I’m a terrible complainer. That is, I tend to do it, but then I realize how terrible I sound (to myself), and I have to stop. Some people have no problem announcing their woes to the world, but for me, “if I name it, I own it”. If I can see I’ve got a problem, then it’s incumbent on me to do something about it.
Not everybody feels the same way, and that’s fine. everybody’s different. I just have a really hard time living with myself, when I’m moaning about every little thing.
And every now and then, I do.
So, this year, I’m keenly aware of the approaching holidays and how they have affected me in the past. I don’t want to have to go through it all again — and again — and again. Past years have been so traumatic, and mainly because I wasn’t aware of my issues, and I didn’t manage them properly.
This year is different. I mean, I knew that I was “different” and that certain things bothered me more than other people.
- Loud noises
- Bright lights
- Changes in diet
- Changes in routine
- Interacting with hyposensitive, sensory-seeking family members
- Lots of people talking all at once
- Stressful events like shopping in big-box stores
- Having to choose just the right thing from a large array of stuff
So, basically, the holidays.
They bother me. And they bother a whole lot of other people on the Autism Spectrum.
So, I know this. It’s not news to me. And being even more keenly aware of it, since my formal assessment, this past July/August, it comes even more front-and-center.
And with it comes my responsibility.
I’m big into responsibility. I’m not sure why it’s so important to me. I seem to be surrounded by people who don’t give it a second thought and can’t be bothered with it (maybe because I’m more than willing to be responsible? probably…) But it’s really been the secret to my success throughout life. I have to own my own experience, and if I am aware of something I can manage, then it’s my job to mange it. Especially if not managing it will make me and everyone around me miserable.
I don’t get a “pass” because I’m Autistic. I don’t get special dispensation and license to be an obnoxious asshole because I have difficulties figuring out social interactions and other people’s needs and responses. Since I know I have those challenges, it’s my responsibility to manage my situation so that I’m not an obnoxious asshole.
If I do otherwise, that makes me a sociopath. I’m not a sociopath. I’m not more important than everyone around me, and my personal expression isn’t a higher priority than the well-being of the whole. I’m a part of something larger than myself, and it’s on me to hold up my end of the bargain.
Because I can. Because I’m Autistic. I’m whip-smart in some ways and clueless in others, and that means I have to apply my whip-smarts where required, to keep from being a total effing liability to everyone around me.
Life is hard for everybody. We all have our challenges. Prioritizing my happiness over others’ well-being doesn’t help. At all.
So, that’s the deal with me. I have awareness about my situation, and I have tools to deal with it all. At the very, very least, I have the ability to write down WTF is up with me and sort through it. I have a pretty good sense of where I want to go in life and what outcomes I want from different situations, and if it’s not working out, then I’ll use my super Spidey-sense to ascertain what can be done… and how to do it. And I can certainly follow up afterwards to see what worked, what didn’t, and so forth.
So, enough advance drama. Anxiety doesn’t help me one bit. If anything, it makes it harder for me to function. All across the board. I need to keep focused on what is real, what is in front of me, what is genuinely problematic.
Life is challenging enough, dealing with real situations… why make it even worse by coming up with something new and novel to hassle over… when it might not even happen?
Okay, enough thinking. Time to get on with my day and make the most of my day off. And get prepping for what’s to come.