Aspergers Letter: Be the Change

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for taking the time to read these words.  Please know you are making a difference. My penname is Samantha Craft. I am an educator (M.Ed.) and a mother, and I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I live in the state of Washington in the United States. I am forty-three years of age. I was first identified with having Aspergers in December of 2011 by a mental health practitioner.

Before I knew I had Aspergers, I spent decades searching for answers. I searched for logical reasons to explain my extreme sensitivities, empathy, fixations, imaginings and fears.  A keen woman, I sought out answers through 12-Step, medical doctors, therapists, psychologist, psychiatrists, priests, ministers, educators, shamans, and counselors. Not one person whom I sought out for assistance mentioned Aspergers, because not one person knew how a female with Aspergers presented herself. Many professionals didn’t even know this word: Aspergers.  Person after person assigned me an incorrect or incomplete diagnosis and non-beneficial methods of treatment. For years I suffered, knowing something was “wrong,” but not understanding why.

I am not alone. By no means am I alone. Thousands upon thousands of women have Aspergers and have been misdiagnosed, overlooked, and/or misunderstood. Notably, In these days of advanced technology, this lack of awareness regarding Aspergers is shifting. Today, thousands of people a month are learning how Aspergers in females presents itself. However, a large majority of the people searching for answers are the females with Aspergers themselves and their family members. The word about the female experience still needs to reach the people who are equipped to identify and help this subgroup of women. Particularly professors at universities, teachers in elementary and secondary schools, medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and mental health care practitioners.

In hopes of spreading awareness, in February of 2012, I began a blog called Everyday Aspergers. I have since been writing for 95 days straight, and will continue to do so for the stretch of the year. My hope is  to present a cohesive presentation illustrating a female with Aspergers. The pages are not filled with troubles and tears, only some: because I am human and my human experience stretches far beyond the one word Aspergers. The pages depict the inner workings of a female with an Asperger’s mind—her thought processes, her deep philosophical prose, her poetry, her story.

My hope is you will choose to pass this link on to a professional, (e.g., grandson’s teacher, sister’s doctor, colleague, university dean), so the many women still searching for assistance and answers regarding Aspergers will have a tomorrow filled with awareness, understanding, assistance, and acceptance. Assistance cannot exist without knowledge. Acceptance cannot exist without knowledge. In choosing to directly send this link to one professional, you are choosing to spread the knowledge and effectively change the lives of thousands of women.

With the knowledge we will forever change the face of Aspergers, with the knowledge Aspergers will no longer be unknown, misunderstood, and/or perceived as a taboo, and with the knowledge we can begin to provide hope and needed assistance, and begin to celebrate our unique gifts, I sincerely thank you. May your day be filled with peace.

Link to pass on:  https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/aspergers-letter-be-the-change/

Sincerely,

Samantha Craft

Everyday Aspergers

 

You may also print Be the Change letter, if all the information remains on the page. Thank you.

 

Resources on this blog:

10 Traits of Females with Aspergers:

https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/aspergers-traits-women-females-girls/

Unofficial Checklist for Females with Aspergers

https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/day-62-females-with-aspergers-syndrome-nonofficial-checklist/

10 Myths about Females with Aspergers

https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/thirty-seven-10-myths-about-females-with-aspergers-syndrome/

Discrimination regarding Aspergers

https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/day-44-the-abcs-of-discrimination-i-will-not-be-made-to-feel-ashamed-of-aspergers/

20 Things Not to Say to a Person on the Autism Spectrum

Image found at takealeftatthemoon.blogspot.com

 

This is tailored to adults who were diagnosed with Aspergers, but the list can apply to many ages and many conditions other than Aspergers Syndrome.

20 Things Not to Say to a Person on the Autism Spectrum

1. Everyone feels like that sometimes.

2. Everything happens for a reason.

3. You’re fine. They have too many labels nowadays.

4. That reminds me of me. I wonder if I have that too.

5. Things could always be worse.

6. At least you don’t have autism.

7. Don’t worry. Be happy. Think Positive.

8. That’s no big deal.

9. You’re too serious. Get out of your head and help others.

10. Everyone has problems. Stop analyzing yours.

11. I never would have guessed. You seem so normal.

12. Are you sure? Maybe you need a second opinion.

13. Why do you think that?

14. That’s weird. Good luck.

15.  Aren’t you glad you found out?

16. That’s so trendy. Everyone thinks they have that.

17. Did you get an “official” diagnosis?

18. I’m uncomfortable with people classifying themselves by a diagnosis.

19. My cousin’s neighbor has Aspergers.

20. Well, now that you know, stop focusing on it, and get on with your life.

 

 

 

15 Beneficial Approaches 

1. Offer a warm smile and nod. Listen and comprehend.

2. I’m on your side. I’m here for you. You are not alone. I am here to stay.

3. Where can I find more information?

4. You are a strong person. I love you for being you.

5. Make a friendly call or send a friendly text or email.

6. What can I do? Tell me specifically. I want to help anyway I can.

7. Ask the person on a long walk, a picnic, or other excursion.

8. Hold a space for processing what that means to the person.

9. Do you need my support? How can I support you specifically?

10. Go to a matinee or rent a movie about autism or Aspergers.

11. Sincerely compliment the person.

12. Validate. This is a big deal!

13. Read personal accounts about living on the autism spectrum.

14. Thank you for confiding in me and trusting me. I am honored to know you.

15. If you are comfortable, can you tell me more about your experience?

© Everyday Aspergers, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com Original title was 20 Things Not To Say to A Person with Aspergers.

Sam’s new book can be found at myspectrumsuite.com and on Amazon internationally.

Search for Everyday Aspergers.

 

 

Day 80: Me in Parts

There’s a reason I didn’t go into the medical field besides the fact that I faint if I look at a needle. I don’t do well with illness, disease, or sickness of any sorts, or thoughts of being attacked by a killer species. I do fine with driving my car, walking down dark alleys, crossing bridges, and climbing high places, just can’t deal with physical health conditions—well at least not rationally. The common cold sends me into a tailspin: worse case scenario, worser case scenario, worsest case scenario.

In the course of my four decades plus of living, I was certain of my imminent death at least five times a year. Looming demise total equals 200 times, give or take a death or two. And I’m not talking a passing thought. I’m saying a good two- to three-week sickness-induced death-terror cycle. And with the invention of Google God, the all-knowing search engine, I’ve also had hours of adrenaline-pumped investigative research.

Last year, about this time, I was certain, dead certain, that my heart was going to explode from a genetic disorder. I was so convinced I had the syndrome that I was continually analyzing myself for symptoms, even in my dream state.  In fact, in a comical attempt to self-diagnose, I compared my attached earlobes to others’ attached earlobes and even wondered if my large Italian nose could feasible be considered pinched.

When I was younger, rabies was my big fear. I never ever should have watched the depressing classic Old Yeller in third grade. Why?! Afterwards, my hamster-bit finger led me to check my mouth for foaming saliva hourly, for a month! Watching Hitchcock’s The Birds was another faux pas. Remember the killer bees? Well I do. I believed for years the bees were approaching in swarm.

Bloody noses are notorious fear-buttons, ever since I saw that character on a television show with a bloody nose bleed-out and die.

My fear of the C word started after my kindergarten teacher died; and I still can’t write the word out on paper. Which ironically-sucks because it’s my astrological zodiac sign. Four times during my life, twice as a teenager, and twice as a young mother, doctors suspected I had C or pre-C. No cause for alarm in all four cases, but the panic that ensued during the waiting period was insurmountable.

You know what really bites? Working at a homeless shelter and having a child infected with AIDS bite my leg through my jeans. The doctors assured me my chances of contracting AIDS was almost zero; still they wanted to be certain. I checked my tongue for a white-coat and my skin for sores for a good year.

My most laughable approaching-doom-fear happened when I was nursing my firstborn in the late hours of the night, and I’d stare down at the dirt in the corner of my toenail, and know I was going to die of toe fungus. If you bring in the big guns like MRSA, I so freak out. Any infection is MRSA. Hives? I’m certain I’ll suffocate from severe allergic reaction.  Menstrual cycle off a day—I have growths on my ovaries.

To make matters worse, doctors have wanted to remove my uterus and my gallbladder, and to biopsy my kidney. None of which happened. But the fact of their recommending such procedures makes me think I have bad parts to begin with.

If you’ve got your wits about you, you’ve probably gathered I have a wee bit of a phobia to illness in any form—real, made up, imagined, or non-existent.

What many do not understand about this illness phobia is that no amount of exposure makes a dang difference. With exposure therapy, if someone is afraid of bridges, you can slowly and decisively assist him or her in overcoming the bridge fear. A common therapy strategy might be first showing pictures of bridges, next playing with toy bridges, later taking photos of bridges from afar, and then crossing a small bridge over a creek. If therapy is effective, then the person eventually will cross a bridge as a passenger, then drive assisted, and later cross alone. Sounds logical.

Doesn’t apply to illness: First look at pictures of people who are sick, next play in filthy area, later… not helping! And getting sick and sick over and over again, doesn’t help either. Done that.

I haven’t been feeling myself, lately. Which is significant. Generally speaking my self, due to a host of syndromes and conditions, is relatively fatigued, a little melancholic, and a bit sore in the muscles. So, I hadn’t taken too much note of my intense fatigue, until I could barely function most of the day. My doctor had in the meanwhile sent me my annual blood test forms in the mail (twice), which I avoided like the plague (or in my case the common cold). I finally dragged myself to the doc when the heart palpitations and shortness of breath kicked in. By the day I got my stubborn self to the doc’s office, my forehead was peeling like a rattlesnake sheds.

The good news is it turns out those eight extra pounds are not my fault! And either is this depressions cloud I blamed on the Washington winter weather. Turns out I have hypothyroid.

Guess what this hypothyroid reckoning does to my mind. Here’s the conversation I had with my doctor. I kid you not.

Me: “Well, now that I know I have hypothyroid, I guess I should mention that I’ve been having trouble swallowing. I read that’s a symptom, too.”

Dr. “Oh.” She pulls out a lab slip. “Well then we better get an ultrasound for nodules.”

Me: “Nodules? Can I die from nodules?”

“No”

“I can’t?”

“No.”

“What is the worse case scenario?”

“If they find nodules, the protocol is to keep a watchful eye on them. If they grow, they’ll likely drain them. But nodules are not deadly.”

“Oh, good, but what about cancer? Could I have cancer? Or did my blood tests rule that out?”

“No. Your blood tests didn’t rule that out. But thyroid cancer is very, very rare.”

My eyes grew super big and I swallowed hard.

Dr. added: “And the cure rate for thyroid cancer is 100%.”

“Oh!” Huge sigh. “Thank you so much for adding that. How long will I have to take the pills?”

“For the rest of your life.”

Long pause.

Me: “But what if the end of the world comes? How will I get my pills?”

 

 

 

 

Side Note: (euphemism for I can’t stop babbling)

Taking into consideration the four types of thyroid cancers, I recently researched, the combined cure rate is only 95%. For better effect, in the writing above, you’ll note, I fearlessly overcame my fear of the word cancer. The title Me in Parts means I feel as if I’ve sorted myself into parts with all my constant sickness analysis. The good news is, I always live like I’m dying.

Day 62: Females with Asperger’s Syndrome (Non-Official) Checklist

I invite you to take a look inside of my book Everyday Aspergers.

Take a look here.

(I just deleted an entire paragraph explaining why I am uncomfortable with self-promotion. I’ll spare you the details!)

Hello All.

I hope you are well during these challenging times.

I am writing to provide a few updates (2020) for anyone who happens upon this page.

My third blog is a bit hard to find, since I changed the domain name. Here is the direct link to Everyday Autistic. My artist’s blog is Belly of a Star.

Here is the Autistic Trait’s List.

Here is my company website Spectrum Suite LLC, which includes 100s of resources and our services page.

Here is a link to one of my Linkedin Articles that will bring you to my profile and some articles there!

My new works include much advocacy for Universal Design in the Workplace, which equates to true inclusivity, where all employees are given opportunity to the same support measures and community engagement, such as the same best-practices interviews, job coaches, support team; not just one marginalized minority, e.g., autistic individuals.

I am working on a book on empowerment on the autism spectrum.

I am my waving from afar, and wishing you so very well! I cannot believe it’s been 8 YEARS!

Feel free to connect on twitter or Facebook.

I’m on the bottom right, in the photo below, speaking at the Stanford Neurodiversity Summit. You can find out what we’ve been up to on the website. Here is a 10 hr.+ video of Day 2 at the Summit!

My book is now available around the world in paperback! Check out Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Everyday Aspergers is an unusual and powerful exploration of one woman’s marvelously lived life. Reminiscent of the best of Anne Lamott, Everyday Aspergers jumps back and forth in time through a series of interlocking vignettes that give insight and context to her lived experience as an autistic woman. The humor and light touch is disarming, because underneath light observations and quirky moments are buried deep truths about the human experience and about her own work as an autistic woman discerning how to live her best life. From learning how to make eye contact to finding ways to communicate her needs to being a dyslexic cheerleader and a fraught mother of also-autistic son, Samantha Craft gives us a marvelous spectrum of experiences. Highly recommended for everyone to read — especially those who love people who are just a little different.”~ Ned Hayes, bestselling author of The Eagle Tree

https://www.book2look.com/book/KRksrIxTxr

Females with Aspergers Non-Official Checklist

By Samantha Craft of Everyday Asperger’s, March 2012

This is a non-official checklist created by an adult female with Asperger’s Syndrome who has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome. Samantha Craft holds a Masters Degree in Education. Samantha Craft does not hold a doctorate in Psychiatry or Psychology. She has a life-credential as a result of being a female with Asperger’s Syndrome and being a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. She has created this list in an effort to assist mental health professionals in recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome in females.

Suggested Use: Check off all areas that strongly apply to the person. If each area has 75%-80% of the statements checked, or more, then you may want to consider that the female may have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Section A: Deep Thinkers

1. A deep thinker

2. A prolific writer drawn to poetry

3. Highly intelligent

4. Sees things at multiple levels including thinking processes.

5. Analyzes existence, the meaning of life, and everything continually.

6. Serious and matter-of-fact in nature.

7. Doesn’t take things for granted.

8. Doesn’t simplify.

9. Everything is complex.

10. Often gets lost in own thoughts and “checks out.” (blank stare)

Section B: Innocent

1. Naïve

2. Honest

3. Experiences trouble with lying.

4. Finds it difficult to understand manipulation and disloyalty.

5. Finds it difficult to understand vindictive behavior and retaliation.

6. Easily fooled and conned.

7. Feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed

8. Feelings of being misplaced and/or from another planet

9. Feelings of isolation

10. Abused or taken advantage of as a child but didn’t think to tell anyone.

Section C: Escape and Friendship

1. Survives overwhelming emotions and senses by escaping in thought or action.

2. Escapes regularly through fixations, obsessions, and over-interest in subjects.

3. Escapes routinely through imagination, fantasy, and daydreaming.

4. Escapes through mental processing.

5. Escapes through the rhythm of words.

6. Philosophizes continually.

7. Had imaginary friends in youth.

8. Imitates people on television or in movies.

9. Treated friends as “pawns” in youth, e.g., friends were “students,” “consumers,” “soldiers.”

10. Makes friends with older or younger females.

11. Imitates friends or peers in style, dress, and manner.

12. Obsessively collects and organizes objects.

13. Mastered imitation.

14. Escapes by playing the same music over and over.

15. Escapes through a relationship (imagined or real).

16. Numbers bring ease.

17. Escapes through counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging.

18. Escapes into other rooms at parties.

19. Cannot relax or rest without many thoughts.

20. Everything has a purpose.

Section D: Comorbid Attributes

1. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

2. Sensory Issues (sight, sound, texture, smells, taste)

3. Generalized Anxiety

4. Sense of pending danger or doom

5. Feelings of polar extremes (depressed/over-joyed; inconsiderate/over-sensitive)

6. Poor muscle tone, double-jointed, and/or lack in coordination

7. Eating disorders, food obsessions, and/or worry about what is eaten.

8. Irritable bowel and/or intestinal issues

9. Chronic fatigue and/or immune challenges

10. Misdiagnosed or diagnosed with other mental illness and/or labeled hypochondriac.

11. Questions place in the world.

12. Often drops small objects

13. Wonders who she is and what is expected of her.

14. Searches for right and wrong.

15. Since puberty, has had bouts of depression.

16. Flicks/rubs fingernails, flaps hands, rubs hands together, tucks hands under or between legs, keeps closed fists, and/or clears throat often.

Section E: Social Interaction

1. Friends have ended friendship suddenly and without person understanding why.

2. Tendency to over-share.

3. Spills intimate details to strangers.

4. Raised hand too much in class or didn’t participate in class.

5. Little impulse control with speaking when younger.

6. Monopolizes conversation at times.

7. Bring subject back to self.

8. Comes across at times as narcissistic and controlling. (Is not narcissistic.)

9. Shares in order to reach out.

10. Sounds eager and over-zealous at times.

11. Holds a lot of thoughts, ideas, and feelings inside.

12. Feels as if she is attempting to communicate “correctly.”

13. Obsesses about the potentiality of a relationship with someone, particularly a love interest.

14. Confused by the rules of accurate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, stance, and posture in conversation.

15. Conversation can be exhausting.

16. Questions the actions and behaviors of self and others, continually.

17. Feels as if missing a conversation “gene” or thought-“filter”

18. Trained self in social interactions through readings and studying of other people.

19. Visualizes and practices how she will act around others.

20. Practices in mind what she will say to another before entering the room.

21. Difficulty filtering out background noise when talking to others.

22. Has a continuous dialogue in mind that tells her what to say and how to act when in a social situations.

23. Sense of humor sometimes seems quirky, odd, or different from others.

24. As a child, it was hard to know when it was her turn to talk.

25. She finds norms of conversation confusing.

Section F: Finds Refuge when Alone

1. Feels extreme relief when she doesn’t have to go anywhere, talk to anyone, answer calls, or leave the house.

2. One visitor at the home may be perceived as a threat.

3. Knowing logically a house visitor is not a threat, doesn’t relieve the anxiety.

4. Feelings of dread about upcoming events and appointments on the calendar.

5. Knowing she has to leave the house causes anxiety from the moment she wakes up.

6. All the steps involved in leaving the house are overwhelming and exhausting to think about.

7. She prepares herself mentally for outings, excursions, meetings, and appointments.

8. Question next steps and movements continually.

9. Telling self the “right” words and/or positive self-talk doesn’t often alleviate anxiety.

10. Knowing she is staying home all day brings great peace of mind.

11. Requires a large amount of down time or alone time.

12. Feels guilty after spending a lot of time on a special interest.

13. Uncomfortable in public locker rooms, bathrooms, and/or dressing rooms.

14. Dislikes being in a crowded mall, crowded gym, or crowded theater.

Section G: Sensitive

1. Sensitive to sounds, textures, temperature, and/or smells when trying to sleep.

2. Adjusts bedclothes, bedding, and/or environment in an attempt to find comfort.

3. Dreams are anxiety-ridden, vivid, complex, and/or precognitive in nature.

4. Highly intuitive to others’ feelings.

5. Takes criticism to heart.

6. Longs to be seen, heard, and understood.

7. Questions if she is a “normal” person.

8. Highly susceptible to outsiders’ viewpoints and opinions.

9. At times adapts her view of life or actions based on others’ opinions or words.

10. Recognizes own limitations in many areas daily.

11. Becomes hurt when others question or doubt her work.

12. Views many things as an extension of self.

13. Fears others opinions, criticism, and judgment.

14. Dislikes words and events that hurt animals and people.

15. Collects or rescues animals. (often in childhood)

16. Huge compassion for suffering.

17. Sensitive to substances. (environmental toxins, foods, alcohol, etc.)

18. Tries to help, offers unsolicited advice, or formalizes plans of action.

19. Questions life purpose and how to be a “better” person.

20. Seeks to understand abilities, skills, and/or gifts.

Section H: Sense of Self

1. Feels trapped between wanting to be herself and wanting to fit in.

2. Imitates others without realizing.

3. Suppresses true wishes.

4. Exhibits codependent behaviors.

5. Adapts self in order to avoid ridicule.

6.  Rejects social norms and/or questions social norms.

7. Feelings of extreme isolation.

8. Feeling good about self takes a lot of effort and work.

9. Switches preferences based on environment and other people.

10. Switches behavior based on environment and other people.

11. Didn’t care about her hygiene, clothes, and appearance before teenage years and/or before someone else pointed these out to her.

12. “Freaks out” but doesn’t know why until later.

13. Young sounding voice

14. Trouble recognizing what she looks like and/or has occurrences of slight prosopagnosia (difficulty recognizing or remembering faces).

Section I: Confusion

1. Had a hard time learning others are not always honest.

2. Feelings seem confusing, illogical, and unpredictable. (self’s and others’)

3.  Confuses appointment times, numbers, or dates.

4. Expects that by acting a certain way certain results can be achieved, but realizes in dealing with emotions, those results don’t always manifest.

5. Spoke frankly and literally in youth.

6. Jokes go over the head.

7. Confused when others ostracize, shun, belittle, trick, and betray.

8. Trouble identifying feelings unless they are extreme.

9. Trouble with emotions of hate and dislike.

10. Feels sorry for someone who has persecuted or hurt her.

11. Personal feelings of anger, outrage, deep love, fear, giddiness, and anticipation seem to be easier to identify than emotions of joy, satisfaction, calmness, and serenity.

12. Situations and conversations sometimes perceived as black or white.

13. The middle spectrum of outcomes, events, and emotions is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. (All or nothing mentality)

14. A small fight might signal the end of a relationship or collapse of world.

15. A small compliment might boost her into a state of bliss.

Section J: Words and Patterns

1. Likes to know word origins.

2. Confused when there is more than one meaning to a word.

3. High interest in songs and song lyrics.

4. Notices patterns frequently.

5. Remembers things in visual pictures.

6. Remembers exact details about someone’s life.

7. Has a remarkable memory for certain details.

8. Writes or creates to relieve anxiety.

9. Has certain “feelings” or emotions towards words.

10. Words bring a sense of comfort and peace, akin to a friendship.

(Optional) Executive Functioning   This area isn’t always as evident as other areas

1. Simple tasks can cause extreme hardship.

2. Learning to drive a car or rounding the corner in a hallway can be troublesome.

3. New places offer their own set of challenges.

4. Anything that requires a reasonable amount of steps, dexterity, or know-how can rouse a sense of panic.

5. The thought of repairing, fixing, or locating something can cause anxiety.

6. Mundane tasks are avoided.

7. Cleaning may seem insurmountable at times.

8. Many questions come to mind when setting about to do a task.

9. Might leave the house with mismatched socks, shirt buttoned incorrectly, and/or have dyslexia.

10. A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming.

11. Trouble copying dance steps, aerobic moves, or direction in a sports gym class.

12. Has a hard time finding certain objects in the house, but remembers with exact clarity where other objects are.

This list was compiled after nine years of readings, research, and experience associated with Asperger’s Syndrome. More information can be found at https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com © Everyday Aspergers, 2012 This non-official checklist can be printed for therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, professors, teachers, and relatives, if Samantha Craft’s name and contact information remain on the print out.

Other Useful Links by Sam Craft:

116 Reasons I Know I have Aspergers

Another Important List of Traits 

1o Myths About Females With Aspergers

Day 57: Losing Your Mind? Here’s What You Don’t Want to Do!

Image found on morgueFile

Losing Your Mind? Here is What You Don’t Want to Do! 

1. Don’t rely on phobias for diagnosis. At one time or another, you probably had: 1) Nomophobia: fear of being without your cellphone; 2) Soteriophobia: the fear of having a dependence on others; 3) Syngenesophobia: the fear of relatives; 4) Ecclesiophobia: the fear of churches.

2. Do not rely on the projective personality test where you are asked to draw a house-tree-person picture, unless you are prepared to know your overall brain damage, your possible rejection of home life, your need for satisfaction, and how you present yourself in society; and, if indeed, you are feasibly psychotic.

3. Don’t read A Course in Miracles quite yet; you might think you are a present-day prophet.

4. Don’t list all of your psychological symptoms on your blog; only the ones that make you seem interesting, quirky, and fun. In other words, avoid discussing the paranoia you sometimes feel when you believe your computer camera has been hacked, and others are watching you pick your nose.

5. Don’t check yourself into a psych-ward, unless you have a high tolerance level for patients who go by the first name of Jack-Off, nurses with bushy eyebrows who scowl and shush you for laughing, and cheesy television shows from the late 70’s like The Chipmunks of North America.

6. Don’t peruse the DSM-IV (diagnosis code book); you’ll likely determine you are narcissistic with rapid-cycling bouts of depression and mania or have the earmarks of oppositional defiant disorder.

7. Don’t see a therapist in training (intern); she’s more confused than you, and still trying to shake off her last frightful bout of DSM-IV, mental-health self-analysis.

8. Don’t trust a psychiatrist, if after fifteen minutes and a short multiple-choice test, he casually says, “Hmmmm. It doesn’t seem like you qualify for this condition. But here’s a prescription I want you to take, just incase.” He’s likely closing in on earning those pharmaceutical credits needed for that trip to the Bahamas.

9. Don’t rely on a fetish search. Depending on your state-of-mind, (and your alcohol intake), you might believe you have: 1) Dacryphilia: an attraction to tears and sobbing; 2) Flatulophilia: an attraction to farts; 3) Liquidophilia: an intense need to submerge your private parts in water; 4) Scatologia: a desire to make obscene prank calls to strangers.

10. Don’t look for signs from beyond. Two hundred blog hits, a sunny day, and a good bowel movement are not signs of sanity.

11. Don’t pull a Tarot Card. You will likely misinterpret the tower of inferno, the fool, and the card with all the daggers.

12. Don’t rely on numerology. It’s the only numerical field where the meaning of the numbers change, depending on context, culture, and interpretation.

13. Don’t think about thinking about thinking, or write about writing about writing, or talk about talking about talking. Just don’t.

14. Don’t Google: I’m nuts. For some reason Justin Bieber shows up.

15. Don’t over analyze that dream about the flying banana slugs attacking the golden-winged big toes.

16. Don’t rely on your mother, your mate, or you mutt. Your mother is your maker, your mate your mirror, and your mutt a mini-you.

17. And lastly, if you had a particular type of brownie, don’t call the emergency room. Wait ten hours, the room WILL stop spinning, your heart will not explode, and you are not crazy.

Disclaimer: If you took this seriously, seek professional help immediately.

Seeking a way out of insanity: Get a good night’s sleep, study the great minds of our time, and read a few pages of someone else’s blog. You’ll soon discover your less insane than you imagined.

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My mom sent me this today. Couldn’t resist. Thinking of you Scooby Angel.

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