Too much pressure.

Photo by Caique Silva on Pexels.com

Please don’t mistake me or try to make me

The shadow of anybody else

I ain’t the him or her you think I am

I’m just trying hard to be myself

Oh, society’s goal is to be part of the whole

That may sound good to you, not to me

The Turtles, Let Me Be

All I wanted was the ability to share my art with the world…. and it has turned in to half disaster, half success.

I don’t know how i’m supposed to handle it.

For a bit of a backstory, I posted some of my cat themed art in to some various cat facebook groups. Some were more receptive than others, some banned me for accidentally violating their rules (even though I had made a google docs with the different groups and varying rules), and my facebook exploded. Messages, friends requests, a lot were welcomed with open arms but it was non stop and very anxiety inducing. I already have very, very bad anxiety but this actually made it a lot worse.

I ended up making my own group, Nice Cats for Nice People. We actually welcome those who are Neurodiverse, who want to share their cat-related art and etsy store and try to adhere to less stringent rules.


I then had people writing me, telling me how they thought I was violating (cat facebook group) rules and giving me feedback I didn’t ask for, which made me even more agitated. I can’t tell you how many new people i’ve had to cut ties with. It just hasn’t been healthy for me.

Yesterday, I was in the car, traveling to go to a concert and I cried. I flailed my hands for a short few seconds. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want to do anything but go back home, miss the concert and weep in bed. This was after a few people decided to tell me that I was oversharing the negative messages I was receiving on my facebook page and some of the private messages sent to me seemed to have a good intention but had a lot of unwanted, “real” or “brutally honest” advice that I didn’t ask for. I was already on the brink of an emotional collapse and that sent me over the edge.

There have been incredibly positive people and really negative people.

There’s also those who don’t understand:

There’s even people who believe it’s okay to tell me that I clearly have issues after i’ve made it incredibly clear that I suffer from mental illness, which is intertwined with being Autistic.

Being Autistic is not an excuse, It’s a NEUROTYPE! It’s part of who I am and why I behave the way I do. I honestly can’t even believe I have to justify myself to anybody but I have to write this because these things keep happening to me over and over again. I also had to reiterate that my artwork and my Autism are very much hand-in-hand and that I utilize my art to talk about Autism and vice versa. I have HUNDREDS of pieces i’ve art that i’ve painted. I’m not new to this at all. I have been making art my entire life.

There was a time where I really only worked intuitively and for myself, as a way to relax and unwind. When people can’t understand why a pet portrait costs 150.00 USD, I don’t really know what to say without sounding really upset and hurt. It’s a lot to take the personality of someone’s cat and turn that in to my own style. If i’m working intuitively, I don’t think. I don’t need to plan the way something looks, copy features and make it look like someone’s best friend. Getting the features right and the art completely perfect puts so much pressure on me to appease my customer. I’m almost at the point where I have to set my price at something that aligns with my thoughts of “how much would it take for me to drag my ass out of bed and paint something for someone else?” Honestly, I don’t even know what that price would be.

I even made an FAQ because I kept getting asked questions over and over again.

My brain is not only wired differently due to the fact that I am Autistic, but my chronic depression, anxiety and poor coping methods are linked to the fact that I spent 15 years or so being verbally and emotionally abused by my father…EVERY SINGLE DAY. Add that to the childhood bullying and ostracization from my peers at school and you have a brain that suffered from a lot of trauma during it’s most vital developmental years. I also hear that if you’re removed from your mother immediately after birth, which I was, that can also lead to developmental issues. I also am learning disabled. I never graduated, I got my GED instead.

I really want those reading this to understand a few things so i’m linking them below.

I hope this provided insight in to just some of the things I am struggling with. Please be kind.

Advertisements

The Crippling Severity Of Mental Illness

I have always been very open about the mental illnesses I have dealt with for as long as I can remember. I’m not trying to plan a “pity party” or attract negative attention to myself. I’m just trying to find a way to decompress, even if it’s just temporary.

The tension in my chest feels like a bubble that you can’t pop. It sits in my chest, nestled right above my breasts in the centre. it’s below my neck. I am tense.

I can’t think very straight. Recently, I made a very abrupt, irrational decisions to approach a person from my past and said things I don’t mean. Just today I was working in a poor employment condition and I blamed it on myself. I quit the work I was doing because I started internalizing everything that was going on and felt that if I resigned, that was me taking the blame for what was going on and being responsible, even though what was happening was mostly beyond my control. I don’t feel very good. I also feel as though i’m lacking any intellectual value.

I wish I had the option of having an “away from keyboard” moment for my life. I just need the opportunity to disconnect and relax. I can’t seem to do that. The sound of a text message, the sick feeling I get when I anticipate a negative response through an email or even just how I feel when people are impolite towards me – it makes me physically ill. I’m talking about: blurred vision, profuse sweating, vision distortion, light sensitivity, a feeling of dizziness/wobbliness, nausea and headache. I used to cry a lot as a child. I had a reputation for it and looking back, it was my body’s coping and defense mechanism.

It emotionally hurts me when I try so hard to communicate and clarify things I am saying and the response I am met with is an eye roll. I already feel like just speaking and having to “think on the fly” is the worst way for me to get my thoughts out. Whether it’s in person or on the phone, my mind hits in to overdrive and I start flapping my lips. The thought process is skewed and the results are not always becoming.

I spend time at home, hanging out with my cats. I sleep a lot. I’m trying to do positive things that will make a difference, but the worry is always still there in the forefront of my mind. The obsessive tendencies I have, like checking/looking for things, thinking about misplaced items and other repetitive thoughts are worsening. The flashbacks of my traumatic youth interject themselves in things as simple as self-care routines, which is a detrimental setback. The fact I can’t take a bubble bath without these visions of being verbally abused is a really painful reminder that I still have so far to go. I am not hesitant to find a professional to help me through these things, I just don’t know where to start. It would be nice to have that chance without being reprimanded and grilled on all the things I discussed.

Even if I don’t have a visible wound, I am still badly hurting inside.

Reliving my (painful) past

I want to preface this post by saying that these are things i’ve experienced and at the time of writing this, I do not have a PTSD diagnosis. I, in no way, want to make those with a proper diagnosis feel less than or devalued in any way.

Often times I find myself in these dizzying spells with negative thoughts running rampant. They flood my mind: terrible, painful memories that I wish would vanish.

Discovering deceased pets, multiple instances of being bullied which included: thumbtacks, sharp side up- They would be left on my chair with an audience that consisted of my entire class, watching and waiting to see if I would notice and sit on it, purposely having dodgeballs thrown at my face, having friends-of-friends find out personal details about me and they would attempt to humiliate and berate me based on it, being excluded from birthday parties, having the whole class turn against me while the teacher was out of the room – that’s just some of the bullying that occurred during my elementary school years. Can’t forget the workplace bullying with all kinds of instances that included customers yelling at me, management making me cry or not believing things I say (I am very honest) and being fired – which was one of the most humiliating things i’ve ever lived through, co-workers being nasty to me for reasons i’ll never know.

I also can’t forget all the things my Father did: the daily verbal abuse, screaming so loud that you could hear him down the block, chasing me to my bedroom and holding the door closed so I couldn’t leave, yelling at me for questioning things he said and having friends witness his emotionally destructive behaviour which was embarrassing and continued to pile the stress on top of me. 

This is just a small portion of the hundreds, maybe thousands of memories that flow through my mind.

Even though I had the support of my Sisters and my Mum, I still felt so alone and depressed. I didn’t think I would survive so I failed to look after myself. I think sadness was one of the first emotions I remember experiencing.

I want these painful memories to subside. Easier said than done. I can’t seem to shake off things that happened as far back as I can remember. 

People often say things like “Forgive and forget”, “don’t dwell on your past”, “move on” and “live in the present”. It’s NOT THAT EASY. Diminishing the valid feelings of those who often have to suffer in silence is not something that sits well with me. It’s hard enough to allow those feelings to come to the surface, let alone feel comfortable enough with anyone to actually allow the words of pain to flow out of ones mouth. It’s a PRIVILEGE to listen to such agony. I don’t think it’s okay to interject comments telling someone to forget, move on and live in the present. It makes things worse.

I have reached out to some people that have caused me pain and forever haunt me in my memories and I was unsuccessful. I also was left feeling as though what happened was my fault. I do my best to cope.

Forgiveness is so much harder than its made out to be and it has stages that are very similar to grief. I would say that one of my biggest faults or personality flaws would be the severity of my anxiety. Many thoughts continue to haunt me, not only during my waking hours but even during my sleep.

I’m talking about those nights where my mind and my heart feel like they are racing in unison.

Trying to fall asleep, I toss and turn. Sometimes, I wake up at 3am and lay there, trying so hard to go back and sleep peacefully when my mind is at war with it’s self. My body becomes warm, clammy and my night sweats are the worst. I try to find something to think about or something to do. If one of my cats happens to be awake I will gravitate towards them; their soft hair, their therapeutic purring – it helps me stay mindful, it’s calming, it puts me at ease.

Every day is a new chapter but my story starts with pain and my book is still being written. There’s still a chance for happiness.


My SSRI Story

SSRI stands for Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Simply put: Antidepressants.

joshua-coleman-623113-unsplash.jpgJOSHUA COLEMAN

The last week or two of September were exceptionally cruel to me and even still the withdrawal symptoms linger. I have been strongly against taking these pills ever since I was a child. My childhood Psychologist would constantly mention these as an option to help curb my mood disorders and I was always hesitant and frustrated. I would put up a fight till my eyes were read and tears were streaming down my face.

This was not something I wanted to do. I did not want to partake in taking pharmaceuticals to help me. I didn’t even like taking Tylenol for any generalized pain.

I felt like being alive was bad enough;

I might as well suffer.

Fast forward to now and I still feel like a shell of myself. I’m always worried about the actions of other people and how they create a lasting impression on me. If someone says something rude, I dwell on it. I ask myself repeatedly why they did that and I start to feel unwell about it. I negatively obsess.

My activism, coupled with the horrible emails I receive from companies, corporations and wealth management companies make my mood worsen. I try to focus on the bigger picture and the hopes of creating a positive impact through my own pain and the pain and misunderstanding associated with my peers in the #actuallyautistic community.

I just can’t deal with anything very well.

I have tried three types of pills: Escitalopram (Cipralex/Lexapro), Sertraline (Zoloft) & Venlafaxine (Effexor XR) with absolutely no positive experiences.

The Cipralex left me feeling very hollow, very distracted and very much like I was just dragging myself to do anything – although, out of the three I tried, it worked the best.

The Zoloft didn’t seem to do much at all.

The Effexor XR just made me feel really unwell and my mood was worsened so, I decided to just stop without tapering off. The withdrawal effects were worse than what I expected. Sweats, vomiting, car sickness, the worst nausea I have felt in what seems like forever and a “shaky brain” feeling. There was also a strong need for a whole lot of sleep.

I went to another appointment to my Psychiatrist and it didn’t go particularly well.  He is incredibly dismissive and has me in and out of his office in 5 minutes or less.

He asks me questions completely unrelated to my suffering:

“How are your parents?”, he asked.

“Well, I don’t REALLY talk to my Dad… so.. yeah. My Mom is fine though.. but why didn’t you just increase my dose of Cipralex?”

“Oh, If it wasn’t working at that dose then it’s unlikely it will work at a higher dose.” He then followed that statement up with another unrelated comment.

The sense of defeat and the dark cloud over me seemed to take on more rain at that instant.  It’s apparent, This person, this professional, this DOCTOR who is supposed to help me just wants me out of his office as fast as possible. I like to call them “Fast Food Doctors” because you’re in and you are out very quickly so the Doctor can see more patients and make more money in a shorter amount of time.

My depression and anxiety make my already intense light sensitivity and poor balance much worse. I often feel like I’m going to faint or fall over and my heart starts beating a mile a minute.

What now?

Well, I can’t even work. How am I supposed to get anything done when I just am running out of viable options? I can’t afford to get any kind of mental health assistance where I can talk to a psychologist. That’s not in the cards for me.

 

 

Disclaimer: Please don’t take my article for professional advice. If these medications worked for you then I wholeheartedly commend you on your successful wellness journey. These are my own personal experiences and do not necessarily reflect my readers mental health/wellness plan.

My Thoughts on VegExpo 2018 Vancouver

I’ve been a Vegetarian for roughly 15 years, so naturally i’ve wanted to go to VegExpo. It was incredibly busy! You had to push past part of the crowds to get anywhere so that was a bit tedious. The fact I had the chance to connect with brands that I already love, taste delicious new treats and be immersed in a space with likeminded people made it completely worth it. They had over 200 vendors. The location was the Vancouver Convention Centre and it ran from 10 until 5pm. We got there at around 10:15, waited in line for about 15 minutes and got in at 10:30. We stayed for 3 hours and I’m really happy we went early. As the day went on it just kept getting busier. It’s really nice to see something of this calibre be such a success.

Back when I was employed in the retail health food sector, I had the privilege of going to CHFA. This, being a show open to the public and not just exclusive to retailers and wholesalers, was, well, very different: The demographic and the approach by companies was more tailored to their customer base. It was interesting to compare and contrast.

I was really happy that I was able to talk a bit about my story and connect with brands that seem to align with my vision and values. I hope this gives me some opportunities for some great taste test videos (did you see this one?)!

 

Here are the brands/companies/associations that I mention in my video above: 

I can’t wait to taste some of the goodies i’ve brought home.

Are you following a strict diet? Are you Vegan or Vegetarian or have food aversions? I’d love to hear about your story!

Thank you so much for your continued support,

Margaux

 

My plight as a Millennial

I never decided to be part of the Millennial or Me Generation.

I have heard that nearly half of Millennials rely on their parents for financial help! I think there’s a very common misconception that we all have that “luxury”, Simply put: We don’t.

Being nearly 30 years old, I have always known I do not want to have children. I am perfectly content with my beautiful, spoiled rotten Cats and constantly worry about the economical and environmental state of our fragile planet.

I have had plenty of time to potentially advance my career. I never knew what to pursue. The idea of student debt is a frightening preposition. In hindsight, I could have gone in to some kind of broadcasting or film job but it’s very oversaturated and there is never a guarantee that I could or would be able to make ends meet.

That brings me to my next subject, home ownership.

There is absolutely no way in today’s climate that I would ever be able to own a home. Firstly, I work at a job I enjoy but it’s only minimum wage. (surprise, surprise!) Secondly, with homes starting in the million dollar range, my only hope would be winning the lottery and, to be honest, I would probably skip town if that ever were to happen.

My social life is virtually non-existent. It’s so funny how we are in the age of technology and social media. Yet, we are so incredibly disconnected from each other.

I will say that I’m a content creator. There’s nothing truly unique about that other than my autistic perspective. That, sometimes, can sadly be seen as limited or not equal to the rest of the population. There are lots of us who want to change that often misunderstood perception and believe me: I’m working on it!

If  you happen to have baby boomer parents like me (or the generation that followed), some (not my own) don’t always understand what we go through.  For instance, I have heard of parents who own their home and can’t understand that their offspring will ever have the chance to be able to have the same lifestyle as them. That can really cause some deep family conflict. I often wonder if a common ground or sense of understanding  can happen here because the divide is so deep.

I would love to see affordable housing, an increased hourly wage and more support. I also believe that healthcare needs more funding. We really need to consider how all these things impact our mental health because I truly believe the state of the economy, the planet and our changing and dividing times impact us more then we even know and it’s not always positive.
Photo Credit:Nathan Dumlao

Logan Paul

To those who have struggled or continue to struggle, I am there for you.
I know how hard it is to deal with anxiety/depression/loneliness/social anxiety etc. I deal with these things often and I don’t know what life would be like without struggles.

I am so saddened that there are people out there who feel like they can exploit other people’s pain for their own personal gain.

This is the first time and I hope the last time I hear of this inconsiderate and ignorant individual. I also hope that he becomes less ignorant and learns from this gigantic mistake he made. I still believe he knew what he was doing and what the outcome would be. Seems incredibly calculated. It’s definitely a way to make the national (and international) news media.

Defending his behaviour is minimizing the pain that people suffer on a daily, weekly, yearly, lifetime basis. This person had a family. We need to honour those living and those we’ve lost.

Please seek out your local resource, family and friends for help. (I know that they aren’t always the best.)

YOU MATTER.

Love,

Margaux

PlanetBox Rover Review!

Thank you PlanetBox for sending me this product in exchange for my very honest review.

This is the Rover model, It’s a stainless steel bento-style lunchbox which amps up your creativity and can definitely promote the healthiest lunches. Perfect for Adults & Kids alike. I am in a childfree household but I could see my Niece and Nephew loving this for School. You have your choice of many different magnet designs to excite, create fun and personalization. There are two “dippers” which can hold dips, sauces, fruit and much, much more!

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 8.45.32 PM

 

I opted to create a delicious meal full of produce, crackers, cheese and cookies! The possibilities are truly “sky-high”. Without the magnets, the box can be hand washed or put in the dishwasher.

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 8.44.52 PM

 

You can also get your choice of a variety of lunch bags which perfectly fit your PlanetBox. There’s room for an ice pack, utensils, a drink and a pocket in the front for napkins or even more food.

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 8.46.12 PM

Thank you PlanetBox, I can’t wait to use this year round and in Summer-time. It’s going to make picnics really easy. Also great for those who can’t STAND their food touching other food–it’s perfection, all in one!