Finding a Good Therapist

Finding a therapist is pretty straightforward, for example you can use a site like:

Find a Therapist, Psychologist, Counselor – Psychology Today

Or follow instructions on who to call like these:

Finding a Mental Health Professional | NAMI

The harder part is figuring out if the therapist is actually helping you.

I only recently learned that they should be giving you homework – like something to practice or a question to think about.

You should feel safe and comfortable with them.
If you don’t feel that way with any person, then you might consider finding someone you’re willing to explore and address that with despite how you initially feel. You could also try a group setting where you can listen and learn or watch videos or read books to get started on healing.

Even there you should get actionable items to work on. For example, all the various 12 step groups have you work the steps of the program. This video mentions starting with breathwork which there a lots of different videos you can look through to find one that works for you. I try to do box breathing daily, especially while driving or other tasks like that. Books like Parenting From the Inside Out by Dan Siegel also give end of chapter activities to try.

If you’re just paying someone to listen to you vent, they aren’t doing a good job. They should listen to you vent sure, but then they should be asking good questions. How or why did you end up in that situation? What do you wish you had done and what stopped you? What do you want to do in future situations like that, and what do you need to be able to do that?

I once had a therapist cancel me as a client because “It seemed I had nothing to work on and was just venting which I should do with friends.” – I went along with it, but many years later I realized that the therapist didn’t ask if I HAD friends I felt I could talk about this stuff with or WHY I wasn’t talking about it with my friends. I knew I needed help, I just didn’t know what I needed and didn’t realize that my therapist wasn’t skilled at figuring it out either.

Another therapist I fired after realizing I was only ever venting about one topic again but not being given any actionable feedback on how to change my own behavior to affect that relationship and the venting was just bringing me down.

One I had to stop seeing because driving there after work ended up being so tiring I couldn’t think or talk about anything else by the time I got there. Thank goodness for all the remote options we have now!

Time Blindness

What Time Blindness is: Could You Be Time Blind? | Psychology Today

Ways that human society have changed that have removed the nature supports for people who are time blind:

  • Developing electricity so that we’re no longer bound by the sun or lighting methods that visibly mark time by the consumption of fuel – like fires, candles and oil lamps.
  • The development of suburbs so that not everyone lives within hearing distance of the bells on a clock tower to mark the hour both day and night.
  • The development of digital and silent analog clocks so there is no longer an auditory cue of time passing.

It’s only in very recent human history that we’ve removed the supports that someone with time blindness used to be able to rely on. I’m not surprised that we’ve only recently figured out that some people are time blind. Honestly, I’m surprised that it isn’t the majority of people, but it’s likely tied into our circadian rhythms and we didn’t “invent” time, but rather invented a way to track and coordinate it.

ADHD Scheduling & Time Sense

Hydration

Figure out if your sense of thirst works (part of interoception). If you can go hours without getting thirsty, it might not be working so well.

If your “thirsty don’t work” then building in a hydration habit is important to avoid dehydration.

Ted Ed: What would happen if you didn’t drink water? – Mia Nacamulli – YouTube

Habits: https://youtu.be/PZ7lDrwYdZc 
Effective practice: https://youtu.be/f2O6mQkFiiw

Water | Bunny’s Info-Dump (sweetpeastudio.biz)

Water Calculator: Water Intake Calculator – How much water should you drink per day? (gigacalculator.com)

Link Tracking – Pain Treatment

I’m working on reconnecting with my body so that I can manage my pain appropriately and do my physical therapy exercises.

Ehlers Danlos & Neurodiversity Research

I’m so excited, a friend of a friend just shared all this:

Dr. Eccles specific research areas are Neuroscience, Psychiatric and neurodevelopmental features of connective tissue disorders, Mechanisms of chronic pain and fatigue.

The quickest way to see a summary of all her 67 published medical research with active links to each is here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jessica-Eccles-3

Some titles of pubs just within the last 2 years:

  • Towards a Neurodiversity-Affirmative Approach for an Over-Represented and Under-Recognised Population: Autistic Adults in Outpatient Psychiatry
  • Joint Hypermobility Links Neurodivergence to Dysautonomia and Pain
  • Variant connective tissue (joint hypermobility) and dysautonomia are associated with multimorbidity at the intersection between physical and psychological health
  • Connecting brain and body: Transdiagnostic relevance of connective tissue variants to neuropsychiatric symptom expression

You Tube Videos:

CalFresh

Info Dump mess – I want to come back and split this out to three different things:

  • CalFresh help since clearly there is a bunch of stuff available I found this time that I didn’t last time
  • Yelling at people who need it (I love Penelope Trunk, she yells at the world with her blog and you can pay her for coaching if you want her to yell at you privately, or take her classes if you want her to yell at others while you quietly think about how you needed to hear that – if you have a trauma background, you either are still avoiding being yelled at (read her blog so you can pretend she’s yelling at other people until you can’t resist commenting or taking a class or coaching session), you need to be yelled at but still hate it, or you recognize how helpful it is an love it.

    Oh, Penelope, that’s why we love you even if you think we hate being yelled at.
  • whatever other journal junk I need to clean out of this for those two

Stub

It took three tries requesting a call back on CalWin.

The most important thing I’ve learned recently is to say this:

I’m autistic and I KNOW my questions seem really stupid. I just need your help please.

I couldn’t say that without crying because it sucks to know how smart I CAN be and how stupid I WAS being because I couldn’t function at the moment they called and I knew I HAD to take the call.

I had to pull out a calculator and a blank document on my computer and do the math before they could answer my questions and then I cried again in relief that the solution was so easy.

The math:

If you are disabled and only get SSDI (see note below about cash help)

Then:

SSDI Amount
– Rent (LEASE amount)
– Utility exception of $500+
= Your income

If your income is 0 or negative, then you qualify for the maximum CalFresh benefit.

I had to ask the person three times and say that I was sending cash monthly and had a document in writing to the rental company promising to send the cash amount monthly before I believed them:

IF YOUR FAMILY IS GIVING YOU MONEY and you don’t live with them – THAT IS NOT UNEARNED INCOME.

Your rent is what your LEASE says the person ON THE LEASE owes, not how much of it you pay AFTER any help you receive. Yes, tell them about the help if you are doing the phone interview – so they can reassure you it doesn’t matter.

NO – DO NOT DO ANY MATH for them.

YOU DON’T KNOW THE EQUATIONS.

Or you got someone that sucked at asking questions. More likely, if you’re autistic, have an autistic relative, or think you’re smarter than the person you’re talking to – either you’re not or you’re a jerk.

Being stupid, admitting it and then thanking the person afterwards is better than being a jerk.

I thanked the person very specifically and heard a laugh of pleased surprise.

I know what that laugh sounds like, because I’ve heard it and I’ve made it enough times.

I said something along the lines that I recognized that the job sucked and didn’t pay enough and that they were doing it anyway to help people and to please keep doing it until they found a better way to help people.

Anxiety will lie to you that you can’t trust anyone. If you grew up with trauma, then you will have anxiety because that’s how you survived the trauma of your childhood.

The way you recover is that you figure out that humans are all trying the best they can to survive, and if they have anything left, then they start to thrive.

The way you thrive is to connect. And to connect you find people you want to listen to, or who want to listen to you.

You only need one mutual friend. You can be a friend to someone who needs you as a friend, and you can have friends that you need that don’t need you back. There are so many kinds of friends.

If you journal privately, you’re managing your anxiety.

If you write publicly, then you are sharing your truth just in case it helps ONE other person. So the things you’ve learned and experienced can help someone else the way you wish you had been helped.

Authors are telling the stories they need to tell. Popular authors are telling stories that many people wanted or needed to hear.

The internet has made it so we can tell our stories so many different ways so that any human can find the story they need.

I found the story of the worst of humanity and that I can see and understand the worst thing a human can do and forgive it – because that is how much they suffered and are suffering.

I understand why Nonviolent Communication is the name that author chose. And I understand why people call it NVC because they want to help people who need to learn to communicate, but are too far from pain and trauma to understand it, or too close to tolerate it.

I’m so glad that people exist that can’t even imagine existence being so painful that you don’t want to exist anymore. I was shocked to learn that my father-in-law is one of those people.

Either you understand suicidal ideation, or you don’t.

I don’t know if my husband does. I know I do and I feel sorrow because I think my child does too. I do know my father in law doesn’t. He was so confused when I asked him if he had ever WANTED to die. Like, couldn’t even imagine understanding why any human would want that level of confused.

These people are working for crap pay dealing with us at our worst because they either want to or are willing to help. If you think you’re smart, then recognize that they are the experts here and you need to trust them

You’re not being honest or helpful by “doing the math” for them, you’re giving them the wrong numbers.

Don’t bother trying to call and wait – they have a 500+ backlog as of today and every time I tried to call and wait I was 40+ in the queue and never got to a human before the call dropped after 2+ hours on hold.

Go on CalWin, request a call back on Monday, if you don’t get one or miss the call, request it again the following Monday.

Right now the state has been sending emergency aid and you might have more on your EBT card than you realize, just go try to use it or:

CalFresh EBT Balance and Login – California Food Stamps Help (icaliforniafoodstamps.com)

If you can’t find your card – report it as lost: EBT Card

People are trying to help. And the more ways we try to help, the more people we will help.

When I was functioning, I didn’t find this site, but I did look all this up on my own, so I knew my family member qualified for the maximum and was getting only 1/10th of that amount.

We got a person at some point, and they pointed us at the form to fill out and upload on CalWin so that I can talk on behalf of my family member without them having to be present to give permission each time. You can give any adult you trust permission to apply for you.

Scripts to Self Advocate with Doctors

  • You see WNL or your health care provider says results are “Within Normal Limits”
    • What demographic was used to establish the normal limits? Are you in that demographic? If no, then more information is needed.
    • If yes, what is the bell curve and where are you on it?

For example: I was WNL for thyroid hormone, and my IVF doctor put me one thyroid hormone replacement therapy because they had found an effect on fertility at “sub-clinical” (WNL but the low end of the bell curve) levels. It cleared up the fatigue I had developed in the prior year even though my thyroid had been checked when the fatigue flared up, so that “couldn’t” be the cause. Except it was.

  • “The test result is slightly abnormal, and it could be several things.”
    • Reply: Ok, so best case it’s nothing, what’s the worst case and the most common case – if those are two separate things? And what’s the next step to rule out (find the differential diagnosis) the worst case scenario?
  • You need an ESR test.
    • The ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) test measures inflammation. Just refuse it and probably go find a new doctor. As far as I can tell ALL illness is caused by inflammation and there is no such thing as “all in your head” meaning not in your body. Your brain has incredible control over your body, so it might be causing the problems, but the ESR test won’t really help direct you.
  • You need a full body CAT scan.
    • I would refuse it, it’s just radiation and the doctor having no clue where to focus. Find someone with a clue. Unless you’re doing it for a research study, in which case, awesome, thank you and how do I sign up? 😀
  • When picking a surgeon, ask:
    • how many of that specific surgery they have done total and annually for the past 3-5 years.
    • what their worst outcomes have been. If they don’t have any, I wouldn’t trust them. Either they are hiding inexperience, or they haven’t done enough to come across a hard case.
    • what the worst possible outcome might be, say with a less experienced surgeon – (look up the answer either before or write it down to look up after so you can verify if they actually know and are willing to tell you the risks)

For example, I asked Dr. Zaghi of the Breathe Institute and his worst cases were some excessive bleeding and having to go back and redo the surgery. He also acknowledged that permanent nerve damage and pain was a possibility even though he’d never had that outcome before.

  • “medically unexplained but not dangerous”
    • This means that they don’t know the explanation, not that one doesn’t exist
    • how do they know it’s not dangerous if it’s unexplained?

This is a great one:

What They Say vs. What They Mean: How Doctors and Patients Miscommunicate | National Headache Foundation (headaches.org)

Assume every medical worker is Neurodivergent – bring a list of questions in order of highest to lowest urgency. Urgency should be based on how much/often it impacts your ability to perform activities of daily living.

References:

What Your Doctor Really Means When He Says . . . (menshealth.com)

How do doctors determine that symptoms are medically unexplained? (healthtap.com)

Autistic Inertia vs ADHD?

PDA and/or ADHD (executive function problems) – It took reading a bunch of comments to realize that Autistic Inertia is probably just comorbid ADHD executive function challenges.

How to ADHD on YouTube has a lot of great videos on various ways to manage problems like this. Wall of Awful, Motivation Bridge, Procrastination, tools like SunSama, Pomodoros, Bullet Journals, body doubling (co-regulation for adults), accountability buddies

More of the same:

What is autistic inertia? https://autismawarenesscentre.com/what-is-autistic-inertia/

I’m not sure that giving things a new name is helpful. It’s executive function difficulties no matter what the “reason” is and know that means it’s easier to find solutions.

Schemas or Distortions

Stub

Homework assignment, identify my maladaptive schemas/cognitive distortions

All or nothing thinking. Perfectionist – if not perfect then why bother

Black & white thinking. – using extremes, always, never, ever, completely

Mind reading

10 common cognitive distortions – mental shortcuts or assumptions about how the world works that helped you survive but are no longer supportive

18 maladaptive schemas – thought structures that helped you in one or some situations but are now harming or restricting you.

18 Early Schemas Defined (schematherapy.com)

Education

To revisit later – stub

Ok, so I’ve known for a while that education is broken. I’ve been homeschooling with an IEP and a charter.

I’m finally ready to take more action.

Public schools will not work for my child.

There are a variety of private or non-public schools (NPS) that would work.

We cannot afford the private pay option.

School systems can (and until they can’t, it will be very hard to rebuild the education system, so overloading them is really the goal).

How do I legally get the school system to pay for an NPS without the step of allowing my child to be harmed/traumatized?

If I attend class with him, I can protect him.

I have no intention of arriving before 10am for my own mental health.

Truancy – Attendance Improvement (CA Dept of Education)

EC Section 48260:

(c) For purposes of this article, a valid excuse includes, but is not limited to, the reasons for which a pupil shall be excused from school pursuant to Sections 48205 and 48225.5 and may include other reasons that are within the discretion of school administrators and, based on the facts of the pupil’s circumstances, are deemed to constitute a valid excuse.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 432, Sec. 1. (AB 2616) Effective January 1, 2013.)

California Education Code Section 48225.5 (public.law)

Reasons for Excused Absences

EC Section 48205:

(a) Notwithstanding Section 48200, a pupil shall be excused from school when the absence is:

(1) Due to the pupil’s illness, including an absence for the benefit of the pupil’s mental or behavioral health. The state board shall update its illness verification regulations, as necessary, to account for including a pupil’s absence for the benefit of the pupil’s mental or behavioral health within the scope of this paragraph.

(7) For justifiable personal reasons, including, but not limited to, an appearance in court, attendance at a funeral service, observance of a holiday or ceremony of the pupil’s religion, attendance at a religious retreat, attendance at an employment conference, or attendance at an educational conference on the legislative or judicial process offered by a nonprofit organization, when the pupil’s absence is requested in writing by the parent or guardian and approved by the principal or a designated representative pursuant to uniform standards established by the governing board of the school district.

(12) Authorized at the discretion of a school administrator, as described in subdivision (c) of Section 48260.

(b) A pupil absent from school under this section shall be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence that can be reasonably provided and, upon satisfactory completion within a reasonable period of time, shall be given full credit therefor. The teacher of the class from which a pupil is absent shall determine which tests and assignments shall be reasonably equivalent to, but not necessarily identical to, the tests and assignments that the pupil missed during the absence.

(d) Absences pursuant to this section are deemed to be absences in computing average daily attendance and shall not generate state apportionment payments.

The California Code of Regulations Title 5, Section 421 states that the verification of illness or quarantine shall be made in accordance with any reasonable method which establishes the fact that the pupil was actually ill or under quarantine, if the method has been approved by a school district governing board or a county board of education. For verifying a chronic illness, districts like San Juan Unified School District have adopted a special form to verify the chronic illness. Appreciation is extended to staff members of the San Juan Unified School District who permitted the CDE to use their Chronic Illness Verification Form as an example for statewide use.

San Juan Unified School District’s Chronic Illness Verification Form
The Chronic Illness Verification Sample Form allows parents to excuse absences due to a specific medical condition with the same authority as a medical professional.

Child Welfare & Attendance – Attendance Improvement (CA Dept of Education)

District does not accept any CIVF that does not have
the expected frequency of episodes, length of absence, diagnosis, appropriate
symptoms listed, Provider’s or Medical Group letterhead/business card attached
and appropriate signature(s). Please return the form to parent for completion.
2) The school site may fax the CIVF back to the Provider’s office to verify the
document’s authenticity. An administrator or their designee must refuse
acceptance of any CIVF found to be fraudulent.
3) Schools will only code absences V when the parent provides written verification
listing one or more reasons specified on the form under “Symptom(s)”. Phone
calls are not acceptable

San Juan Unified School District’s Chronic Illness Verification Form

Stub

search string: ca state board of education “illness verification” regulations

To do: Bill Text – SB-14 Pupil health: school employee and pupil training: excused absences: youth mental and behavioral health. (ca.gov)

filedownload.ashx (sanjuan.edu)

Child Welfare & Attendance – Attendance Improvement (CA Dept of Education)

Search Results (CA Dept of Education)

15 rights parents have in public schools | Parenting (greatschools.org)

Can Parents Observe Children’s Classrooms & Placements? | The Wrightslaw Way

Special Education Rights for Children and Families – special_famlaw_selfhelp

California Truancy Laws – Rules for Parents & Minor Children (shouselaw.com)

California Education Code Section 48203 (public.law)