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Self-Care Update

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Raggamuffin, Mar 4, 2021.

  1. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    It has been quite some time since I made a new post on here. I have shied away from a lot of online communication in recent months. I haven’t posted on Facebook in months, and my art page has been without updates for quite some time. I barely use Messenger, and I’ve withdrawn from using Discord as much. I wouldn’t say this has had an overtly negative impact on how I’ve been feeling. If anything – spending less time on social media has been a good thing.

    It’s day 93 of no caffeine and day 459 of no weed or alcohol. In recent weeks I’ve started addressing my diet as well. From no caffeine came a natural increase in drinking water. Thankfully I don’t really drink soda anymore, so I didn’t replace binging on coffee and tea with soda. With regards to my diet – for most of my adult life I was constantly snacking on junk food and sweets.

    From my teens through to my late 20’s I was always 11.5 stone. Being 6’4” this made me very slender. It wasn’t until I started taking anti-depressants and drinking alcohol that I started to gain some weight. An increase of 2 stone doesn’t seem like a great deal at my height, and my Body Mass Index is still well within the range of a health weight. Still – it wasn’t a healthy feeling: being slim and constantly fidgeting and staffing through my 20’s meant I had a six pack. With pills and booze that gradually faded away into a small gut.

    All is not lost – in fact I can clearly see the abs under the fat, but I’d been meaning to address my diet for a long time, as I want to go back to how I used to look. The most obvious starting point was the chocolate, cakes and junk food. I’ve stopped eating all of those. I replaced binging on chocolate and cakes with healthier alternatives – 2 pieces of dark chocolate a day, 1 oat/nut snack bar with pieces of fruit in it, as well as a couple of handfuls of seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Breakfast has been changed – a bowl of porridge oats (unheated), with coconut milk, and a couple of handfuls of seeds, dried fruit and sultanas. It reminds me of museli, but unlike the boxed brands, I’m not skimping on the fruit (which was always my favourite part). I used to do overnight oats, but I’m impatient. In fact – making this and eating it right away has a nicer texture in my opinion to overnight oats. There’s more of a crunch, and it doesn’t feel gloopy, like overnight oats do.

    Lunches tend to be sandwiches – brown bread with a healthy(ish) filling. Usually tuna and sweetcorn or chicken and sweetcorn. Dinners are what I need to address at a later stage, as these remain things like frozen oven meals. Pizzas, chicken, chips etc. But simply addressing the snacking alone has had a profound effect. I’ve lost 9 pounds in just over 2 weeks. I’ve been staffing a lot more regularly as well. On my lunch breaks at work I walk to the park and staff for 40 minutes. Alternatively, I walk for the full hour and cover over 3 and a half miles in that time. On the 3 days I work from home I’m going to the park each day to staff as well.

    Next time I go shopping I’m going to start making my smoothies again. It used to be a bit of a mish mash, and whenever my partner tried them, she said they were vile. But I found them nice. It’d usually be kale, spinach, beetroot, carrot, banana and grapes, oats and seeds. It was an odd flavour – earthy and sweet. But it helps me get my greens. I’d often experiment and mix up the ingredients. But, even back when I was a drunk – whenever I had these smoothies, I’d feel really invigorated afterwards. A litre of that – talk about a rush of nutrients. I’d be buzzing.

    I rang the doctors today – as it’s been nearly a year since my referral letter for my autism assessment. As luck would have it, the place which deals with these assessments has just re-opened this week. It’d been closed since the first lockdown last March. So my calling was perfect timing, they said they’d chase up my referral today.

    Work continues to be a stressor – but I’ve been reading more books with regards to mental health. Specifically around healing childhood trauma and learning how it affects the present self. Through reading these books I’ve been delving further into introspection and uncovering past memories and events and seeing them from a new perspective. One of my current books is called Complex PTSD From Surviving to Thriving. In this book, the author explains that a lot of people with diagnosis such as autism, depression, anxiety, bi-polar etc. are often suffering from CPTSD from childhood traumas such as abuse or emotional neglect.

    I began reading the book after seeing a description of the Fawn Response, which was something I could relate to very strongly. Further investigation found the excerpt from the aforementioned book and I started to read it. My concentration has never been great, and whilst I often fantasize about happily spending all day reading books – this doesn’t materialise. Still, I have been reading a lot more – in fact, I’ve been reading almost every day for an hour for the past 2 months. This is a huge difference to how I used to be. Even whilst studying English Literature in school, college and university – I struggled completing any books. I’d just skim read, and focus on chapters which exams and coursework would focus on. I guess it makes sense – studying a subject I had no passion for, I coasted along doing the bare minimum.

    Therapy isn’t really doable right now, so these books will suffice. Their wisdom and my introspection is helping me learn and heal new aspects of myself.

    I’ve also finally been tackling my spending habits. Always being an impulse buyer – something that has had me in and out of debt all my adult life. Spending outside your means might provide a buzz, but it leaves you with months or years of repayments. In the past 3 months I’ve saved £800. I’ve been very strict with myself, as soon as that money goes into my saving account, I never take any back out again. I guess it’s better late than never – I’ve never once been able to save my money, and it only took me until I was 34.

    One of the key points in the book I’m reading is about shrinking the inner-critic. Until I’d read this book I had rarely considered just how much of a negative and overbearing impact my inner-critic had on my life. In fact, I’ve just reached a section which highlights 14 common inner critic attacks and how to counter them:
    • Perfectionism.
    • All-or-none, and black and white thinking.
    • Self-hate, self-disgust and toxic shame.
    • Micromanagement, worrying, obsessing, looping and over-futurizing.
    • Unfair/devaluing comparisons to others, or to your most perfect moments.
    • Guilt.
    • “Shoulding” (replacing “want to” with “should”).
    • Over-productivity, workaholism.
    • Harsh judgements of self & others, name calling.
    • Drasticizing, catastrophizing and hypochondriasizing.
    • Negative focus.
    • Time urgency.
    • Disabling performance anxiety.
    • Perseverating about being attacked.
    I’m not sure how many can relate to the above. I know that I’m guilty of multiple habits listed above every single day, and it’s exhausting. If anything, this book is trying to promote loving yourself. Understanding how the past has affected the present, but reminding yourself that you are good enough, and that whilst past traumas and abandonment were unfair – they needn’t be a burden that you carry throughout your life.

    Ed
     
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  2. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Good job, Ragg.
     
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  3. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Really good to see you Ed. I've been making healthier choices recently as well, but I still have a long way to go. Every step forward is progress.

    I hope you continue your healthy routine and also get the healing you need.

    Do you have any recent Videos of your staffing? I always enjoyed watching them.
     
  4. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    @Major Tom I haven't made any proper videos in a few months. I span for the first time with fire last weekend. I'll be making another video with background music next time I use fire.

    I was approached by a couple a few weeks ago who asked me to fire staff at their son's 18th birthday in Autumn. I also have a friend who wants me to staff at their wedding in July.



    I'm just waiting on a call back before I go on my lunch break and staff in the park again.

    Ed
     
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  5. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Thank you. l needed your post right now. I needed that list of things to work on. Sounds like you are on a great track right now.
     
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  6. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That's great to hear about how you're coming along, Ed. Thanks for posting the update. Your video is very impressive as are your skills!
     
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  7. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Nice job! Very uplifting. Keep up the great work.
     
  8. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Wow, it's so amazing how effortless and graceful you make that look. I was really mesmerized. I wish I lived closer and could take photos of you doing that with fire ! Keep it up, you have some skills for sure.

    I can imagine doing that is sort of meditative? I know watching it is. I'm going to try and make an oaken stave and try it out. Hopefully I don't get any black eyes or thwack myself in the gonads haha . I think I'm subscribed to your YouTube, and I look forward to further uploads whenever you get a chance.
     
  9. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I got in contact with my therapist this morning and she's offering face to face sessions again. So I'm waiting for them to confirm what date I can have booked in for next week.

    I'm going to have 1 session every 2 weeks. Ideally I'd prefer 1 a week, but it'd eat into my money a bit too much.

    I also had a text this morning offering me my first COVID vaccine jab. I was a little surprised by this, as currently in the UK they're rolling out vaccinating 50 and over and clinically vulnerable people. So I'm not sure why I would be getting contact when I'm 35, unless it's something to do with depression/anxiety. But I wouldn't think this would put me into a higher risk category.

    I'm debating whether to get it or not. I think the only issue I have is potential short/long term side effects. Also, knowing my age and health/fitness level - I'm not sure if it's needed. I'm rather stumped at this point. I know there's some anxiety about it, but I also know if I got the jab all the anxiety would be for nothing - another anti-climax that failed to live up to my inner-critics fears and paranoia.

    On another note, I'm under 13 stone for the first time since I quit drinking. One step closer to getting back to 11.5 stone. Whilst I have a weight in mind, I don't have any dates or "deadlines." I just want to shed that modicum of belly fat and get back to how I used to look in my 20's (minus the hair). Maybe it's a need for nostalgia/regression which is under the guise of health and fitness.

    Ed
     
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  10. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I decided to bite the bullet and book in for a vaccination next Sunday morning at the local hospital.

    I'm also starting therapy again next Monday.

    Unfortunately, all my recent months of staffing may have caused an injury. Rotating my wrist now hurts my forearm. I suppose it's overuse. The staff is heavy and building, manipulating and controlling the momentum has no doubt taken it's toll. Especially as in recent weeks I've been doing it daily.

    So I'll take a small break for a couple of weeks and start up again at the end of the month. I can still go on walks on my lunch breaks for my exercise. I think the injury will encourage me to push further with the health eating in a bid to help speed up the recovery process.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  11. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Well done Sir

    It must have been hard for you but you are doing well.
     
  12. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    Some of the changes have been harder than others. Quitting weed and alcohol were very hard. Whilst they caused no end of mental and physical problems, they would provide an almost guaranteed happy period. Even if it was just an hour or two - it was enough for me to look forward to and plan my days around said moments.

    Eating healthier is only tricky because I've had a sweet tooth for so long. But, whilst changing foods isn't overwhelmingly challenging - breaking my snacking habits feels tricky. Eating due to boredom, or because it provides pleasure - but doing so when I'm not actually hungry.

    I'm trying to be mindful when I go to eat something. Asking myself the most basic question - "Am I hungry?" Often times I'm not, so I remind myself to resist the urge.

    I am looking forward to starting therapy again. I may try and plan to have weekly sessions in the near future. For the time being, it's just good to know I'll be opening up more and getting new perspectives on thoughts, feelings and issues.

    Reading these books around trauma and mental health over the past few months has given me a lot to ponder, and a desire to explore these in a therapy setting.

    Ed
     
  13. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    Got a letter to advise my referral has been sent off. Only took the best part of a year.

    Here's hoping I get an assessment date soon.

    Ed
     
  14. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    Ach, my girlfriend just broke up with me. Tricky as we own a house.

    We've made a plan to live here until its sold. Get stuff in storage, tidy up the place and do some decorating and minor repairs.

    She's keeping the cat. I may need to move home for a while. Once the house sells we should make £15-20,000 each, which will help for the future.

    My head is swimming now. Mainly wanting to have answers to what lies ahead. Knowing it'll be busy. Change is good though, and in a way - this endinis a relief.

    Although there's a fear of loneliness. So long as I don't relapse, and I keep things on the straight and narrow.

    I guess the only way is up.

    Ed
     
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