AUTISTIC NICK MAKES AN EMOTIONAL CHECK-LIST
I have always been an over sensitive person.
But, I think that having been diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum and being classed as being high functioning this has only to me elevated my emotions.
Small insignificant things can trigger me to explore my feelings and emotions.
Most people are able to brush off such things, like we’ve run out of milk or we’re now going to the burger place for lunch rather than the fish and chip place for example.
I don’t appreciate and respond well to changes however small.
Because for me having a structure in place helps me to cope with the unpredictability of daily life such as it is.
Other elements can also play a part in me processing my emotions and working out in my head the appropriate response.
Given that this week I had to deal with my feelings and emotions around something I made a check list.
I’m sure you’re thinking how very productive and pragmatic I am!
Anyway, I took it upon myself to grab a pen and my notepad and begin to analyse and examine what was happening and what outcomes could I implement in order to gain back some self-control and work through this.
This was the first step.
To identify what it was that had been the trigger here.
I made the following headings and wrote notes underneath each one.
What was the trigger?
What was the situation?
The time and the date?
Did I alert someone that I was feeling anxious?
What steps did I take?
What did I do to resolve the situation?
How anxious did I feel on a scale from 1-10?
Once I had identified the above, I then set out to work out how I was going to deal with this and what if any conversations needed to take place in order for me to resolve this issue.
I set out in an email my concerns and asked for a meeting to take place.
A meeting was arranged, and I came prepared with my notes and I was allowed and felt comfortable enough to speak honestly and openly about my concerns.
During the meeting, my concerns and voice were heard, and a solution was formulated.
By me writing it all down and then being able to feel more in control I felt that I handled what could have been a stressful situation a lot better than if I’d just winged it – and by that, I mean I’d just gone into the meeting and had no notes, and I was just being reliant on my thought process that was happening inside my head.
The one important thing that I should have attempted to do, but due to being caught up in the stress bubble I was in was this.
Slow Breathing Techniques
Proper breathing habits are essential for good mental and physical health. First, a person needs to focus upon their breathing pattern.
They need to identify whether they breathe mainly through the chest or through their stomach. Short, shallow, and rapid breaths from the upper chest should be avoided.
The aim is to breathe deeply and slowly through the nose.
A person should feel greater movement in the stomach than the chest as they inhale and exhale. Practice breathing exercises every day. Learn to apply slow breathing as needed e.g. when feeling stressed, angry, or anxious.
Get yourself into a relaxed state, by:
- Getting comfortable, scanning the body for tension, and relaxing the muscles
- Selecting a favourite peaceful place which is real or imagined.
- Focusing the imagination using all 5 senses
- Using affirmations such as repeating ‘I am letting go of tension’; or ‘I am feeling peaceful’.
When supporting somebody who is Autistic and stressed, keep calm and quiet. Be a consistent, safe presence to help the person with autism feel they can begin to relax. Try to avoid showing that you are worried as this may make them feel less secure and more anxious.
Ensure that the person you are supporting has an appropriate communication system in place and that they are able to use it properly. This will help them to express themselves and their frustrations and anxieties.
If a person has a particular “stim” or repetitive movement that helps them to feel calm, then you should support them in this. “Stimming” can be a coping mechanism and may be a sign that the person is attempting to self-soothe.
Sometimes distraction can be a helpful technique. You may be able to remove a person from a stressful situation for long enough for them to recharge and return.
I felt a lot better about everything to be honest.
As I am now prepared for the next time anything like this occurs.
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
How do you cope with your emotions?
What techniques work for you?
Let me know in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.