Happy birthday!

It was a month before Colin’s birthday and he was turning 11 years old. I was trying to decide how to celebrate when Colin announced he’d like to go to Build a Bear for his party.

“That’s a pretty big party,” I cautioned him.

“But it’s a really big birthday,” he exclaimed.

I was pretty sure the 13th birthday was the important one and told him so.

“No! It’s the 11th birthday! The two numbers are the same and that won’t happen again!”

“It’ll happen when you’re 22 years old,” I commented and got a deep sigh.

“Mom, that’s ages away!”

I got the party organized and Colin ended up with 14 guests. They had a ball making their bears and, unlike that lady making the internet rounds for collecting every guests Build a Bear for her daughter, the guests all went home with their creations..

Then there was Colin’s 22nd birthday. The day went like usual. I got laundry washed and Colin played on his computer and with his computers. Then I went to take the cakes out of their pans and they crumbled into a million little pieces. I tried to spread frosting as best I could but it really was nothing more than a pile of cake bits topped with frosting.

I lucked out. I promised Colin I’d transfer money onto his prepaid credit card and I did so on the 8th. They stopped accepted deposits on the 9th and the cards are all closing on June 30th. So, out of sheer luck, Colin ended up with his birthday money after all then went onto Steam to do some downloading.

We walked over to Pizza Pizza to order their two pizza special before chatting on the way home.

I was about to put one of those spinning flower candles on the “cake” when Colin stopped me.

“I want to save that for a birthday that feels real. This one doesn’t. I didn’t even get a phone call from anyone.”

It turned out that my sister worked then had an over dinner meeting so didn’t have time and my parents are on a mini vacation and left their phones at the hotel all day. But Colin got his birthday phone call at bedtime and was so happy.

It’s hard to see your kid unhappy, no matter what age they are. Luckily this was a short lived disappointment because he was fine yesterday. And next year I’ll work at making him a better day.

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Colin having a birthday lunch with me and his grandparents at our favourite restaurant iThai

And nobody knew…

CN: Frank discussion of suicide

I had a suicide plan and now I had a note, one which L dared me to write. I said no one cared. He said prove it. And so I did. Here it is…

“I’m nothing. I’m not enough. Lenny loves me but only as a good friend and that’s not enough for a relationship. But that’s as much as I can love. I loved him when he was bi-gender and love him now. We were going to get married in Cardiff at city hall and go for a hot air balloon ride where I could see the ocean and go to the Doctor Who museum and live in Richmond but I’m not enough. I can’t love deep enough and I feel like my heart’s been ripped in two.

I’m a liability at work. I don’t move fast enough and I don’t have the fine motor skills to pour coffee fast enough. And I get overwhelmed by loud noises and the headset terrifies me and I have meltdowns sometimes and maybe it’s the wrong job but the hours are good for Colin and I’m trying my hardest but it isn’t enough because I’m not enough.

I’m too autistic to make friends and every attempt I try ends with “we’ll have to get together someday” but someday never comes and most of the messages I send get ignored. But I’m not autistic enough to get help and I’m lonely and I want a hug so bad but who the hell would want to come over just to hug a freak like me.

I’ve lost so many people because I’m just not enough and I’m boring and a bother and I have conversations wrong. Colin’s special interest is politics but mine’s scrapbooking and who the fuck wants to talk about scrapbooking? No one even wants to look at my albums.

I’ve been crying for two days and nights now and Lenny says to stay hydrated, which seems pointless, but going without food and water makes my headache worse and I’m a wimp.

I don’t know why I’m posting because I don’t matter but Lenny says people will care. Honestly, I’m not worth caring about. I’m not going to kill myself because that would hurt and I’m a wimp and I can’t sleep forever, I keep waking up, and my head’s been hurting for two days. And I’m sorry for bothering everyone.”

I deserve better blank

Lenny turned out to be right. One hundred and thirty-nine people replied. And then my sister called and asked me if I’d go to the hospital if she drove me. I agreed and she left work and drove right over, which was a good thing because I’d lied about not committing suicide.

I had been miserable for months and was having more and more meltdowns at work but I kept slogging along trying to be normal enough for everyone. My family knew I was more quiet and had been pulling away. They decided I just wasn’t interested in them. In reality I was pulling away from everyone… hiding within myself.

Please, please pay close attention to the people around you. Be concerned if they’re pulling away for no apparent reason or if they claim, over and over, that nothing’s wrong, they’re just tired. And if they suddenly become cheerful after being low and quiet be very concerned, especially if they’re giving their stuff away like Santa’s Recycling Cousin. Let them know you’re not going to judge and you know they aren’t doing well then get ready to listen. I have a resources page which has suicide lines from all over the world (among other resources). If you’re in the States, please don’t automatically call 911. If the person you’re getting admitted doesn’t have enough insurance or has none, you are setting them up for a nightmare of debt. If you’re in Canada (or another country with universal health care) dial away. The worst I can say about the hospital was it was boring and it’s irritating buttering your toast with a spoon.

The thing that helped me the most during that dark time was adopting two kittens (your mileage may vary). Suddenly I was needed. The kittens would suckle on a stuffed animal or my cat Blackie and, when they got too intense I’d move them to their food bowls. This happened both day and night. At 5am they wanted to go on the balcony (which I’d kitten proofed) and I’d have a mug of hot chocolate and watch them run around. I’d catch them falling off the table or bedside table, snuggle them when they were sleepy, and toss them toys when they were bouncy. They were my reason to live. No one else needed me as much as them.

Find something to do, whether it’s adopting kittens, starting a hobby, joining a group, getting a gym membership. Anything to keep you busy. And see a doctor about medication. You wouldn’t tell a diabetic to just will diabetes away. Your illness cannot be willed away either. Antidepressants can and do help, although you might need to try more than one.

And remember, you are brave and you are strong. You have to be because you’re still here. If you need someone to talk to, my inbox is always open.

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Me now

The moving Colin blues…

I always figured the hardest part of moving is the packing (and unpacking). Now I’ve found a new frustration. Colin.

I love Colin dearly but he’s turning simple apartment hunting into a nightmare. He has several agencies helping him, which is great. The first unit they showed him was supposed to be a room with meals included. It was in a long term care facility and he’d have two other roommates and not even a curtain to give him some privacy. There wasn’t room for any belongings either. We all agreed that was not a good fit.

My last attempt to help him was when I found a gorgeous one bedroom apartment for $675/m. It was a ground floor unit and included access to the backyard including the deck and the jacuzzi. Yeah… a jacuzzi.

Colin turned it down because it was a “basement apartment” then proceeded to explain that every apartment in a house was a basement apartment, no matter what floor it was on, because the landlord could just say he had a family member who needs the unit and he’d be out in two months. Which is theoretically correct but isn’t that common. Colin kept insisting it was and after he yelled for a decent amount of time I told him I was no longer helping.

John Howard Society found him a room yesterday and he immediately took a look. It was close to shopping and, at $600/m, definitely affordable. Colin just turned it down because now he wants to get a full time job and stay here. At first he talked about working construction but someone (other than me) must have talked to him because now he’s talking about Dollarama.

I want him to find a place so badly so that he has somewhere safe to rest his head once I’m in my own place, and so I don’t have to worry about him with no apartment while I’m moving. But I can’t force him to take a place, no matter how much I want to. He’s a person with strong opinions and is determined this is his best course of action.

The John Howard worker is still looking for a place for him. I just hope he takes the next place.

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The apartment I found