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Kathy Marshack News

New Location Added for Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD

Monday, December 31, 2012


Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group continues to grow. There are three locations in Oregon: Eastside Portland, Westside Portland, and Beaverton. I am happy to announce that we are moving to California!    


This Meetup will be based in the Los Angeles area, but will rotate to different locations since LA County is so large. The first Meetup will be held in Pasadena on January 26, 2013. The following month, the Meetup will be in Redondo Beach. 


If you are interested in attending, please visit the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD webpage. Don't forget you can also become an online member if there are no meetings in your local area.


I look forward to hearing about the continued success of this group! Click here to read about how to find the right support group for you and your needs. 

Recommendations from Family and Partners of Adults with ASD

Friday, December 14, 2012


Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group was a dream that I had for a long time and it became a reality in 2009. We currently have 474 online members including many from other countries. Our monthly support group meetings are going strong as well as our online message board discussion groups. The stories that pour in are amazing. They are from real people, living a real life as family or partners of an adult with Asperger Syndrome.    


Members online have been sharing resources that they have personally found helpful in regard to being in a relationship with an Aspie. I have decided to share these recommendations through my blog. Who better else to share what works than those who are dealing with it day in and day out?   


I have compiled a few of the recommended resources to share:   


Books


Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work by Katrin Bentley   

No Team Player by Judith Newton   

The Asperger Couples Workbook: Practical Advice and Activities for Couples and Counselors by Maxine Aston   


Websites   

  

Prosper with Aspergers: Autism Facts and Solutions   


The Neurotypical Site   


If you have any recommendations for books, websites, and other Asperger resources, become a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD online support group. I will continue to post these recommendations regularly on my blog. Thank you for your continued support.   


If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join us in person on January 19, 2013 for a discussion on this topic - Should I give up?   


Click here to read additional Asperger Syndrome Recommended Links

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome

Friday, November 16, 2012


Great news! My new book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome, is finished. I wrote this book to specifically address the unique issues that come up when you’re co-parenting with an Asperger Syndrome partner.


In this book, there are extremes on both ends such as poignant stories with deep despair along with progressive thrills of discovery. I focus on the harsh realities that NTs (Neuro-Typicals or without Asperger’s) face when co-parenting with an Aspie. I discuss the NTs’ fears and anguish and losses. I also give you hope and ideas on how to co-parent more successfully. But it is important to recognize that if we don’t reveal the dark side of these relationships, we can’t search for solutions to the all too real problems of the AS/NT family. The last thing I want to do is leave NT parents with the feeling that they are alone. Erasing that aloneness is the first step toward parenting successfully with an Aspie co-parent.

If you’re parenting with an AS partner, I believe you should learn all you can about Asperger Syndrome because information clears up the mystery of the Aspie behavior. This will help you detach from the emotional distress of reacting to those not-so-ordinary moments.

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome will be available very soon. I am eagerly anticipating its release and will keep you updated through my blog and the Enriching Your Life Newsletter.

Until then, please download a free sample chapter! If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join me for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group on November 17, 2012. The topic for discussion is "How to Find and Work with a Decent Psychotherapist." Hope to see you there.

Smartphone Apps for Supplemental Psychotherapy

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Millions around the globe use a smartphone. Smartphones offer a variety of applications, but there is a new wave of apps that caught my attention – apps to help with mental illness. CNN.com posted an article - Smartphone Apps Become 'Surrogate Therapist' - which spoke about this supplemental psychotherapy. 

 

There is a wide array of apps for different mental health illnesses and disorders. Some apps offer mood tracking, positive reinforcement, depression and anxiety screening, goal strategies and much, much more. The cost for many of these applications are either free or just a few dollars. 

 

It is important to remember that if you suffer from any type of mental illness, these applications should never replace psychotherapy. They should only be used in addition to psychotherapy with a trained mental health care professional


I am interested in learning more about these applications. If you have tried any apps and have found them helpful, I would like to hear about them. Please leave a comment with your favorite smartphone app or send an email to info@kmarshack.com

 


Exposing Depression – Should You Go Public?

Friday, September 14, 2012


For a long time, the topic of depression was hush-hush. No one wanted to talk about it. Times have changed. Depression, anxiety, and suicide are finally being exposed to what they really are...a threat! Exposing this threat is liberating and encouraging many to get the help that they so desperately need.

Remember when Catherine Zeta Jones spoke about her battle with Bipolar II disorder? I found her decision to do so courageous. Many other public figures have stepped forward to share their own personal battle with depression. Angelina Jolie, Sheryl Crow, and Patrick Kennedy have all admitted to suffering from depression. CNN's Kat Kinsman decided to open up about her experience with depression in a revealing article entitled Going Public with Depression. She was diagnosed at age 14 and says therapy and having support from others who have depression was her saving grace.

Ultimately, the decision to share your history of depression is up to you. However, this reaffirms that it’s okay to be open about personal struggles. You never know who you may encourage or inspire to seek help. You should never view depression as a negative label.

For more information on depression, visit Overcoming Depression. Depression is treatable! Speak to a mental health care professional today.

Autism's Context Blindness

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Mind blindness has become a common phrased used to explain the lack of empathy exhibited by individuals with autism. It has been used to explain the disconnect between social and emotional cognition. The facts are clear to an individual with autism, but non verbal communication or body language is lost due to mind blindness. Understanding mind blindness has been a critical part to understanding the autistic brain. According to some new research...there may be another type of blindness known as context blindness.

Dr. Peter Vermeulen discusses context blindness is his new book, Autism as Context Blindness. Vermeulen says, "The term context has its own intriguing historical context. Context comes from the Latin word contextus, the past continuous tense of contexere, which means to 'weave' or 'entwine.'" Context shapes our responses to life. For a person without autism (referred to as a neuro-tyical in the autistic world), life is relative or depends on the context. For someone with autism, life is absolute. Absolute is necessary to certain aspects in life, but not when it comes to social interaction.

NT's are always in the process of weaving a tapestry of relationships within relationships. Other people are how we come to know ourselves and our lives. NT's feel bereft without the connecting that is so important to us. Aspies cannot see the forest for the trees.

We will be discussing Context Blindness on September 15, 2012 at 1:00 in Portland, Oregon for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. Until then, pick up a copy of Autism as Context Blindness or click here to read Dr. Vermeulen's article: Autism: From Mind Blindness to Context Blindness. This new light may prove to be ground breaking.

My upcoming book, Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Mind, Out of Sight will discuss context blindness with regard to parenting with an Asperger partner. Click here to read a free sample chapter. 

Caring for Alzheimer's Patients

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Alzheimer's is a devastating disease. The sad truth is that an individual with Alzheimer's will hit a point when they will not be able to function independently. For each person, the situation is different, but the side effects include memory loss, depression, and mood swings.

Being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's is particularly challenging. This is especially true if you are a loved one. You can expect it to be physically and emotionally draining. As hard as it is to think about yourself, you have to. If you don't, you will be in no position to take care of the person you love. Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, get a good night's rest, and make time to be around others. You may not feel that you are up for socializing, but you will need the support. The Alzheimer's Association has a hotline for caregivers. The number is 800-272-3900. Take a look at a previous blog on How To Cope with the Stress of Being a Caregiver.

Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when caring for the needs of someone with Alzheimer's:

- Encourage stimulation both mentally and socially. This improves cognition.

- Regular exercise. Studies show that resistance training is best for improving cognition, but ultimately just do whatever you can to get them moving!

- Beware of alcohol. Certain medications don't mix well with alcohol. Also, because of memory loss, the individual can easily lose count of how many drinks they have had. Over-drinking is a strong possibility.

The article New Research Offers Tips for Alzheimer's Caregivers provides more details regarding the tips I discussed.

Interview in “Everyday Health” – Coping with a Partner’s Asperger’s Syndrome

Friday, July 20, 2012


I was recently interviewed for an article in Everyday Health about Asperger Syndrome and relationships. The article is entitled, "Coping with a Partner's Asperger's Syndrome." I address the unique challenges that this situation creates as well as fours ways to cope when your partner has Asperger Syndrome.

Included in the article are two real life individuals with Asperger partners. Sharing these intimates details requires courage and I applaud them for sharing. There is also a nice plug for our local support group: Asperger Syndrome: Partner's and Family of Adults with ASD.

For more information about Asperger relationships, visit my website - Asperger's & Marriage. My book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? is also available.

Did You Grow Up with a Asperger Parent?

Monday, July 02, 2012


Asperger Syndrome is a high functioning form of autism. This diagnosis can sometimes go unnoticed and the individual is classified as being "different" or "unusual." Times are changing and more and more are recognizing that they either have Asperger Syndrome or that their spouse or parent have Asperger's. Either way, adjusting to this realization is challenging.

Did you grow up with an Aspie parent? How did being raised in an Asperger environment affect you? As a licensed psychologist who specializes in working with neuro-typicals or NT's (a term given to non-Aspie's), I have found this to be a unique situation and I do not mean that lightly. This is especially true of those raised by an Aspie parent. I have found that these individuals feel like they do not fit in the typical NT world or in the Aspie world yet they are sensitive to both. They crave an emotional connection with their parent, but feel convinced that nobody will truly understand who they are. What a conundrum!

You are not alone if you have felt this way before. I am overwhelmed by the response I have received from many NT's with Aspie parents. Connecting with others who have been in your shoes will not only provide comfort in an uncomfortable situation, but may help you to learn more about yourself. Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group is an excellent medium for any who find themselves in this situation. Please join us for our monthly Meet Up if you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area. We will be meeting on July 21, 2012 to discuss what it is like being raised by an Asperger parent. If you are unable to attend, please visit on online page and become a member. The online support is incredible.

For more information on Asperger Syndrome, visit Asperger Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions.

Changing the Stigma Surrounding Mental Disorders and Illnesses

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Even with an increase in understanding, there is still a negative stigma surrounding mental disorders (Asperger Syndrome, ADHD) and illnesses (depression, OCD). Fear, discrimination, and rejection are some of the negative reactions that some have received because of their mental disorder/illness. Because of this, some fail to seek out treatment. Failure do so will only lead to serious consequences like substance abuse, failed marriages, suicide, or even jail.

How can this stigma be reduced? It is important to understand that these disorders/illness stem from the brain. The brain is a highly powerful organ in the body. As is true of any other organ, it doesn't always function properly. What would you do if you had heart disease? Wouldn't you immediately go to a heart specialist and get the right type of treatment and medication to help you heart? Should we view the brain in the same way?

Getting proper treatment is the big step to changing the stigma. Also, remind yourself that you are not the disorder or illness, it is just something you have. For example, if you had diabetes, do you run around introducing yourself as someone with diabetes? Of course not because it is just something you have, it is not who you are. The same should be for whatever your mental situation is. Don't allow it to define you. Yes, accept that it is a part of you, but do not let the idea of it change who you really are.

You are also not alone. Join a support group. You can now find a support group for just about anything. The more supported you feel, the more inclined you will feel to stick with your therapy and treatments. There may always be some stigma surrounding the mental health community, but it is changing. Don't let what others think change what you need to do to be a happier and mentally healthier person.

Contact my office if you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area if you would like to seek help for your mental disorder or illness.


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