HOW AUTISTIC NICK DEALT WITH BEING OVERWHELMED
Last week I was feeling extremely overwhelmed after I had to deal with the Department of Transport here in WA.
Firstly, I didn’t ever think that I would ever write a blog post about the DOT (Department of Transport) and secondly, I underestimated how it would affect me my emotions and my anxiety and most of all my anger.
The anger stemmed from the fact that I had to book an appointment at my doctors, have them fill out a form for me, declaring that my Autism wasn’t a medical condition and then carry that around with me all day Friday whilst I was at work.
On that Friday I was very sullen and not my usual expressive happy self. I thought no one would notice and that I could just sit at my desk, quietly processing my feelings and thoughts.
Not that this didn’t happen, but I had forgotten that I would have to have conversations with people including my editor.
I was unprepared for the day and looking back on it I had two options.
One, take the time to send in an email/or write a text message and work from home thus avoiding any triggers or have to answer people’s questions on how I was or two, I head into work and put it out of my head and attempt to focus on what tasks I needed to complete before the day ended.
I chose the latter option.
I made myself a cup of tea, sat down at my desk, logged into my computer, and sighed.
My editor came over to discuss an upcoming story with me and instead of having questions ready or being focused to discuss the article I sat there nodding and becoming more and more introverted and quiet.
My editor looked at me and straight out asked me what was wrong. I guess they knew.
I took a deep breath and told them.
They listened and asked me what I would like to do.
I could go home or stay here.
Again, I think because for me it’s an easy option to and this is my outlook on this runaway and go home, I chose to stay.
My editor said that I knew where they were if I needed them and I said, “I’ll see how it goes.”
Making no guarantees on what the outcome may be with this.
Let’s deal with Anxiety which can happen for a range of reasons and Autistic people can vary in their ability to cope with it.
Understanding your emotions can be difficult which is what I was having difficulty with.
But by getting help from someone so that you can understand your anxiety, you can then be in a position to manage it better.
It should be noted that anxiety doesn’t just affect the mind, but it can also directly affect the body as well.
The psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety are closely linked, and this can lead to a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.
By contrast some of the physical symptoms can include but are not limited to, excessive thirst, stomach upsets, loose bowel movements, frequent urinating (going to the loo), periods of intensely pounding heart, muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, pins and needles and tremors.
Lunchtime approaches and it’s no good.
My brain’s frozen, my mind’s gone blank. I simply cannot think and so I get up, grab my staff pass, tell my editor that I’m going outside for 5 minutes and then I head outside into the cool fresh air and sunny day that greeted me outside.
I needed to breath.
I could feel a panic attack coming on.
I could feel my inner voices saying this isn’t good.
I could feel the sweat coming.
I needed the fresh air to calm me down.
I played with my staff pass, by extending the lead from the plastic pass and stretching it out and allowing it to come back and hit the pass.
I walked, around the corner a few times.
I kept telling myself that everything was going to be ok.
That I was safe, I had a grip on this, I was in control here and that I knew what to do.
I knew where my support system was and that I could ring them if I needed to.
I briefly remembered my panic attack strategy, which is the following, I repeat five things over and over again inside my head, which distracts my brain from thinking about the oncoming panic attack and diverts it to thinking about these 5 things that I’m thinking about.
I knew what was triggering all of this and my end goal was to not think about it and not stress myself out.
I did manage to complete my tasks, work through my day and head home.
Once home, after a shower I put on my pj’s and had a nap.
If you find that you may need to see a psychologist, you can search for one here https://www.psychology.org.au/Find-a-Psychologist
Or you can see a physiatrist here https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/find-a-psychiatrist
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.