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Autism: Twice in a Day?

18 Apr

I went out once already today. I went out once since Sunday. Isn’t that enough?

True, it was planned. Even my son came with me. We have to brace ourselves for these ‘shopping’ days. It would never do to try to be spontaneous. For one thing, we don’t have a vehicle. That means we have to get up with my husband, and ride into town with him, as he goes into work.

And while he doesn’t exactly start work early, we aren’t normally awake before he leaves. My son stays up late at night. I suppose he could change his routine – but to ask an Autistic to change their routine… For me, it isn’t just about routine (although I, too, would struggle if someone asked me to change mine) but the fact that I have so much trouble getting to sleep at night.

So while I may go to bed early each night (and I do) and while I do try to get to sleep when my husband turns out the lights just around 10pm, it nearly always takes me a couple of hours to get to sleep in the first place, and then my sleep is broken as I awaken through the night for pain, fear, and frequent bathroom breaks. No. Getting up early doesn’t work for me. It has to be planned.

It was out of necessity – I gained so much weight during the fall due to my medication, that I really needed new clothes for the spring and summer. Today was the start of $2 bag sale (where whatever we can fit in a regular sized grocery bag, costs just $2 – and quite a bit can be stuffed in the bag.) If I waited until tomorrow, the shelves would have been picked over. So I went down today.

My son had things of his own that he needed to get, so he came along – one of the only times, aside from his weekday walks, that he is willing to leave the house.

But the plan for the outing itself was exhausting. It is unfortunate that the bag sale always starts on the same day as our life group meeting – meaning that if I want to go out, I have to go out twice in one day. Even leaving the house a couple of times a week is a lot for me, so twice a day is highly overwhelming.

And then, to take the vehicle, means not just leaving the house twice on a bag sale day – but also likely means I have to go out an additional time to pick my husband up from work.

Well, that was the plan. Then, while my son and I were sitting in the car, my husband tried to start it – and it didn’t turn on. Battery problems. Again! I thought about staying home, but as I mentioned, I really did need ‘new’ clothes. So, as my husband worked on the battery, my son and I discussed it, and decided we would not get cold stuff. We would just go to Walmart to pick up what he needed, then (hopefully) drive back to the thrift store to do our shopping there. After that, we would leave the vehicle for my husband, and walk home.

It is not easy for my son and I to change plans like that, and while it did mean that I wouldn’t have to go out again to pick my husband up, it also meant another 7km or so walk along the trail that leads from town to our house. Thankfully the path was still open for walking, as it floods and becomes a bird sanctuary through the later part of spring and through the summer.

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Well, we made it, and I feel the day was productive in a sense. However, I am now exhausted – and the idea of going out and meeting with people feels overwhelming to me, when all I want to do is lie down and maybe watch a movie. Then again, it was my choice to go out on Life Group day… it is so hard to know what to do, and it is on days like this I wish I could function as a typical person, where going to a couple of stores in one day does not make the rest of that day (or week, in my case) seem overwhelmingly busy.

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