When people argue; Panic

It’s incredible the flood of anxiety I feel when people begin to argue.

These two people do not shout. These two people do not throw things. These two people do not hurt animals. These two people do not give each other the silent treatment later or love each other any less tomorrow.

But they do get intense with their voices. One of them is forceful and the voice raises, not in volume but in pitch. The other gets forceful and uses “YOU” statements that I find very rude. “YOU” are not listening. “YOU” have switched what you are arguing.

These arguments always end peacefully and they love each other the same immediately after. For them, the effects are null. They argue. They debate. It’s part of what they do. Frankly, I would go so far as to say it is part of who they are as people.

But for me, the effects are longer lasting. I will be afraid of them for days. It was not directed at me; nobody is arguing or debating with me. I have already put in my noise-isolating headphones and escaped up the stairs. I have already blared music directly into my earbuds.

But the flooding of anxiety is so strong and so immediate. It’s an emergency for me, when two people argue. It is danger. It is red alert. It is unpredictable and unsafe.

They will not hurt me. The worst either of them could do to me, based on who they are and what I have seen, is to use an insulting tone of voice and say “YOU” don’t understand what I am trying to say. Or something like that. That’s the worst I’ve seen or heard from them.

But my body goes straight to fear. My body says, the monsters have surrounded me. I am prepared to run. I am prepared to hide. I am prepared to face the streets in the dark at night amongst strangers. I am prepared to kill to protect myself.

My intestines prepare to evacuate immediately. I need to run. Outdoors. I need to be one speck in an infinite darkness, alone. Unknown. Safer.

Instead, I am trying to prep for bed. I brushed my teeth. I’m listening to my music, blaring into my ears. I can hear the voices. They are calm but still firm. It’s only a difference of opinion and grilling over various scientific studies to prove one side or the other. My shoes and coat were already on (because me and one of them were about to go on a very short walk). I am ready; I want to run. I could take anxiety medicine that will help me sleep. It’s been 30 minutes, right? I could take off my shoes and coat without offending. … Or I could slip past and go on a jog into the darkness.

Close friends (no)

I’m assuming it’s mostly the Asperger deal but this lack of close friendship is killing me right now. I’m going through a lot internally and I feel so terribly lonely. I wish I had someone to go on walks with, and bike rides. I was bicycling nearly the whole day today, and it was lovely and beautiful and felt good physically, but I’ve entered into a depression as of late and things are pretty hard because of that.

A Brief Update (and a single picture, for now)

imageI couldn’t let you know ahead of time but I went Home (my parents and dog) recently. I’m back home (bf, school) now but I made it and it was wonderful. I can’t say much tonight; I’m going to go to bed very shortly.

There was much skiing and walking and such. I mean much. Every day.

So now that I’m back, I don’t want to lose that momentum. So I went to the bike shop after school yesterday and got my bike all fixed up (there were some things wrong). I also bought yet another lock. Two, actually. One is just to hold my seat on. The other is a fricking expensive but light-weight u-lock for my frame. City living…

So I biked to school today. That was pretty rough. I had to walk two hills on the return trip. It was a total of 9 miles and not flat enough for me. And my anti-persperant definitely couldn’t hold up… Plus I had jogging class. Apologies to the folks who sat near me at the tutoring center today.

It’s hard to be away from my parents and my dog. It’s interesting what kinds of things I have such strong emotional attachments to and what I can now part with. I parted with some more clothing. Even a black sweatshirt I had held onto for maybe close to two decades even though it had shrunk and was too small for me. But for many years, it held sand from an old Hawaii trip in its pockets, even after numerous washes. It was very sentimental for me. But I was able to part with it.

Then there were things in my childhood bedroom that had been rearranged and I was actually able to rearrange certain things, too. That’s pretty big for me. Certain shelves had to be kept in a certain arrangement or else I would experience intense anxiety due to OCD. It would feel that my luck would change and I would get terminally ill or those I loved could get terminally ill or injured. But it was not so bad this time around.

That is not to say I was able to part with all sorts of things. There is still so much I’m hanging onto and I wish I could let them go. But I won’t despair; it seems that things have been getting a little easier each time. So perhaps next time I am there, I can part with a few more things. And so on.

Anyway, I really need to go to sleep. One thing I did not get a lot of was good-quality sleep. For one thing, I was sometimes very sore and didn’t take pain medicine and thus didn’t sleep well. For another, there was a headboard I wasn’t used to and kept bonking my head into it.

Oh, but being with my parents and dog was WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WONDERFUL. There is so much I could say and tell about.

BOO on the Textbook Publishers who are refusing to enable Text To Speech!!!

BOOOO!! I say, very poorly done, textbook publishers. You were given the “yes” option to enable Text To Speech in your recent textbook editions and you CHOSE to disable the feature. You didn’t just ignore the question — you CHOSE to deny folks from being able to read your textbooks with our ears.

I’m talking to you right now, Cengage Learning.

Here, I’ve sent off my cranky request to them:

“I am a student with reading disabilities. I wanted to rent my textbooks through Amazon’s website this semester. But your books say there is no Text-To-Speech enabled. What can I do about this? I cannot get through a textbook using my eyes. I need my ears.

Must I rely on the Disability Support Services of my school to scan each page of my textbook for me, run it through their own software, and hand me back the audio CD, when it is right there in front of me, in your e-text content, if only you would enable the TTS ability?

If I rent a textbook through your CourseSmart site, will the TTS be available? How do I know?

Thank you,
[innerdragon]”

Assistive Technologies for READING (with your ears)!!!!!

There are some truly amazing technologies out there to help a person READ (or in my case, to HEAR-read).

I want to share a couple of my searches with you guys.


  1. First of all, there is the smart phone voice itself. I can only describe this from the perspective of an iPhone user — but it is quite easy with the iPhone. Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > And you will find all sorts of wonderful options here!! You can turn on features to speak highlighted text to you, and/or you can turn on a “2-fingered swipe” down from the top of your phone screen to automatically read aloud whatever text is on your screen!! (I LOVE IT.) And most importantly, to me, you can adjust the speed of the voice, and the gender, and even the accent they use! Personally, I find the male voice for U.K. English the least distracting/easiest to follow for me.
    When I 2-finger-swipe down from the top of the screen, a very easy menu pops up so I can adjust the speed of the reading even while it’s reading to me. I can also pause and rewind and such. Fabulous invention.


  2. Next up, I have only tried a couple of apps so far that will READ ALOUD whatever text you happen to have laying around!!! Say you are trying to read a book — you can just use your smartphone, open up this app (my favorite so far is called TurboScannerOCR), and use it to snap a picture of the book page. Then you have the option of adjust the boundaries of the page you want read (for example, maybe you only want a single paragraph read to you, not the whole thing). Then you click OCR on the app, and it turns the picture into text — editable, savable, READ-ALOUD-ABLE words. I am then just 2-finger-swiping down my screen and voilà! It’s all read aloud to me!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!

    This app is FREE and you don’t have to upgrade to use it!!! I personally did pay $2.99 to remove the ads, however, because I love the app so much. I am planning on using it to read aloud any part of my upcoming textbooks that I will need help getting through this semester!!!


  3. This one doesn’t count — it’s not for ear reading. But I want to mention this here really quickly anyway. There are other devices that can help. I wish I’d had this in grade school — I have the “Rivers” reading disorder and this would have been SO wonderful. As it was, I improvised for myself eventually by using a sheet of paper above and below the line of text I was reading. But look at this! Too perfect! And actually, I would still find this useful today. I usually get lazy and use my own hand to block text below the line I’m reading, but this is fabulous and colored layouts are supposed to be useful for some people. This one’s about $20.

    They do come in other colors from other companies, however, and some are only a few dollars (but do not block as much text). There are many options out there — even colored tapes that you can lay down to make your own sort of line highlights as you read.


  4. The Intel Reader, sometimes marketed for people with Dyslexia but also good for other vision/reading issues, looks fabulous. It’s is the most portable I’ve found of these types of devices. It basically snapshots your paper, book page, whatever, turns it to text, and reads it to you. It also displays it on the screen and you can increase the font size or whatever you need to do. This picture doesn’t show how small and basically awesome it is. I watched a video on it in use and it’s pretty amazing. BUUUT it’s going to run you at LEAST $500.


  5. Reading pens. These look just super cool, and SO portable and usable. I’m hesitant to buy one, however, just because it’s only able to “read” the line you’re scanning, obviously. I can’t imagine wanting to go over every line of my textbook like this. I wanted something that can snapshot the whole page and read it aloud to me. But for smaller things or daily things, wouldn’t this be awesome??? I think they’re going to run you like $200. Of course, these have really cool features, like you can look up a word you don’t understand right then and there. It is a dictionary and can give synonyms and all kinds of neato stuff! Some can translate English to Spanish. I’m not sure about other languages.


  6. Now for the ones I wish I could afford because they’d be so EEAASSYY to use once set up!!!!! I mean, check this sucker out. Just set down your book and boom. Text to speech (and magnified or highlighted text on the screen, if you wish to eye-read along). And BOOM, minimum $1700, sometimes MORE.There are other devices along this same line, but they’re all very expensive like this one.

So that’s my list for today!!!!! I think this covers the basic gist of the assistive technologies that I would personally find really useful and great. ENJOY!!!!!