AUTISTIC NICK WORKING FROM HOME IS TAKING IT’S TOLL
Behind me is my unmade bed, I must see to that especially as I have a Zoom meeting in an hour.
I turn my head to look, well when you write something like I have above you don’t not turn your head do you?
It’s like when someone says don’t look at him/her but you do!
It’s human nature, isn’t it?
Anyway, observations aside I am now sitting at my desk, on my computer inside my bedroom.
A cool wind blows in through the open window.
The sun is bouncing off the fence.
I tided up my bed!
Yes, well I don’t need to be judged over a Zoom for my unmade bed!
I also check to see if my computer is charging, and I have my phone charger nearby too.
See I’m avoiding the real issue here.
Where’s my water bottle?
Ok, look I am loathing working from home.
I cannot take anymore Zooms; I have had enough.
I haven’t interacted with another human since February (I think!).
I am beginning to forget how to make small talk with people, how to hold a conversation with them.
I think of something funny to say and I go to turn around to say it whoever and it’s only me there to laugh at it.
Conversations are a struggle for me as an Autistic person, on a daily basis it’s a three-way conversation in my head whenever I interact with other work colleagues.
The only way I can describe this is, imagine you are sitting in a booth at a UN conference and being connected to a translator sitting in another booth close by wearing a set of headphones.
The conversation begins — I hear it and they also hear it and translate it for me.
I must interpret what that person says into what I class as “autism language”. It’s then processed into English, and I repeat my answer back.
It’s a tiring process.
Add to this that I have NO CURRENT STRUCTURE OR ROUTINE IN PLACE my nerves are on high alert and now so is my anxiety.
For an Autistic person this is a huge deal.
It’s not that I don’t understand the reasoning behind the move of having only the essential members of staff in the office – it’s a COVID safe thing.
But it’s not helping me, is it?
I dread having to do a twice weekly Zoom, and it’s not because of who I am Zooming with it’s more to do with the fact that I have to mentally prepare myself that I am not actually heading anywhere it’s just me sitting in my bedroom, staring at a computer screen for four hours.
Gone are the days of me preparing my lunch the night before, making sure that my backpack had everything in it that I needed, that I had my notebook where I would have written down say 4-6 article ideas.
Now, all those ideas are either on a scrap piece of paper or inside my head.
I have also been getting tension headaches too lately.
These combined with my nerves being on a continuous 24-hour alert loop, my anxiety sky rocketing, and now these tension headaches its not been a time to rejoice.
I am hoping that I can say by next month head back into the office, escape my bedroom and be around other people who aren’t my family.
I am craving sitting in my chair at my desk and putting to good use all my skills around communication that I have so far lost.
Would I be classed as a lapsed communicator?
Given all of the above I can feel myself withdrawing from the world.
And staying in bed more and eating less.
As a constant nagging loop of worry was encroaching on my every thought.
I didn’t have a plan on how to deal with this and at that point, I didn’t want one. I was to overcome with emotions and rage.
When the day does come that we can all go back into the office, I’m sure I’ll be singing a completely different tune to the one that I am currently singing!
It’s sods law!
But for now, I have to assess the positives (as much as they are deeply hidden)!
I am lucky that I can work from home, and that I am COVID free.
I do have support around me, and I can go to them at any time.
I guess from an Autistic perspective I feel that I can deal with it until that realisation hits me and I realise that I can’t.
My experience dealing with my Autism, stress and anxiety is kind of like having three full time jobs.
I keep it in check by keeping a diary of what my triggers are and what strategies I have in place to deal with them.
I have my Zoom meeting now,
So, take a deep breath Nick you can do this.
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.