…which sounds like some kind of weird Jane Austen spoof.
I’ve been having trouble with sleep this week, trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night. Last night I went to bed early again as I was very tired, too tired to relax after the virtual museum tour I went on (I find Zoom events draining). I thought I would be OK, but I woke up some time after 3.00am and couldn’t get back to sleep again. I ate porridge (warm milk helps me sleep, but I don’t like drinking warm milk, hence eating porridge) and watched Doctor Who for a bit to unwind, but neither helped. I went back to bed, but tossed and turned without falling asleep again. I tried to stay in the present, but when you can’t sleep at 5.00am, it’s hard not to get sucked into worries. Eventually, at about 6.30am, I decided to get up, despite feeling tired on only three or four hours of sleep.
A lot of the anxiety I’m experiencing at the moment is about dating. I’ve been messaging someone on JDate. I’m always scared to get my hopes up (for anything, not just dating) in case something goes wrong. So many things could go wrong. So I get sucked back into catastrophising. I’m trying very hard not to do that, but rather to stay in the present, so I’m not going to say much more here for now, other than I’m pleased with what’s happening, but also anxious about whether good things can happen to me.
I have other anxieties too. I’ve got the exam next week for the job I want (and apparently it’s not 100% sure that I’ll even get to the exam stage – today this is less clear than yesterday). I know it’s normal to be anxious before a job application exam, normal to be nervous when contemplating a new job and normal to be nervous when messaging someone new on a dating site. So everything is normal. But I still feel anxious. Like I say, I’m trying to stay in the present and tell myself that, one way or another, this won’t last indefinitely. That probably sooner or later I will get a job, whether it’s this one or not. That I do have some good qualities to offer a prospective partner. And so on. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Because of my complicated history with my autism diagnosis (being assessed and told I don’t have it, then going into the world of work and not coping at all, for reasons that sounded a lot like autism, then having a preliminary screening that suggests I do have it, and waiting and waiting for an assessment that could still be a year or even two away), I sometimes wonder if maybe I’m not on the autism spectrum and I’m just incompetent. Then other days I do things that are so classically autistic that I wonder how it could ever have been missed.
Today I had a blood test (routine to check my lithium level because of my medication) and I planned to do some shopping afterwards. My Dad gave me a lift to the hospital. As I was about to get out of the car, he asked me to get some soap, and without thinking I went into classic autistic rigid thinking, saying I couldn’t do that because he hadn’t told me early enough for me to put it on my shopping list and why was he springing it on me suddenly? Even as I was saying it, I could see it was an over-reaction and that it was the autism talking, but the scary thing is in the moment, it was hard to change it and back down and say I could do it.
I had some tremor when I had my blood taken. I have tremor as a medication side-effect when I get anxious. I get a little anxious about blood tests anyway (anxiety about possible tremor, ironically, rather than the needle), but I think COVID made things worse, because of the discomfort of wearing a mask and the “new situation” aspect of the hospital being socially distanced – autism again. I was uncomfortable doing shopping for the same reason: my mask and confusion about the social distancing rules in the shopping centre, which I hadn’t been to since lockdown started. I was also apprehensive about people standing close to me (everyone had masks, but I’m not convinced masks stop COVID being transmitted). I got a bit agitated in Boots too. I think it was a build up of autistic triggers. The fact that they had changed the packaging on the vitamins I was trying to buy just threw me further – again, autism doesn’t like change. Normally I wouldn’t care about a small change like that, but I think the fact that I was already agitated meant that it was just another factor. Still, I guess it’s more evidence to put in my big document on my autism symptoms to take to my assessment, when I finally get it.
Otherwise it was a boring day, mostly doing odd bits of jobs: bits of housework, a bit on my novel, a bit on my devar Torah (Torah thought), a bit of Torah study. Lots of bits. I forced myself through the day until dinner and now I’m too tired to do anything so am off to bed soon.
As this is a shorter than usual post, and as it touches on some issues I’ve raised in the last few days about trusting God, I will post my devar Torah for this week in a minute, for those who are interested.
7 thoughts on “Anxiety and Autism”
You may or may not be on the autism spectrum but you’re in no way just incompetent? Can you email me? Actually I’ll post it. I’ve an image to send you that I did for myself. I’ll just read your next post first then try post it and password it.
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Thanks for saying I’m not incompetent!
Yes, I can email you.
I posted it for you. If you emailed I’ll send it to you
You lack in self-confidence but are in no way incompetent. I admire the way that you acknowledge your anxiety, yet you battle through it. You didn’t turn around and leave the store when you got stressed. You use your logic and coping skills to get through these situations. That’s all that any of us can do. I worry a lot about various things, and am also working on finding ways to handle the stress. You are emailing a person already on the dating site! Even if it doesn’t work out, that’s a wonderful start!
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Thanks for this! I guess I do try to get through situations.
Anxiety can be overcome once you understand what causes it. Anxiety in autism is mostly due to classical conditioning or conditioned emotional response. You can read more about it here: https://autismcbt.wordpress.com/
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Interesting, thank you.