Friendly Fill-Ins Week #218

I have a lot I want to write about, but I cannot quite put fingers to keyboard and actually write. I checked out some other blogs to get me motivated and stumbled upon the Friendly Fill-Ins for this week. They are fun, so I thought I’d join in. Here are the questions.


  1. I had ___________ for _____________.

  2. I ________________ surprises.

  3. _________ is my idea of fun.

  4. If I were a food, I would be _________.

1. I had French fries and snacks for dinner today. One of the staff who’d be working the evening shift today, had noticed there were still fries and snacks in the freezer, so she proposed to the other staff we fry them today. We also had ice cream for dessert and I had one of my favorite cookies with my evening coffee.

2. I hate surprises. Unless it’s pizza at my favorite pizza chain or something like that.

3. Reading is my idea of fun. I really love it.

4. If I were a food, I would be Brussels sprouts. Small, round and slightly bitter. Of course I’d be multiple sprouts.

What about you?

Choosing Love #SoCS

Choosing love is important. Choosing that one person you would want to be with. Or choosing more than one if that’s your thing. Many lovers value their partner above themself. I’m not sure I do and that often makes me feel bad about myself.

I mean, I always say that Jeroen is the most cherished, best, loveliest person in the world. Then he replies that it’s me. Sometimes we go on to joke that it’s our cat Barry.

Yet, whenever I say I love Jeroen more than myself, I think: “So why did I choose to go into the care facility?”

I was fully expecting my husband to say the same when he visited me for the first time in over two months, since visiting had been prohibited until now due to coronavirus lockdown. I fully expected him to come and tell me he didn’t want to be my husband anymore. And yet he didn’t! I’m so happy that, even though I chose my own happiness over his, he chose love!

Written for this week’s Stream of Consciousness or #SoCS, for which the prompt today is “ch”. Also writing this using the new block editor.

I Want to Feel Better #SoCS

SoCS Badge 2019-2020

I want to feel better. Or maybe I need to feel better. No, that’s not correct. Feeling normal mentally may be a want, but I cannot need to feel it everyday.

I’ve been really in a depressed funk over the past week. Maybe, like I said on Thursday, it’s just that I was feeling so well over the past six weeks or so. Now that it’s passed, at least for now, I feel frustrated and depressed. I feel tired too. I’ve been lying in bed most of the morning and part of the afternoon today.

So what am I going to do about it? I’m writing now at least. That’s better than lying in bed. I still at least have some writing mojo left. In this sense, it helps that this writing exercise is stream of consciousness so that I don’t need to worry about structure.

What else can I do? I could be forcing myself to stay out of bed, but this is hard especially on weekends. So I’m not doing that.

I will be going for daily walks unless the staff have no time to take me on a walk all day (which is rare). Then, I will dance in my room for at least 15 minutes and/or go on the elliptical.

I will continue to write everyday. If it isn’t “blog-worthy”, so be it, but I’ll at least try.

I will meditate. It doesn’t need to be a long guided meditation or anything. A few minutes is enough. But I’ll make sure to incorporate mindfulness into my day.

Hopefully, committing to these will help me keep depression at bay. And if it doesn’t, then at least I’ll know that I’ve tried.

This post was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, for which the prompt today is “want”.

Empathy

I’ve been thinking about empathy lately. A few weeks ago, I wrote that I have been looking at my personality from a highly sensitive person or empath theory perspective. Though this is still somewhat fitting, I indeed experience this strange mix between low empathy and hyperempathy.

I mean, I pick up on the general atmosphere in a room pretty easily. I also absorb others’ emotions. I feel when other people are sad or angry in distress. I cannot pick up on happiness as easily, but I’m learning.

Then again, when presented with a social situation, be it in theory or in real life, I show very little empathy according to neurotypical standards. I have absolutely no idea how to articulate how people are feeling.

I recently saw a post by Ashley on alexithymia. Ashley contrasted alexithymia with borderline personality disorder, in which people are overly emotionally sensitive. Well, I have both. Or maybe I just have the autistic women’s general mix between high and low empathy.

The interesting bit about alexithymia is, when being assessed for it in 2017 as part of my last autism assessment, one of the scales was on interest in talking about emotions and such. I scored normal if not high on that one. Similarly, when taking personality tests like those based on the MBTI, I usually score higher on feeling than thinking. That’s because I somehow want to see myself as a sensitive person. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I am though. Like I said before, my husband sees me as an obvious INTJ.

My community psychiatric nurse signed me up for a psycho-education course on autism this past week even though I know quite a bit about it already. Looking over all the criteria, I thought: “That must be so hard to deal with… Oh wait, that’s supposed to be me.” There was a bit about lack of empathy too and that made me feel awful. As much as I “wanted” an autism diagnosis when last assessed for it, I don’t want to be seen as having low empathy.

This post was inspired by today’s RagTag Daily Prompt.

Real Neat Blog Award

This Thursday, I was tagged for the Real Neat Blog Award by Emilia of My Inner MishMash. Thanks so much!

Here are the questions Emilia asked her nominees.

1. What’s your eye colour? Do you like it or would you change it if you could?
My eye color is a kind of weird blue-green-grey mix. I guess I like it, though I’ve never had enough vision to actually see it. I had a cataract on my left eye for many years before getting it removed in 2013. The eye surgeon told my husband that, even if it didn’t have any positive effect on my vision, it was good for my appearance that it was gone.

2. Have you had a good relationship with your parents?
Well, uhm, it’s complicated. As a child, I thought my life was pretty normal, but as I grew up, I realized my relationship with my parents really wasn’t as it should have been.

3. If you had to rename yourself, what would your name be?
Uhm, I guess it depends on who’s fronting. Like, each of us alters would like our own name.

4. Do you like to daydream? If so, does your dream world look in any specific way that you are able to describe?
We love to daydream. We don’t have an extensive inner world though, or it changes depending on our needs. Like, Milou created an inside beach and we often like to retreat there.

5. If you feel very hungry, what is your go-to meal?
Anything. I really can eat anything I normally like when very hungry. That being said, when I’m hungry, I do get more irritated than usual if the food delivery company has served me a meal I normally don’t like.

6. What is your favourite instrument or one that you would like to learn to play?
Guitar. I took a few guitar lessons when on a summer camp in Russia in 2000, but the instructor spoke only Russian and English and I spoke only Dutch and a tiny bit of English. It wasn’t a success.

7. What types of blogs/blog posts do you most enjoy reading?
Really anything authentic. In other words, I don’t care much for sponsored posts or the like, but anything that’s written from the heart, I’ll read.

8. Do you like to sing?
No.

9. What is the best way for you to recharge after an exhausting day, whether physically or mentally?
That would have to be retreat into my bed with calming music on and a scent I love in my essential oil diffuser.

10. If you were a founder of a charity, whom/what would it work for?
It would be an organization advocating for people with complex care needs or multiple disabilities.

Here are my nominees.


And anyone else reading this post.

My question sfor my nominees are.


  1. What song best describes your personality?

  2. Have you ever studied personality typology? If so, what is your type (MBTI, enneagram, etc.)?

  3. What is the farthest place from your home you’ve traveled to?

  4. What is/are your favorite color)s)?

  5. How would you describe your taste in books?

  6. Has the global health crisis (COVID-19) given you more or less trust in your country’s government?

  7. Do you have any pets?

  8. What is your favorite wildlife animal?

  9. Which of the four seasons best describes you?

  10. How long have you been blogging?

Thanks again Emilia for nominating me!

Distracted

Wow, can you believe it’s May already? I completed the #AtoZChallenge rather well actually if I can say so myself. Now I want to continue writing regularly for the month of May at least.

Today I’m joining in with Five Minute Friday, for which the prompt today is Distraction. At first, this prompt struck a chord, but I didn’t know why. Then I thought…

I want to live more productively. I also want to live more mindfully. These two seem contradictory at first, but honestly, if you get distracted by a thousand other things whilst being “productive”, you’re not mindful and not productive.

I want to stick to a regular writing routine. That doesn’t mean I need to write actually high-quality posts everyday. Of course, if my post is scrambled and going off on a thousand tangents, it may not be as easy to read. However, my writing will improve even if I freewrite. That’s why I try to join in with FMF today.

Then again, I’ve started this post a few times already and then stopped after the first sentence or two. I thought my post didn’t matter. Wasn’t good enough. Wasn’t real “content”. But then again, when I started this blog, I meant for it to be my space to let you hear my inner voice. So no matter how distracted I am, I will continue to write. That will ultimately led me to being more mindful and more productive at least in my blogging life. And hopefully in life in general.

Valid? #SoCS

I’m not sure I’m valid. I joined some groups for highly sensitive people and empaths on Facebook. I relate to literally almost every trait associated with being an HSP/empath. Then again, I’m also autistic and this means I don’t have the cognitive ability to know what’s expected of me in social situations.

I’ve heard there’s some theory about autistics being hyperempathetic where it comes to feeling others’ emotions but less able to know what another person needs. Something with cognitive empathy being lower than emotional empathy. Or was it the other way around? I have no idea and am too lazy to google it now.

I always feel like I want to see myself as a lot more positive than I am. I mean, some people close to me have said I even have some narcissistic traits. Some people think of me as a pretty stereotypical autistic and I’ve always felt good about that, as it validates my feelings of being different and my need for support. Empath/HSP only validates my feeling different.

Yet sometimes I feel that my seeing myself as somehow highly sensitive, is a way of obscuring my negative traits. It’s not that I don’t see them, but that I label them positively in a way. I mean, 90% of empathy traits are worded at least somewhat negatively. For example, have you been told you are “too sensitive?” Do you need alone time a lot? When a friend is distraught, do you feel it too? Heck, I sense negativity a lot, but isn’t that just me being a generally negative person?

I have a feeling that part of the reason I want to see myself as unique somehow, has to do with an external locus of control. I don’t want to see my huge flaws and instead go label them as assets or blame them on my childhood trauma.

And yet most people say I have a negative self-image. My CPN from mental health wants me to do a module of cognitive behavior therapy on helping me get a better self-image. Maybe I need to learn to see myself as just the ordinary person I am without either negative or positive stuff that make me different. After all, when I say I’m a pretty good writer, people close to me often say: “Well, about average for someone with your education.” Apparently I’m quite arrogant in this respect.

So am I allowed to feel different or is that just an excuse to set myself apart from the herd? Remember, feeling like you can only be understood by certain people, usually those with high status, is a narcissism trait in the DSM. I’m not sure. I want to feel okay about myself, but doesn’t that mean seeing my negative traits too? And seeing them as well as the positive ones for what they are: just traits? I guess I’ll learn this in the module.

I’m joining in with #SoCS, for which the prompt today is “val”.

Friendly Fill-Ins Week #201

Today I’m bored, so I am joining in with Friendly Fill-Ins, hosted by Ellen of 15andmeowing and Lorianne of Four-Legged Furballs. Here are the questions.

1. My favorite outdoor activity is _________.
2. One positive aspect of social isolation is _________.
3. It’s fortunate that _________.
4. I have _________ memorized.

My answers are as follows.
1. My favorite outdoor activity is walking. This is a no-brainer. I love love love it and am so very happy that I can still do it.
2. One positive aspect of social isolation is the virtual connection it brings. We’re all in this together, after all.
3. It’s fortunate that I am healthy, well-fed and safe.
4. I have nothing really memorized. I used to be really good at calendar calculation, but that wasn’t memory-based in my case. I also at one point had the public transportation network in my city memorized, but that was like thirteen years ago. Too bad Raalte has practically no public transportation.

If you’d like to answer these fill-ins too, feel free to do so. I’d love to read your answers.

Welcome to Another Day #SoCS

Welcome to another day. What day is it anyway? I have to check my iPhone to be sure. It’s Saturday, March 21, 2020. Here I almost wrote it’s March 20. Where does time go?

It’s the first week of whatever this self-isolation thing is called here in the Netherlands. It’s not a complete lockdown, but there’s not much we can do anyway. I went to the supermarket today, only realizing later on that if I’m allowed to go there and be relatively close to other customers, I should be allowed to see my husband too. Or is that flawed logic? I mean, no-one is really keeping the five feet distance that’s recommended.

I miss my husband. It dawned upon me last Thursday that if I do fall seriously ill with COVID-19, my husband won’t even be allowed to see me. I know, I’m in good immunological health, so I most likely will just get some nasty flulike symptoms, but still. It sucks not being able to be close to my husband.

Then a voice in my head said: “But you chose to leave him.” I didn’t leave him, as in divorce or abandon him. We’re still married and planning on staying so for life. But I did go into long-term care when I wasn’t literally dying living with him. I was struggling to keep up, but I did have food to eat and could, for the most part, get ahold of something when I was hungry.

I bought a bag of liquorice and ate it almost in one sitting today. Then I had a terrible stomachache. I don’t know why I decided to eat all the liquorice. I guess some part of me is feeling rather awful.

Yesterday, a little (inner child, for those not familiar with dissociative identity disorder) wrote to an E-mail list. I don’t know what she wrote and haven’t checked the responses.

Generally, we feel pretty calm, but I guess there are parts of me who are severely triggered by something about this COVID-19 crisis. Other parts are just bemused. It’s a strange world we live in indeed.

I’m linking up with #SoCS, for which the prompt today is “Welcome”.

COVID-19 Worries

The coronavirus came to the Netherlands a few weeks ago. Yesterday, we had the first case in the care facility’s town. The care facility hasn’t yet been affected as far as I know, but still, I grow more scared as the days go by.

I’m not scared of falling seriously ill or dying from the virus. Though some of my fellow clients are in their sixties, we don’t have anyone in my home who is otherwise at risk of serious illness or death as far as I know. I am not really sure whether I should worry about my family in this respect. So far, the thought has only fleetingly crossed my mind.

What I do worry about though is the consequences this will have for our society at large. I worry about people stockpiling food. I know my husband got some extra stuff a few weeks ago already when he saw it coming.

I worry about another economic meltdown. My husband has a pretty secure income, having just been hired indefinitely at his job a month ago. He might be forced to take time off, leading to a significant decrease in income, but he won’t be jobless. I am not sure about my income, as I’m on benefits. I don’t know that I will be able to handle yet another round of budget cuts to health care though.

More importantly in the short term, I worry about the need to isolate if you’re infected. What if I get the virus and need to stay in my room 24/7 for two weeks, not being allowed any human contact? Some other blogger idealized this by writing they’d finally have time to read all the books and binge watch all the Netflix series they wanted. As much as I’d like to escape the day center at times and just hide out in my room, I don’t think I could make this work for two weeks straight.

I also worry about staff needing to self-isolate if they get infected. Will this mean there won’t be staff to care for us? My staff has been trying to reassure me, but the letter sent out to clients’ family yesterday, had no information about what if the virus enters the facility in it. Which seems to be more of a “when” than an “if”.

I’m linking up with today’s RagTag Daily Prompt, for which the word is “Isolate”.