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Autism: Digging in the Dirt

05 Apr

Such anxiety! My heart has been racing for days now, and I struggle to find calm. It feels much like pre-disability days – you know, the ones where I had to battle this fear as I went into work, and people didn’t understand why I was so burnt out? Those days.

Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint exactly where the anxiety comes from, but I know there are a few reasons for how I have been feeling this week:

  1. I have an appointment this evening. Okay, the appointment is for my son, but I have to go, and really it is this appointment which will decide whether my son is able to go on disability or not (which will really help us out.) The thing is, though, that he thinks he is fine most of the time. As long as he can stick to his routine, and doesn’t have to answer the phone, answer the door, visit with anyone, leave the house, come away from his computer, follow directions, or experience pressure of any sort, he is fine. But try explaining to him that is the disability we are talking about…
  2. I have an appointment on Monday. I have been waiting for this appointment since October – with Community Living BC to get some supports for??? The thing is, I am not really sure what they do, or what they can help me with, but I am afraid. I am afraid they will want to “pull me out of my comfort zone,” by having me volunteer, or work, or do something that will cause me stress and anxiety just when I am starting to find calm… I am not sure what they do. I was told they would help, but what does that mean?
  3. I think something I said offended someone this week, and although it was quickly clarified, I always feel like such a failure when I offend someone. I never do mean to, but sometimes how I respond to my world doesn’t sit well with other people. In fact, it often doesn’t. And even the thought that something I did was “wrong” floods me with sadness and anxiety that I can’t seem to shake.

So there it is, and what can I do about it?

Well, the weather is really nice. I think it is about 20 degrees Celsius outside today. Sunny, warm, wonderful – a great day for April the 1st (speaking of which, I hate April Fool’s day – I seem to fall for everything! But then it is also my cat’s 18th birthday, and I am thankful she is still with us. It is also the 15th anniversary of my baptism – which I see as such a significant event that I tell my son “today is my 15th birthday!”)

Last night (also full of anxiety) we went out to our weekly Bible Study, where I was given plants from the hosts garden. Worrying that sitting in the bags, they would die, I decided that once my son and I got back from our walk, I would need to find a place to plant them. So what do I do? I didn’t have enough soil for a new raised bed, and I really haven’t the strength or energy (or back) to dig out a new garden.

So I thought I would turn the soil in the raised bed I made last year. I had other plans for it, but… It was really nice soil to work with. Easy to dig. Easy to turn. I took a couple of rubber mats, and removed the soil to these. I was so pleased to find that the newspapers I set on top of the grass when I made the raised bed did their job. There was no grass to speak of, the newspapers had composted over the year, and even the soil below was easy to dig (very nice, as we have clay soil, which is usually very hard to get through.)

I was able to dig up enough soil, that the one extra bag I had from last year was enough to fill in the gaps – and the mix of compost, leaves, and soil from last year made for really nice dirt. I spent hours outside today – despite the fear of tonight’s appointment – breaking up the clumps in the soil by hand, and tossing it back in the garden. I then planted the bulbs that were given to me last night (I don’t even know what they are, but I am sure they will be nice.)

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And what I found in those hours spent in the sun digging in the dirt, was calm! Coming inside, I remembered the appointment, and was anxious again, but it was so nice to have hours of calm on a difficult day. I can’t wait to do it again!

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