I have been taking some sort of medication to cure the symptoms of what would be autism since I was seven. At 34, I now realize the importance of having a good cocktail and being regular with it.
As a child, you do as you are told by your parents or for me there would be serious consequences. Taking my medicine was no different as in my childhood I was on a multitude of medications. However, I have been on the medication regimen I am on today, in part for twenty years now. And for 19 of those years I was pretty regimented unitl a little over a year ago.
I had lived with my parents for a little over 33 years and as such “did as I was told” and did such. Once I moved out, I began to consider as to whether or not I needed medicine.
So I started experimenting mainly because I had to know was the medicine important or a waste as a part of me adulting.
I spent many sleepless nights wondering that, I was in denial. My parents knew, those close to me knew, but they did’nt tell me.
I would lash out a people for no apparent reason, I would be nasty to people, My manias would appear off and on again and again but yet I was in denial.
I thinking I had an over abundance of meds and no clear mind decided to take them to a drop off box at the local police station. Weeks later I told my mom this and she was very disgusted to the point she hung up the phone and would talk to me for a few hours.
Nonetheless, I continued down the slippery slope for a few months, the symptoms became more and more appearant even to my therapist who came to the conclusion that this wasnt working, and on September 12 this year, I began a normal regimen – sort of.
I knew I was getting bad because I stay up all night, go to work and come home and sleep for hours and do it all over again. My superiors at work were worried about my mental health as during that relapse they said I was a little animated and asked if everything was ok. I denied it.
I became manic, and as such I was hypersexual, the mania symptom that no one wants to talk about. When I was visiting my dad when he was in the hospital I called the Hallway ad male organ and other not so nice names. Now looking back as I was trying to find my individuality, I thought I couldn’t have medicine to be me. I have learned that adequate balance is everything.
I now realize that it was stupid as working for a mental health advovacy organization that it wasnt the right thing to do or example to lead. But the trust kept coming back.
The day following that realization, a support at the place I recieve job coaching came to me and noticed the change. I told her I was working on it. Eight days later we went on a outing where I was photo bombed and she said that you couldn’t wipe that smile off my face.
A little over a month after that, I changed my PCP or family doctor and was reecucated about my physical meds and as such I have had everything back in sync for some time now and feel amazing.
It just goes to show you how importatant medicine is and what it can do to keep you well!
Today, December 14 is a whirlwind of a day for me. First and foremost forty years ago my parents would say the sacred vows of marriage late in the day in a western Maryland Courthouse. I would be concieved five years later and almost 15 years after that would be the breaking point of their marriage that would cause them a brief separation.
My mother worked 12 hour shifts in a glass factory, my dad worked on the local street crew and things wernt all sunshine and rainbows as I had experienced five psychiatric hospitalizations in 9 months, requiring my mother to have FMLA leave as a result of me being in and out of the hospital until I was placed in a RTF at which point my parents had differrences on what my future would entail. My father, nine years older than my mom said that they needed to take care of me after being released while my mother was at her wits end.
I couldnt blame my mother. I was very abusive with my mother in fists of rage for several decades until even earlier this decade. Ive had many close calls with being in police custody, however my dad was always to the rescue and he is of a gruff man sometimes and as I was improving and ready to be reunited with my family, he was having severe issues at his job that forced him to retire early, then he had cancer and was laid up for some time, but my parents reunited their spark in their relationship and reunited back in the house they built.
As time for me continued I would have episodes, mostly with them, however my dad, even though I never showed my gratitude was always to the rescue of me lashing out, oftentimes against my mother because I knew I could, but that doesnt in any way make it right. I owe her a lot of credit for not giving up on me for that.
In retrospect seven years ago on December 14, 2012, I would come home from work to my parents house and see every national TV station showing footage from an elementary school in New England where over twenty six were killed. Later that day, it was discovered that the son of the teacher was the shooter and was on the autism spectrum.
Two days later, my sister shared a article on Facebook entitled “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother – Please Read” where a journalist shared the struggles I experienced some 15 years later. This made a light bulb in me turn on that I needed to share my story and so I did. There are several other mass shooters that are on the spectruum and in reality they just need some guidance, because when I was thinkinng of Adam and the other ones that could have used the guidance that I did some twenty years ago and still today.
Continuing to receive that guidance, that point I graduated community college where I was at the top of my program that year, became part of the honor society and in recent years, moved out on my own, got a drivers license and still have a job while just keeping busy.
In closing, this is my parents 40th wedding anniversary and they for the first time in 32 years dont have to worry about me because I am all right and can take care of myself. I am very grateful for my parents more than anyone will ever know because they have molded me and my sister into great adults and while they may not always agree with our decisions they are always here for us.
At the end of last month, a local charity in the town I live in had sheets in their offices for the taking for citizens to write down what you are thankful for that starts with the letter of that day starting with the day in November and that corresponding letter of the alphabet (ex. 1 – A, 26 – Z) Today was the last day and I thought of sharing mine with my blog followers
- Blogging capabilities, plus those fellow Aspies that Blog
- Co-workers that I get along with
- Delivery of Groceries so I don’t have to fight anxiety of shopping
- Electricity Help all year, especially in the winter months
- Food Pantry
- Guidance from others
- Health and the Hospital supports that help me keep healthy
- Listening supports
- Mom, makes life sensible and understandable
- Neighbors in my apartment building that care
- Outstanding Coworkers, Community and Supports
- Positive Influences
- Quietness of my home
- Recovery Supports that help me, Clubhouse, Outpatient, Mobile Psych Rehab
- Staff who support me in my Recovery Journey
- Transportation Supports
- Understanding from those around me
- Validation for accepting my issues
- Work that I enjoy
- Xerox Machines at Work and Clubhouse
- Young at Heart and still able to navigate as well as I do
- Zero Mental Health Hospitalizations in 20 years
Over my 34 years of living I have many living environments of my family. Nonetheless, Cleaniliness is a everyday struggle with me and it may be the Bipolar mixing in with it at times. Since rebounding mentally over the past few months, I am proud to say that I have a 640 square foot home I am proud to live in. In reality, I have to thank my parents for instilling cleanliness in my lifestyle, although I have to admit that it isnt easy and that accepting their advice wasn’t always easy and spurred many arguments over time.
As genetics play life, both sides of my family experienced at least one and sometimes multiple mental health disorders in their lifetime and their symptoms were detrinental to my parents and I was very difficult to raise. Nonetheless, my home was always clean and they always instilled it in me that it was to be that way. However I struggled and during my childhood my parents cleaned for me, but at adulthood, while residing with them it was understood that my bedroom as well as cleaning up after myself in the bathroom became my responsibility.
I can’t blame them as I was at fault because I seen no value in doing such activity. They both would state that I should take pride in my space, but because I felt sheltered that I didn’t care at all. I remember several instances after being prompted that my mother would bring a garbage bag into my bedroom and throw all my posessives in it and then to the dumpster down the road. Oftentimes it got to the point that she began filling the trash bag in feelings of hate where I would soon interject and clean my room, although I have to admit that I didn’t take pride in it.
Another instance was when I was completing online coursework and like the several other times I was prompted to clean my room, of which I often ignored my father’s demand and he abruptly came into my bedroom and removed my laptop computer and it would result in a shouting match with him (as it has the majority of my life.) Nonetheless, I cleaned the room their satisfication.
Long before leaving my parents home to live independently, I have always had the dream. I have toured and applied for several places but my parents shown concerns for my attention to cleanliness time and time again, and I see why, because they have both experienced loved ones that lacked clean homes. Being in a federally subsidized property, you are subject to inspection at any time and my parents felt because I lacked the skills at home that I wouldnt instill them in my own, and then be evicted.
A few years back, I had been exposed to a serious hoarding situation of my Great Aunt. When I was growing up I always thought she was different, growing up in the summers with my mom taking care of me, we would run their errands for them and from what a young boy could tell, the house wasn’t cluttered. However, when I was 10, my great grandfater passed away, and as such I would later discover that my great aunt as well as my great grandparents would have a “collection” problem. The symptoms my Great Aunt was experiencing was unique and as a teenager at the time experiencing the onset of Bipolar Disorder, began seeing signs. Nonetheless I would realize that over time the collecting would get excessive as well as the lack of cleaning the home.
One night I was visiting with my grandparents that lived across the street from her and she called saying she had a possum in her kitchen (it was in a civilized town, by the way) We would discover that the roof was in disrepair and the adverse living situation. Having a cat didn’t help because she didnt care for it in the manner it should have, She would later be removed from the home as it was discovered unfit for human habitation. This resulted in the contents fo the home being destroyed and as such we spent several weekends seeing the collections, it was like one of those on TV. Later the house was sold to the adjoining neighbor and the local fire company burnt it as a training exercise.
Nonetheless, I knew the dangers of hoarding and that I would have tendencies. I did it at my parents home and was told oftentimes that I was a hoarder. When I moved into my own apartment, I realized that I had to be extremely careful of doing this,
But I didn’t and it spiraled as did the lack of cleaning my home.
Being independent I didnt want my parents in my home, but I wanted to the point of being comfortable with myself doing so. My father has only been in my home a handful of times, to do one thing or another, but I would like to have him over, I am just terrified of him being hypercritical as he is , although the last few times he wasn’t as bad as expected.
As I am close to my mother, she knew the patterns and constantly remided me to clean and of the importance of doing so. However, with my recent relapse, I just didn’t seem to care and it shown. At times she would come over and get frustrated and leave, which in turn would hurt my feelings because of our closeness and I would bust my hump and clean, but I was never constant. Within the last couple of months I have had more providers coming to my home to see me as well as getting back on my medicine and finding my way with Jesus, among other things. One person told me that I had the cleanest home of all his clients, bit it wasn’t enough, I still feel that I have to impresss my mother.
In all honesty, I have to admit that the compliments and talking to my mother at lenghth about her values assisted both of us in coming to terms with what is acceptable. As such when she visited yesterday was this collapsable bin of paper in binders. I knew it was useless and am slowly coming to terms with it,
As many with Autism have fascinations, mine is historical events and as such I was getting into a severe habit if saving articles out of periodicals excessively and I have come to terms that it needed to stop at once. This afernoon, I removed that pile of clutter and it never felt so refreshing to do.
I have to learn control and its coming to sense little by little, it will get there.
Note: While I beleive that Autism is NOT totally a Mental Health Conditon, oftentimes individuals on the spectrum fall into the Mental Health system through one avenue or another, whether it be someting as simple as psychotherapy or more intense services such as wraparound or family based services. An neurodivergent individual’s mental health is key to having a successful life.
I am very pleased to share with you the fact that Pennsylvania has been ranked #1 in the latest publication by Mental Health America (MHA) for access to care and addressing the mental health needs of the total population. This is a great honor to be recognized for all the hard work that is done in Pennsylvania. These accomplishments would be impossible to achieve without the dedicated partnerships we have with our stakeholders. A huge thanks to all of you!
An overall ranking 1-13 indicates lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care. An overall ranking 39-51 indicates higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care. The combined scores of all 15 measures make up the overall ranking. The overall ranking includes both adult and youth measures as well as prevalence and access to care measures.
The 15 measures that make up the overall ranking include:
- Adults with Any Mental Illness (AMI)
- Adults with Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
- Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide
- Youth with At Least One Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the Past Year
- Youth with Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
- Youth with Severe MDE
- Adults with AMI who Did Not Receive Treatment
- Adults with AMI Reporting Unmet Need
- Adults with AMI who are Uninsured
- Adults with Cognitive Disability who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs
- Youth with MDE who Did Not Receive Mental Health Services
- Youth with Severe MDE who Received Some Consistent Treatment
- Children with Private Insurance that Did Not Cover Mental or Emotional Problems
- Students Identified with Emotional Disturbance for an Individualized Education Program
- Mental Health Workforce Availability
Other rankings for Pennsylvania include #9 for Adult Mental Health and #2 for Pennsylvania, while Pennsylvania has the 7th highest prevelence rate in the country. However, Access to care was the lowest ranking for the Keystone state with that coming at #13.
It has been six years since MHA began analyzing a common set of data indicators for mental health that could help us understand the successes and failures of both federal and state initiatives to improve population mental health in the wake of the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now, in our sixth year of producing the State of Mental Health in America, we reflect on the trends we have seen in mental health across the United States:
Almost 18% of Pennsylvania’s population or 1.786 Million residents have some mental illness that being the 9th highest state with such individuals with 18.57 or 45 Million Americans expering some type of mental health condition. However, Pennsylvania rates #24 with Adults with serious thoughts of sucicide with 426, 000 or 4.28% of Pennsylvanians falling into that category.
In Pennsylvania, 113,000 or 12.23% of Youth with At Least One Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the Past Year was ranked 14th in the US with 13% of youth in the USA experiencing such activity. 8.6% or 77,000 youth in Pennsylvania experirienced Severe Major Depressive Episodes. Nearly 54% or 59,000 of these individuals could not seek treatment, While 32.8% or 23,000 did.
While there are a plethora of Mental Health Services in Pennsylvania, it was reported that over 54% or 960,000 of Pennsylvanians did not access appropriate Mental Health Treatment. While 24.7% or 437, 000 Pennyslvanins did not have the appropriate supports. However, only 133,000 or 7.5% of Pennsylvanian’s are uninsured. Nearly 255,000 or under 23% of Pennsylvania Adults with a cognitive disability couldnt see a doctor due to financial constraints. 29,000 or 5.9% of Pennsylvania’s youth had commercial insurance that did not cover Mental or Emotional Problems. Likewise, nealy 25,000 or 15.5% of school students in Pennsylvania have an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) for Emotional resons, making Pennsylvania the fifth highest state in the country with that classification.
Although we have made great strides in the Keystone State with the Mental Health Services we provide we are still lacking workforce availiability for mental health staff as we are 35th in that categoty where 1 in 530 to individual with mental health needs.
Recovery is possible, probable and likely!