” Autistic burnout is real guys and i’m feeling it real bad.”

I tweeted this out yesterday and I am still feeling the same way today.

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Explaining it to people is devastatingly hard. I commend the attempt at understanding but unless you’ve experienced it yourself, you never know. For me, the exhaustion kicks in, both mentally and physically. The light sensitivity happens and being able to see gets increasingly difficult. Trying to be social is virtually impossible and continues to drain energy that is barely left. I get goosebumps, I physically look ‘drained’. My attempt at tasks that require my fine motor skills becomes a course in ‘how many times can I fail?’

Autistic burnout isn’t a made up thing- I just wish it was easier to explain to people. It’s not an excuse and it’s not like I consciously (or unconsciously) decided to be perceived as lazy or unreliable. There’s such thing as ‘too much’ and I feel as though that’s where i’m at.

This happens to me, and i’ve documented it before:

 

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Why ‘Bell Let’s Talk’ doesn’t sit well with me.

I want to make it evidently clear that I am all for mental health awareness and supporting related causes. I have always struggled and believe that funding is entirely necessary.

Bell is a Canadian Telecommunications giant. For one day each year, the #BellLetsTalk campaign overtakes social media, with Olympian Clara Hughes as their Spokeswoman.

They make sure you are aware of the campaign through every advertising platform imaginable. I can’t imagine the money they put in to advertising alone.

They utilize the hashtag to get their customers and even non-customers talking about it to which they make a donation to their own fund.

I just don’t think this is the right way to do it. I have most definitely had real-life disagreements on this subject as well.

Here’s why I don’t think it’s okay:

  1. According to Forbes, Bell Canada (BCE) has a market cap of 40.5 Billion Dollars.
  2. Bell’s employees do not get equal or fair treatment in regards to their own mental health. CBC has written about this and there are various other articles online too.
  3. They have various ways you can get involved and they donate 5 cents to different initiatives. As far as I am concerned, they can make a sizeable donation without using the hashtag to, essentially, get very cheap marketing for their brand.
  4. The Bell Community Fund has a financial cap of $25,000 and has all kinds of exclusions including: Anti-stigma projects and event sponsorships etc.

I believe we should get to the point where talking about our mental health is a regular thing we can participate in and completely free of judgment. I don’t believe it is right to capitalize on mental health/wellness/illness for financial gain. I also don’t think it should be segregated to one day of the year that is decided on by a multi-billion dollar telecommunications giant.

Let’s talk about it, I think we need a new hashtag.

#LetsTalkAboutMentalHealth maybe?

Margaux

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion and should not reflect the brands or companies I have graciously partnered with.

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

Actually Autistic: Rejection and Defeat

I’m a Chewigem Ambassador!

 

Chewigem Products are made for the NEED TO CHEW.

I wish I had these around when I was a kid. I always twirled my hair and chewed on it. I also chewed on my pencils, erasers and my nails.

Their products are not only totally functional but they are very attractive looking. They have a chew chart to showcase the different densities offered to suit different needs.   They are safely made from FDA approved silicone and provide a great anxiety and stim tool, which can be super calming.

I’m excited to be one of their ambassadors as this is something that is incredibly important to me. Products like this help make managing daily life and challenges a bit easier. Having a product like Chewigem on the market fills an important void.

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For more information, please check out:

A fresh new start

Cups

Part of my mug collection

I got a new job!

I’m also super, super nervous about it. You know when nerves mix with excitement and a sprinkle of anxiety? That’s where I’m at. I actually kind of feel sick about it.

I’m going to be learning the skill and art of the Barista. Here’s to hoping I don’t get overwhelmed. If that does happen, I have to remember to breathe and utilize the support systems I will have in place.

I haven’t worked in four months and I haven’t totally minded it, but obviously it’s not sustainable since I have bills to pay, cats to look after, food to buy and so on and so forth. I’m constantly thinking of what’s the next big thing for me and I’m thankful I started this blog because the feedback, the support and the sense of purpose it’s giving me–well, it totally fills my heart with joy!

My inner dialogue goes a little something like this:

  • Will I remember the recipes?
  • Will I please the customers?
  • Will I handle the pressure?
  • Will I remain calm and focused?
  • Will I be able to handle the lights, smells and sounds?

I’m usually very nervous around food handling – especially if it includes leafy greens which is a big sensory-trigger for me. I know: A Vegetarian who doesn’t like leafy greens? Yeah, that’s right. I don’t do salads. I don’t do Lettuce, Kale or any of those Green, plastic-y foods. Nope, Nope, NOPE!

Fortunately, the company that hired me is exceptionally inclusive in their hiring and they will be able to work with my support lady at the local autism centre to ensure I have all the resources I need to be successful. For me, that’s everything. That’s the key to my success. I want to be viewed as being able to perform the job. I want people to know that those on the spectrum are capable of greatness! We don’t need a cure, we need support.

My Plea

I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t suffering from some mental illness. That’s right, even when I was a child and my family could afford to see a psychologist, i was always told I was anxious and depressed, even before I knew what those words really meant.

It’s a battle where the weight on my shoulders is almost far too much to bare. I have a difficult time with interpersonal relationships, my mood and self-care. I have a tendency to over analyze or improperly react. Forget about reading people, that’s definitely not something i’m even remotely versed in.

I’m reading statistics on the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website (http://www.cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/#.WWLga8bMyT8) and some of them are just startling.

Did you know that 49 percent of people who have suffered anxiety or depression have never seen a doctor about this problem? That is a shocking stat. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen doctors, and yet it’s almost impossible to get any kind of help. You need special referrals, you need to ‘jump’ through hoops JUST to get help. Psychologists aren’t covered by MSP, but psychiatrists are. I’ve been referred to a psych, but who knows how long it will really take before i get an appointment.

Workplaces aren’t equipped to deal mood swings or mental breakdowns. There NEEDS to be better understanding, better support in place and some mandatory training. I would also like to see some kind of rules or regulation that would protect those who are fighting an invisible battle, to be able to retain their jobs, have a leave of absence if they DESPERATELY need help–and have quick, immediate access to mental healthcare. There is NO excuse for an employer to dismiss an employee if they are dealing with health and mental challenges. Did you know if you are on a medical EI leave, that you’re not protected from dismissal? It’s not fair and things need to change, things need to be updated and revised.

I frequently wonder if the money raised by large companies actually go to help mental illness initiatives because each and EVERY time i’ve gone to a psych ward for some assistance, i’m always reminded of how underfunded they are. I even had a nurse definitely agree with me, and i could see the disdain in her eyes.

This needs to be made a priority, too many of us are suffering in silence, feeling like no one is listening or feeling like support systems at our places of employment are just going to vanish in one fell swoop.

Disclosure is a whole other issue. Personally, i’m very forthcoming with my struggles. Sadly, what goes around comes around and that’s exactly what happened to me. I thought that authority figures, or leaders in the workplace understood and were compassionate, but as I gradually found out, I was very wrong.

If you can’t talk to those around you and you can’t express the pain and struggles you feel, how are you supposed to feel like you’re a valuable person who has a lot to offer?

We need a better way, we need to learn to understand, we need regulation in place, we need to raise awareness and end the stigma.