Last Friday, I had a discussion with my psychologist and a psychologist specialized in EMDR and complex or early trauma in general. The aim of the discussion would've been to figure out whether EMDR would be for me, but we quickly found out that it isn't. The reason is that I have apparently recently been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder [MPD]). The treatment for DID is some kind of three-phase model, in which I'm in phase one and trauma work is in phase three. The first phase had to do something with getting to know your system, developing trust in the treatment, cooperation between the system mebers, etc., but I'm not sure exactly what was said.

It was quite a shock to me to hear my psychologist say that I meet DSM-IV criteria for DID. I knew that I will meet DSM-V criteria if they remain the same as proposed, but the DSM-IV is somewhat stricter. Particularly, I sometimes wonder whether my parts truly come out and whether I lose enough time. I know that I recently lost time after a therapy session in which one of my parts was present, but I thought maybe that was not real. However, my boyfriend told me over the week-end that, back in 2009, I used to switch and not remember that I'd reacted quite differently to a certain situation just before. Back then, I was not involved with dissociation at all, so it would be unlikely to be caused by internalized suggestion or some other mechanism by which I could fake.

I also feel bad, because I wonder whether I have enough trauma in my history to warrant me having a dissociative disorder. I don't feel like my childhood was that bad, and I don't believe that's a matter of not remembering things. Then again, everyone has a different level of sensitivity to trauma, and my childhood was certainly overwhelming. That may be explained by the fact that I'm autistic and therefore more vulnerable to environmental stimulation.

Between the lines, there was some talk about my possibly not being autistic after all. My psychologist actually meant to wonder what of my problems is cause of the DID and what is due to the ASD. I worried that she was going to throw out my autism diagnosis, which not only explains much about why my experiences were traumatic to me, but also serves as the ground for my moving to the workhome next year. I feared that I could not go to the workhome, and where else would I find a safe place to live? I sent my psychologist an E-mail asking her for clarification, and she explained that there are indeed indication to support a diagnosis of autism, and that she is not going to throw out the label. That relieved me quite a bit.

Ativan withdrawal sucks, especially if you've tapered way too quickly. I was on Ativan 3mg daily for nearly three months before I decided I wanted to quit. My psychiatrist advised me to take the drug "as needed", probably assuming I'd still need one or two tablets everyday for a while to curb my anxiety. But with a fairly low anxiety level these days, I thought I didn't need the Ativan. There was only at most a week between my taking 3mg and taking zero. That is a rather quick taper.

Now on to the ugly world of withdrawal symptoms. Yesterday, I had a slight tremor which I hardly noticed. Today, it was a million times worse. At first, I laughed it off, although my thought that it came from the Celexa didn't sit easily with me. I hoped that if it was a rather late Celexa side effect - three weeks into using the drug -, it would pass. I felt also slightly, well, uneasy. It wasn't full-blown anxiety, but some inner sense of restlessness. Again, I assumed it was due to the Celexa until at last I had a lightbulb moment and googled "benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms". Aha! I took an Ativan this evening - "as needed", cause I was rather tense - and the tremor is gone. Now I think I'll taper a little slower.
I visited "De Beemden" yesterday. It's a sheltered living/working placement for autistic people of normal intelligence. I was given information and shown around by the manager. All the information overwhelmed me a bit, and I'm still scared that it won't be suitable. In particular, I worry about the day activities and how much guidance I can get there. Everyone is required to have day activities, so I should get appropriate help then. Also, it just felt, well, a little uncomfortable. Still, I applied just in case, because at least it seemed less uncomfortable than all the other places I've visited before.


Jul. 21st, 2010 10:50 pm
Stolen from Not Another Nursing Student.

1. Are you currently in a serious relationship?

2. What was your dream growing up?
To be a writer

3. What talent do you wish you had?
Writing LOL

4. If I bought you a drink, what would it be?
Grapefruit-orange juice. And I still haven't looked up whether grapefruit is okay with my antipsychotic.

5. Favourite vegetable?
Bell pepper

6. What was the last book you read?
Half way through Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet.

7. What zodiac sign are you?

8. Any tattoos or piercings?

9. Worst habit?
Procrastinating. And nail-biting.

10. If you saw me walking down the street, would you offer me a ride?
No, I don't have a car.

11. What is your favourite sport?

12. Do you have a pessimistic or optimistic attitude?
Others would say pessimist. I prefer to think of myself as an idealist.

13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
I would be too busy freaking out to notice if there was someone in there with me.

14. Worst thing to ever happen to you?
Can't select one thing from the crap that I went through.

15. Tell me one weird fact about you.
I was born weighing 850 grams. This one is easy.

16. Do you have any pets?

17. What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
I would end up in a meltdown and you'd run away scared.

18. What was your first impression of me?
Pretty whimsical.

19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?

20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
I wouldn'change anything.

21. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
Your conscience.

22. What colour eyes do you have?

23. Ever been arrested?
No, I always went with the police vountarily.

24. Bottle or can soda?

25. If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
Not the slightest idea.

26. What's your favourite place to hang out at?
My bedroom.

27. Do you believe in ghosts?

28. Favourite thing to do in your spare time?
Interwebbing. Writing bad blog posts. Reading.

29. Do you swear a lot?

30. Biggest pet peeve?
Don't know.

31. In one word, how would you describe yourself?

32. Do you believe in/ appreciate romance?
Believe yes, but I am terrible at it.

33. Favourite and least favourite food?

Mashed potatoes

34. Do you believe in God/ a higher power/ whatever you want to call it?
No, but I am a philosophical Idealist, so everything is spiritual in nature.

35. Will you repost this?
I really need more day activities. Currently, I sit behind the computer in my room alone most of the day, which gives me plenty of time to ruminate on every little stressor in my life. Because, you know, I follow too few people on Twitter to be able to hang out there all day, and I wouldn't want to, either.

My primary nurse inquired about my going to fitness at the mental institution. Last itme I applied, they rejected me because I presumabley need too much help. I'm a little scared that, if they want me this time, they're going to demand I need no help at all, while I need some help navigating around there. I've also heard that it is pretty busy there, which I'm not sure I can handle.

I might inquire about other activities at my institution. Back when I first came to this ward, I was about to put my whole week full of activities, and now I've got only one activity a week besides movement therapy, the social worker and the psychologist. I really am not sure which activities I'd like to do, since I'm scared they don't want me anywhere anyway or it'll be too difficult.

Then, I took some time to look online for courses at the local adult education center. I do Open University courses, of course, but I don't get out of my room that way. Regular university - so-called "contract education" - would be another option, but I gather you're going to sit in with the regular students, which means 200+ people in the room on the courses I'd like. Besides, I don't have the discipline to complete a regular university course on time, I think. Lastly, I fear they don't want me at Radboud anymore anyway. I think the same of the adult education center. Is it internalized ableism to assume that no-one wants me because I've been turned down for so many activities at the institution?
I am angry at Twitter today. Here are the reasons why:

  1. It won't have you create multiple accounts with the same E-mail address, so I had to go all the way to create a new E-mail address because I wanted a second Twitter account.
  2. The "List" and "Actions" buttons at the top op people's profiles don't work with my Braille display, or only some of the time, so I have to use a Twitter client exclusively for that.
  3. When I protected my tweets on one of my accounts, it turned out the friend requests thingy doesn't work with my Braille display, either. Therefore, I accidentally declined a wannabe follower I myself am following and really wanted to grant access. I now have unlocked my tweets again exclusively for this reason, so anyone who wants to follow me, can do so again. Bye bye privacy.
  4. I wanted to deactivate my second Twitter account, but I might need it again in the future. Twitter won't let you do that, or free your E-mail address/username. So, a third E-mail account for the deactivated Twitter account.
  5. TimesPeople ( was connected to the now-deactivated Twitter account, and I didn't realize that you can't just reconnect; you have to revoke access first (which didn't work with my Braille display either). So, now I can't tweet from anymore, because my tweets will land in limbo.
  6. On my still active Twitter account, I am stuck connected to a million services I don't use, because the Revoke Access button doesn't work.

I bet that the fact that I haven't given up Twitter altogether, is proof that it is addictive. ;)

To distract myself, I decided to do a meme. I stole this one from [personal profile] amadi

  1. It's 2AM and you are not home. You are more than likely:
    At my boyfriend's.
  2. What’s the last thing you spent more than $100 on?
    Instittuion care copay bills, LOL.

  3. What do your bank cheques look like?
    Don't know.

  4. Where did the shirt you are currently wearing come from?
    I don't remember where I buy my clothes.

  5. Name something that is on your Christmas wish list:
    Heck, I don't even know what I want for my birthday, let alone Christmas.

  6. What color is your toothbrush?

  7. Name something you collect...
    Blogs for in my feed reader.

  8. Last restaurant you ate at.
    A pancake restaurant in my city

  9. Last person you bought a birthday card for:
    My mother.

  10. What is your worst bad habit?
    Biting my nails.

  11. Name a magazine you subscribe to?

  12. Your favorite pizza toppings?
    Salami, peppers, onions and fresh tomatoes.

  13. Whose number were you looking up the last time you used a phone book?
    I've never used a phone book.

  14. Who is the person that you love most?
    My boyfriend, duh.

  15. What is the last thing you cooked?
    Macaroni I think. Haven't cooked in months.

  16. Name something you wouldn’t want to buy used?

  17. Which shoe do you put on first?
    Whichever one I find first.

  18. What is the last thing you remember losing?
    Can't remember

  19. What is the ugliest piece of furniture in your house?
    The blue chair. It was in my house, but when I went to empty that, the ward wanted to have it. All other patients like the chair.

  20. Last thing you bought and ended up returning?
    Tried to return a piece of software I bought online, but failed.

  21. What perfume/cologne do you wear?

  22. Your favorite board game?

  23. Last board game you played?

  24. Where did your vehicle come from?
    I don't have one

  25. If a movie was made about your life what would the theme song be?
    Can't think of anything.

  26. You're sad, who can cheer you up easily?
    Random people on the Internet

  27. What was the color of the bridesmaid dresses of the last wedding you went to?
    I don't have a clue even when the last wedding I attended was.

  28. What house cleaning chore do you hate to do the most?

  29. What is your favorite way to eat chicken?
    I like any sort of chicken except for chicken liver.

  30. It is your birthday. You hope the cake is?
    Home-made apple cake.

[personal profile] polemista reminded me that yesterday was Autistic Pride Day. I didn't even know it still existed, since the last time I read anything about it, was back in 2005, when it first started and Joel Smith wondered whether we celebrate it right. I frequent a number of autism listservs, but didn't hear a single thing about it on any of them.

For those for whom it still is June 18, I want to wish you all a happy Autistic Pride Day! And for those of you in whose timezone it is already past midnight, I want to say autistic pride is not something for one day a year anyway.

Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day. Check out people's contributions over at the Diary of a Goldfish BADD page. I posted my contribution over at my other blog.

I decided to take the Sanity Score quiz. Here is my score. Total scores range from 0 to 288, while subscores range from 0 to 100.

  • Total score 95
  • General Coping 61
  • Life Events 38
  • Depression 38
  • Anxiety 58
  • Phobias 42
  • Self-Esteem 50
  • Eating Disorders 20
  • Schizophrenia 15
  • Dissociation 33
  • Mania 30
  • Sexual Issues 25
  • Relationship Issues 0
  • Alcohol 0
  • Drugs 0
  • Physical Issues 33
  • Smoking Issues 0
  • Gambling Issues 0
  • Technology Issues 25
  • Obsessions/Compulsions 44
  • Posttraumatic Stress 42
  • Borderline Traits 50

Of course it was indicated that I have major issues with anxiety and some with obsessive/compulsive symptoms. I also was said to have minor depressive symptoms, but they were only on the border of real depression. I tend to consider this an overestimation due to issues with self-esteem, sleep and fatigue which are unrelated to mood. More surprising was that it was also indicated I have quite a few bipolar traits. I do have some mood swings, but those tend to be reactive and not at all classic mania/depression episodes.

I do have to say I consider some categories to be quite narrowly defined. For example, dissociation was only defined by dissociative amniesia, while depersonalization, dissociative identity, etc. are not considered. In some categories, like "sexual issues" hyper and hypoactivity were considered in the same department, so you'd be really strange if you scored 100 on them.

I do think my Sanity Score is kept relatively good by the fact that I don't smoke, don't drink, don't use drugs, don't gamble, and am in a wonderufl relationship. :)

Now I don't remember whether Facebook had a CAPTCHA upon registration - probably it did -, and I don't care, since I already got an account. But for fuck's sake why do they have a CAPTCHA if you want to deactivate your account?! I bet it's something like them not only not wanting spammers to register, but them wanting to continue to spam everyone who isn't a spammer themself. I only have three "friends", but I get E-mail messages multiple times a week inviting me to events I don't want to attend and sending me messages asking whether I had a nice week-end - the last time I called the person who obviously sent that message to all of her "friends" in one click, she hung up on me, so I don't think she wants to know. And I don't want any more Farmville gifts either. Apparently, however, I have to prove that I am not a robot or disabled before they will stop bugging me. Note that they do provide audio CAPTCHAs, but those not only leave out the Deaf-Blind, but also don't always work on my very slow, mobile connection.

This entry was crossposted at [community profile] accessibility_fail.

You Are Neuroticism
It's hard for you to relax and unwind. You don't really handle stress well.
You tend to be tense, and you worry a lot. It's hard for you to let things go.

You are more than just a bundle of nerves at times - you can be downright emotionally unstable.
You let your emotions get the better of you, and that can lead to disaster.

Now I understand why I scored as high as possible on Neuroticism when I had to fill out a personality test in college. And suddenly my hugely unstable self-image was gone... oh wait, maybe not. ;)

Guess what? I actually did all three things I listed in yesterday's meme that I would do today. Hanging out online was inevitable and seeing my boyfriend was expected, but I actually also did some studying.

I am currently signed up for a health psychology course at Open University, and I have discovered that I do not prefer digital textbooks over talking textbooks as much as I used to think I did. In fact, I take much longer to read my textbook using my Braille display than I would take to listen to a DAISY book. Of course, I could be using synthetic speech to read my book, but I can't stand that voice and can't attend to it at all. The advantage of having a text-based textbook is, of course, that I can skip over all the tables and figure captions, which whoever is reading the talking book will often read in their entirety, usually with semi-comprehensible image descriptions added. That's how I know the woman who read my neuropsychology textbook isn't color blind. Anyway, I took about an hour to read 12 pages. That is not much for me, but not bad either. If I resolve to study an hour everyday, and I actually stick to my resolution, that would mean I could be finishing the course by the end of May. Attend to the meaning of "would" and "could" here.

Stolen from [personal profile] devon.

SIX NAMES I GO BY (or did in the past):
1. Astrid [legal name]
2. Elfenkind
3. Silent_Fairy_1986
4. Elfgirl or Elfgirl(s)
5. ChangelingGirl
6. Phoneutria_Fera

1. Black jeans.
2. Black T-shirt.
3. Black socks.

1. Coffee.
2. Some fruit that hasn't rotten all week.
3. A quiet mind.

1. The first person who reads this.
2. The first person who doesn't want to read this but does so anyway.
3. The first person who thinks a good meme makes a good journal.

1. Hung out on Twitter.
2. Created my DW account.
3. Concluded I'm a social media addict.

1. A man from the mobile Internet service provider.
2. A woman from the ISP.
3. Another man from the ISP.

1. See my boyfriend.
2. Hang out online.
3. Do some studying, I promise, seriously.

1. Coffee
2. Herbal tea
3. Water

1. The sheer silliness of this meme.
2. When the ISP problem seemed solved, until I realized there may still come a huge bill.
3. What else? *Feigns smile.* This.
My mobile Internet service provider is rather weird. I have a special student contract by which you pay only E19.95 for unlimited data transfer while within the Netherlands. It is called "Carefree", and until now, that's what I thought it was. Yesterday, however, for whatever reason, I kept getting warnings that I'd exceeded my data use limit. I checked the limits settings and found out there's a limit of 400MB set. Internet still works, but I feared that after having exceeded the limit, I'd get to pay like E0.25 per MB or something, even though it wasn't in the contract.

Long story, which included lots of phone calls to the company, short: the contract indeed grants me unlimited data transfer. I can set my own limits and warnings, but they have nothing to do with the bills. Now I will have to see for myself of course whether I truly don't get huge bills. Too bad I won't see that till the end of the month. Just in case, I will be saving money to pay an exhorbitant Internet bill anyway.

Hello DW

Apr. 10th, 2010 12:52 am

So, I got a DW account. It's not that I now magically know the difference between DW and LJ except that LJ is so 2004 or whenever. However, I got to feed my social media addiction and show how oh so progressive and diversity-loving I am. That has to be sung to the tune of Tom Lehrer's National Brotherhood Week, of course.

I am yet another woman with disabilities, and I'm here to prove that at least some institutions, at least in my country, have computers. I am not sure when or what I will be writing here though, since I have too many blogs to keep up with already. I'm also not yet sure whether I will write publicly or not, so if I know you (online, that is), or you think I should, just drop me a comment and I might put you on my access list.