attitude. I appreciate that

What I also want to say I appreciate, is that Ellen doesn’t turn Max’s big dreams into expectatiosn for him. I don’t know whether my parents truly believed I could go to the U.S., but they made it seem lke they did and they were half-expecting me to actually pursue this path.

With disabled children, more so than with non-disabled children, you need to walk the fine line between not encouraging them enough to dreaam and follow their dreams, and turning their biggest dreams into your lowest expectations. I like it that my parents looked up the subsequent cities I was obsessed with living in once in the United States and encouraged me to learn about these places. That is encouraging a child to dream. However, I’d have liked it if my parents helped me do some realistic planning. This doesn’t mean saying: “Girl, you’ll go live in an institution and do day activities there.” I’m pretty sure that, with the right transition planning from me, my parents and the staff at the training home I lived in for eighteen months, I could’ve come far closer to my dreams than I’m now. Then again, I’m relatively happy now – happier than I was when dreaming of the United States.

One last thought, which I’m struggling with. Your idea of success as a parent is not the only conceivable norm. I know that as parents, you have limits too, and, particularly if your child is above eighteen (or 21), you have a right to these limits. You don’t have an obligation to care for your child past this age. In this sense, I can only hope that parents of disabled children have an appropriate transition plan in place before their child turns eighteen. I can only hope they accept their children no matter their path to success, but I still understand that this is not something a child, disabled or not, can enforce.