PANIC ATTACK!!!

I learned something new after like my third trip to the hospital this year (2019), I suffer from panic attacks. I think what frustrated me the most was I visited at least 3 different doctors trying to figure out what was going on with me. My heart rate and pulse would climb. I would get tingling in my fingers. I would feel disoriented. A warm feeling would race up and down my body. I would feel nauseous. There was no trigger for these episodes I was having because they would happen at different times of the day and not on every day. This was driving nuts on what was going on. When I went into the hospital early in the year, I had several blood tests, a CT scan, a sonogram, a brain scan with a weird mesh head cap. When I finally left, they told me that my potassium level was low and I was ‘stressing out’. I had a colonoscopy done were they did find 4 polyps. I met with an endocrinologist, but everything came back fine. When I had my most recent attack and [I hope] my final trip to the hospital. The emergency room doctor and my wife told me straight out…you have panic attacks. I did feel rather stupid especially after I went home and looked up panic attacks on Web MD:

What Are Panic Attacks?
It’s dramatic. Your heart begins to pound and you hyperventilate, sweat, and tremble. You fear you’re having a heart attack or something equally serious. Then, 10 minutes or so later, it’s gone.

What just happened?

You had a panic attack.

They’re fairly common, usually beginning between ages 15 and 25. If they keep coming back, you have a persistent fear of more attacks, or you change your behavior significantly because of them, you have something called panic disorder. Nearly one in 20 adults have it, and women are twice as likely as men to get it.

Many people with panic disorder relate an attack to what they were doing when it happened. They may think the restaurant, elevator, or classroom caused the attack. Then they’ll avoid those places. That may lead to something called agoraphobia — the fear of leaving home or being in public places.

Causes
What brings on panic attacks and panic disorder isn’t clear. Some researchers believe panic disorder may come from an oversensitivity to carbon dioxide, which makes your brain think you’re suffocating. There’s also an association between panic attacks and phobias, like school phobia or claustrophobia.

Some believe there are ties between panic attacks and:

Depression
Alcohol abuse
Cigarette smoking
Suicide risk
Seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that happens in winter.

Panic disorder may start after:

A serious illness or accident
The death of a close friend
Separation from family
The birth of a baby
Attacks may come after the use of mind-altering drugs. Most often, however, they come “out of the blue.” One may even begin while you’re sleeping.

Some medications can cause panic attacks, including some antidepressants.

If you’re 40 or older and have panic disorder, you may have depression or another hidden medical condition. Talk to your doctor to find out what’s going on.

Symptoms
Usually, a panic attack comes with a few of these:

A sense of approaching danger
Quick, intense, heartbeat
Nausea
Chills
Cramps in your belly
Headache
Numbness or tingling
Shortness of breath
Throat tightness
Trembling
Hot flashes
A feeling that you’re apart from reality
If you feel like you’re having a panic attack, see you doctor right away. While they are not dangerous, they can get worse without treatment.

Symptoms of a panic attack are similar to those for more serious conditions. If you’re not sure if what you’re having is a panic attack, call your doctor, just to be safe.

The Autistic Club?

There is a wonderful article in Psychology Today that is written by John Elder Robinson. In his article, he puts a slightly different perspective on labels for our neurological condition. John offers the idea that instead of being labelled with autism or ADHD that we could be a community of Neurodiversity people. I will say that he does point out how diversity is good and bad. To me, I guess it depends on what do you want? To say that I have Asperger’s Syndrome was good because the diagnose finally explained why I was acting the way I was and why I had trouble in all parts of my life. Just for myself, I don’t ‘feel’ alone in my condition. I know I have it and I do my best to live my life being more aware of this diagnose. I like to help other people who are going through the issues I had, but I don’t feel the need to be a part of this ‘Neurodiversity’ community. I just want to be a part of a community with people of all sorts of things they may be dealing with. I realize when or if people find out I have this condition one of a few things tend to happen. 1. They don’t believe I am autistic. 2. They notice my quirkiness and try to stay away from me. 3. They except the difference and try to help if there was something I might have done and let me know about it. I know to feel accepted, we want to compartmentalize ourselves to give us an identity. I remember back in high school; kids would always try to do this even if we didn’t agree with the label. The jock, nerds, art crew, the goths, losers, bad boys-girls, etc. If you feel like putting yourself into a category, then go right ahead. I guess you have to ask what do want if you place yourself in this position? I realize this is a little cliché, but variety is the spice of life. For me, I try to help folks because growing up with this condition, but never really knowing what was going on, why was I bullied a lot? I believe the article is really compelling and thought provoking. I say you be you. Embrace what God has created in you. I invite you to join the Human Race, it’s an interesting club. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/my-life-aspergers/201906/the-convergence-neurodiversity-and-autism
Image result for autism club

Ready Player One: the Sad Life of a Billionaire

I will admit that I enjoy the movie Ready Player One. I haven’t had the chance to read the book because I’ve been too busy writing, but I would like to read it at some point. Since I am a child of the 80’s, I really did enjoy all of the references back to the 80’s and 90’s. One thing that really stood out in the movie was one of the main characters from the film, James Halliday. I really don’t know if the author Ernest Cline patterned James after this glaring disorder, but I have to give him all the credit. James Halliday, in the movie, clearly was a character who had Asperger’s Syndrome and I say very, very clever! Think about it. James Halliday didn’t care about the riches and fame that he deserved. Most normal humans would not ‘act’ that way. Heck, in one scene he was cleaning up after what seemed to be like a company party. The man is a billionaire and he’s the one cleaning it up! James did a lot of remembering about how life used to be and all the fun. His whole demeanor was very anti-social. Of course we’re not sure, but he might not have been at that company party. The most clear answer on his social angst was his one and only really ‘relationship’ with the opposite sex. James Halliday couldn’t take the ‘leap’ because this was a choice; he couldn’t take the leap because his disability held him back, basically he just could not express his feelings correctly. Many people with autism have a really hard time developing and maintaining a good relationship because of general lack of communication and letting loved ones know how they felt. Things got so bad for Halliday that he eventually lost his only real friend, Ogden Morrow…which was mentioned in the end of the movie. I believe if the friend knew that Og, his best friend, had autism, he might have understood him a little better. James knew that life was ‘terrifying’ for him. So the one thing that James Halliday did understand quite well, which was also mentioned, has much as he felt more free in his made-up world; real live can never be truly substituted with a gaming world. As he said in the movie, “It’s also the only place were you can get a decent meal.” I felt so bad for the James Halliday character because I know, in real life… over all, this does happens to a lot of real good people with autism.

If It Looks like a Duck…

As an educator and having taught for a long time, we strive to help students understand the material that they need to learn. Of course, not all students learn the same way, in education we call this differentiated learning. Some students are visual, some are auditory and others are self read. Many students need the actually doing of, to grasp the understanding of a concept; hands on activities. Many times, there will be students who have a hard time learning the material like other students normally can. These, learning disabilities, are just a part of any teachers awareness for their students. As of late, I have felt that autism as been a little bit over diagnosed. Even though the student may have OCD or ADHD, this doesn’t qualify them as autistic. I can say though since I do have the actual diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s not too difficult for me to spot another person with the same disorder. There was a time when I had to have this talk with a parent about my concerns for their child because he had all of the calling cards for Asperger’s but, the father was refusing to get him tested. So, I turned to mom who had her suspicions but, she wasn’t too sure if she should have had her son tested or not. I told her she really needed to get him tested so he could receive the proper support he would need to be successful in school. I don’t know if she ever followed through but, I’d like to think she probably did. I’m noticing there really is a fine line between people who really are autistic and those who only have maybe one disability thus slapping the wrong label on the person to inflate numbers. Yes, there have been times when I had a student who was labelled autistic but, after hours of observation in the classroom I had some serious doubts about the diagnose. We really need to be careful.

Teacher and Nurse Apprehension Week

For the week of May 6th to May 10th, 2019; both important but, often forgotten professions celebrate Teacher and Nurse Week. There is some slight irony because I’ve had to deal with quite a few Nurses and Teachers these last couple of weeks. Last week, my wife Gaby had surgery and so I had to interact a lot with Nurses. I find my need for a nurse seems most prevalent is when either my wife or myself find ourselves in a hospital. I’ve experienced amazing nurses and not great nurses. I know one thing about both professions, they both are very difficult jobs and their salaries are terrible for the education they have to achieve. How do I know this? I’m an educator myself with a Master’s degree and my years of experience with the degree I have does not add up to where a ‘typical’ person makes with this combination. A little recognition isn’t too bad. Yes…I’m an aspie teacher. With my disability, this job can be extremely difficult. Standing in front of a class, communicating with lots of students is hard; not impossible. The nice thing about the students is they adapt well to whatever little quark I might have at any given time. When I deal with nurses, they might not understand my odd demeanor but, they’ll pick up on my OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in a hurry though! To all the Nurses and Teachers out there…Thank You!

Autism Awareness One Month Later

I realize that April was Autism Awareness month and right now as I write this…it’s May. The reason I waited is because during the month of April, there are several news stories and lots of media that surround our disorder but, then what? It’s not like I have Asperger’s for a month then it goes away! Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that there is an entire month dedicated to the awareness of Autism. I guess I wonder, once the lights have gone down and the press head off to the newer stories to be told…does anyone that doesn’t have this disorder care any more? For us, this will always be a constant battle on the idea of is anyone really aware? I try my best to self advocate for any reason, just to remind people that I’m a little off and I’m not like everyone else. I almost feel like I need to wear a reflective vest that says ‘Caution, I’m autistic.’ The problem is regular people treat other people like they are all the same. Unless the people visibly see that I might be in a wheelchair or missing an appendage, they don’t see the disability in me. Autism Awareness is really, an all year event. This is a battle myself and many others have to deal with every day.

Opening the gates to AsperWorld

In this blog, my goal is to address any concerns I receive from readers and/or talk about different thing that either directly or indirectly deal with my disorder. I welcome any comments or question you might have. I have finish one book as I’m currently writing this entry but, I’ve already started the early stages of a second book. There is so much literature out in our world about autism but, sadly some people miss the mark. I believe this happens because the people who are writing these things either think they know everything or do but, don’t have the disorder so they only go by observations on a few people. If you ask me what bothers me the most, it’s probably the people who think they have all the answers but, have no background to truly the right to say anything at all. Yes, I do disagree with some people who have the same condition I do but, this is just a matter of a different point of view. So welcome! Enter at your leisure.