Autism: Just Can’t

06 Feb

I can’t do it, and I wish you wouldn’t ask me to. I know that you go to work, and I am home now, mostly doing nothing. I know it isn’t fair to ask you to continue along with my schedule. I know that some days you might be tired early… and other days, you might want to stay up late.

Although it doesn’t appear that way, I can see your point, and I even know that I should find a way to go along with it.

But I can’t.

It isn’t that I don’t want to. It isn’t that I am being stubborn, or whatever it might be called. I am not trying to control you. I do want to be that flexible.

But I can’t.

For days you come to bed at 10pm, and I work with that schedule. I get there early, to ensure I have the time to do what I need to do – write in my journal, perhaps watch an episode on my tablet, and read my book. Then you come, and I take my medication, and the lights go out.

And when it stays that way, I am fine. It is your schedule, but it is routine. It is predictable. And I can handle predictable.

It is when you go off of that schedule that I fall apart. And I know it isn’t fair. But you do understand that I can’t handle unpredictable, right? I mean, that is what set off my journey to get my diagnosis. It is what brought about the collapse of our adoption. It is what has always been the issue that I can’t overcome.

Okay, so you want to stay up late. That is okay, if it doesn’t throw off my routine (unfair, I know, but what can I do?) Which means I need to be told that you plan on staying up late, so I am not waiting for you. I need to know it is okay that I turn off the lights, because despite the fact that you can, I can’t sleep with them on.

I know at times you have come to bed late, and the lights were on, and it appeared as if I might be sleeping – but I wasn’t. Not fully. I can get to the point where I can’t open my eyes, and I am lying there thinking, but my awareness of the lights being on, of you entering the room, of the dog snoring… it doesn’t go away when the lights are on.

And it is completely understandable that you might be tired some days, and want to go to bed early. It isn’t that I want to keep you up, but if I can’t complete my routine, I won’t be able to sleep well. And if I try to go to sleep early, even if I am tired, my sleep is really poor. It is a bad situation, and I don’t know how to express it without appearing selfish.

So you come to bed, and tell me it is okay if I stay up to read, but then you turn towards me – and even when your eyes are closed, I feel you looking at me. It doesn’t work. I feel the pressure to turn off the lights and go to sleep, even when you say nothing. And I can’t. I know it isn’t fair, but I just can’t.

And so I lie there, feeling stubborn, and broken, and unwanted, and out of place, and wondering once more if it might be much better for me to sleep in my own room. And while you turn to sleep, I fall apart. And I know it isn’t your fault – but if I could do better, don’t you think that I would?

Unpredictability. It isn’t that I won’t. I just can’t!

1 Comment

Posted by on February 6, 2016 in Experiences of an Autistic


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One response to “Autism: Just Can’t

  1. kazst

    February 6, 2016 at 10:57 am

    I can relate to this. I need bedtime to go a certain way, otherwise I don’t sleep.



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