At 40 years old, I found out that I might have been having a neurological condition, though I cannot (yet) afford an official assessment and diagnosis. In the meantime I shall call this condition “AS”. I spent time reading about “AS” and it made me realise that the signs and symptoms were prevalent throughout my life. It is like these writers know exactly how I have been living my life though we have never met before. I start this “Weirdly Wired” series to document about my life experiences with the symptoms which all these while I thought were “normal”.
I actually skipped a week from blogging a post in this series. Simply because I don’t know how to say. I know what is in my head but I don’t know how to put them in words. This year I have stopped masking and I feel so much more at ease. Life has been more peaceful. I am still upset by people who create, spread and believe in slanders but I let God handle them because I don’t have the means to settle with them. I have also been talking less. The past weeks I was placed in spots where I have to speak. Speaking without masking, preparing thoughts and scripts are difficult. I know what it is in my head but it is very hard to relay them verbally. So will the contents in this post. I hope it will be easy to understand.
Today’s topics is about “Routines”.
People with “AS” generally like things to be in specific order, routines and habits. I thought it was just normal. I cannot stand messy people. But I also understand the mess in my head with information overload. And also I cannot articulate them so, let it just be then.
I also realise, that a logical reason behind these routines and order is because of anxiety when things do not go to plan or when any random thing crops up. Again, I thought I was just being ready and prepared and the obsession to be prepared for anything, but apparently it is more prevalent with people diagnosed with “AS”.
Common signs and symptoms of ASD in adults can include: Reliance on daily routines and difficulty dealing with change.
A Tendency Toward Following an Established Routine
Individuals with "AS" typically prefer structure, and they tend to follow the same routines day in and day out. When schedules are altered or disturbed in any way, it can often lead to much greater discomfort than it would for someone who does not live with "AS". When interacting with adults with "AS", it is important to remember that structure equals comfort for them. Helping them keep their schedules intact will go a long way in earning their trust, as well as being reliable and consistent.
Adults with "AS" may have a structured sleep/wake routine, household chores, and daily living routine, and a structured routine when out in the community. For example, when driving to run errands, they may only drive on certain roads, go to only specific stores, and once in the store, have a very planned route they take to gather their items. If something was to deter them from doing something as planned, it tends to be difficult, especially for those on the spectrum.
Being able to successfully deviate from schedules and effectively handle transitions is something that can be improved upon with therapy and practice. Adults with "AS" benefit from visuals, reminders, and backup plans regarding managing daily schedules.
So in my whole life, I have been having routines without me realising. I do realise I get upset when I cannot plan for anything or I don’t know what I am expecting. I thought it is normal for everyone. I would look at timetables and calendars over and over again just to keep my anxiety low by mentally preparing myself for the activities ahead. Any random happenings, I will get extremely upset.
Some things like, a cancellation of plans or missing items or malfunctioning item or people not adhering to schedules and timings, etc. I particularly hate the randomness of the army. Seriously I only survived the army because I was living for the “book outs” and finishing the service in one piece. I was always very upset in the army. I have no respect for my higher ranked superiors if they behave with overbearing sense of regimental authority because of their ranks. If I didn’t think of my book outs, I would definitely beat them up. Especially when they keep giving random orders just because it is “the army” and we have to always “expect the unexpected”.
Ok so basically I live by routines. Planned routines. People say, how can I be a routined person if I am a freelancer?
To be honest, I am very bad with people (Supposedly just like many others with "AS" due to our difference in social thinking and perceptions) and I do not like to take orders. I actually enjoyed working in the library almost 20 years ago. I enjoyed the routine. But I cannot understand the people. I don’t understand why simple things are always made difficult and no one would listen to me. If I am tasked in a place or department where I can work alone and not mix with people, I would have enjoyed myself there and I can do the same thing over and over again forever.
So I became a freelancer. Yes it is not routined like an office job routine, but I make sure that I stick to the same plans, same jobs, same people all the time. I would plan my calendars and stick to it religiously. Any new addition to a filled calendar will be rejected. My calendar is not fluid. You cannot change the appointments and the times allocated for anything in there, and this includes my rest and recreation time.
And also, I am very loyal worker. If I like the place that I am working at, I will stay there and continue working and would not even feel that the years has passed. I will enjoy the routine even though I am a freelancer. I will be there for years. I am only not there now because one company closed down. I was very upset about it and still enjoy the memories of that place. As of other places, I am only not there anymore simply because I cannot work with the people. I love the jobs, I cannot with the people.
The current place that I am working at is also an enjoyable job. The people have been unpleasant the past 3 years but I have been enduring their shit because I love the job. Once the contract ends, I don’t know if I would stay there, unless something is done about the people there because I can really do this job until I die. It is always the people who is the problem.
Unfortunately for me, I am not adaptable to changes, so if I do stop working there, I wouldn’t know where and what else to do.
This is also mentioned in a post I read about “AS”:
A study on services and outcomes in autistic adults showed that 27% of “AS” participants were unemployed. “AS” adults may also have more limited options for support services than “AS” children. In the same study, 25% of “AS” participants reported not getting enough support services.
I think they are having the same problem as me. We cannot live with people. People do not understand us. We cannot adapt to changes. We hate the change in routines. We don’t know what kind of jobs can we do.
With that, it makes sense that my things are always in some order. Some things may look messy to others but I know exactly how I arrange them. I know where they are. I know where to look for them. These things in my drawer, my table, my cupboard, my bags, my shoes, my clothes, etc.
I get upset when they are moved without me knowing. Especially when my mother “cleans up” my room and rearrange my things. Many times even until today I would feel like screaming and crying when I cannot find my things that were rearranged. I am so determined to get my own house because of this. Even though that thing is nearby, or placed in another drawer or placed at the side of the table or anywhere in my not so big room. I would really really get very upset. It is more upsetting knowing that I have to suppress it and not show any signs of it. So I will just perspire and breathe hard and controlling my breathe and anger while looking for the things. They would still be in my room somewhere but I will still feel very very upset. A few minutes of my time has been wasted searching for these things that I usually know where they are. These few minutes wasted would affect my routine and my timings.
NEXT WEEK : CONNECTION WITH SPECIFIC OBJECTS
Categories : Weirdly Wired
Web logs of art activities on a regular basis (hope).