Grief

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is Grief. When I first saw it, I knew I just had to write on it, but I didn’t know what to write. In a way, I still don’t know. But let me write anyway.

I have been close to clinically depressed over the past few weeks. I don’t know whether this is grief for something I have lost. Perhaps my old, functional self.

Then again, that functional self was a façade. A mask. Layers upon layers of masks formed within those early years of my life, when I still functioned. On the surface, that is.

And here I am, in a care facility, waiting for the manager and behavior specialist and the funding authority to figure out if I can get one-on-one support. And now I grieve the loss of that façade. I am intensely sad. I worry that if I am truly myself, if I peel off all the layers and layers of masks, an intensely wicked, horrible monster will remain. I can almost literally picture the monster in my mind’s eye.

Everytime I think I’ve found the real, authentic me, and it’s a good thing, it turns out to be yet another alter. I wonder what remains if they all go. Will the intensely wicked, horrible inside of me seep through to the outside world?

I am not very religious, but I do believe in God. Especially in these hard times, I pray. I pray that God will help me remove the layers and layers of masks I’ve put up over the years. I however also pray that, beneath them all, the monster will turn out to be some kind of prince(ss) from Beauty and the Beast or whatever. At least not as wicked as I see it as.

Okay, this turned out very different than I had imagined. This piece does reflect my innermost thoughts. For those who haven’t read my previous posts, I do not see my inner monster as some kind of universal thing, like original sin. In fact, I am convinced that most people are both good and bad. The wickedness applies only to myself. And yes, I know I’m not some type of criminal, but I still see myself as intensely bad.

Journal #SoCS

SoCS Badge 2019-2020

Journaling is one of my favorite activities. That being said, I’ve taken forever to find the right means of doing it. I tried a regular Word document, at least twenty apps on my iPhone and a couple on my PC too. In fact, at one point I spent $100 on an app that didn’t even work.

I currently use an app called Day One on my iPhone. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can get so far. That is, at one point there was an app called Dyrii that was better, but they went into maintenance mode and at the last update, messed things up pretty bad.

In addition to journaling, I love to collect journaling prompts. I probably have about twenty collections of journaling prompts in my various book apps and on my PC. I don’t use prompts as much as I’d like, but just the thought of having them at hand is helpful. It may be a kind of autistic perseveration, but oh well.

In Day One, I have four different journals righ tnow. One is a general journal that I rarely update. The second is specifically for my alters to journal their thoughts. The third is a prompt-based journal and the fourth is a gratitude journal.

Just yesterday, I thought of starting another one, specifically for chronicling my recovery from compulsive overeating. I also may want to start a quote-based journal. I so far decided against either of these, but Day One allows unlimited journals if you have the Premium version. Which I’ve had a couple of times but each time deactivated again. I’m pretty sure I’ll keep the Premium subscription now though.

This post was written for #SoCS, for which the prompt today is “Jour”.

Would You Rather (Fashion Edition)

Last week, Anjali of Chasing the Maximum Life created a meme or something like it. In it, she asks a number of Would You Rather questions about fashion. I am not at all a fashionista, but this may in fact be one reason I choose to answer her questions. I mean, it’s good to hear from trendy folk, but also from the ordinary woman who is pretty careless about fashion. Here goes.

1. Wear the Same Outfit Every Day OR Only Be Allowed to Wear Neutrals for Life?
I wouldn’t mind either, unless of course wearing the same outfit everyday would mean the same exact set of clothes. I mean, I’m not very good with personal care, but I do try to make sure I wear clean clothes at least in the morning. That being said, for the sake of fitting in, I’m going with only be allowed to wear neutrals for life.

2. Be Underdressed for An Event OR Be Overdressed for An Event?
Overdressed. I don’t usually like revealing clothes at all.

3. Have an Unlimited Supply of The Perfect White T-Shirts OR Have an Unlimited Supply of The Perfect Little Black Dresses?
Obviously black dresses. I just can’t see myself wearing white, because it shows stains so incredibly easily.

4. Only Be Able to Wear Futuristic Clothing OR Only Be Able to Wear an Old-Timey Clothing?
I honestly have no idea what is considered futuristic, so I’m going with old-timey clothing.

5. Have A Closet Filled Only with Prints and Bright Colours OR Have A Closet Filled Only with Black Clothes?
Black! As much as I love the few colorful clothes I own, I can’t imagine myself wearing those all the time. In fact, as a teen, I copied one of my favorite teen fiction characters’ habit of wearing only black. I no longer do that and have said that I’d like some more colorful clothes, but if I have to choose, I’ll still go for black.

6. Wear Leather Jackets for The Rest of Your Life OR Wear Denim Jackets for The Rest of Your Life?
Denim jackets. I love the look of good leather, but I cannot see myself wearing that for the rest of my life. Besides, I think it’s way too sweaty.

7. Wear Chanel Or Louis Vuitton?
Chanel. Not that I know either, but I keep getting LV junk mail and don’t want to risk my money if I confuse a scam for the real thing.

8. Wear Only Dresses OR Only Coordinating Suits to All Formal Events?
Dresses. I’ve never worn a coordinating suit.

9. Wear Heels That Are Ugly and Old but Super Comfortable OR Wear Gorgeous Heels That Everyone Loves but Torture Your Feet and Give You Blisters?
Ugly but comfy. I told you, I’m not a fashionista at all. In fact, give me shoes without heels anytime. I get foot pain wearing even the most comfortable of shoes and would fall over if I had to wear any type of even moderately-high heels.

10. Shop More and Pay Less OR Shop Less and Live More!
Shop less and live more. I don’t like clothes shopping as it is.

These were the questions. I’d love to hear your opinion on them.

The Lockdown Tag

I don’t think anyone specifically tagged me for this tag, but I saw it on a number of other blogs. The idea is to answer a number of questions about life in lockdown. We just went into “partial lockdown” again, or really are going tonight, but the prime minister delivered the news yesterday evening. I think it’s about time I write about life in lockdown again.

1. Overall, how are you handling the quarantine?
I’m hanging in there. Now that at least some restrictions have been going on for over half a year, I’m coping less well than at the beginning of the lockdown.

2. Have you violated any of the restrictions? If yes, what rule(s) did you break?
Honestly, yes. When the no-visitors policy in care homes was lifted last May, we were expected to still keep our distance from visitors and avoid physical contact. Well, I did at first try, but I just couldn’t resist hugging my husband.

3. What viral recipes have you tried during the lockdown?
I didn’t even know that this is a thing. I haven’t really tried any new recipes, honestly.

4. What activities have you missed the most during quarantine?
At first, of course, I missed seeing my husband altogether, as it wasn’t allowed at all. Now that we’re allowed visitors again, I miss going places, like restaurants, with my husband. Restaurants are closed again for two weeks at least from tonight on, but even when they were still open, I wouldn’t take the risk.

5. Do you wear a mask when you leave the house?
Uhm, no. I don’t travel by public transportation at all or go to public places much. Until yesterday’s press conference, the government didn’t want to mandate mask-wearing except on public transportation, but only “strongly advised” it in public places like stores. As of tonight, a mask will be required in all public places and also outside of classes in secondary and tertiary education. It’s not required when going for walks outdoors. I do think that, when my mother-in-law visits tomorrow, I’m going to wear a mask to protect her, as she’s generally very careful and I’m not.

6. Are you an essential worker? If yes, what is your job title?
No. I don’t work. Thankfully, my staff are classed as essential workers and we didn’t get holiday or weekend staffing levels so far, which I was worried about at first.

7. How do you exercise during the lockdown?
I go for walks, go on the elliptical, do weight training and yoga. Basically, all my usual exercise activities. I was on the waiting list to go swimming before lockdown and had considerd going to a gym too. Swimming was canceled here at the facility and, though gyms are still open, I don’t want to take the risk.

8. Have you subscribed to any new subscription services since the lockdown started?
No. I did briefly restart my Netflix subscription, but canceled it again after a month. I much prefer reading to watching.

9. What did/does your daily schedule look like before the pandemic started?
I’m assuming the question is meant to ask how our schedules differ now that we’re in lockdown, because of course the pandemic is raging so there’s no present tense “does” before the pandemic. Anyway, before the pandemic I would go to the day center at around 9:30AM and stay there until 4PM. Now that we’re provided day activities in the home, I usually don’t start them until 10AM at least. I also take more breaks than I used to. I much prefer the current arrangement.

10. Do you think that the pandemic is getting better or worse?
Worse. It’s all pretty awful. I really hope they’ll find a vaccine soon.

11. What have you learnt/became grateful for during the lockdown?
I’ve become more appreciative in general. For example, I’m grateful for my health, my ability to still go outside for walks, being able to see my husband… lots of things!

12. How do you think the world should learn from this pandemic so that things are better in the future?
I think in general people have learned to be more health conscious. Other than that, I don’t think the pandemic taught us any big lesson or whatever. Of course, I could get all fluffy about people possibly being kinder and more grateful towards each other and the planet, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

I’m not tagging anyone, but if you want to do this tag, feel free to.

My Essential Oil Container #SoCS

SoCS Badge 2019-2020

I’ve been perseverating a lot about essential oils, so when the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) was “Container”, I immediately thought of my box of essential oils. The box was specifically made for storing 10ml bottles of essential oils. It was built by people with intellectual disability.

I’ve had this one box for many years and stored a large amount of essential oils in it. It can store at most 30 bottles and I had it full until I weeded out some expired oils at the beginning of the week. That is, I didn’t just store essential oils in it, but also fragrance oils. I have those stored in a separate basket now.

Currently, there are eighteen oils in my container. I bought them pretty much randomly, so cannot use all of them in blends, because that would require I had other oils to go with them. However, I enjoy each and every oil.

I have been counting and calculating which oils to buy next too. I don’t have many citrus oils, because I had to throw several out that were years beyond their shelf life. I may buy some basic ones, like lemon and orange, but not sure. I will maybe also buy some spicy ones, as I love the scent of litsea (may chang), but it is usually combined with spices such as cinnamon or clove.

I also created a folder on my laptop with essential oil blends and an index of the box. After all, I cannot read the bottle labels and I cannot label each bottle in Braille (that would take up too much space). So I have them sorted alphabetically, from field mint (which translates to “akkermunt” in Dutch and which I can barely use) and anise to tea tree and ylang ylang.

What are y’all’s favorite essential oils? I’d love to know so that I can decide on which, if any, to buy next.

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!