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Monday, May 12, 2014

April Transitions

This is a more free flowing thought post.

This past month has been busy, and the next month ahead is going to be just as busy, between work, school, research, grant applications, various traveling, and moving into a new apartment!

Even before April was known to me as Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month, it's been a bad month for me; it's the month that mental health issues just get triggered a lot. And this year has been a bad year.  So I turned off my email client (I have over 10 email addresses, by the way) to manage the stress of apartment hunting, work, health issues, and just plain Autism month stuff.

Since April isn't Autism Awareness month in Canada, although some of it has been creeping through via the sponsors of Autism Speaks, I also don't have much incentive to be active unless I have the spoons to do so, mostly online.  So when I checked my email at the end of the month (wow, over a thousand email messages), it was no surprise that there was quite a few April Autism Awareness specific ones for this blog, wanting to be quest interviews, for me to review books, cover certain questionable stories, etc.

The fun part is that most of the people approaching me are approaching me with stories that I will never, ever cover.  Yay, you're publishing another book about raising your autistic child.  That's not something I cover.  There are plenty of people who have written about raising us, what about autistics raising autistic children?

I get quack treatments and stories that are highly questionable, like ECT (electroshock) to treat autism (by the way, that's medical malpractice, if not outright abuse), and if anyone had done their homework and realized that I'm on the side trying to get the Judge Rotenburg Center closed down and know my Mad People's History, they would know not to even email me.

And then I'm getting some emails about medical practices in general, that are totally out there, and I'm wondering how in the world they decided to email me and thought it would be good publicity to have me pick them up on my blog.

I wish some of this stuff was new, but it isn't.  It all looks like some of the same old stories that I've covered before.  I don't feel burned out, I just don't see the novelty of writing new articles for what is essentially the same issues.

In the meanwhile, there are things like health, both physical and mental.  I won't go into details, but even the small things can wear you down.  Shifts in something here and there can have great impacts later on.  And then sudden things that happen all at once, but then the effects don't go away.

I called this post transitions, cause I wanted to talk a bit about my moving.  It's a big transition.  I've been living in the same place for four years, the longest outside of living with my family.  The house I'm in is run by a non-profit organization, for people with developmental disabilities, with mental health issues, and with addiction issues, and those who would just be otherwise homeless.

Housing is set up in area of needed support.  So it's also considered supported housing, from more group home settings, to my level, which is the highest independent level they have.  We have a case worker assigned to us, to call if we need anything, a 24 hour line, maintenance crew (dependability depends on priority; been waiting four years for all of my windows to be totally fixed; non-profit = not a lot of money for fixing things), but otherwise left alone to handle ourselves.  If we wanted to, we can all chip in for a cleaning lady once a month, but generally people are capable of handling chores.

My experiences in the house have varied depending on my housemates.  I used to have to lock my fridge and cupboards until a housemate was finally evicted (four years, still haven't gotten compensation for what she admitted stealing; hey let's talk about how the law isn't always on your side if you're disabled). But also not so bad ones; I've learned to take care of myself, how to read body language better (I hope) and trust my gut about people.

I started this post in the beginning of the month, and now it's in the middle.  But I've outgrown my current living situation, and am moving onto a new place, my first apartment, a one-bedroom unit situated perfectly for me to get to work, social groups and services that I need.  Perfect for the long term, people might think, right?  Most adult support services will be satisfied that this is the end-goal, that the rest is daily living, to continue with my job, my friends, maybe work more and get me off social assistance.

But it's not enough for me, cause you know what, development doesn't stop.  Life transitions don't stop.  And I got my own plans.  This is my own place, for me to spend some time on my own.  My little bachelorette, if you will, before getting hitched.

And I know that adult support services aren't prepared, or at least aren't always prepared for clients who needs supports through marriage, and child birth, and childcare and child raising, and buying a house.  But they really should because after all, don't they know that people are a spectrum?