Autism: Structured Days

30 Jan

Several times in my restlessness, I have asked my son how he does it. How does he stay home all of the time, and not become depressed? It isn’t that I want to go out, exactly, but I need some sort of structure to my day.

Perhaps it is easier for him because he has been home just about his whole life – although when I was running my daycare, and when we were trying to adopt, I did run my days with structure… even his, as he was homeschooling.

However, despite the fact that he has never wanted to leave home, he seems to be content in his world. He spends most of his time on his computer, some playing games on his PS3, or listening to podcasts, some on Skype with his friends (often two or more of these at once) and some time learning German on his tablet. Maybe that is the structure to his day.

He tells me that I need to find a hobby. There are several things that interest me, but I can’t seem to make a routine of them. Perhaps it is because I get discouraged in my inability to advance my skills – but this is more likely due to my inability to keep a routine, than in a struggle to learn. Likely it has to do with how quickly my routine falls apart – when my husband is home on an unusual day, or I feel too sick to move…

Most likely my lack of hobbies has more to do with how often I feel sick, and how little energy I often have, than any of the reasons listed above – though I know it is a combination of all of these that destroy my routines, and keep me from following through on the best of intentions.

But then, my son has low energy as well, and he is able to keep up with the things he enjoys. Perhaps then, the reasoning is in the difference of what we consider structure. My son seems content to spend most, if not all of his time, sitting down. For me, however, I only have days where I don’t move when I feel very sick (pretty much the entire month of January this year.)

In order for me to feel healthy, I need to have time outside – not a 20 minute walk each day, but more like 2 or 3 hours, if not the whole day. I need to have a good balance between time spent sitting, and time moving around. And that has been difficult for me to maintain in my exhaustion.

For my last job, for instance, although I was considered a front desk clerk, most of my time was spent cleaning rooms, doing laundry, and sweeping the parking lot. I wasn’t always moving, but it helped a lot that I often was. Except on those days… those ones where I couldn’t force myself to move at all, and was grateful not to have any rooms to clean, had to drag myself to the laundry room to switch the laundry over, and ignored the cigarette butts on the parking lot, because I hadn’t the energy to sweep them. But then I felt really guilty, and that wasn’t good, either.

But when it comes to hobbies? I want to learn to knit, and sew, learn Spanish, and learn to play my keyboard – but all of these cause back pain when I spend the time on them. I like colouring, and would love to do paint by number (I would actually paint if I were an artist, but that is not a gift of mine) or even spend time making puzzles – but again, my back.

So I could take breaks. I could walk along the trail (if it weren’t so muddy), clean my house, learn to garden… and I would love to do all of these. But I am so sick, and so tired, so much of the time, that I cannot keep these in my routine.

Instead, during this month of extreme exhaustion and discomfort especially, I sit at home, restless, and wondering how anyone can do this without feeling depressed. Perhaps next month will be better.


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One response to “Autism: Structured Days

  1. NickyB.

    January 30, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Hoping with you that next month is better!

    Liked by 1 person


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