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Autism: Nice While It Lasted

27 Oct

For a few weeks I went swimming.

When I was young I lived in a large city, and swim passes were cheap – something like $25/month and there were a lot of public swims. I think that even then the pass was for all of the community centres, so if one was closed, we could go to another. I think.

In the small town I live in now, there is only one pool, and it is something like $6.50 per swim. But we do have what is called a ‘Toonie swim’ which right now is available four times a week. For $2 (the Canadian $2 coin is called a ‘Toonie’) we are able to access the pool and hot tub for an hour. It isn’t a great deal, but it is good enough.

All of last year I wanted to go, but didn’t have a vehicle to access the swims during the day, and was just too tired to go in the evening. Besides, I don’t like driving at night – and while I prefer to do most things alone, I don’t like to go places alone; the thought overwhelms me with anxiety and I back out.

Anyway, this fall all of the ‘Toonie’ swims are during the day, but for a couple of months I had access to a vehicle. On top of that, the Thursday before my birthday this year, my husband had an unexpected day off of work (they had to close to get the electrical system switched or something like that) so I asked him to go with me.

My husband is often tired, and when he isn’t working, volunteering, or going to watch a hockey game, he pretty much likes to stay home – so I was surprised and pleased when he agreed to go with me.

I was anxious. I am always anxious. That is me. But we got to the pool, he paid, and in we went. I already had my swimsuit on under my clothes, so I was one of the first people in the pool.

The moment – the very moment I got in the water a feeling of calm and contentment washed over me. Even in spite of the many people who did end up coming to the pool at the same time, I felt calm.

So the next week, though I was alone (and very close to a panic attack) I went back to the pool, and it was the same.

For a person whose mind is always going, always concerned with things of the past and of the future, I was amazed at how present I was. Just me in the water swimming, with very few thoughts of anything else (even of the people I had to swim around as I did my laps.)

The next week was the same – panic turning to instant calm that lasted for the hour I was in the water.

And then…

That is about how long my good habits last. Timing, illness (I got a cold two days after I went swimming the last time) business – even though I don’t work, and technically most of my time is ‘free’ I still often feel overwhelmed by how much I do have to do… and the routine is broken.

I haven’t gone back, and after this week I won’t have access to a vehicle to go. I can get a bus, but that means I need to know at least three days in advance that I will be up to going in that moment. I don’t believe a second vehicle is a good use of money for our family as it is very rare I am up to leaving the house anyway, but…

Who am I kidding? Three weeks. Three weeks and even a good habit that brought me so much peace was broken – even though I did have the van for a few weeks after. But it was nice while it lasted.

Summer 2015 011

 

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