Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Routines Are Important

Routines are important for a lot of people with autism.
Routines are very important to me.
Changes frighten me.  Plans are my only salvation.  And when plans change, I get very frustrated.
Last night, I had a meltdown because I hadn't had a shower.  It was a long, active, and social day in which I participated in multiple sports activities, played outside, played with children, and also played a borrowed game with friends.  Why was I stressed?  I was stressed because I felt unclean - covered in "germs" - and had felt the compulsive need to shower since after the first activity of the day.  Hours later, I was frustrated and grumpy and upset.  Things were not going my way.  I wanted my shower.  My brain was not having a good day and it was aggravated by a challenging social situation in which I found myself playing board games with two people I did not know well.  I was feeling anxious because I wanted to shower.  And I was feeling anxious because of the social get-together.  All the anxiety and discomfort eventually led to me melting down.
Sometimes, I can't control my routine.  When that happens, it's really difficult for me to manage.  I'm writing this now so I can "own" it.  I'm writing this because I do not like meltdowns, but they happen. I'm writing this because I think it's important that neurotypical people understand that Autistic people sometimes have meltdowns, and it's no fun for anybody.  We aren't trying to hurt you.  We aren't trying to confuse you.
I hate it when people I like complain about my brain.  I hate it when people are able to respect me so often but still struggle to accept my meltdowns.
And for me, routines are important.