I didn’t talk about this in the post but here’s my current situation. I’ll put most of it in a spoiler, as it’s a long story
I’m autistic, and have adhd, more details about that and more conditions I have will be below. I found out I was autistic at 28, and found out about adhd just last year, few months ago. For the longest time I had no idea what was even going on, I was convinced I was just lazy, weird and a toxic person to be around. At least now I know what I have to work with and I can work on myself.
More on disabilities
It’s obviously different for all autistic people so don’t take what I say to mean every autistics struggle with this/has a specific ability.
For me it means I lack social imagination (yeah, I know, how do I even create then loll?) Well to make it simpler to understand, it’s hard. I have a very difficult time imagining how things will/should be in my mind. I’m able to picture something I know or something I’ve seen but the theoretical aspect is lost on me. Purple Ella on Youtube came up with a great example saying it’s hard for them to find parking, not just because of the lack of parking, but they lack the logistics, are confused how to go about it. A person would be like “oh ok I’ll circle the block until I find a spot” or, I’ll go down X road and then there will be space there, etc." But often, us autistics lack that skill, of imagining where things will be/how something will be. For me, it means I struggle creating very imaginative, innovative designs cause I can’t picture them. It also makes it hard to come up with ideas, give advice, that kind of thing.
It’s also hard for me to take innitiative. My brain does not know which innitiative to go with or how to even go about it and it messes with my brain so much. For that reason, I cannot get a day job. Most of the time if you don’t read your employer’s mind you’re a bad employee. But I cannot do it. Give me a well defined list pf specific tasks and I will do them. Don’t leave me guessing cause no, I don’t know I should have swept the floor during a calmer period and taken out the trash etc.
And also, this is very hard to talk about as it’s associated with a lot of stigma, but I can’t get any customer service job because of meltdowns and shutdowns. If there’s too much sensory input, it’s likely to trigger a meltdown, plus I have adhd so any confrontation will only add to that. Also likely to make me shut down and I can’t have that in a middle of the store/restaurant/etc. ya know? I remember when I was in uni I was going into meltdowns quite frequently especially during exams and I wanted to stim so badly but I couldn’t cause back then I just thought I was being fussy and childish and what happened was I would often leave during break and go back home for the rest of the day. I would also stay home a lot of the time to avoid the crowd/busy environment that was just so overwhelming. I went through a 5 years long burnout (we call that autistic burnout and it’s really quite common among us) that resulted in depression.
I also realized I was experiencing a certain level of selective/situational mutism. Under a very specific kind of stress, I’ll just shut down, not a word will be able to come out of my mouth, but also I’m unable to speak to certain people no matter the circumstances. For example there are 3 people in the room. I can address myself to one person just fine. Talk out loud even. But I’m unable to talk to that other person, say anything to them/about them/in their general direction. And I stop talking to person number 1 if too much attention is directed at me from the group. And person 3 might be someone I can talk to only under certain circumstances.
I already talked about my issues with fine motor skills and space awareness. Because of that I can’t drive, and there are a few things I really struggle with like handling a knife, writing (and yes, crocheting). It means I have to work twice as much to achieve the same amount of crochet, cause I have to go very slow
I also have executive dysfunction that I talked about. A lot of the time it creates issues with testing cause I have a horrible time gathering all info in one space. And when messages come in different conversations I tend to loose track of them/forget who has already replied etc. I also forget directions/deadlines/etc. And as mentionned, it makes it hard to initiate/interrupt tasks. If I stop I can’t get back into it. And if I have a task planned I cannot do domething else before or I loose track. It means I can sit for hours at a time doing nothing until it starts.
I also have CPTSD from childhood trauma and there are lots of things I understood when I realized how much it affected my life. That is also something I learned about last year. Most people wouldn’t think, but it affects your daily functionning and your communication skills a lot. A thing it tends to do is make you very unsure of everything. It makes it hard to make decisions as you always doubt yourself. With this, a lot of what comes up is missing opportunities. Being misunderstood/miscommunicating.
I also have ocd (which I don’t struggle with as much anymore, it was a big thing through childhood/early adulthood). There are still a few things I do that I won’t go into details too much.
I have anxiety (mostly social and generalized anxiety but I do have panic attacks from time to time) and obviously it affects my social interactions and makes it hard to function. I went to group therapy for that and it helped a lot, but it only helps to a certain extent.
And I have PCOS which can make it hard to function. The hormones really mess you up. And the cramps can force you to stay in beds some days.