AUTISTIC NICK AND THE EFFECTS OF NOT COMMUNICATING WITH HIM EFFECTIVELY
AN OPINION PIECE
It’s a cold 12 degrees on a Tuesday morning.
A slow beat of a drum can be heard in the background.
A montage of someone (me) getting ready for the day plays out.
As the drums begin to beat a little louder.
We are now out on the road, driving towards work.
The drums are still beating bringing with them a few words.
“Do you want to feel how it feels?”
The drums still beat as the car driving me approaches the outside of my building.
I climb the stairs.
I turn the corner and enter the office.
The drums are still beating.
Inside my head are the words.
“”If I only could, I’d be running up that hill.”
“If I only could, I’d be running up that hill.”
I sit at my desk; I tell myself that I am prepared, and I live with that lie until the day ends.
Midmorning approaches, and I find myself asking myself “Do you want to feel how it feels?”
I stand up.
I look around.
My Catherine wheel of a mind is whirling, I’m seeking, and yet I am not finding.
I am now inside my head running up that road, that hill, alone, without a map.
My morning, my routine, my sense of reliance has vanished.
I feel an eruption inside bubbling away.
I need to make a decision; I spy someone I approach them, and we leave for a walk and a chat.
I simply am unable to comprehend and work out what’s happening when nothing is being communicated to me.
I continually beat the please communicate with me drum, only to find myself running up that hill, running up that road, with no end in sight.
Communication is paramount to someone like myself who is Autistic.
It’s one of the key building blocks that frames the characteristics of being Autistic.
Without that comprehensive support in place, it feels like as Kate Bush sings about in the song Running up that Hill “See how deep the bullet lies.”
Not wishing to be dramatic by using the bullet line but if I am not being told things then how do you expect me to function?
For example, if you and I had a meeting scheduled for 10.30am but you were unable to make it then send me an email saying,
“Hey Nick, I know we have a meeting today at 10.30, I am unable to make that as I have some prior engagements, however in the interim of you needing anything please seek out (insert name of person here) and I’ll hopefully get a chance to sit down with you before you leave at 2.”
Obviously, it doesn’t have to be that detailed but you get the jest of what I’m saying.
A shorten version maybe something like this.
“Hey Nick, I’m going to be in meetings all morning, so I’ve asked (insert name here) to come and chat with you and for them to be available if you need anything.”
I am not asking for much.
I simply need to know what’s happening and why and then I am able to be kept in the picture.
I don’t want to feel as if I am so overwhelmed and pushed to the brink of publicly have a meltdown within the office and risk finger pointing and whispers.
I don’t want to stand up and search through a sea of faces hoping to find a person within the office who I can approach and have walk with me for half an hour.
I don’t want to feel that I am running up that hill, that empty road, alone, confused, anxious, perilously attempting to scream out, to cry, to find a solution to the onset of a meltdown, to gain some control over my feelings, to not want to draw attention to myself, but not wanting to abandon something that is naturally part of my disability, a key element of who I am as an Autistic person.
I don’t need the added stress, I don’t need the added anxiety, I don’t need to be pushed to the brink of a meltdown and then have a shutdown.
I have enough happening inside my head.
I am simply asking for clear communication to be a priority when I am in the office.
I shouldn’t have to fight this, bang a drum repeatedly, sing the same song over and over.
I thought I’d make it clear, done enough, clearly, I hadn’t.
Clearly the messaging isn’t being heard, or it’s the person not wishing to hear it.
I shouldn’t have to continually go through this process, it’s unfair and it’s unnecessary.
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.