Tag Archives: United States

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.

#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.

Journaling on Accomplishments and Hopes

From the age of ten or eleven on, I used to keep a journal, first on paper and then on the computer. I quit in 2003 when my computer crashed and I’d lost the last four months of journaling. Besides, an Internet diary had taken over my mind. In 2006, when I moved into independence training where we didn’t have an Internet connection, I started again. I continued to write a journal through my first two to three years in the psychiatric hospital, and then the Internet took over again. My online diaries have often been pretty persoanl, but over the years, I learned to write more for a general audience.

Nonetheless, journaling never ceased to capture my interest. I read and enjoy a lot of personal blogs. A few months ago, I tried to start a weekly gratitude journal here on this blog, but I never got past the first entry.

Today, I bohgt Journaling Tools by JanMarie Kelly, which is basically a very introductory explanation of journaling plus an assortment of prompts, alnd I thought I’d createa “jouranling” category here on the blog.

The first and third prompts in Kelly’s book are about accomplishments you’ve completed and expectations you have for yourself. Kelly asks the journaler to write ten of each, but I am not sure I can get to that many, so I guess I’ll just reflect on a couple.

My biggest accomplishment so far has been graduating from high school. I went to a mainstream school where I was the only blind or visually impaired student. I am also gifted, as were about thirty percent of the students, and of course I have Asperger’s, which I suspected at the time but had not been diagnosed with yet. I remember when I was in the tenth grade, my teachers saying in a performance that only students who had something different about them – gifted, Asperger’s, blind, dyslexic, etc. -, could go to their school. “But our little Louis William George has nothing wrong with him, not even fear of failure, so he can’t come to this school?” Quite funny.

My second biggest accomplishment is choosing my own path of study, which was quite at odds with my parents’ ideas of an appropriate field of study for me. I chose psychology, and completed my foundation (first year) in 2007. I reaalize that psychology is not an ideal major for someone with a communication disorder like autism, and I guess so neither is linguistics, which I majored in the following year. The only thing I can say I accomplished during the two months at that university, is getting a B in intro to linguistics despite taking the exam in the week of the crisis that led to my hospitalization.

I honestly cannot think of any more accomplishments that I consider big enough to list here. Of course, I lived independently for three months and am married, but are these accomplishments or just things I did?

I also cannot think of ten expectations for myself. I used to be able to think of several dozens when I was still in school. I wanted to graduate from college, get a Ph.D., live in the United States, get a job as a researcher, and many other expectations that are out of reach for most non-disabled people. Now I cannot get beyond hopes. I will just write a list of hopes that I have for my future, and think I can get to ten with this.


  1. Complete some more further education.

  2. Get a volunteer job.

  3. Live in a workhome or other suitable supported housing.

  4. Learn to cook independently again.

  5. Work as a recovery worker either on a voluntary or paid basis.

  6. Get any paid job.

  7. Live with my husband./Li>
  8. Visit the United States.

  9. Take and complete some writing courses.

  10. Write a memoir.


Yeah, I made it to ten. 🙂 In fact, I could think of some more, but these are enough f o now.