#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 21, 2021)

Hi everyone. Today is a rather mixed Sunday weather-wise. We had sunshine almost all morning and early afternoon, but now we’re having clouds and rain. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I just had a late afternoon coffee (I normally have them at around 2:15PM and it’s almost 3:30 now). I am likely to skip my soft drink, which I normally have at around 3:30, and have some water again when my one-on-one comes on at four o’clock. If you’d like a drink, you’re welcome to grab a soft drink or water or get a Senseo in the kitchen. Let’s catch up.

I already shared on Friday that this week was a rather meh one. So, if we were having coffee, I’d try to focus on other things. I’d share that I’ve been trying to pick up the polymer clay craft again. Yesterday, I finished three labels with “Bedankt” (Dutch for “Thanks”) on them for the three staff who are leaving soon. I still need to cure them in the oven and add glitter glue for decoration. I’m probably going to do that this evening.

I will still need to make real presents for each of the three staff, because I don’t think just a simple label, even if it’s hand-made, is enough. One of the staff is leaving at the end of this month. The other two aren’t leaving till the end of December, so I still have time for those.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I’ve been oohing and aahing at some polymer clay supplies I want to get for Christmas or St. Nicholas (December 5). You need to actually pay for your own St. Nicholas presents, but I agreed with my assigned staff that she could spend around €15 on them and I’d send her a wishlist which she could pick something from, so that I’d still feel a sense of surprise. We do get a small Christmas hamper from the day center, so I told my day activities staff she might talk to my assigned home staff about ordering from the same company as to save on shipping. Some things on my wishlist include cutters, pushmolds and texture sheets.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I bought a new essential oil diffuser. I couldn’t seem to clean the other one properly anymore, so all scents were starting to smell the same. I made a note in my Reminders app to clean this one each month, but with how often I’m currently using it, I’ll probably make that every other week. The new one has a remote and two mist settings for normal and strong mist.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that my husband came by to take me out to lunch this afternoon. We’d talked about going to a particular snack and dine place we’d been to two years ago and I’d looked forward to it all week. It was really good back then. Now, not really. The burger we ordered was okay’ish. Not very bad, but not good either. In addition, we had to wait forever to place our order and the staffer really was quite curt. This time, we were asked for our CoronaCheck code, but not our ID, as is required. Oh well.

How have you been?

Suicidal Ideation in Childhood: Some Reflections

Earlier today, someone online asked a group of autistic women about suicidal ideation in childhood and at what age it started. It is common knowledge that depression and suicidality are near-universal among autistics. After all, we are taught, be it consciously or not, that our autistic way of expressing ourselves is unacceptable.

I remember my first autistic burnout at age five. I don’t have clear, verbal memories of the experience, but my inner five-year-old might and I do experience somatic and emotional flashbacks. The family story about the event is that I was ill with the flu. At the same time (coincidentally or not) my parents were making arrangements for me to start at the school for the visually impaired. I started in mid-May, before the end of the school year.

At the time, I wasn’t actively suicidal as far as I’m aware. I started having those thoughts when I was around age seven. I have a vague memory of telling my mother that I wanted to die sometime around that age.

Interestingly, I never made suicide attempts. Even the times I planned my “final day alive”, I never had any idea how I was going to go about actually doing it. This fact was later used to “prove” that I wasn’t serious.

I mean, when I was 21 and admitted to the psych unit, my parents came to tell the psychiatrist that I’d threatened suicide ever since I was seven-years-old, almost adding triumphantly: “See, and here she is, alive!” They said I just wanted attention.

Then again, is it somehow bad that I, deep down, didn’t really want to die? I just didn’t see any alternative. Of course I didn’t want to die by suicide. I imagine at least most people don’t really want to; instead, they want a better life. But I couldn’t get that at that time or so I thought. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so.

It’s so sad that, at least in my family, the red flag of long-time, severe suffering was ignored as a sign of “attention-seeking”. As if a seven-year-old even has the capacity to use suicide threats to manipulate their parents for mere attention without anything else going on with them.

Desperate Yet Determined #WotW

Hi everyone. What a week it’s been. I’ve been swinging between despair and determination, sometimes experiencing both at the same time. Let me share.

Last week, I was in a very depressive, dysregulated, suicidal state. I finally managed to tell my assigned home staff about the nature of the “monster” in me, ie. my suicidal thoughts. She decided to E-mail the current behavior specialist assigned to my care home asking her for help in finding me someone to talk to about this. I mean, I have my nurse practitioner at mental health, but I cannot seem to get it through to him how I’m truly feeling.

I also E-mailed my nurse practitioner, only to get a response saying we’ll talk about it on the 23rd. Well, that was the final straw for me and I’ve pretty much decided I’ve had it with treatment with him. I mean, I know I should have called the team, but it’s not like this is the first time he doesn’t pick up on my signals, be it in E-mails, on the phone or even face-to-face. Our talks have pretty much been meaningless forever. Honestly, the only thing he’s helped me with is getting the right medication, the topiramate, for my nightmares.

This week, I’ve been swung back and forth between the thought that truly there is no hope for me and the thought that, maybe, if I stand my ground firmly enough, I will be able to access the right help somewhere.

I’ve also been ruminating over those two years I’ve been in treatment with my current mental health team. My nurse practitioner told me a year ago that “we could search half the country for a suitable therapist but that wouldn’t make sense”, adding that we’re stuck with each other (as if it was something he hadn’t just decided on himself). Half a year earlier, he wanted to refer me to the specialist autism center, but that got shoved off the table for a reason I was never told. I have been saying for all of the two years that I’ve been in treatment with this team that there are two things I want to work on: my trauma-related symptoms and seeing if I can lower my antipsychotic. Neither has even remotely been started yet. After two years, I’m done.

I am not so naive to think my nurse practitioner is actually going to give in and actually help me find someone else this time around. I have a tiny bit of hope focused on the behavior specialist for my care home, but not much. Even so, I’m pretty sure I can get by with no help from any mental health professionals at all. It won’t be easy on me or my staff, and that’s one reason my staff might pressure me to stick with mental health. Thankfully, so far they don’t.

On the physical health front, I’ve also been swung back and forth between despair and determination. After thinking kind of wishfully that my abdominal discomfort was almost gone last week, it returned on Saturday and has been pretty bad all of this week. Nonetheless, my GP wants me to stick to my current regimen of one magnesium tablet (laxative) per day for two more weeks and have the staff call back to evaluate then. I was pretty upset yesterday when I heard this. Now I’m more resigned to the idea that there’s no hope for improvement of my symptoms.

Overall, right now, despair is taking over, but thankfully I’m not actively suicidal right now. There must be some tiny flame of determination in me somewhere.

How was your week?

Word of the Week linky

DIY Polymer Clay Owl on a Metal Ring

O(w)live

Hi everyone! I already shared a few times about the polymer clay owl I’d been making over the past few weeks. Now that it’s finished, I finally wanted to show you what the final product looks like and how I created it. I apologize in advance for not having photos of each of the steps.

What You’ll Need


  • A metal ring. Mine is about 12cm in diameter.

  • Polymer clay in your desired colors. You will need colors for the ring (this is the owl’s body), the wings (three pairs), eyes, beak and legs. I used the same color for the beak and legs and for one of the pairs of wings and the eyes.

  • Round (two sizes) and heart-shaped cutters to cut the different body parts.

  • Your usual polymer clay tools, such as a pasta machine or acrylic roller to roll out your sheets of clay before cutting. I used my pasta machine.

  • Plastic eyes to stick onto your owl once baked.

  • Glue for sticking the eyes onto the owl.

How I Made My Owl

First, I cut long, rectangular strands of clay out of my sheet of the color I used for the ring. I went with olive green thinking it meant the owl sat on a branch, because I didn’t realize this was supposed to be its body. I wrapped the strands around the ring. First, I tried curling, but that didn’t work. Then I just made sure the rectangle was just wide enough to cover the entire ring and folded it around it. That worked! I obviously had to cut several strands to cover the entire length of the ring, but that’s okay.

Then I added the wings. I started with the bottom wings, for which I chose the color ochre. I cut them out with round cutters and then attached them to the olive green ring.

Then I did the same with the two other sets of wings. I chose caramel and taupe for the middle and upper wings respectively. I said you need three pairs of wings, but really you need four wings of each of the three colors. At least if, like me, you want the owl to look the same on both sides. Similarly, you’ll need two pairs of eyes (including four plastic eyes), two pairs of legs and two beaks.

After attaching the wings, I went on to the eyes. I used slightly smaller round cutters for those and attached them in a similar way that I’d done the wings. I decided to use ochre again for the eyes. This may seem strange, but I didn’t want to use too many colors and make my owl look too overloading.

I used heart-shaped cutters for the legs and, as you will see in the finished product, attached them upside-down. Sorry, I don’t have a photo with just the legs.

For the beak, I used a kind of half heart shape that I had my staff help me with: I cut out the actual heart (same size as the legs) and my staff cut away the excess clay with a knife. I used an actual feather to stick the pointy holes in the beak, but I’m pretty sure any pointy object will do.

Then the owl went in the oven. I baked it for 60 minutes at 110°C. I know, I know, Fimo and other brands recommend 30 minutes, but, like I’ve mentioned before, there is no way you can bake polymer clay for too long. I let it fully cool before attaching the eyes. I used my jewelry glue for this, but I’m pretty sure E6000 or something like it will work too. I then strung a ribbon between the eyes to hang my owl onto. Voila, here’s O(w)live!

O(w)live

I am linking up with Party in Your PJ’s and Wonderful Wednesday.

Ten Things I Love About Myself

I love journaling prompts and positive challenges. These are combined into the book 200+ Journal Prompts for the Mind, Body and Soul by Riley Reigns. One of her prompts on the topic of self-love is to list ten things you love about yourself. Of course, it shouldn’t require a book of journaling prompts to come up with this idea, but oh well. I am going to take this challenge today and try to take it to the next level by challenging myself not to follow each statement with a “but…”. Here goes.

1. My sense of humor. I particularly love wordplay and verbal jokes, most with a dark theme. I remember, when I was first admitted to the psych hospital, cracking jokes about the difference between the patients and staff in a mental ward (“the patients get better and leave”). I mean, literally during my first days.

2. My intelligence and craving for knowledge. I love to collect facts and information and this I consider a true asset.

3. My perseverance. I am not one to easily give in and ask for help before having tried something myself first. Particularly when I’ve set my mind on accomplishing something, I’ll really go for it. I can also really focus my mind on a topic of my interest.

4. My honesty. I am open-minded, but if I don’t like something, I’ll be truthful about it. I don’t sugarcoat my opinions.

5. My open-mindedness. I consider myself slightly left-leaning politically and a progressive Christian, but am open to people from all walks of life. Even though I am bluntly honest sometimes, I respect everyone who respects other humans.

6. My sensitivity. I am easily touched by the beauty and sadness around me. This allows me to connect to others on a deeper level than I would otherwise be able to and to experience the world more richly.

7. My ability to express myself. I find that both creatively and verbally, I am able to be very open about my experiences and inner world.

8. My generosity. I am not sure that’s the right word. What I mean is the fact that I find joy in making my own gifts for people and especially thinking about what they’ll enjoy. I love it when I can make them smile.

9. My strong-willedness. This allows me to stand up for what I believe in and for what I want even if it is outside of the norm.

10. My resilience. Even though I’m prone to depression, I always find a will to continue fighting.

What do you love about yourself?

Linking up with #LifeThisWeek and Hello Monday.

How I Deal With Anger

In today’s Sunday Poser, Sadje asks us what we do when we get angry. She seems to mean this question in two ways: firstly, how we express our anger and secondly, how we cope with it and calm down again.

I have always been relatively quick to anger. Particularly, my tolerance for frustration and distress is very low and I tend to express this as anger. During such episodes of distress, I may scream, yell, slam doors, etc. Over the past year, I’ve even occasionally shown slight physical aggression towards people.

To cope with this type of anger, my best strategy is to enlist the help of others to get me to think through whatever was causing me frustration or distress and/or to help me solve the problem. Usually, temporarily removing myself from the situation might help a tiny bit, but it will not help in the long run, as it will not get rid of the source of frustration.

Then there are these situations in which I’m angry because someone is being unjust towards me. When I am angry at being treated unjustly, similarly, removing myself will help for a while, but not in the long run. Assertiveness can help in that it allows me to properly voice my needs, wants and rights. I am still working on this, in that I tend too often to avoid properly advocating for myself and instead resort to less helpful ways of making it clear that I’m struggling.

When there is nothing I can do about the anger or its source at a given moment, what helps me is to safely express it, such as by hitting a pillow. I also used to sing certain songs that spoke to me. For example, there is a Dutch song called “Laat me” (“Leave me”) that I would always sing at music club when I was irritated at my treatment team in the mental hospital back in the early years. Now, hitting a pillow and screaming has the same effect.

After I recover from my anger outbursts, I do like to talk through what was causing them, whether I can solve the problem at hand or not. I, after all, find that other emotions are often masked as anger, such as shame, sadness or fear. By talking through my anger after safely having expressed it, I can often get to the bottom of what is troubling me.

How do you cope with anger?

Gratitude List (November 12, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’ve really been struggling lately, which is one reason I haven’t written much. To get myself out of my rut, I thought I’d share a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful or #TToT for short. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for salami pizza. We ordered delivery from the local Italian restaurant on Sunday and I had this.

2. I am grateful for the night staff who helped me calm even the slightest bit on Sunday night when I was experiencing severe mood dysregulation.

3. I am grateful for a new book to immerse myself into. I’m reading a collection of short, autobiographical stories from a Dutch GP.

4. I am grateful for relatively good weather again over the past week. We’ve hardly had any rain and, though the temperature was quite low for my liking, at least it wasn’t freezing.

5. I am grateful my abdominal discomfort seems almost gone. I think I’ve finally reached the right dosage of magnesium. We aren’t to evaluate it with my GP until sometime next week though. Fingers crossed.

6. I am grateful my assigned home staff has returned to work part-time again. Like I mentioned before, she had been on sick leave since late September, but she seems to be recovering. She worked part of my day activities shift on Tuesday and my evening one-on-one today.

7. I am grateful for white chocolate. I bought myself a chocolate bar yesterday. I have it in my locked kitchen cupboard so that I can’t consume it all at once, but that way I do enjoy it more.

8. I am grateful for new essential oils. I ordered cypress, mandarin and lavender. Lavender, I’d had before but had used up. The others, I’d never used before. I did have to throw out a few others that I either didn’t like or that had expired, but that’s okay.

9. I am grateful I finished my polymer clay owl. Some people think it looks more like a turkey, but oh well. I’ll write a separate post on how I made it with more pictures later.

10. I am grateful for my staff. I have been extremely depressed lately and have been convinced that they should and will abandon me. While I heard from the manager yesterday that three staff are indeed leaving my care home, this apparently has nothing to do with me and the staff I have the best relationship with, aren’t leaving (yet).

What are you grateful for?

Not the End

My mind is exploding with chaos. So many thoughts, feelings, wishes, voices, dreams and visions float through it. It is so overloaded I am tempted to give up. Through the chaos, I can hear the monster speak. “Give in,” it lures, “go to the clouds.” I can almost picture the heavenly realm, the place the monster is trying to get me to go to, in my mind’s eye. I cry out: “No!” I am bombarded yet I stand. I won’t give up. This is not the end.


This piece was written for yesterday’s Prosery. The idea of this challenge is to use a given line of poetry in a piece of prose. The line we were asked to use is: “I am bombarded yet I stand.”

In the above piece, I try to capture what it is like to be overloaded with depressive and suicidal thoughts. Yet, I also aim to make it clear that I am fighting back. After all, this is not the end.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 6, 2021)

Hi everyone on this gloomy fall day. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. Unlike most days when I write my coffee share post, I haven’t had my last cup of coffee yet. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that my GP appointment on Monday went okay. My magnesium got decreased in hopes of relieving me a little from my abdominal discomfort. It’s helping a tiny bit, but not enough for my liking.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had an okay week otherwise. I’m struggling quite a bit with the disconnect between my intellect and my emotions. This is causing me to appear well-collected a lot of the time when in reality I feel extremely distressed. I discussed a few examples of this with my assigned staff and support coordinator today and they’re helping me improve these situations.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I finally gave in (or up) with respect to the adaptive footwear situation and had my husband order new walking shoes for me. After all, the old ones will probably have a large enough to get my socks wet hole in them within a week or two at most. I am so grateful my husband found almost the exact same shoes. They arrived in the post today. I am still hoping I will eventually get used to my orthopedic footwear, but it will need some further adjustments for that to happen first.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I am looking forward but also stressing about the national cerebral palsy day in three weeks’ time. I went to the event on my own three years ago, but this is quite hard this time. I can’t afford for a staff member to go with me to the entire event even with my one-on-one being covered by the care facility. After all, I have one-on-one only part of the day and would need to pay like €45 an hour for individual support for the rest of the day. I might go on my own after all, or I might skip the event, like I skipped the online regional meeting today. I was seriously planning on going to that one, but just couldn’t get myself to do it after all.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d proudly announce that I’m going to be an aunt again in May. I’m pretty sure my sister is fine with me sharing this on my blog now that she’s past three months and all tests so far are fine. My sister’s other child, my niece, is also doing well. I shared a few months back that she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. She had surgery in September and is currently wearing some type of cast. We are all hopeful that once this will be removed in a month or so and once she’s relearned to walk after that, she’ll be completely fine.

How have you been?

Thieves!

When I was little, my parents would store their sweets (usually licorice but sometimes other sweets too) on a shelf just within my and my sister’s reach in their pantry. I’m pretty sure they’d tried putting them in higher places but we’d just climb up stairs or other furniture to reach them.

Invariably, on Saturday and Sunday mornings, when my parents slept in, I’d lead my sister to the pantry and we’d steal some sweets. Yes, I am pretty sure I took the lead.

I obviously thought they were unaware. That is, until one day when I was five and had just learned to read. There it was, on the sweets shelf, a paper that read “BOEVEN” in large print. This is Dutch for “crooks” or “thieves”. My parents never actually confronted us about grabbing their candy except on this one playful occasion.

In reality though, I still wasn’t truly aware that my parents knew. In fact, I remember one day when I was about fifteen, my parents had left like eight hamburgers on a plate in the kitchen and I sneaked into it to eat one at a time. My parents never confronted me and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized they must’ve known. That is when the shame at having eaten this many hamburgers caught up with me.


This post was written for Friday Writings, for which the optional prompt this week is food. It is a an autobiographical piece.