My therapist has made a huge difference to my life. In all honesty, I didn’t have any desire to seek any help for myself. I was quite happy living my miserable and dead end life and the thought of healing scared me more than anything. It was Will who changed that. My state of mind wasn’t only affecting me but was having a big impact on those around me, especially Will. So one of my goals for the year was to seek therapy.
I’ve seen a therapist before who didn’t help much at all so it made me doubt seeing one again, but my therapist K has been amazing. A lot of her clients have autism so she is able to understand much more which helps us both. I’m currently on my 7th session out of 20 and have already learnt many different things about myself and the autism.
I wanted to create a post about one of the main issues that affect my life. K noticed that a lot of my rage and frustrating in day to day life is caused by my need to live by rules. Having aspergers can be a struggle so by living with strict rules, I’m able to get through it all whilst feeling prepared. I find that I get very angry when people do things that don’t abide by the rules or if something doesn’t go right with my rules.
So, I’ve created a list of some of the rules I live by and how they can go wrong and cause meltdowns. Now, these may sound absurd to some but these are the rules I live by.
- People should keep left when walking to prevent obstacles on pavements/walkways.
- When walking through car parks, don’t dawdle in the road, keep to the edges so cars can drive through easily and peace of mind for walkers.
- Don’t stare at me I find it intrusive. Makes it hard for me when trying to avoid eye contact with strangers.
- Don’t tell me a time you’ll be meeting me and be late. Hate my time being wasted since I live by routines.
- With social events, I need to know every little detail of plans. Who’s going to be there, where we are going and what the plans are.
- Writing shopping lists so I can be in and out of a supermarket as quickly as possible.
- Being in control of all of my belongings. If they were moved by an inch, that would drive me crazy!
- Having clothing prepared for the gym or any important events so I’m able to have a relaxed start to the day.
- Driving correctly. I expect those that have past their test to actually drive like a safe driver. No tail gating, speeding and using indicators. If people are unable to do this I take it quite personally.
Now I’ll create a list of things that can happen out of my control that will really infuriate me, cause mind freeze and disorientation.
- A train or bus being delayed. The ability to stay calm and wait for another one just doesn’t apply to me. I go crazy angry and feel like my whole plan has gone out of the window and I become frustrated trying to think of an alternative.
- A sat nav postcode taking me to the wrong place or someone giving me an incorrect postcode, which has happened a few times. I hate driving to new places and find having to rely on a sat nav (which I struggle with anyway) drives me insane and results in me going from 0-100 in seconds.
- People talking really loud. Something I can’t control but I hate it when people walk right behind me too. So close that I can hear their footsteps and conversation.
- Having my mind set on something I need to buy. I head to town with a plan of places to go etc. If the item(s) isn’t there, I can’t let it go. I have to find it because I had my whole idea set on that.
- A plan change. If someone casually decides to change a plan, I can’t handle it. I prefer to not know anything then be told the final plan.
- Having to talk to a friend walking down the street. I could be in a foul mood or just not in the mood to interact and this can really tug on my moodstrings.
So, these are a few of the rules that apply to me. I haven’t written them all down as the post would be a ridiculously long post. I never understood why minor situations would anger me but my therapist explained that it’s crucial for people with autism to have their safety zone and having rules helps us manage as many problems that could occur.
To some, this may seem normal to them or they may say ‘well, there are others that feel the same’, well yes, this is true but to someone with aspergers it affects us in a different way that isn’t so simple to explain at times. I’m still trying to get to grips with it all myself. But I do know that we take it more personally if it obstructs our rules and that is different to those without autism.
I’d be interested to hear if you guys have any rules that you live by?