Archive for November, 2010

Today, I have been in the mental institution for three years. This third year – which will be my last full year in this institution since I was accepted to the workhome -, was quite important. I made quite a lot of progress in trusting people. I came out multiple to my psychologist and primary nurse last May, and came out about some of the bad things that happened in the past. I still find it difficult to talk about that though.

It opened doors, because I may be able to get
EMDR treatment for the bad stuff. The psychologist who does that has a waiting list a mile long, so it will take a while if it is at all possible before I move to the workhome. And that is of course assuming I meet the criteria, which I have a vague feeling that I don’t. However, even if the EMDR isn’t going to work out, my having trusted the psychologist with the information I trusted her with, has already opened possibilities.

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I recently bought Life After Trauma: A Workbook for Healing by Dena Rosenbloom and Mary Beth Williams. I am currently scanning it, which results in a far fairer quality than the other book I’m currently scanning. As I work myself through this book, I plan to review the book as it goes.

In the prologue, the reader is first introduced to how this book can be helpful and how it is organized. You are gently being prepared for the feelings that might arise as you read through the book, and are cautioned to lay the book aside and perform self-care activities if you start having increased dissociation, flashbacks, or other unpleasant or strong emotional experiences.

At the end of teh prologue, you are encouraged to create a self-care plan. This is done by listing your triggers as well as things you can do to care for or comfort yourself when triggered. A list of examples of self-care and self-soothing strategies is provided. That way, it was rather easy for me to think of a relatively long list of self-care strategies. While the examples provided are very general, I preferred to be as specific as possible. For example, I listed the types of music I can listen to, because some music is especially triggering for me. Of course, the authors encourage you to add to your self-care plan as you discover new self-care or self-soothing strategies while working through the book.

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Today, people are shutting down their social networks for a day to simulate what it is like to have autistic communication difficulties. In a response, autistics on Twitter, Facebook and around the blogosphere are responding by educating the public through communication. I have chosen to communicate about what it is truly like to lose the ability to communicate.

For me, loss of speech has several causes, autistic overload being just one of them. In that case, my sensory system is so overwhelmed that I lose the ability to respond to my environment. This includes not only a lack of speech, but a general inability to interact. I may engage in self-stimulatory or self-injurious behavior to regulate my sensory perception.

Another reason I may be unable to communicate, is anxiety. I refer to this state as “locked up inside”, after someone on a selective mutism listserv. When in this state, that may last for very short if it’s situational, I do try to compensate by making contact with people in other ways – for example, by staring at them.

Lastly, I can be unable to communicate or have word-finding problems when something unexpected happens. In this case, the reason I can’t communicate is that my plan for communicating is interrupted. For example, if I want to speak to a certain nurse, and another opens the office door, I tend to have difficulty finding the words to communicate what I want.

In general, I write better than I speak, and I express myself better in English than in Dutch, even though Dutch is my native language. I am getting better at expressing myself in Dutch speech, but I still encounter barriers.

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This month, I will be hosting the first Blog Carnival of Mental Health. The theme for this month’s carnival will be diagnosis. Interpret it broadly. When were you diagnosed with a mental illness? What is your diagnosis? What do you want to change about your diagnosis, if anything? If you are a mental health professional, how do you diagnose clients? What is the most stigmatized diagnosis, in your opinion? The list of possibilities is almost endless. The deadline for submissions will be November 27. I will post the carnival on November 30. Submit posts in a comment on this post.

Also, I am still looking for hosts for the Blog Carnival of Mental Health. Slots are open from February, 2011 onwards. If you want to host, you can leave a comment here, too. Please let me know where you blog and what month you would like to host. For clarity’s sake, LiveJournal and Dreamwidth blogs are welcome to submit posts as well as to host.

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