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Autism: It Is Enough

08 May

With the weather nice, and all of this extra energy that I have had for the past 2.5 weeks, I have spent a lot of time in my garden. There is still a lot to do before it is ready for planting, and there is only about a week and a half before it is May.

I am so thankful to have this energy – and for those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you might know it is highly unusual for me. Having energy means that I can get things done, which at other times overwhelm me. It is perfect timing for gardening season. Of course, I have no idea how long it will last, and I might wake up in the morning completely drained – and then not have energy again for months.

All I can do is use what I have, and hope it is enough to carry me through.

Yet… one thing in, for me, means several things left out. True, I have energy – so I can move, and I can keep going, but… Now that I am out gardening all day, I am not practising my keyboard. I am not spending much time on Pinterest. I am not doing the research to plan out how to garden properly. I am not exercising… okay, well I am exercising in the garden, and I am going for walks with my son, but I am not using my elliptical machine while watching documentaries. I am not spending much time cooking or planning my meals – so I am eating quite a lot of lentils lately.

People have always responded to me when I am doing something well as if I should then try to add in something else. For example, when I went to my Psychiatrist and told her I was learning Spanish, and Latin, and practising keyboard. She pretty much dismissed the activities, decided I was okay, and suggested I then go look for work.

The very idea caused me to crash for months, but it isn’t just that. It is always this way. When I am doing well in something, I am doing well in that thing. It is definitely not a good idea to suggest I try doing more. Not only will I fail at the new thing, but whatever I was doing that was good? Yes, I will crash and fail in that as well.

Often busy lives are compared to juggling. Okay, so when I am struggling, I can rarely catch the one ball I am tossing in the air. If I am doing okay, I can juggle that ball, and maybe one other. But while people are watching me juggle the two balls, and see I am doing okay, they automatically want to throw in a third – but then all the balls fall. I can’t do it.

I am not actually good at juggling. I guess it is not a good comparison for me. When I ran my daycare, though, I had these juggling scarves. They would catch the air and float slowly back down. I could juggle two, and sometimes three of the scarves, and really enjoyed doing it.

So trying to continue with this comparison to explain my ability (or disability) to others – it is like typical people are skilled at juggling two or three balls at a time (work, family, friends), where I am maybe able to juggle two or three scarves (blog, Spanish, keyboard.) ‘They’ see me doing okay with my scarves, and try tossing their balls to me to (work, for instance) and everything comes crashing down.

Or I might be able to add in something (gardening) but only at the cost of another (struggling to get my blog written on time, not practising keyboard…)

I am not good with metaphors (is that even the right word?) but I guess what I am trying to say is that I would hope that when I am doing well, rather than trying to add more, people would instead respond to me as if it were a good thing that I was doing well – and leave it at that. Don’t promote. Don’t add to. To be doing well is a huge achievement in itself, and is more than enough for me to work to maintain.

back garden

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