January 16, 2021

The pain of change

By rosieweldon

I need absolutes.

They are integral to my functioning.

When I have a plan, it becomes hard wired into my brain. It becomes an integral part of how my mind works.

Look at how that plan is hard wired in, wired so absolutely into my brain. That is the only way my brain can encompass a plan. It embodies it, within the very functioning of my mind.

Imagine that plan is ripped out.

It is psychologically painful. I am fighting tears as I write this, just thinking of the pain it causes. It hurts.

That child screaming and having a ‘tantrum’ because you changed the plan? They are dealing with that reaction. You rip that plan out and my mind screams at me like a hot iron rod searing my brain. It is so painful.

As many of you incredible readers know, I moved home last weekend. I was told a week before moving day that I would complete on Friday the 30th of August. I worked tirelessly to force my brain to rewire to my new plan. To rebuild my absolutes and allow my mind to deal with the change.

The morning before, Thursday 29th, I got an email saying it may not happen, it may be pushed back a week. That email ripped out my plan. My brain screamed at me. I wanted to cry out for it to stop.

The difference? I am not a child. I was sat at my desk as an accountant. I was ten minutes off a meeting with my boss.

My brain spiraled. I wanted to quit my job. I wanted to pull out of the house purchase. I wanted to scream to everyone I couldn’t do life anymore, it was all too much. My brain short circuited on a massive scale as I desperately tried to hold onto some semblance of reality. Don’t get fired. Keep your shit together.

My boss was incredible. I swore more than I ever should in front of her. I cried. I got frustrated. But I didn’t get fired, so there’s that.

Autism is a catch 22. We need a plan. I need absolutes. My workdays at the moment are unstable and a never-ending grey area, which drives me absolutely insane. It’s not good for me and it does not get the most out of me. I need a plan. However, if that plan is ripped out, my god it’s horrible.

The best thing you can do to support autistic people is to give us a plan but tell us the second you think it may change, don’t let it come out of nowhere. Warning is the best thing you could ever give me. I understand plans change. Give me warning and when necessary give me time and understanding to process it.

Please don’t ever think an autistic person is being unreasonable when they can’t cope with change. If you are lucky enough to not know that feeling, of a plan being ripped out, then have patience. Patience and kindness go a long way for your autistic loved one.

Be patient, be kind.

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