Autism and Scheduling

It takes just one unfortunate occurrence to utterly destroy a potentially good day. Regardless of how minute a bad situation is, my stubborn nature simply doesn’t allow for any sort of turn around. I am doomed, at least for the next 24 hours, to remain in some kind of weird, miserable, “I-want-to-die” state.

Today, for instance, I wake up annoyed that the sun has risen without me and I have no where to be and nothing to do. The light in my bathroom is burnt out. My dogs must hate me because they would rather go outside to pee than cuddle. I’m horribly depressed, angry with myself that I haven’t eaten in nearly 40 hours. What a miserable morning.

I force myself to visit my favorite diner, the place that I quite literally live off of. It takes me 30 minutes just to decide that I’ll have what I always have. I lose whatever appetite I might have had. I’m not hungry. What a miserable morning.

I can’t finish everything on my plate. My diner has disappointed me. Half my food is burnt. My toast comes without butter. But as I have great familiarity with the servers and they don’t charge me for my drink, I tip, as usual, about 92%.

As my dismay grows, I venture home to vigorously brush my teeth in preparation for my dreaded dentist date later this morning. Luckily, however, I lose the appointment due to a technicality, and, though relieved, I feel myself being pressed further into depression. For only semi-related reasons, I fear all things dental. But I was only able to focus on the fact that I am, indeed, a worthless piece of shit for being so relieved to be able to skip the dentist appointment from hell, while the rest of the world can so easily and calmly – without excessive sweating and labored breathing and heart palpitations – think of dentist appointments as mere dentist appointments. I need something – anything – uplifting…

I venture next to the barn, where I have hopes of being useful and therefore un-depressed. No.

I don’t make it out of the car before my plans are annihilated by an offer to visit all the local feed stores to post fliers for upcoming events for the horse rescue. Once more disappointed, I went along obediently because in this universe, there is no real control over anything and just trying to have an enjoyable day of doing whatever the heart desires is a crude and rather stupid way of living, particularly when the heart has no idea what it wants, the brain is on life support and just trying to die, and the body just wants to go back to bed… and die. However, there is no better company than those I shared my depressing little excursion with, and I am grateful for that.

Still, the day drags on into an unwanted lunch, particularly after such a dreadful breakfast. One of my favorite lunch spots is ruined by the cloud over my head, drenching my brain in despair. Further still, my need for death is pushed slightly down my list of priorities due to rather enjoyable lunchtime company, and I am grateful for that.

After lunch, I let fate toss me down another flight of stairs – err – round of errands. By now, I’m exhausted. Dead. I can barely sit in this car anymore. I want out. I want to go back to bed…

And so I do. After another hour – or maybe 10 hours – of errands, I wanted to cry. And die. So I go back to bed. I consider sleep, but I try instead to let the comedians of YouTube and Eminem lyric videos cheer me up. I can’t crack a smile. Maybe two hours after pathetic attempts, I’m up again, ready for a new plan to conquer the day, determined not to end it in the hell it was born in.

So I decide to fuck everything, I don’t care anymore, I will not let myself die on the inside anymore…. I went to Best Buy to buy myself a new camera for an upcoming project because, well, electronics make me happy.

Afterward, once again, I find myself venturing back out to the barn, praying there’s work for me to do. But alas, I’m not welcome in terms of labor. The sun is finally setting. As much as I enjoy darkness, I find myself drowning in it. In less than twelve hours, I’ll be put back to work. I’ve wasted 40 hours and $300 on absolutely nothing. What a depressing day.

As much as I dread tomorrow’s promises of sweat, rich assholes’ ridiculous complaints and demands, and a far-too-bright sun, I dread more what comes after the next 5 days… another 48 hours of hell. And yet this time, like last time and the time before, I’m already trying to convince myself to utilize such precious time more wisely. And yet this time, like last time and the time before, I’m still trying to convince myself that without it, I simply won’t have the energy to keep up with 84 horses – not to mention rude rich reprimands.

For me, it takes just one unfortunate occurrence to utterly destroy a potentially good day. Today, it was that I had no schedule to follow, no immediate deadlines to meet, no structure or guidance. I had nothing to rely on to push me into the next moment. I think schedules are vital with autism because there are no real goals, outlooks, or even purpose without them. For instance, I once went out of town with some of my favorite people on the planet for what they call “fun” and to “get away”, and by day three, I was on the floor crying. I didn’t even know what was happening; I can only imagine how pathetic and bizarre that must’ve looked.

Schedules are about as important as air in my lungs to me. Confrontations, interruptions, and unexpected obstacles are all potential day-ruiners to me. If I’m buried so deep in my headphones, hanging on dearly to Eminem’s every syllable – not uncommon – then a single “hello” that breaks my concentration can push me off a cliff and splatter into this foul gremlin creature that seeks only solitude and has a meltdown if ever even a slight unfortunate event may happen within the same 24 hours.

It truly is pathetic. And sometimes I wish this wasn’t my life. But until I – and other ASD people – can figure out who I am and what I’m doing here, I am forever grateful that I have a decent group of accepting people around me to let me thrash and scream and hide and mentally die until I come back again.

I suppose what I really mean is, if you don’t possess the meaning of my life with the intent to share, please step aside and make room for me to figure it out for myself. I’ve heard someone say that patience with autism is bullshit. What they really need is someone to be firm with them until they get it right. I disagree, and I think I may have a more viable opinion given my firsthand experience with the autism ball and chain. I think that patience is a desperate need in autism and allowing for such allows us to grow and learn and lead with new ideas rather than follow glumly.

Also, in my experience, schedules and predictability provide some of the most soothing and encouraging feelings in autism. I am never more comfortable than when I know exactly what is going to happen next.


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