Help, I'm Alive
Greetings & Salutations
Hello and welcome to my little corner of cyberspace.
I've managed to get by these last 46 years with the brains in my head and the skills I've gained just by living in a world that was not designed with someone like me in mind. I hope you'll learn something new as I share the story of how I learned that I was autistic, have ADHD, and Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and a bunch of other conditions, at the tender age of 44.
Hi, I'm Shelli and I absolutely love that picture you see of me on the left, or above, if you're on a mobile device. When I turned 40 in 2017, I decided that I wanted to do a fun cake smash photo shoot. My friend Jen, who is also a photographer, loved the idea and gifted me a photo shoot. Click here to see the whole album and here to check out Jen's website.
Many things have changed since those photos were taken on that overcast day in March 2017. For starters, I do not drink beer anymore. In fact, I rarely drink alcohol at all. I cannot say I abstain completely as I still have a glass of wine or one of those seltzers or a margarita every now and then. But my relationship with alcohol changed forever in 2021, and that is probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
In 2017, I started working full time again after a four year break. In early 2018, I got roped into joining a board of directors for a local nonprofit, which ultimately led to me testifying in court. That experience inspired me to go to graduate school. I earned a masters degree in forensic studies and graduated summa cum laude in August 2020. I got a full time job, again.
My brain broke. Not literally, obviously, though sometimes I wonder. In October 2020, after a stressful evening with family, something inside me fundamentally changed. I could no longer tolerate things that I used to work so hard to endure. Lights were now always too bright. Sounds were just a little too loud. People were too...peopley. Less than one month after that night in October, I quit my dream job that I had only just started three months prior at Maryland's Office of Legislative Audits.
I didn't know it then, but I was on my way to living a life I couldn't even imagine. Check out the links below to join me on my adventures. Wanna get in touch? Email me. Sometimes I reply to emails.
My Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome diagnosis led me to meet some wonderful people and embark on an exciting journey into advocacy and content creation.
As someone with chronic pain, I struggled to find relief with over the counter and prescription medications. Maryland legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2014 and dispensaries opened to patients in 2017. I became a medical cannabis patient in 2020.