Aside

Autism Acceptance Month: Links

a rainbow dragon coiled around itself in pounce-position, looking as though it's about to take off.
Image Description: a rainbow dragon coiled around itself in pounce-position, looking as though it’s about to take off.

Just a short Link-post today about Autism Acceptance Month. You might be expecting me to explain what Autism Acceptance Month and #LightItUpRed or #RedInstead is about, however, I figured it would be better for those explanations to come directly from Autistic people instead of myself, so check out the links below. If you’d like me to add more links of Autistic Creators (Authors, Bloggers, Youtube Video Creators), let me know in the comments section below and I’m make sure to add their link to the post.

Links:

~ASAN: Australia and New Zealand

~Autistic Self Advocacy Network: Sharon Lewis Statement for Autism Acceptance Month (Youtube Video)

~L.C. Mawson: #RedInstead (Youtube Video)

~Stream of Awareness: Youtube Channel

~Tiffany Grey: Youtube Channel

~Neurowonderful: Ask an Autistic #22 – Why Acceptance? Autism Acceptance Month (Youtube Video)

~Neurowonderful: Ask an Autistic #1 – What is Stimming? (Youtube Video)

~A Bit of Brave: Autistic Stimming (Youtube Video) (Warnings: Flashing, Moving Images, Moving, Rapid Transitions, Coloured Lights)

~Baby Robot: Harmful Stims (Youtube Video) (Warnings: use of snap-chat filters, moving images)

~Baby Robot: The Joy of Stimming (Youtube Video) (Warnings: use of snap-chat filters, moving images)

~The Introverted Matriarch: Chronic Pain and Autism

~Megan Rhiannon: My Autism Diagnosis Story – TW self harm + suicide mentions (Blog-post)

~So Much Stranger, So Much Darker, So Much Madder, So Much Better: Autism A-Z: A is for Acceptance (Blog-post)

~Autism Doesn’t Make Me Blue: How to Support Autistic People This April by Nova Mona (Article)

~April Is Autism Acceptance Month By Laura Jo (Article)

The Dysfunction Junction: Is There A Specialist In The House?

Image Description: a large cluster of smiley faces in the centre of the picture. In the background are multicoloured words against a black background like breath, here and now, accept, track, sense repeatedly printed in the background over and over again.
Image Description: a large cluster of smiley faces in the centre of the picture. In the background are multicoloured words against a black background like breath, here and now, accept, track, sense repeatedly printed in the background over and over again.

Since the end of October 2016, I have been trying and failing to find a specialist doctor qualified to assess people on whether they have ADHD (or possibly something else). One of the unfortunate side effects of Mental Health services is that financial status is often the deciding factor in accessibility.

The only reason I can afford to have therapy sessions for my increasingly unstable anxiety and my pursuit of an ADHD diagnosis is because I have a partner who is willing to support me, he earns a decent wage and we have some savings set aside.

It’s funny just how big a factor money really is in gaining the mental health support services one may require, and by funny, I mean fucking awful. The sheer cost factor was one of the many reasons why I hesitated to pursue an ADHD in the first place, that and, because of my past bad experiences with bad/incompetent doctors, trust is a big factor.

How do I know this person is qualified? What’s their range of experience? Do they have experience with Adult diagnosis? Do they have experience diagnosing Adult Women? And the most terrifying question of all: What if I don’t have ADHD? What if I’ve just been slightly dysfunctional the whole time, and I’ve just been wasting all this time and money for nothing?

Whenever I was given a referral letter to a specialist, I made the effort to google search and attempt to find as much information about these “specialists” as possible. Unfortunately, the clear majority of specialists regarding ADHD are male doctors. I regard this as a bad sign, especially considering the shitty attitude some people and the medical industry have towards Neurodiversity and people who aren’t white cis-boys.

It was why I was so happy when my local GP found a female doctor in Ballarat who stated she was qualified for Adult diagnosis for ADHD and Autism, unfortunately one of the downsides was I would be waiting a minimum of two months before I could see her.

Another downside is that each hourly session was $400, however, I did some research on her, found positive comments, noticed she had a minimal internet presence (a website with a photo and brief bio) and I booked an appointment, expecting the worst but hoping for the best.

I had previously tried to contact a male specialist and due to the rudeness of the receptionist, I never bothered to book an appointment, I figured if you’re that rude to a paying customer, clearly that specialist doesn’t need my money (sad part is that it’s probably true).

But when I contacted Ballarat Psychiatry Group, the receptionist was super nice and very helpful with my inquiries. If you work in the mental health industry, don’t be an arsehole to people over the phone, the people calling up clearly have enough problems to deal with, I can’t stress this enough.

And then the waiting began…

In the almost three months prior to my appointment, I figured it would beneficial to do as much research as possible, print out things to give to the specialist in a bid to minimise the wastage of time. To maintain a vague illusion of organisation, I purchased a specifically set aside compendium-folder (bright pink of course) so that I could keep all my “Mental Health Stuff” all in the one place.

In my view, I had only an hour to distil twenty-eight-years’ worth of dysfunction, I did not have high hopes for this, especially since in therapy sessions I tend to go off on unrelated side notes and forget what I was even talking about in the first place. To try and combat this, I made sure to take lined paper and pens with me, so that I could take notes or make dot-points before the session.

When I went into the doctor’s office for my appointment, she began with the usual scripted dialogue people with when meeting for the first time:
“Hi, how are you?”

I responded with “Fine” automatically, because that is what we are taught to say, we are taught to say we are fine even when we are not (especially when we are not), “fine” is the only socially acceptable answer. Then I reminded myself that I wasn’t paying $400 an hour to be “fine”.

I corrected myself, “Well no, I’m not fine, I wouldn’t be here if I were. I’m inquiring into an Adult Diagnosis of ADHD, I’ve done all this research,” I handed over a bright pink A4 sized document-wallet filled with documents. “And I thought we could start there.”

The fact that she discarded the document-wallet pretty much as soon as I gave it to her was a bad sign to me, however, it was the expression of bored disdain that irritated me (and continues to irritate me whenever I think about it, yes, I’ll admit it, I’m at times terribly petty).

It turns out she’s not qualified at all to assess people on whether they have ADHD (even though it says so on multiple internet resources). Apparently, she primarily dealt with patients who came to her looking for help with ADHD, but it turns out they don’t have ADHD, they just have Anxiety or Depression. Personally, I feel that’s a weird kind of specialisation to have, I mean, what would she do if she came across a person who had Depression and Anxiety but also had ADHD as well?

Anyway, I was offered two choices, choice A was she could email a referral letter to my local GP doctor, and then I would have to book an appointment with my local GP and obtain the referral letter via my GP (the Ballarat doctor couldn’t just print out a referral letter then and there and give to me). Choice B was that I continue with the appointment and she would attempt a paper-form of assessment over multiple sessions and then refer me onto a specialist.

My thought process was that a person who isn’t qualified to assess me is going to ask me questions (if she’s not qualified, how can I trust that she’ll ask the right questions?), over multiple sessions (3 x $400 = $1200) and even at the end of that, I still wouldn’t have a definitive answer because at the end, she’d still have to refer me to a specialist.

So that would be at least three appointments with her and an appointment with an actual qualified specialist (for the sake of argument, let’s assume the qualified specialist charges at the same rate), so that’s $1600 worth of appointments with no guaranteed answers. I’ll admit my first knee-jerk reaction was “shove that up your arse” but somehow, I managed to contain my frustration and annoyance at having my time wasted, although I’m sure my emotional state was probably obvious.

I chose to cancel the appointment and deal with the ADHD specialists directly (or as directly as I could).

I was ranting to my councillor about this and she gave me the suggestion of contacting the RMIT Psychology Clinic and encouraged me to inquire if they had the ability to perform an Adult ADHD assessment.

My councillor informed me that the doctor seeing me would be a graduate doctor (with a senior doctor to supervise) which was why the session would be cheaper. So, I decided to check this out first, and keep the ADHD specialist referral letters for later, in case the RMIT thing doesn’t work out.

Unfortunately, and perhaps this is only me, but I found the website confusing and vague so I’ll try to add more information.

Without a concession card, the doctor session will cost AU $30 and the Assessment Report will cost AU $100 (plus the cost of petrol and possibly parking, IDK, the place is located in Bundoora), however, I want to point out that if you have a concession card, fees and such will be cheaper for you, I can’t say specifically because it will depend on what you’re pursuing the clinic for (the website does have some information about fees, I just didn’t find it clear enough for me).

You will need a referral letter from a GP to gain access to the service. My GP didn’t know about this service (Latrobe University also has a psychology clinic as well in case that university is closer) and, as a result, the RMIT Psychology Clinic has been added to the database my local medical centre maintains for services like these, so hopefully this will help other people too.

When I contacted them, it did involve a bit of fluffing about (a short time on hold while they found the right department/right doctor to speak to, standard university stuff really), but my assigned doctor got back to me within an acceptable time frame and I’ve only had to wait a couple of weeks before I could get an appointment.

Like with all good deals that seem too good to be true, there is a catch, one of the conditions of gaining access to a cheaper assessment is that my appointment will be recorded for training purposes. Apparently, according to the doctor I’ll be seeing for my appointment, a lot of people don’t engage with the service because of this, which is why I’ve made sure to mention it directly.

I’ll be going for my appointment with the RMIT Psychology Clinic next Wednesday and my thought process on this is that perhaps it’s a good thing a recording of my appointment will exist, hopefully it can be used as evidence to help support other people like myself.

Although I don’t have high hopes at this point, I must test out my options, even if this is simply a process of elimination. I’ll ask if I can receive a copy of the recording. I should be able to under the Freedom of Information act.

Speaking off obtaining information, I’ve also been investigating into getting a copy of my records from my forced attendance at Orygen Youth Health, now I wasn’t forced to go there because of a court mandate.

The doctors involved with Orygen Youth Health just repeatedly told me I had to go to appointments and I couldn’t leave the program until I was a legal adult. As an adult, this comes across as “that might not be technically illegal, but definitely sounds unethical” category.

Making a traumatised teenager feel as though they have no choice but to attend therapy sessions with a doctor who won’t listen and keeping said traumatised teenager ignorant of their medical rights belongs in the “Dodgy as Fuck” category.

But then again, the Orygen Youth Service was free for me to access because my mother and I had concession cards, so maybe this is more of a “you get what you pay for” type of situation (not that it makes what they did okay).

I began investigating my Orygen Youth Service medical records back in December and still haven’t received my records, but my thought process was that “What the hell was that Doctor thinking?” and then I needed to know the exact answer to that question, or at least the closest approximation I’ll be able to obtain.

I also thought as I’m not doing my assessment through the education system (not by choice I may add) it may be beneficial to obtain “official” medical documents and see if they can help my cause. Although, I have strong doubts about this.

If you’re in a position where you’re able to pursue a diagnosis for a Neurodiversity condition through the educated system, I encourage you to do this, Doctors are like University Admins, they require an almost bureaucratic level of paper-work to justify you getting an appointment.

I just wanted to add thanks if you managed to get this far through the post, I know it’s absurdly long, especially since it’s a super long post about how not much progress has been made, hopefully next Wednesday will put me in better position and I’ll know where to go from there.

The Beautiful Books #23: March 2017

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals

Welcome to another installment of The Beautiful Books, where I bather on about my current WIP Novel Project, which would be Orion – Volume II in the Pushing Boundaries series (yeah, I know, it says Scorpius is the title of Volume II on the Pushing Boundaries link page, clearly I need to change that, Scorpius will be the title of Volume III instead), however, there have been some complications with the plotting and outlining process.

I’m supposed to have a finished outline for Volume II by the end of March so I can use it for Camp NaNoWriMo in April, but right now it’s just super hard to sit down and think about what I want to happen in Volume II, let alone write it down. One of the numerous problems is that currently I don’t know what’s going on with Beth and James, so for the mean-time, I’m just going to focus on Mac and Cassie and, hopefully, that’ll work out instead. On with the post!

What’s their favourite book/movie/play/etc.?
Mac: Mac enjoys Marvel and DC Comics (the whole Marvel/DC rivalry doesn’t make any sense to him), so he’s enthusiastic/passionate about Comic-to-Movie adaptation, he likes being able to explain the adaptation differences and domino affect it would have on the plot-line.

Cassie: Cassie enjoys cheesy romantic-comedies but her favorite movie would be The Notebook

Is there anything they regret doing?
Mac got Cassie pregnant when she was seventeen and he was twenty and, while they don’t regret getting pregnant per say, they regret the circumstances and events that happened around the two of them at that time (so it’s more of a “guilt by association” type thing).

Mac: When Cassie first told him that she was pregnant, Mac went to James for assistance and James and Justine offered to help discreetly arrange an abortion for Cassie, which is something they both objected to (Cassie didn’t want to get abortion and Mac was supportive of her choice, he was willing to provide whatever Cassie needed), however, Cassie’s family eventually realised that she was pregnant and organised to have Cassie “sent off to a relative” when her pregnancy became more noticeable and for parents to adopt the child. Mac objected to this attempted to (for lack of a better word) rescue Cassie from this arrangement (Cassie was pretty much being forced into giving up the child, but she have a small say on who the adoptive parents could be, Mac didn’t get a say at all). James found out about this and, with Justine’s help, tracked Mac and Cassie down and brought Cassie back to her parents.

Cassie: Cassie doesn’t regret going through with the pregnancy, but sometimes she does wonder if she should have had an abortion (would it have spared Mac all that turmoil and stress?), Cassie also regrets not being able to talk to Mac about the situation, Mac just assumed that they would be a continue to be couple and they would automatically become a family, Cassie wanted to be Mac and she loves him very much, but she realizes now that she didn’t want to be a mother at that point in her life and she’s afraid of saying anything about it because she doesn’t want to sound like she doesn’t care about Mac or the daughter they have. So Yeah… A lot of angst there.

If they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?
Mac: Emilia is a little precious with Mac with when Mac is sick

Cassie: Cassie normally just takes care of herself (depending on how bad it is, usually she’s not that bad), her mum checks on her but her mum is more the aloof/distant type.

Is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?
Mac: Mac has sonograms of his unborn daughter tucked away safely, but he also has a copy of them on his phone, for obvious reasons.

Cassie: Cassie wishes she had sonograms (her mother took her copies from her to give to the adoptive parents), I’m planning on writing a depressing/touching scene (depending on my writing skills and reader’s perspective) where Cassie finds them on his phone.

What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?
Both Mac and Cassie have a strong sense of loyalty to their friends (it does manifest in different ways, Mac is more aggressive and willing to pick a fight, where are Cassie is more passive and willing to do stuff on another person’s behalf). Beth manages to win them both over being nice to them and cooking them food.
Mac: Mac is more of a common interest type person, Duncan and him have been mates since secondary school and while they both have an interest in drawing, Duncan no longer has time to pursue it (busy with work and a girlfriend), Beth has more of an interest in manga than comics but she knows enough of a general overview of Marvel and DC so that she had keep up with Mac. Beth also has a list of Marvel movies and TV shows she’s been meaning to catch up on.

Cassie: Cassie is pretty tolerant of people, but she won’t accept homophobia and, even though she’s rather timid when it comes to defending herself from her brother Mark or Donoghue, she is quick and sharp to call Mark and Donoghue out on their bullshit. Cassie can be a little clingy, although she doesn’t always realise it, Seamus sometimes has to remind her when she’s being too clingy with Beth.

Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.
Mac: work boots, flannel shirt (usually in a shade of blue with a navy blue singlet underneath) and jeans.

Cassie: feminine method of fashion, pastel colors (pink and blue), likes to where knitted items of clothing and make her own items of clothing.

What’s their favorite type of weather?
Mac: Summer and spring, but mostly summer, Mac would love the idea of Australian summer, which generically speaking involves wearing shorts and thongs (the shoes in case that wasn’t clear), going to the beach and having a backyard barbecue

Cassie: Cassie likes spring, she loves the smell of roses and flowers in bloom, she also enjoys hiking and walking trails

What’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?
I suppose it wasn’t a fight, but more the absence of a fight, the pressure of things left unsaid. When James and Justine came to collect Cassie from the caravan-park they were holed up in, James held Mac in a head-lock until he passed out (James made sure to get Justine to stay with him to prevent him from chasing after Cassie), so neither of them got a chance to say goodbye and get proper closure from the whole incident. The lack of closure affects them both, it just affects them in different ways, Mac gets drunk and lashes out, while Cassie takes to selling drugs so she can get away from her parents.

What names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?
Mac: Mac doesn’t have any nicknames because he’s name is already so short, although Beth does develop the habit of calling Mac “Macca” (which she does to annoy him, although it annoys James more than it does Mac)

Cassie: Cassie’s full name is Cassandra, but she prefers Cassie

What makes their heart feel alive?
Mac: Being with Cassie

Cassie: Being with Mac

So Yeah… that’s about it thus far, now I just have to sit down, and figure out how to shove all of those past events into a 60 000 novella *manic and slightly panicky laughter.

The Beautiful Books #22: February 2017

 

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals

Last year when I answered these questions, the couple I chose to focus on was Beth and James, however, this time around I’d like to focus on another couple. This time I’d like to focus on my side-characters, Mac and Cassie, this is because in an indirect way they’ve managed to spark the catalysts of my main plot and a couple of side-plots as well. I would also prefer to focus on Mac and Cassie at this point because (to be honest) they’re the only couple in my Pushing Boundaries series where I have a definitive answer for how I want to resolve their relationship problems and what kind of place (growth-wise) I want Mac and Cassie to be in by the end of Volume II.

How and why did they meet?
Mac and Cassie met at a mutual friend’s house party, Duncan, they did have a few drinks but they spent the whole night talking to each other about Comic Books and Comic Book Adaptations (movies and tv shows) and that was a new thing for Mac, despite the fact that Cassie was seventeen at the time and he was twenty.

What were their first impressions of each other?
Cassie was a little imitated by Mac and was uncertain of how to proceed (mostly because of how James and her older brother have a big feud). Cassie was expecting Mac to be hostile towards her because of the feud, but he wasn’t. Mac was expecting Cassie to be a snob or a malicious bitch because the Acker family have a history of being arseholes, Mac’s idea was that Cassie wasn’t worth the effort, so he pretty much ignored her until Seamus introduced them and mentioned that Cassie liked graphic novels and manga.

How would they prove their love for each other?
Mac’s the type of guy who doesn’t say he loves people with words but with actions, he’ll do something he doesn’t particularly like because it will make person X happy, he’s also the type to get into fights defending people (but in a way that’s more using someone else as an excuse to get into a fight).

Cassie is the type of person who is physically affectionate with a lover/paramour/partner but rather shy and reserved when it comes to talking about her feelings, in fact she tends to avoid those types of conversations (which is why Mac doesn’t know where he stands, he can’t tell if it was just some silly fling or a meaningful connection)

What would be an ideal date?
Mac: freshly shaved and nice clothing, most likely dinner and a movie kinda deal, but he’s also the type to want to go for a walk after dinner and explore the nearby area, maybe get dessert from a different place.
Cassie: Cassie the type to want a later dinner at a restaurant, that way there’s less people and it’s more intimate. But Cassie also likes group outings like dragging Mac along to a LARP situation (Cassie and Seamus are into LARP and Dungeons & Dragons). She likes her perspective partner to show an interest in her activities and being able to get along with her friends.

Is there something they emphatically disagree on?
Mac has a pretty black and white perspective on Cassie’s abusive family situation, he refuses to let Cassie “explain” away her parents behavior (“Dad is only like that when he’s drunk, he doesn’t mean it and he makes up for it later”). Beth helps Mac understand that the situation can be more complicated and that it is not always that simple because her father is a police officer.

List 3 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)
01. Mac is average at cooking, but there’s two meals he’s really good at which is scrambled eggs and pancakes. This is because James taught him how to cook them when he was younger.
02. Not sure if this is food related, but Cassie is a competent deer hunter because her dad likes to deer hunt as well, she also knows how to properly skin an animal and the basics of tanning.
03. Mac is more Sweets Orientated and Cassie is more Savory Orientated

What’s one thing they know about each other that no one else does?
Cassie knows that Mac is a good drawer and encouraged him to pursue it professionally. Mac knows that Cassie enjoys performing with the choir but hates performing solo pieces for the church, she feels that she’s getting the solo because her parent’s influence on the church council, not because she’s talented (she is reasonably talented though)

What’s one thing that they keep a secret from each other?
Over the two years, both of them have contemplated suicide, Cassie tends to be more inclined towards drinking and self-harming, however, both of them seem to be heading towards self-destructive burn-out, Beth is the one who notices this in both of them and both of them ask Beth not to mention it to the other (something Beth doesn’t approve of but understands).

How would their lives be different without each other?
That’s an interesting question. If Cassie and Mac hadn’t met, Cassie wouldn’t have gotten pregnant and Mac and Cassie wouldn’t be the parent to a daughter, but for Cassie, her life situation wouldn’t really be that much different, if anything her current situation is kind of unbearable because when she was Mac she realised what it was like to be truly happy and what it felt to break away from her family situation (even if it was just for a couple of hours or days). I like to think Mac would still feel as though he was without a purpose (he just wouldn’t know why), he felt as his relationship with Cassie gave him purpose, that he felt he was really was making a difference in someone else’s life. Mac would be less depressed but he would just as emotionally lost.

Where do they each see this relationship going?
Both of them don’t see it working out and that they’re better off without the other (naturally this isn’t true). Beth and Seamus think it could work out which is why they get involved as match-makers which mostly consists of getting Mac and Cassie in the same room and making them talk to each other (Beth and Seamus haven’t put much thought into plan), primarily at Justine’s shed as it’s kind of a more neutral zone (much to Justine’s annoyance).

So yeah… That’s my Beautiful Books post, if you want to talking about your latest WIP Novel project, feel free to leave a comment down the bottom. If you want to leave a link to your own Beautiful People post, please do so in the comment section down below, and if you’re interested in partaking in Camp NaNoWriMo in April, let me know in the comments section.

Links:
~Paper Fury: BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE #22 ~ COUPLES EDITION

~Paper Fury: How I Get Ready To Write A Novel

The Dysfunction Junction ~ An Introduction

Image Description: a large cluster of smiley faces in the centre of the picture. In the background are words like breath, here & now, accept, track, sense repeatedly printed in the background over and over again.
Image Description: a large cluster of smiley faces in the centre of the picture. In the background are words like breath, here & now, accept, track, sense repeatedly printed in the background over and over again.

Welcome to The Dysfunction Junction, a series of blog-posts I am going to write as I try to figure out whether or not I have ADHD or if I am just Weird. Now, I know some people will object to my use of the term Weird, but as I have spent my entire life being made to feel Less because I am Different, I think at this stage I’m entitled to reclaim Weird and Crazy if it so pleases me. Especially since every time I try to figure out what that precise Difference is exactly, I have been (and continue to be) denied access to a label and a diagnosis, and therefore to services that could potentially help me handle my Dysfunction.

Instead, I am left with labels like Weird, Crazy, Freak and Broken by default. But I am not Broken, I am not Less, and recently Kim gave me another word, a glorious inclusive word that matches me, and that word was Neurodivergent. It was in a Tumblr post, but unfortunately, I cannot find the direct quote (I have been looking through Stim Toy posts trying to find it) so I will be paraphrasing here, but it was essentially along the lines of:

“From what you’ve told me about your experiences in general and your experiences with mental health, you’re not Neurotypical, you definitely sound Neurodivergent, and you’re welcome to play in our sand box.”

It will sound silly, but I almost began crying when I read Kim’s response, I was so happy not just because of Kim’s acceptance but for the underlying message of “it’s okay, I see you, and you don’t have to pretend to be normal.” Because for most of my life I have been trying and mostly failing to adhere to the role of “Normal Person” without a script. I am not “normal” or Neurotypical, I never will be, so naturally I keep failing and beating myself up about it (if everyone else can do it, why can’t I?), although my failures as an adult are small and possibly dismissive in comparison to the failures I committed as a child and teenager. I have learned how to blend or appear “normal enough” by rote, not because it comes naturally to me, socialising and interacting with other people is hard work for me.

I am trying to change my current situation by pursuing an Adult Diagnosis of ADHD, but until I get a Yay or a Nay, I’m kind of stuck in this state of Purgatory. I can’t move forward with possible treatment (more on this in a later post) and I can’t go back to pretending I don’t have a problem. I recognise I have a problem, some of my closest friends and family are willing to recognise I have a problem, but because in the past certain doctors have refused to recognise I have a problem, I can’t get the appropriate help I need now without a diagnosis.

These posts are not to function as a self-hosted Pity Party, but rather to act as a guide for other people who might be considering the same type of options as I am. But as I live in Australia, I have limited access of Australian doctors qualified to assess Adults with ADHD, and the Australian Medicare System also limits me, my approach will be primarily Australian-orientated (just in case that wasn’t obvious).

But I would also like to mention up front that the diagnostic criterion for an Adult with ADHD is similar to an Adult with Autism or Adults belonging to the Autism Spectrum. While I don’t think I have Autism, I can’t deny the possibility that I could be Autistic instead of having ADHD, although I think it’s unlikely. There is also the possibility of having both ADHD and Autism, although I think this also unlikely, if I had both, surely someone would have noticed or said something before now (maybe? I think? At this point I really don’t know anymore), however, having said that, I have often found resources or articles for people with Autism to be helpful for me.

Concerning Autism and ADHD support groups, there is a lot of focus on international organisations like The National Society of Autism (located in the UK) and Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP) (which is predominantly located in the USA). I’m sure both these groups do amazing things for Neurodivergent people in their respective counties, but their helpfulness is limited in international situations like mine.

Amaze (formerly known as Autism Victoria) doesn’t get nearly the same amount of attention as GRASP or The National Society of Autism, although Amaze does produce a magazine The Spectrum (if anyone is interested in contributing to it). I have found that Wrong Planet and Autism Women’s Network are more internationally friendly or more internationally appropriate.

On the ADHD front, I found valuable articles and resources at ADDitude Magazine, but for something more Australian orientated, I have also found this website Every Day with ADHD which has resources for parents and children for different states in Australia but also in New Zealand.

While I’ve been able to find Australian support groups and online support groups for transgender people (this post has a list of resources), I haven’t been able to find an organisation or support group for transgender people who also have Autism or ADHD. If anyone knows about transgender-focused support groups for Autism or ADHD, please leave me a link in the comment section, I would be happy to add the link/s into the post.

The key objective here is to help and to inform, so at this point I want to add the obvious disclaimer that I am not a qualified or experienced medical professional. I cannot and will not offer a diagnosis for Autism or ADHD, however, I will add resource links at the bottom of the page, and what you do with them is completely up to you. If someone out there stumbles across my blog and finds this helpful, then great, otherwise this is just going to be me ranting about how messed up the Australian Medicare System is and just how lacking the Mental Health services available in Australia are.

Links:
~ADDitude Magazine – Home

~ADDitude Magazine – Self-tests and Quizzes

~ADDitude Magazine: The Truth About ADHD in Women

~Decades of failing to recognize ADHD in girls has created a “lost generation” of women by Jenny Anderson

~ADD on my mind: diagnosing attention deficit disorder in adults by Yasmin Noone

~So Much Stranger, So Much Darker, So Much Madder, So Much Better: Autism with a side of ADHD

~The link between autism and trans identity By Bryony White

~Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

~Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, LGBT Groups Release Statement on Needs of Trans Autistic People

~The Chameleons: women with autism | The Feed SBS (YouTube Video)

~Different As Pie: So You Think You Have Asperger Syndrome? (Youtube Video)

~Musings of an Aspie: Aspie Tests

~Nerdy, Shy and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life by Cynthia Kim

~Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome by Rudy Simone

~Bitter Autistic (Tumblr): a collection of quizzes and other tools to help with self diagnosis as well as tips and tricks for ADHD

~Bitter Autistic (Tumblr): NOT SO COMMONLY TALKED ABOUT/ATYPICAL AUTISM TRAITS

Beautiful Books ~ 2017 Writing Goals

Image Description: A close up picture of a type-writer with the heading of "beautiful books: a link up for writers" up the top of the image. At the bottom of the image is the website urls for <a href="http://paperfury.com/" target="_blank">Paper Fury</a> and <a href="http://www.furtherupfurtherin.net/" target="_blank">Further Up and Further In </a>
Image Description: A close up picture of a type-writer with the heading of “beautiful books: a link up for writers” up the top of the image. At the bottom of the image is the website urls for Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In

What were your writing achievements last year?
~Self-published my first EBook Canis Major, Volume I of the Pushing Boundaries series (yes, I will shamelessly plug this for as long as possible)

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?
~Participate and Win Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July and then NaNoWriMo in November
~Attend the Emerging Writers Festival and/or Melbourne Writers Festival
~Write One Stim Toy Review a month
~Write at least one RecipeYum Article a month (I’m hoping for more but I’m being realistic)
~Read and Review at least two books a month (I’m hoping for more, but I’m being realistic)

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!
~Orion, volume II of the Pushing Boundaries series
~Andromeda, a collection of short stories focusing on Beth and Mary as teenagers

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
~A finished manuscript of Orion, Volume II of Pushing Boundaries
~I also hope to improve my attendance at Writer Events/Author Events

Describe your general editing process.
For other authors or other people:
~Print out a hard-copy and go through it chapter by chapter with a red pen, possible write notes or questions on the back of pages.

For my own projects:
~Flail around helplessly and do a terrible job in general (I’m awful when it comes to editing my own work)

On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?
-Insert Chewbacca Noises Here- But in all honesty, I really want to develop the habit this year of sitting down on one day of week (or whenever) and consistently writing, I’m looking into using the Pomodoro Technique.

What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
Well it needs to exist for one thing, but I think it’ll help me if I sit down and down a an outline for it, I was thinking chapter-by-chapter but not too detailed.

What do you like the most about your draft?
Well what I like about the idea behind Orion and the Pushing Boundaries series is that it’s like the first project I’ve been able to consistently work on, that’s kind of amazing for me.

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
Hopefully by November, it’s finished and is ready for editing and/or Beta reading, but due to the cost of self-publishing I might be forced into only being able self-publish an 60 000 word Ebook every second year, which is why I’ll be writing some short stories in the meantime (and then putting them into their own Ebook later on).

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?
Give your draft some space. My biggest problem was that I couldn’t give my WIP Writing Project space due to poor time management skills. I had to write, edit and self-publish all within the space of a year and it did turn out to be a rush job (I really don’t recommend this), however, I’m still proud of what I managed to accomplish. But if I had the luxury of space, I would have had a better and more objective perspective when it was time for editing, so knowing when to let go a project and work on something else for a while (but not too long) is a good skill to develop.

Also Editing will take WAY longer than you could possibly imagine, do your research, find the right resources for you and don’t get discouraged or think you’ll never get to the end of the tunnel, because you will 🙂

Stim Toy Review: Unexpected Surprises

Image Description: from left to right, a robin's egg blue gift box wrapped with robin's egg blue ribbon, a pink gift box with navy blue ribbon tied around it, a light-pink polka-dotted-box with dark-pink ribbon tied in a bow on top
Image Description: from left to right, a robin’s egg blue gift box wrapped with robin’s egg blue ribbon, a pink gift box with navy blue ribbon tied around it, a light-pink polka-dotted-box with dark-pink ribbon tied in a bow on top

This year I’m going to attempt to write one Stim Toy Review per month, this is to make sure I pace myself, I have the unfortunate habit of over-committing and biting off more than I can chew, but it’s also to make sure I limit my impulsive online-shopping tendencies.

How it’s going to work is that I’ll post a review of a single item on Tumblr and hopefully remember to post a connecting link here on my WordPress-blog, however, there are times when I want to review multiple Stim Toys at the one time and Tumblr isn’t really conductive for long posts. So long posts or posts involving two or three Stim Toys will be reviewed on my WordPress-blog instead.

Also, as a possibly related side-note, I’ve been adding Alt-text to all my pictures, but when I test it with Chrome, it doesn’t show up. On one hand, my laptop is currently using XP as an operating system, so that might be the reason it’s not showing up, however, if anyone could give me some feedback on the Alt-text involving the pictures, I’d super appreciate it.

On Tumblr, Stimtastic were having a Give-Away and Kim sent it my way, I entered thinking I didn’t have a hope of winning but I enjoyed reading all the text on people’s special interests (it was super fascinating to see so many different varieties but also to notice how some of them interconnected).

Much to my surprise, I was selected as the winner of the give-away, and I wanted to talk about the items in detail:
Image Description: plastic bead lanyard in varying shades of green and purple with a silver bead at the end
Out of all the possible variations of Stim Toys, Beaded Item such as jewellery and lanyards are my favourite (second favourite would be Squishy Items). I have attached beaded lanyards to both my main bags (a Nightmare Before Christmas Messenger-bag and a black-white-and-red backpack), coloured co-ordinated of course, and I love playing with beaded necklaces that Kim has made for me. So naturally, this stim toy is my favourite of the collection.

Image Description: a rubber bracelet that says 'Keep Calm and Keep Stimming' on the outside
I really like the teal colour of this, unfortunately my wrists are already occupied and I often find that rubber bands like these tend to be a little too loose for me.

Image Description: silver chewable bangle bracelet

Image Description: silver chewable bangle bracelet on a white arm, resting loosely around the wrist

Image Description: silver chewable bangle bracelet on a white arm, pushed roughly half-way down the arm, this is as far as it can go on my arm
As demonstrated in the second picture, the chewable bangle bracelet is loose around my wrist but it is flexiable in nature, I have a feeling chewable bangle bracelets aren’t going to work for me, I think that chewable necklaces might be the better direction for me to go in.

Image Description: Clip on earrings with silver color interlocking rings
Image Description: Clip on earrings with silver color interlocking rings clipped on my ear (to show scale)
I love these as Fidgets, I constantly play with the sleepers already in my ears, however, I have my fears. These are clip-on ear-rings, which means the possibility to fall off, then me frantically searching for the other half (while trying not to panic) then practically crying with frustration when I can’t find it immediately,the despair at concluding that the second ear-ring is “Lost Forever To The Sands of Time” like all the other things (then the joy when I find it located somewhere random). I’d like to avoid all of that, especially since I already have a collection of ear-rings missing their other half. So, as I have access to the Connected Community HackerSpace (located in Hawthorn, Victoria), I will alter these so that their connected to sleeper ear-rings, should be simple enough for me to do (I’ve made a hammer out of metal before so this should be doable). Besides, I’ve been meaning to get a second set of ear-piercings for a while now.

Image Description: black and white yarn poof ball
This one feels nice, but I have the feeling I would need to attach it to something so that I don’t lose it, which is simply a matter of when not if. The only challenge here is that I have absolutely no sewing skills whatsoever, however, by some element of twisted coincidence, I happen to have a few friends who are very talented and proficient with sewing that I can ask for assistance.

Image Description: cinnamon scented vial necklace
I really like this, the cinnamon crystals (is that the right word?) smell lovely but I can see them being slightly overwhelming or over-powering for others. The little canisters are tiny but I think it might be possible to put dried herbs or powdered herbs inside of the canisters (if that’s preferred), for example: I adore the smell of rosemary and basil (together or separate is good).

I also had my mother over the other day so that she could give me my Christmas present and I couldn’t help but take the opportunity to show her all the awesome stuff that Kim got me for Christmas as well. As my mother enjoys colouring-books as a way to relax and meditate, I figured my mother would be more likely to understand the appeal, and it turns out she did, in fact my mother appears to enjoy using fake kinetic sand almost as much as I do:

Image Description: A black lipped-tray with yellow fake kinetic sand in a pile at one end and moulded piles at the other end of the tray. In front of the tray is a zip-lock bag filled with pink sand castle moulds and a blue caterpillar mould. Behind the tray, there is a tofu squishy with on top pink lurking behind the kinetic sand.

My mother did all of this

My mother also loved my collection of Squishes, in fact, I have ordered for her a Squishy Tofu and Squishy Strawberry. I plan on doing a video with Fake Kinetic Sand, but I believe I’m going to need a bigger tray and a tripod to hold my camera. It seemed a little surreal (in a positive way) to talk about Stim Toys with my mother and watch her play with and solve one my Smiggle Snake Puzzles.

I have also ordered some Chewable Necklaces from Stimtastic, I intend to give one of them to my sister as she has spoken of getting chewable jewellery but I figured it might be easier if I get it for her and see how my niece reacts to it, because right now my niece has the unfortunate habit of grabbing and yanking on any nearby items of jewellery and attempting to eat them.

This may only be amusing to me, but I can’t help but giggle at the slow-but-steady infiltration of Stim Toys into my family lives, Mwuhahahaha. Today, my family, Tomorow, the world.

Links:
Ambiguous Pieces (Tumblr)
~Stim Toy Review – Kawaii Macaron Squishy
~Stim Toy Review: Food For Thought
~Stim Toy Review: Squishy Peach

Stim Toy Box (Tumblr)
~Snake Puzzles
~Beaded Animals
~The Pink Conspiracy
~Squishy Fruit Toys
~A necklace made from seven aqua hexagonal silicone beads strung onto an aqua cord with a black breakaway clasp

Eldritch Esoterica (Tumblr)
~Pink Drawstring Dice Bag
~Large and Mini Drawstring Bags For Dice
~Rainbow Bead Bracelets
~Peyote-stitched bead-woven rectangle made from pony beads