Hello Anger.

I’ve had a stressful day at work today. Actually, it’s been a really stressful week and I am kind of pissed off right now.

I’ve had to put up with full-days of being stuck in a room with collegues, back-to-back meetings about business challenges and software solutions. The sessions have intense, with an insane mix of people from all over the business.

As you can imagine, there’s been a few egos in the room and a few uncomfortable moments. Scenarios like, someone will say something weird / cryptic / irrational or thrown some kind of shade at me. Every time without fail, I am left there, autistically dumbfounded, trying to unlock some kind of secrect code to decypher “what-ever-the-fuck” that was all about.

It takes me a while…I need time to process the information so I can decide whether I should be confused, frustrated or just plain fucking angry.

And like, how fucking dare they give me shade.

Seriously fucking why?!

Have they no fucking idea how hard it is for me, an ADHD person to sit in this same spot for hours on end AND try to stay focused for long enough, so I can do my fucking job.

I am locked in a room with a group of people who have no appreciation about how much effort it takes to act normal. To stop myself fidgeting. To follow the pace of the conversation so I don’t talk out of turn. To stop myself stimming and chewing my fucking cuticles to the bone till my fingers bleed.

Through all of this I am battling the urge excuse myself, walk out the room and run as far away as possible because the alternative is I might just fucking scream.

I have to hide the fact that actually, I just want to say to people:

Please stop getting offended because I disagree with you on something. You don’t have to be “right” all the time. I am impaired and you are making it REALLY difficult for me to do my job. This is not about you.

Please be polite and notice how I am trying to be polite to you, even though you have been unreasonable towards me. I am impaired and it’s SUPER hard for me to control my impulses. The least you can do is try a little bit.

Please be kind and please care about me because I am impaired.

But you don’t understand my impairments and you won’t understand, because you don’t care.

So you won’t be kind or polite and you really really need to be right. So eventually I will totally lose my shit, and then I’ll scream at you. Then everything will be a mess and I won’t be able to fix it.

Fucking why??!!

Hello Anger.

I don’t know who to trust

I recently got involved with an adventure activity company. I have been on a few trips so far and I can sincerely say that they are a lovely bunch. I was asked by the owner to help out as a volunteer and in return I can come along to all of his events for free.

I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my life.

This is such good news for me because I don’t have many friends who enjoy outdoorsy activities. Normally I do things on my own which is risky and I am prone to taking unnecessary risks and getting lost. I have’t had anything awful happen (a couple of near misses) but this way, I will get to do what I love and meet new people, in a much safer environment.

As I spend more time with the group, I’ll be getting to know them better and at some point someone will want to know more about me. At some point some of the icky things about my life will come up in conversation. If they ask about my relationship status I’ll be struggling to find an answer that is authentic and appropriate.

I don’t want to talk about surviving domestic abuse, or how I’ve been spending my time with the various health professionals, victim support providers and the criminal justice system (which is taking up a lot of time and head space at the moment).

People are trying really hard to get to know me and I’m struggling to gloss over all the shit that I’m going through. It’s getting harder to avoid the icky topics, in a way that is kind and friendly.

Also I’m worried about “oversharing”. Ever since I can remember, people have pointed out that when I get talking about myself I tend to over-share, which is a bad thing. I am told that it can be inappropriate or awkward for other people.

Getting this feedback from people is really embarrassing for me.

Oversharing also leaves me vulnerable, I’ve been told.

Apparently I have weak boundaries.

It is common knowledge that over-sharing of personal information is a classic ADHD thing (AKA impulse control issues). And we know that for people on the Autism spectrum, it’s down to having under-developed social skills.

So as an Autistic ADHDer, it is extra difficult for me to say the right things at the right time. I’m high functioning and reasonably self-aware, so I’ve found ways to rein it in, but it takes ALOT of effort and only works to a point.

It is much easier if I just avoid talking about myself. The best way I can describe how I do this is, I build this invisible wall around me and I don’t open up to anyone outside the wall. This feels safe but it doesn’t really work because once the seal is broken then all the icky stuff pours out and I don’t know where to draw the line.

I’m not sure what is “too much information”.

In my current place of work, it took me about a year to have an honest conversation about my personal life with my colleagues. It was a really big deal to them that I opened up finally. Now I wish I hadn’t shared some things because people use your icky stuff to make fun of you.

“We know all about your track record with men, ha ha ha!”

It really hurts when they do that – but they tell you it’s harmless fun. But it still hurts.

I have to say that as I get older, I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable talking about myself to strangers. It’s even worse when someone shows a genuine interest in me. If someone I don’t know starts asking personal questions I actually find myself freaking out a bit.

I know, in theory, that there is a balance to be had – especially with people that you work with.

I say too much. I don’t say enough.

I just can’t get the balance right. I don’t know how to be social and share little bits about myself in a way that’s friendly and appropriate (i.e. how humans should behave).

On the other extreme, if I really like the person (which equates to, we have similar traits and vulnerabilities) then I will open them straight away – usually because I want to make them feel understood, accepted and supported.

Usually it’s because I want to help.

I know, in theory about bad people masked as victims or tortured souls.

I know in theory, that I shouldn’t open up and trust people, purely on the basis that they are nice to me.

The reality is, I don’t have any reliable measures to keep myself safe. I don’t know who to trust.

I let the wrong ones in.

I don’t know how to fix this.

Routines make me feel safe

img_1630-1

This morning I was very nearly late for my PT session. I train with my PT on the same days each week at 6am, like clockwork.

I’m autistic and I like routines. Routines make me feel safe.

For a while I stopped my morning routine of getting up about 5/5:30am to train. The reason being was that my ex didn’t want his sleep to be disturbed and so I wasn’t allowed to set my alarm earlier than his.

So I changed my routine to train in the evenings after work – which is absolute carnage. If you are a neuro-typical gym goer then you will understand what it’s like to have to wait for equipment and suchlike. On top of all that hassle, there’s how it affects my Autism. I find it really disconcerting when there’s lots of people in the gym. The noise, the atmosphere – it’s really draining and by the end of it I want to go home and sit in a dark room. My head is thumping and my ears are ringing and my heart feels like it’s going to explode.

Training in the mornings is so lovely. It’s quiet, relaxing and actually, a kind of “escape” from the monotony of life.

Also, waking up and having to go straight to work is somewhat depressing. And I found that having a few hours in the morning for myself, for training and self care really works for me. I gave that up for him-for short time, but long enough for it to have an impact on me.

He has been out of my life for nearly a month and a half, but my body clock is still off. I know this because I really struggled this morning. I set about 10 alarms and I’m pretty sure I slept through most of them. My eyes opened at 5:40, I jumped out of bed, threw some clothes on and jumped in the car – arrived at the gym ready to be beasted by exactly 6am.

I have to say that I was impressed by that myself but couldn’t help notice another thing that is “off” with me at the moment. I noticed how painfully guilty I felt about sleeping through my alarms, letting them ring out.

He is now completely irrelevant yet, I still felt a moment of dread this morning. It was as if he was right there, in my bed with me. I imagined him quietly seething about my lack of consideration and I would have to face the consequences of that.

So yeah theres clearly a fair amount of residual, unhealthy doctrine from the past that I need to let go of. But letting go is going to be hard for me.

After-all, I am autistic and I like routines. Routines make me feel safe.