I had agreed with Sneha to attend the DisAbility Summit at Chapman University on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016. I had not read any of the literature I received about the event because I figured I was doing it for work and there would not be focus on any certain disability, even Autism/Aspergers in which we specialize. I value my internship at Spectrum Success & will do everything it takes plus more to keep it.
Like most people with Autism/Aspergers, I have sensory issues. The mattress on which I sleep is SO HARD! I purchased a 1-inch memory foam pad for it on December 7th, 2015 but it does not help much. Having to keep that OLD, STINKY mattress in a bag allows any sheet I put on it to move around a lot & bunch up under me, so I actually sleep in a sleeping bag on the bed. I plan to save up $1,000 to buy a full-size Sleep Number® mattress for the bed in my trailer in the summer of 2017. My first thought was that I could have it in December of 2016 if I scrapped my plan to use The Snuggle Buddies professional snugglers in July & November of 2016. That resulted in a significant upset, and, in turn, loss of sleep from 3AM forward. Often times in the summer my trailer is so hot at night, and the air conditioner noise would keep me awake too, so I often don't sleep well in the summer unless HEAVILY medicated.
The Snuggle Buddies describe themselves as a platonic companionship service. FAQ #10 is “Do we have to just cuddle?” and the answer is NO, that you can do any platonic activity whether it involves touching or not. Considering the fee of $80/hour + $15/hour for gasoline for the snuggler to drive to your home, I don’t know why anyone would make an appointment for any purpose other than platonic touch. When I discovered this service, I was excited because I know my dating difficulties are likely to last a lifetime. I have been researching the NEED for touch for 11 years & counting. An hour-and-a-half appointment with one of The Snuggle Buddies’ professional snugglers would be enough time for us to mutually exchange foot massages & snuggle. During our snuggle we both remain fully clothed and do not kiss at all. Just three hour-and-a-half sessions per year will be all I can afford, but it will at least prevent my depression from causing suicidal ideation despite my dating difficulties. Though I have the option to apply for a job as a professional snuggler, I’m afraid it would worsen my dating difficulties. Besides that, they require you to have a valid driver’s license & a dependable vehicle, neither of which I have nor do I plan to obtain. I currently feel that educating others on the need for touch is my strongest passion, but with the means that I have, it may be a better option to complete the training to become a Certified Cuddle Party Facilitator and bring back the Orange County Cuddle Parties. The previous facilitator stopped hosting them before I moved to the area, so attending them is not an option for me.
When I'm tired, I'm so irritable that doctors want to heavily medicate me and everyone is uncomfortable around me. People even accuse me of being "threatening" despite me NOT saying I want to harm them physically, and even assuring them that I do NOT want to harm anyone physically. So, I just have to isolate myself when I haven't slept well so that I don't alienate anyone.
In the Autism/Asperger's community, I may be in a minority when I reveal my cravings for physical affection. I used to have a friend who always hugged me for a minimum of 20 seconds, but most of the time up to a full minute. She has been struggling with her depression to the point she can't even get out of bed and drive to Wellness Center Central in Orange, CA where we met. We both see the same psychiatrist, who has recommended a med change for her, but she hasn't yet accepted that med change. I need a new friend, preferably friends plural, who give me 20-second hugs, which are said to be more beneficial than shorter hugs. I need to always have at least one friend who gives me 20-second hugs, whether I have a romantic partner or not. Due to societal norms about intimacy, this friend would ideally be female.