As an autistic person, routines are highly important to me. If a routine changes, I get stressed and it kind of sets my mood for the rest of the day. Even if the change is small, it still makes me distressed. I can be having a wonderful day but then one thing can happen to change that.
The worst changes are unpredictable ones, changes that I haven’t been warned about. These changes cause high levels of stress to me and I feel pretty depressed. If I’m told about the change, at least I can prepare myself, but when the change comes out of nowhere, I feel like crying.
I thought my day would go a certain way today; I had a picture in my head of what would happen — but that isn’t how it went. A small change caused me to basically feel like the world was ending. I know that sounds dramatic but that’s autism. We love routine and, when our routine is altered, we panic.
There are a few ways you can help someone with autism deal with change, but sometimes that doesn’t work either. The most important way to help an autistic person deal with change is to warn them about it long before it happens; this way we can digest the change and adjust to it. Of course, unpredictable events will still happen. Let us have a meltdown, if this occurs, because holding in our emotions is far worst. I had a meltdown today but I tried to hide it from public view; I had to sleep as soon as I came home because I was so damn tired. I’m often tired but I was even more tired than usual, having immediately had an anxiety attack as soon as I got away from the public. My mum got the wrath of it. I told her everyone hates me, that I’m stupid, that I don’t want to do this anymore; I was so anxious and it was all because of one change.
I just wanted the day to go smoothly but it didn’t and that’s to be expected, when living in a world with unpredictability. I wish I was a robot, sometimes, programmed to behave in a certain manner; that way I would not feel so unsettled. The thing that upset me the most was that I was never told this change would happen; it just did. It was sprung upon me and I felt defeated.
I’d really like to thank my mum for dealing with me when I’m so anxious. She is always there and it’s useful to have someone on your side who really knows you. That way, you can meltdown in front of them and they’ll still love you.