0 Blogging About Autism: Planning to Enter the Outside World

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Planning to Enter the Outside World

In my efforts to fight the effects that delays in processing and problems with transitioning from one task to the next have on my everyday life. I have some things in my schedule that I do to try and get daily tasks completed in a more efficient time. Regardless of how hard I try, I am usually still hours behind where I would ideally be.


Over Prepping

 I always have duplicates of the products I rely on and the problem with that is our bathroom is small and all of the bottles are running out of room in which to be stored in. Lifting one of the bottles often causes them all to come crashing down because of my clumsiness (which I know is also a side effect of one of the things in the mixed bag of hell that autism unleashes on my life,) and problems with organisation. I leave reminders when things are close to running out to restock them. If I did run out of those I don't feel like I would be able to function. I have found them through a process of fear about trying them when they were new to becoming comfortable with using them and then never wanting to use anything else. If I use something else I have to go through that fear cycle of convincing myself it will be ok and then the fear afterwards that something might happen to me because I used something new.


I have all of these things that  I have to do because I can't feel calm until I have done them. I have to wash my hair every single time it gets rained on because I don't feel ok until I do. Why is that? I have absolutely no idea but until I have washed my hair I feel absolutely dreadful and even depressed and grumpy. If I forget that my hair has been rained on the depressed feelings still loom over me until I recognise that is why and wash my hair. I think it might be because the feeling of my hair changes after the rain hits it and I am sensitive to those changes but I really can't pinpoint it for certain.

 For example, if I am wearing something and it's not comfortable. I am unable not to be completely distracted until I change clothes and I cannot resume normal day to day life in the sensory overloading clothing. Something can be bothering me sensory wise and I can't even tell what it is and I think that's because a lot of things do at once. Socks are one of those things that really bother me and it can become very hard to not be overwhelmed by how they feel on my feet. Being too warm is uncomfortable but  I only remove layers when dizziness sets in. I need a very obvious sign that I am too warm before I act on it.

Doing For Me Vs Doing For Others

 I find it ridiculously hard to complete tasks that are specifically about or for myself. Like my morning routine, for example, things, like getting dressed, showering and even washing my hair and using the products like shampoo then conditioner and then remembering to dry myself afterwards can all lead to a meltdown if the sequence doesn't go to plan. I sometimes wonder how much of the drying part is about forgetfulness or if it's a subconscious decision to avoid it because I hate the feeling of the towel against my skin.

I often feel like one of the robots that I learned to program in primary school. To use them I entered the command of C1 or D2 for example. Once the command was entered the sequence could be completed by the robot. I complete my sequencing via lists and pre-planning. It can be hard when the sequence doesn't go as predicted because I then go into shutdown or meltdown and both of those take time to recover from.

If I have a task to do for someone else it is different for some reason.  If I have to leave the house to do it there is always massive delay or getting up extra early to ensure I am ready and to allow for all of the panic attacks and meltdowns that can occur beforehand. When my sister was at work and she asked me to check on my niece. I was able to get ready to leave my home reasonably fast to see if she was ok.  I was still dressed and didn't have to start getting ready to leave and mentally prepping myself for the outside world all over again because it was already done that day.

Even on cheat day when my husband and I go out to eat something, I  still usually take hours to be ready to leave the house even though eating my favourite foods without counting calories is a bonus on leaving. The outside world drains me from all angles and is pretty difficult for me to be in. Sounds, feelings, sensations, questions that arise following conversations that don't make sense to me.

Decisions

Even just deciding what to eat can have me in tears because of delayed processing and problems with choosing between multiple things. I can take days, weeks or longer to make decisions if there are multiple choices.

If I ask for help in regards to information about something and someone gives me multiple possible outcomes to a situation I am absolutely screwed. I can't pick which of those multiple things applies to my situation. I need things to be so obvious and I need the multiple choices to be removed. Choices cause me levels of distress that I don't even understand because I don't even know why they do.

 If someone asked me to do something for them I would dedicate unlimited hours to doing it for them without even thinking to schedule in a break and probably spend so long on it I would lose sleep but I must schedule around my autism and my coping mechanisms and  I need those coping mechanisms to exist in this world. Washing my hair after it rains, wearing the same colours on days when I can't be flexible and those are pretty often. Asking my husband if all of the plugs are off in our flat on leaving and every time we leave. Or asking if our windows are locked because we live next to the main road and I don't want our cat to get out and be run over.

I need to ask those questions each time I leave and I need to hear the reassuring answer because even if I personally turned the lights off once I walk out of the room my mind goes blank.

Taking hours to do things that take people 10 minutes and many more things like those mentioned are all very draining and yet necessary for me and aren't things I can change. I don't know exactly what it is that tells me I am finally ready to enter the outside world or which routine signals the end of them all but I know that until I get to that endpoint I can't.

 I have tried for a very long time to overcome them but I guess I need them as much as I need air.



The Effects

If little accidents like banging into things and sending things crashing down happened less regularly it would probably be easier to deal with because anyone can be clumsy. It's not less often thought it's a frequent occurrence and those things combined with struggling to button up clothes or not being able to tie my own shoes cause me significant frustration and distress. There are lots of mini-mental battles every day just to get the simplest of things done and its draining. Being autistic feels like there is a vampire who is constantly sucking all of my energy.

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