People who care

I made a blog earlier about the difficulties I was having in school with my math course, I didn’t get the support I need and now I am so far behind that I can’t possible pass this course. I have no choice at the moment to withdraw; a part of me feels like failure even though everyone around me says that I did the best I could, a part of me feels stupid because I really wanted to pass this course. So I was volunteering the other day and during my lunch break, I was talking to some of the staff of the disabled ministry, I was telling them about my situation and they were appalled that I couldn’t receive the help I needed and how I just need to one class to pass and I’m being held back, and it’s important to note that I’m an honor student, so I am highly capable of making it through college.  The people I were talking asked me to bring my math notebook, so they can see the kind of math problems I’m dealing with. They offered to tutor me a little and get me up to speed for my next class, I was amazed. I was amazed that people would take the time to help me, someone they’ve only known for a few months.  I am going to take them up on their offer because I need all the help I can get.  I have been hurt so much by people in the past, it’s easy to forget that there are good people out there, people who care.   And tonight, I went to a dinner with the same disabled ministry and I saw the leader of the group who had been out town, she asked me about school and I told her how frustrated I was and how I am going to drop out. I told her I was going to school to speak with the disability counselor and she offered to go with me and advocate and I really think that would be a good idea. She Is known in the community, she’s a pretty tough lady in the sense that she would hold them accountable for not giving me the proper accommodations, she also cares about me and sees how passionate I am about helping the disabled, she knows how much I want this degree and how I will use to make a difference in people’s lives.  I am just so blessed because I know God is working in my life through this group and I know I’ll be ok

 

So, on another note I am also getting a lot of online support. I added a bunch of writers and mental health advocates to my Facebook page, I have over 3,000 friends on there. And since I use my social media for advocacy and network (in fact I have managed to give my link of my blog to several people and they loved it), it makes no difference whether I know them personally or not.  So since I have added all these people, I have had an influx of messages and comments and reactions, so much so that I can barely keep up, all of it positive, a lot of people are inspired by my writing which is really heartwarming to me that they are positively affected by it and I can tell how many people said that my writing has made a difference in their lives; that is an honor. On top the comments about my writing, I also talk a lot about mental health and gotten so much support, it’s overwhelming. I have several people who are life coaches’ message me, one woman offered to do a Facebook video call and I will do that very soon, another person invited to participate in mental health workshop online.

So, all these wonderful things are happening and it feels like mental health advocacy is a big part of my life and I am connecting with thousands of people and getting my message across, it is a feeling that indescribable to me.  Only about 1 year and half ago I felt totally isolated, I wasn’t writing or connected with anyone, I wasn’t open about my struggles and kept my feelings to myself.  I still can’t believe the responses I get, 50 ,60 comments a day, hundreds of likes, I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging, I just am amazed.  I like metaphors, it’s like a poor guy all of sudden winning the lottery. I was totally alone one minute and now I have all this attention and it’s hard to handle. I mean, I wanted it but I’m not used to it.   But like I said earlier, people care, for the first time in my life I feel like people are listening to what I have to say. As if my all pent-up feelings are being validated by so many people who feel the same way I do and can relate. I felt like I was the only one for all my life and now I realize I am not. I was put down all my life and now I receive more praise than I can handle.  How does one deal with all that sudden change? I don’t know. But that’s for this blog, I am happy to have a place to express all of their feelings. I thank all my followers for being so supportive and will keep everyone updated.

 

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

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Sad news about my job

Well, the day before Christmas; one of my my supervisors ( the one gave me the review) at work called me in to talk to him. He informed me that they would no longer need me after the Christmas season and that I would be leaving at the end of the week. I kinda of expected it but I was a little upset that they chose the day after Christmas to tell me; it hurt.   But I did tell him that I had learning disabilities and I gave it my all because I really wanted to work there. He said he didn’t know that ( I am not sure if he couldn’t tell how much I struggled)  But he said I did a good job and I may get a call back to work there in March when there are more openings; so fingers crossed on that one.  I told a few co-workers about how I was being let go and they all said I was such a good worker and they were surprised.  One lady who was really kind hugged me and said “I’ll miss you sweetheart; I enjoyed working with you”; it felt nice to be appreciated. So I kind of was of moping to myself; feeling I was singled out and wondered what I was going to after this. I am trying to look at the bright side; this means I can go back to school and finish my degree and I can also spend more time with the disabled ministry.  I also planning on other volunteer opportunities while I look for another job. I also realized that I can write more and maybe attend some writing workshops that I could never make due to work. So yes, I’ll be alright; if I keep a positive attitude.  So while I was moping to myself one of my other co-workers who came in with me said she was also cut and then all of a sudden about 5 or 6 people said to me they were cut as well. I realized I wasn’t the only one and I felt less bad because they pretty much had cut everyone and  you know what, they all seemed to have a calm attitude about it.   I realized that everything was ok and not to worry.   Just wanted to update you guys; thank you for all support regarding the job; it means a lot

Dave

Learning to advocate for myself

I want to start off this post with a little bit of gratitude; I am so grateful to  even  have this seasonal job; the pay is great; I’m getting better hours; I am not dealing with same kinds of frustration at my old job; I don’t have be in 10 places at once and that reduces my stress. Even if they decide to let me go; the bright side that I made a nice amount of money for the holidays and it will help me while I look another job in a few weeks; so that’s good. That being said; I am so exhausted; today was another long day at the bakery; very busy and frustrating at times. Working in the bakery drains me completely; I get overstimulated by everything I need to do and all the noise around me; it’s hard to communicate with others because I can barely hear myself think and having ADHD really doesn’t help.  I also found yesterday that they are sending me back to assist the cashiers after Christmas; which has lead me to think I have done something wrong; when maybe I am overthinking things too much.  I really am self conscious about the job I’m done and I feel anxious a lot of time; although I try my best to hide it. I also want to point out that I didn’t tell them I have any kind of learning disability because there is so much stigma and ignorance regarding learning disabled people that I didn’t think it would make a difference; and it might mean they’d give me less hours or single me out; so usually unless it becomes a major issue; I keep it to myself and I hope my followers understand that logic; it’s a very tricky situation for me

I try to get along well with people at work; I try to be friendly and smile and say hello to everyone I see; partially because I really am happy to be there and proud I work there; sometimes someone  will greet me back with a smile and some ( mostly dudes) don’t even bother to acknowledge my presence ( and that’s never a good feeling).  I get the sense that the people in the bakery are frustrated with me at times; it takes me longer to learn things or I may ask a question that seems like common sense and they me give that look. You know that look that says ” You should already know the answer”.  Most of what I get from is a sense of frustration or they realize I’m a little slow but they aren’t rude or disrespectful; with the exception of one person. She’s an older lady from Russia and I can barely understand her; so right there it creates a communication issue.  She’ll try to tell me something; I can’t understand her and she gets annoyed when I ask her to repeat it.  But this woman just criticizes me at every turn: “you’re too slow”  “you’re not doing it right”  “You don’t listen”  It goes on and on and on. She isn’t training me or directing me; she is bullying me and trying to make me feel stupid. I’ve been there 5 days straight and that is all she has done. I have reacted at times and have been really trying to keep calm and not create issues.  I pray; I do self talk; I try breathe in and out; every tool at my disposal; but I always have a knee jerk reaction to bullies and it’s hard not to react.

Finally at some point; she refused to let me use the machine to print out labels; she said “You can’t use it; you’ll break it” At that point I couldn’t take it anymore so I immediately turned to the other woman that had been training me and I told her ” Can you please tell her to leave me alone; she has been criticizing me non stop and I am getting really frustrated”   She said “Ok, I’ll talk to her, for now just try to ignore her” and that is exactly what I did from that point on.  And a few of the ladies who were making cakes talked to me and let me know I was doing a great job and she had a bad attitude and she was like that with everyone; I felt much better.  I vented a little bit because I needed to get that out; she has been treating me unfairly and I shouldn’t have to put with that. Within 10 minutes or so I was putting some bread away and she started criticizing me again and I sort of nodded to one of the other ladies in the bakery and she was like ” Let him work and leave him alone”; it was nice someone stood up for me. Eventually the supervisor of the bakery talked me as well and I told her what was happening and she said that was unacceptable and that they’d talk to her. Luckily I only have one more day in the bakery but at least they know what was happening.  It was much better than me losing my cool; insulting the lady and getting fired; I opted for standing up for myself and now I feel better.

I share this story because I know so many who have learning disabilities or  those who are on the autistic spectrum experience this daily; whether it’s a child in school or an adult trying to make a living at their job; there is just so much damn ignorance about those who are developmentally disabled and that ignorance can lead to cruel behavior. We as the disabled have to stand up ( myself included) and say ” No, this isn’t right, I don’t deserve to be treated this way”  I don’t like to create problems or go to supervisors about these things but if I don’t say anything; the abuse will continue and they’ll get away with it. To be honest I don’t trust management to really take care of the problem but at least they are aware of it.   I think a lot disabled people are fearful and there is shame attached to our disabilities and it keeps us from advocating for ourselves.  We have to attack that shame and get our needs meet in the workplace. For me yes, I am disabled and maybe I’m a little slower but  I work 10x harder than anyone else; I have to in order to keep up and yes, despite my disabilities I want to work as much as the next guy; don’t give  me a day or two a week. I don’t want to be treated any different; I just want the same opportunities as a non disabled person has and of course the same respect as well.

Whether they keep me as permanent employee or not; I will tell them about my learning disabilities; how hard I worked and how much I want to be a part of the company. This isn’t only for me but for future employees that may have learning disabilities; there are so many of us.  I find it so interesting that as I am writing I realized that I was talking to another employee in the breakroom about social media and how addicted people are with their phones and I jokingly said ” no wonder we all have adhd”   And then he started telling me he had adhd and just saw his doctor etc; I was huh, I am definitly not alone in this. So I hope that this post inspires anyone who has been through what I have in the workplace.  It does get better; don’t give up and don’t let anyone put you down because you are disabled; be bigger than them; don’t stoop to the their level and if you finally reach your breaking point; report it to someone and let management handle it. You shouldn’t have to face it alone.  That being said I am going to enjoy the rest of my holiday season and take a few deep breaths…. calming down

 

Thanks for listening,

Dave

First day volunteering

Today was such an incredible day today. In my previous blogs I talked about a volunteer opportunity with my church that helps the disabled. I really wanted to be a part of it but I was frustrated because I was concerned because I have an erratic work schedule; I was thinking that I would have to work on a day that I wanted to volunteer; I have missed so many things due to being stuck at work and I feel bitter about it.  I thought “I could be out there making a difference but instead I’m stuck here wasting my life away”; I was in a negative space.  My mom told me they had all sort of volunteer opportunities during the week and I finally decided to contact them; they were excited to hear from me.  The organization are run by a mother and daughter who have someone disabled in their family; which I think is the sole reason why they started up the disabled ministry in the first place.  But they are both so incredibly nice and enthusiastic and they made me feel so welcome.  I am blessed to have met them; to connect with those who are passionate about helping the disabled and by observing them I could tell they really cared about the young adults with disabilities; they were so kind and I was impressed. It was a totally different vibe than my experience with my internship; which at times felt really negative. I wonder if being a Christian organization makes a difference; I’m not quite sure.

So on Thursdays at my church; they have a lunch that is served by the disabled; they prepare the food, take the orders and do the set up and clean up and let me just say they do an incredible job and the volunteers are so helpful. We started out with a little bible study and it gave me a chance to get to know the young adults I will helping out. I then helped them set up before everyone rushed in.  I ended up working in the kitchen area; helping a young man who was washing dishes; I dried ( easy enough).  I basically made sure he stayed on task; which is funny because I am the last person that you’d ask to help someone stay on task lol ( ADHD anyone?) But it went great and we really got along.  To be honest I have always worked well with the disabled; they are easier to be around than non-disabled people; to be honest.   But it was difficult keeping him on task because I trying to keep myself on task but I will improve; I promise haha.  But it was a lot of fun.

I just feel so blessed and I know God is working in my life. I prayed for an answer; a way of helping others so that I wasn’t so self centered and depressed; God came through.  I have my ups and downs but God has never given up on me and I think about all the people in my life who I have loved and are there for me. And I feel this volunteer opportunity is a chance to meet new people and be of service to others; what could be better than that?. I pray that God allows to continue with this ministry and that I continue to be positive.  I am a very lucky man; not everyone has the amount of support I have or the opportunities to make a difference.  I think my 36th year is started out to be a very good one.

Thank you so much listening

Dave

 

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The disabled ministry ( an update)

I wanted to make an update about beginning my involvement with the Rainbow Ministry at church; they serve the needs of the developmentally disabled in the community.  I emailed some of the leaders and was told that they had a coffee meetings; served by the disabled that they help; it was wonderful. I am so glad such a ministry exists and that they can be productive and do something worthwhile..  I walked in and the person who founded it was there and so was her daughter; both are really nice people; easy to talk and enthusiastic about the ministry.  I just told them I really wanted to be a part the ministry and she told me the days that they had opportunities; I have a difficult schedule at work but I am going to make this happen; as soon as I can I am going to talk to my boss and find the times I can be of service.  I am just so excited; I love helping the disabled; they are some of the friendliest people I have ever known and the least judgemental.  I also talked to her daughter that informed there is a fellowship night with on Friday with games and it would give me a chance to meet more people involved in the ministry;  it’s literally down the street and I will be there. I really feel God working in my life right now.

I admit I am always nervous when I make changes in my life and I’m not sure why since this is such a good thing. I just found myself really anxious and focusing on the negative aspect of work potentially getting in the way but I have to try to have a positive attitude. I pray God guides me and I can get the opportunity to serves others; I truly feel this is my calling in life.  And I am so happy to connect with others who are as passionate about the disabled as I am.

Thank you

David

Dealing with learning disabilities in Math

All my life I have struggled with math; to the point where I find myself enraged every time I have to look at a math problem; I used to throw my math book on the ground because I got so frustrated; 25 years later; in college I find myself doing the same exact thing. Throwing a fit like a kid because I just don’t fuckin get it. I don’t know what the exact diagnosis is but I have a learning disability in math and it used to make me feel so stupid. I will never forget when I was about 9 years old; they moved me from my special education class to a regular classroom; I had no idea what so called “normal kids” were like. Anyways this teacher made me go up to board and solve a math problem in front of all the students; I can still remember turning red and hearing them laugh when I couldn’t figure it out and the more they laughed; the angrier I became at them but also at myself. I was angry at this teacher for putting a child with disabilities on display; knowing I struggled with it. In fact I hope things in school have changed since the early 90’s.  I felt so stupid because the other kids understood math with ease and I would look at a problem a million times and I still couldn’t figure it out. Due to the bullying they moved me back to the special ed class ( at least for Math) and I was given easy math assignments I could understand and got plenty of one on one help. By the time I hit high school I was still getting help for my learning disabilities and by that point; I don’t remember any math courses; then again it was a chaotic time in my life. I just remember now having to deal with math from 7th grade on; I figured I was free and never needed it again; I couldn’t have imagined at that time going to college in the future.  I got kicked out of high school and ended up in a bunch of alternative schools and their only requirement was that I showed up; not a lot of expectations. I look back and I feel cheated but I was a troubled kid and I needed to be there.

So fast forward to 2018 and I am so close to my degree. I have all of my classes passed; all the internships done; a good grade point average and I have taken 1 developmental math course (  passed by the skin of my teeth)  Now I am in the second class and it has to with prime numbers and simplifying fractions. mixed numbers etc; probably basis shit to most people, but for someone with maybe 6th grade knowledge of math ( and that is stretching it) it is all complex.  I don’t know how to divide or multiply without a calculator and the class requires that I not use a calculator for the first two weeks ( I had a assumed i could use the calculator from the start)  A lot of the coursework is done online ( thank god) but the tests are done in the computer lab ( which does not help my anxiety)  Yesterday was ok; I took notes of all the basis concepts and was able to finish some assignments; i felt confident.  Today I worked all day ( I am in retail and cannot take weekends off) so I was already tired. I came home again and started on my math work; took notes and tried to limit distractions.  When it came to taking the practice tests; I drew a blank and had to google the answers just to finish the assignment; it doesn’t help because I still don’t understand the concepts and I again feel like that 9 year old kid; I feel stupid, frustrated and incapable of learning this math.

I asked my family for help and said because of my temper they refused to help ( which is understandable) but that just frustrates me further; I feel helpless sometimes. I just say to myself I can write a 10 paper in a few days and get and A, but I can’t solve a simple 7th grade math problem; it hurts.  It’s the weekend; I am working; I can’t go to the school so I am sitting here; trying to calm myself down and take it a day at a time ( or in my case; a fraction at a time). I am going to get the right documentations and ask for accommodations because I need help. I NEED HELP!! There is also free tutoring and I am going to take advantage of that too.  I know I can do this with the right help and resources; I am not stupid; in fact I consider myself quite bright; I just have a disability and it isn’t my fault. And I’m not 9 years old and no one is laughing ( as far as i know)  I hope someone out there understands where I am coming from. The lesson of all of this is never be afraid to admit you have a problem and don’t be afraid to ask for help and never ever think or allow someone to make you feel like you are stupid due to a disability. You are not stupid; you just have a different way of learning things and need to find a way to adapt. With that ,I am emotionally drained and I am spending the rest of the night watching movies and leaving the math until tomorrow.

Good night

Dave

 

A PSA about disabilities

I have the most amazing friends on social media especially those who are involved in helping those with developmental disabilities; a part of the population that oftentimes don’t have their needs meet and in my personal opinion are treated poorly by people who don’t understand them or the obstacles they face; that is why this post my friend made on Facebook was so moving; as soon as I read  it ;I knew I had to share it with my blog readers since I am so passionate about helping those with development disabilities. It is really is a beautiful post….

The other day my son and I were shopping for some back to school clothes for him. A very chatty sales associate stopped to ask if we needed any help. I politely replied “no” but noticed he was kind of lingering. He asked me a couple questions about my tattoos and I quickly noticed (from my own exposure/experience) that he was developmentally disabled. So, he kept asking questions and I kept answering them. We ended up discussing the fact that my son went to a school run by a mental health agency in our county and he expressed he worked with a similar organization in town that helped place people with disabilities with suitable jobs. He paused to help other people and I immediately noticed how other people were uncomfortable talking to him and really tried to avoid him. It made me really sad because he was so incredibly friendly and willing to share things about his life. Some of his questions may have felt intrusive to others but, I understood that he was merely trying to engage in conversation and give good customer service, so I indulged him. We looked at shirts longer than we needed to…him to my right with a beaming smile and my son to my left, crouched on the floor, semi hiding and whispering his answers to questions asked so I would respond for him and he didn’t have to make eye contact/talk with a stranger.

In that moment I realized just how beautiful neurodiversity is and how I was sandwiched in between two very obviously loving people with great curiosity, developmental disabilities and different ways of navigating public situations. Neither was fazed by the other’s behavior. I expressed to the man that my son and I had disabilities as well and that I was really happy for him that he found a job he liked and made him feel useful. Before we parted I shook his hand and thanked him for his help and made sure to tell him I thought the store was very lucky to have him as an employee and that I thought he was really good at his job. His face was beaming. I bumped into a manager on the way out and made sure to tell them how pleased we were with his kindness and help.

My point is…I notice a lot of times people shy away from those who they recognize as having intellectual or developmental disabilities. I understand that sometimes people simply may not know what to say. The trick is…you say whatever you would say to someone without a disability. You say hello and make small talk if you’re in the mood and you thank them for their help. I don’t know how many people take the time, even a few moments, to engage this man – from what I witnessed no other customers did. In all fairness my son and I do seem to magnetically attract people with varying disabilities which I always find interesting because none of us are wearing signs that scream, “We’re disabled!” I imagine it must be some type of subtle energy or openness that others pick up on. I feel blessed to have that. I feel good that perhaps we were a cheerful part of that man’s day. It doesn’t make us special or better than anyone else, just as having these varying disabilities don’t make us any less. It makes us human. It’s not that difficult in the least to simply treat people humanely.

Fear of the unknown shouldn’t stop us from reaching out or taking a few moments to engage with a stranger. You never know what beautiful things you may have in common.

Later that afternoon I had the pleasure of spending time with an amazing young woman with Down’s Syndrome and we had a great time in public as well…I noticed “the looks” and I purposely ignored them. She wasn’t looking for input from others so it didn’t matter and she is fiercely independent and self assured…which I absolutely LOVE seeing! My favorite part of that experience was when she asked me the lyrics to a song, I sang about 3 words, she turned and looked at me very seriously and said, “ok. That’s enough.” I laughed but explained I wasn’t laughing at her, it was her sheer honesty that made me really happy and I agreed with her that I did not have the best singing voice! 🙂

Be good to each other. Step outside your comfort zone

How I measure success?

I often time beat myself up because I am not as far a long as I would like to be in life. I am not in a relationship; I don’t have a family or kids; I don’t have an exciting career; I am not even living on my own; I feel left behind. I compare myself to the people I had grown up with and all the achievements they have made; while I sometimes feel like a failure. But then I remember all the obstacles that came my way; I remember difficulties in school due to learning disabilities; I was very smart but the mainstream way of teaching was not getting through to me; I felt left behind and it is because I have my own style of learning things and I have learned to adapt over the years. It’s probably why I struggled in high school yet thrived in college; for example I would get lost if I was trying to take notes during a lecture; I couldn’t keep up with the professor; my handwriting was illegible and I didn’t learn a thing. It wasn’t until I just listened to the lecture and studied twice as hard before a test; that I was able to do well at college. To me since I do have learning disabilities; just functioning in a classroom and getting passing grades to me is a success; it may seem small to someone else but to me it is a big deal because I never thought I’d be doing so well in school or getting so close to a degree; it was a nice pipe dream but I didn’t think it would actually happen ( although it has taken me many years)

I think back to the emotional difficulties I faced as a kid and how difficult it was to make friends. I just had such trouble relating to others; being able to hold a conversation; managing my feelings appropriately; all of this was extremely difficult for me. I used to act in anger all the time ( I have my moments but I have improved) and it got me kicked out of many schools and sent away to treatment centers and I look back and wish that if I had just controlled my anger; I could have stayed in regular high school and maybe been more successful. I look at myself and I am a lot calmer than I used to; I handle situations a hell of of lot better than in the past. I manage my anxiety by writing; working out and reaching out to my friends ; I don’t have to act out anymore. Writing has been my saving grace and has allowed me to make sense of all these complex emotions I face on the daily. While I still have trouble making friends; I put myself out there more; I am more involved in helping others; I try to meet other people who share my interests. I am actually going to a poetry reading tonight for the first time and I’m pretty excited and a little nervous ( although I won’t share) but these are things are I never did before because I was fearful. I face my fears these days and you can’t be successful if you are under constant fear and afraid to take risks; you can’t have success without risk.

For most people having a job is something you just do; you get up; get ready for work and put in your 8 hour/40 hr a week a job; they don’t realize that for some people going to work can be very difficult; both on a emotional and a physical level. I, like so many other Americans suffer from a number of disabilities and working has always been difficult for me. For me being on my feet 8 hours a way; dealing with a bad stomach and co-workers and bosses that don’t seem to give a shit can make the work day seem impossible; those 8 hours can be daunting. But I have gotten to a point ( believe or not) where I get up everyday; I get ready; out the door without any complaints; I just do it because it needs to get done. I hate working but I can’t expect anyone to carry me financially; I have bills that need to be paid and as far as I know working is the only way to make money ( legally at least) Today I manage to be as productive as possible and stay out of everyone’s way; I don’t talk about anyone or antagonize my co-workers; I ignore the bullshit and the gossiping because I want make my day as productive as possible. So I try to keep my emotions in check and that is very hard when you have a controlling store manager or backstabbing co-workers but I tell myself this is temporary and soon I will be on to bigger and better things; no need to be negative; this was not happening in the past. I was such a miserable person to be around in my previous job; I was spiteful and was the biggest shit talker you’ve ever met; I was in physical pain and I took it out on anyone I could find; I am truly ashamed of my behavior and wish I could take it back. At that time my stress was through the roof and every workday was an ordeal. I remember at my old job there was this new guy and he was pretty extroverted and able to make friends with everyone pretty quickly. He came back to me one day and she said some girl there told him that all I did was talk bad about people; I felt hurt at my behavior. Nowadays I don’t act that way at all; I respect others; I don’t complain; I do my stint at work and I go home; like everyone else. I am proud of the worker I am today and I would call that success. It may not be financial success but I have a steady income; work more hours; havE better relationships with my co-workers. Sometimes I can’t believe how much things have changed. I feel the person I was 7 or 8 years ago no longer exists; but it took a lot of work to get here; it didn’t happen overnight. But nonetheless the last two years of employment have been a success in my book.

This blog isn’t all about me though; success is subjective;dependent upon your situation. I also don’t want this post to seem self centered or self pitying; I hope someone can read it and feel inspired by it and strive for their own successes. There may be someone reading this that has such severe depression they can’t get out of bed. They may spend most of those days sleeping or lost in their sadness; unable to get off the couch. Success to them may mean meeting a friend for lunch or joining a class. Success may mean going back into to therapy and having that safe place to express their feelings. Or someone could have a physical disability and they managed to get in their wheelchair and go to the grocery store or the park and that is success. Someone may have stomach problems like me and they finally managed to find a diet that works and go a day without being sick and that is a huge success for them. Or how about someone is bi-polar who manages to get hired at their first job and the pride that comes with getting that first paycheck after being broke for so many years. Most people without difficulties don’t look at these things as achievements because they take their health for granted. They figure I can work 40 hours a week; why can’t they?. Success is a personal thing and is not always measured in terms of money, huge achievements or relationships; it’s the little things. Am I a better person than I used to be? Do I handle situations better than in the past? Have I learned to take care of myself both emotionally or physically? Some of us face so many obstacles but we can’t give up and we can’t let the world dictate to us what success means. We have to strive for success on our own terms and be proud of our achievements; even if it just means getting out of bed today. So thank you for as always for taking the time to read my blog and take care of yourselves.

Dave

 

 

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Why do we judge the disabled so harshly

There is an internet figure or should I say meme based on a man named Chris Chan who has autism; he has been cyber bullied for years; the cruelness is beyond comprehension.  This man has been trolled by hundreds of people over the course of 10 years. . There are documentaries on this guy, countless memes, thousands of videos mocking this guy; getting him to do disgusting things and leaking it to the internet; there is whole wiki site based on him and of course its in a mocking tone; I don’t even know why I even look at it. A part of me is scared by this since I am on the autism spectrum; although I can work, maintain friendships, attend college;  I struggle socially; I think to myself this could be me. They are laughing at people like me.

I looked at the page today and one section was about Chris’s ego and how he is enabled and has a sense of entitlement. Something I read really bothered me. They said no one over 30 should live with their parents regardless of disability; I thought that was harsh, incredibly judgmental and ignorant about the economic system in which we live. If these ignorant fools bothered to read the facts they’d realize that the employment rate for the disabled ( autism included) is about 10% ;about twice the amount for non disabled people.  Jobs are scarce for the disabled and all are low paying. No one disabled or otherwise could survive on these wages; it isn’t fair; in fact its downright cruel. A living wage is the least they can do for the disabled ;but that will never happen at least in this country. I for one live my parents and it isn’t because I enjoy their company; I have no choice. Not only do I have emotional issues along with being on the spectrum; I suffer from physical issues as well. It’s so bad that I cant stand in the same place for more than 15 minutes without running to the bathroom; it disrupts my whole life; so independence is something that seems out of reach. I am always conscious that there is a segment of society that is judging me ( and others like me) because I still with my parents; probably the same people who call welfare handouts. Here’s the thing: I love my parents (although it can be tense at times) but I would give anything to be on my own. I pay most of my bills aside from the medical portion but there are just so many obstacles and you know no matter how hard you try you can’t survive because someone who does have wealth and power won’t let you because he doesn’t want to give a small part of what he has; so you can have your basic needs met.

It just saddens me that we judge people when they don’t know their circumstances. Maybe Chris ( its Christine now sorry)is low on the spectrum and can’t possibly hold down a job. Maybe she cant live on her own; maintain an apartment, cook for herself, pay bills or manage her health. I mean who are we to judge someone we don’t know. There is so much stigma of the disabled particular those with mental and emotional issues; we have ridiculous high standards for them that maybe they can never achieve. The average person may say  ” Hey, I work 2 jobs; 60 hrs a week; why can’t they”. People speak out of ignorance and cruelty and its obvious they never suffered in life and have had all the breaks in life. The rest of us struggle to survive; on our feet 8 hours a day         ( when its physically difficult) living paycheck to paycheck and we’ll still can’t achieve independence. If you sense an angry tone; you are right; I am angry. The disabled deserve better; they deserve to work and live independently like everyone else; I see it as a human right. It hurts to see another human being trolled by millions ( yes millions of people) Its despicable and that is all I have left to say.  That is it for my blog but I will leave you with this. As the bible states Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judgeye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you – Matthews 7:2.  Remember it

Dave

 

Cyber bullying and Autism

I just learned about a whole internet meme involving a community of trolls ( hundreds of them) simultaneously cyber bullying an Autistic man; forcing him to humiliate himself in various ways; including having women pretend to be interested and upload phone calls and text messages etc. They made YouTube videos taunting him; goading to act in more inappropriate ways; there are countless videos and a few documentaries based on all his uploads; the man is obviously Autistic and mentions it quite a bit; so it’s not a secret. I want to help those who have Autism and this breaks my heart. So when we talk about Autism; we forget the dangers and pitfalls that Autistic face when they use social media. We think everyone is sensitive when in reality there is a whole other side who could give a shit about anyone’s feelings including those who are disabled. And they won’t quit because they love to see their reaction. Even if that person takes their life; the bullying won’t end. I have a very angry reaction to people like that and I feel for anyone that is their victim. It a sad cold world out there and its up to people who understand and care about the disabled to protect them from cold hearted soulless bullies that would torment someone who isn’t aware of how their behavior can have negative consequences. Just watching clips of this man made really upset. I could on but I won’t.