Tag Archives: working

Autism and issues with my routine ….

Last week I wrote a blog about my new routine and how it has been helping me get more done, and feel better about myself, and while that’s true it would be misleading to leave it at that, and not talk a bit about some of the things that can, and have gone wrong with it. These are things that have gone wrong this time, but could also go wrong with any routine; so they are not issues with the routine itself, instead they are things that happen that impact on if, and how I can stick to my routine.

Sometimes it`s hard to establish a routine: What I mean by this is that for me if you do something a few days a week it`s not really a weekly routine. So when I plan out what I will be doing on each day of the week (planning to do the same thing each day) and then have to say “ Well not on Wednesday because I have to go out, and not on Friday because I have to go out then too.” It feels like I am not taking the time to get myself set in a new routine. Of course life throws up things you need to do, and I would not be able to stick to the same plan every day of my life, but if I can`t even stick to it for the first week how am I meant to feel like it`s a daily routine? If I only do it a few days each week it`s hardly a routine. The best thing would have been to clear a week, and do my routine each day so that I was in the swing of it then start to change it as, and when it was needed to fit in the other things life throws up. This way I would have been set in my routine, and more able to get back to it if it had to be changed one day.

Missing one part of it can mess up the whole day: If I say I am going to be up at six, work out and start my work by eight, and in fact I do not get up till seven then that can throw my whole day off. Why? You might be asking. I am at home all day after all, so what if I do the same things just an hour or two later than I was planning? And it`s a good point – that would be the smart thing to do. But sometimes it is not as easy as all that. Often I will try to get back on track after something has not gone to plan, and just find myself unable to do so. Try as I might the days where things go wrong early on hardly ever end up going well. If I am going to make a routine work I need to stick to it fully. Something as small as getting up a bit late can throw me off track for the whole day. Perhaps planning to get up as early as I do is the issue? I like to be up early and enjoy working in the mornings, but if I do have the whole day to work with perhaps I am less likely to fail to get up if I plan to get up a bit later? Or perhaps I just need to make sure I get to bed at a better time so I am less tired in the mornings? Either way that issue can be dealt with, but the point is that anything that goes wrong can mess up the whole routine for any given day.

Not having a plan B: Sometimes things will happen that you just can`t control, for example I get hay fever and sometimes it`s pretty bad. Some days it`s normal; just a blocked nose and a bit of sneezing – nothing too bad. Nothing I cant work through. But every now and then I wake up and it`s bad; I am sneezing every few seconds, my head hurts, and I am sweating and burning up. I feel dizzy, and at times like this there is just no point trying to work. It does not happen often, and only ever lasts a day at a time, but when it does it messes up my plans. I spoke about how I need to plan my rest time too in my last blog, or I end up doing nothing, and this ties-in with that. If I find myself waking up unable to do my routine I am often unsure of what to do. Do I try and do it? Do I admit that I can`t and do something else? What else is there to do? If I had a plan B, a back-up plan to be used on days when I can`t stick to my routine this would not be an issue. The plan could be something as simple as “Watch a few episodes of a certain TV show”. That might not sound like much, but when I am overloaded or feeling the impact of a sudden change of routine it`s very hard for me to find something to do. This is in part due to the fact that I don’t want to do anything, and just can`t get exited about doing things when I feel that way. Therefore, if I were to think about watching a T.V. show on the day I would not want to do it, but if it was pre-planned “If I am unable to do my routine I will watch this show” the chances of me forcing myself to do it (and enjoying it) are much higher. This cuts down on the risk of me just sitting around feeling overloaded after a change to my routine.

Having too much free time: Free time is good, and for me it is needed; I don’t like working to a routine where every minute of the day is planned beforehand (some people do, and it`s just a case of what works for you). But I found that I was working until 12 and then the next thing I had planned was to read at nine at night. This meant I had a lot of time to fill. It`s not to say I did not spend any of that time well: I got films watched, I read and I did work around the house, but I do think perhaps giving myself so much free time in the end was not helpful. I could have half that time, and still have a lot of time to relax and do whatever I want to do. Again how much time is planned, and how much is set in the routine will depend on the person, so to a point I am just trying things out to find out what works for me.

So overall I would say my new routine is a good one; it has helped me somewhat, and has definitely made me feel better on the days when it has worked, but it`s far from perfect yet. But that’s OK, as I said it`s about trying things out, seeing what works, what helps and what makes things worse, and coming up with a plan that helps me to get more done and feel better. That takes time and there might be a whole load more things to learn before we get there, but as long as we get there in the end that’s the main thing. And even in the mean-time having some kind of routine, some basic plan for at least parts of my day is helping me do more than I would if I had nothing at all. Things might not have worked out right away, but they hardly ever do and a good routine is something that’s worth taking the time to get right.

You can find my new book here: http://www.jkp.com/uk/communicating-better-with-people-on-the-autism-spectrum-34251.html

If you need any help or advice abut Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?

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And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!)  http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762

Autism, and why I have to force myself to rest …

Lately I have found that I have been canceling more and more things. I have not been going out as much, and often when it has come time to do something I have found myself feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having to go out, and do it. This has led to a strange situation where it seems that I have to cut right back on what I plan to do, in order to be productive.

What I mean by this is that I have reached the conclusion that there is no point in making lots of plans, and then not being able to stick to them. It is much better to cut back, and make clear plans for the week that focus on what I want to do, and feel happy doing, that I am able to stick to. The last few weeks have been hard.  Of course coming on the back of Christmas and New Year, the first few weeks of January are always a hard time for autistics. But they have been so even more this year.  As some of you might know I have had a lot on lately in terms of family stuff – most of it quite emotionally draining, time consuming and unpredictable. I think it`s a build-up of things like this which have ended up in me feeling the way I do.

I seem to constantly be on the point of getting overwhelmed and worn out.  Normally I might have twice the energy I have now, and be able to force myself to go out and about, and do things I don’t want to do.  But now I just don’t.  It seems that lately even doing a small amount is pushing me to the point where I am so overloaded I can’t do anything else.

An overload for those who have never felt it – for me at least – feels like this:

On one hand it seems as if I am full of energy, but at the same time as if I am too weak to do anything.  I feel like I want to plan out everything I need to do, but  my mind slows down so much I can not think clearly to do so.  It feels like a cross between a panic attack, and a metldown.  I feel angry, and yet at the same time worried.  All I want to do is sit there, and yet the less I do the worse I feel about not doing things.

Sometimes I am told to just give stuff a go, and see how it goes.  The thing is, that works sometimes, but not often.  Normally I can tell beforehand if I am going to have the energy to do something. Now I don’t mean that I won`t be able to go out somewhere. I might be able to, but I won`t enjoy it at all, and the impact afterwards could be huge.  And yet for years I have tried to force my way through overloads.  It`s not a smart thing to do, but it`s something I have done anyway.  Now I feel like I understand a lot more about myself, and the best ways of dealing with my overloads.  Right now I am worn out both emotionally and physically.  Therefore there is no point trying to force myself to do the things I don’t feel able to do.

What I am trying to do is cut right down to the point where I am at home most of the time, and only have a bare few commitments each week for the next few weeks.  I want a nice simple routine at home where I know when I get up, and what I do each day.  Not for ever.  Just until I feel I have got back to my normal levels of energy, and ability to go out and do things.  How long this will take I can not tell, but I do know that trying to force myself before I am ready will not help me at all.

You might think that cutting back on going out, and not doing a lot is a bad thing. That it leads to me being isolated and restricted.  Well what I would say to that is `so what?`  If that’s what I want why is it a bad thing?  I don’t want, nor do I think it`s healthy, to get to a point where I never leave my house at all. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with just doing what I know I can handle for a while.  If I use up all the energy I have on going out and doing things I don’t want to do, what am I meant to have left to work on my writing?  Or to do jobs around the house?  Or work-out?  Or anything I really want, or need to do?  At the moment not a lot!  That’s why I am cutting back.  Not so I can do nothing, but so I can do the things I feel I want, or need to do.

If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?

Twitter https://twitter.com/ASKPERGERS

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And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!)  http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762