This week has yet again been a very boring week. My dad has been off ill which has meant that mum and I have been stuck in a lot of the time as she didn’t want to leave him for too long. However this has had two rather annoying consequences for me, one I’m bored out of my brain because my already boring week got even more so and I have now caught dad’s bug. Dad, of course, is dying or so you’d think. I’ve also got no patience left, neither has mum and we’re both at the absolute breaking point. He’s a typical male and of course his cold and sinus infection is the worse thing ever and he’s being totally pathetic, by the end of the week his awful hearing has turned even worse and we’re having to shout at him. Now that would be annoying in itself (especially when he’s hearing when he wants to) but I have almost totally lost my voice, oh the fun I could have saying all sorts to him; but I’m not like that! It’d be funny if it wasn’t so annoying especially as he’s got the annoying habit of shouting at us too because he can’t hear GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!! I know I should have more patience but he makes my life a nightmare when he’s at home, he criticises my every move, everything is in his way including me and everything I do is wrong. He won’t listen to me but he also won’t listen to mum, yet she’s the most sensible of them both. So as I say I’ve, on the whole, had an annoying and very boring week. However on Tuesday I was supposed to be going to the optician.
I’m very lucky, at the moment I have a wonderful optician who actually understands my strange eyes, they are no different to the rest of me, and has adapted slightly how she treats me. I have no idea what I’d do without her, if she left or went somewhere else, because I can have such dry eyes that it obscures my vision or my Irlens syndrome can make things glare that aren’t bright. Or my worst symptom is that I can actually test differently on one day to another, when I first saw her I had been given glasses which when I tried them on were far far to strong. During the test they had been fine but on the day I went to collect my glasses I felt as though I was in a fishbowl, they had to get me back in and when she retested me found that I wasn’t in need of anywhere as strong a prescription. I have trouble focusing and so when they change lenses I have to wait for my eyes to refocus, which makes it very difficult to know which lens made my vision clearer. As I say my eyes, as the rest of me is too, are an enigma….you never know what they are going to do from one time to the next. So I go to see my lovely optician. I made the appointment a couple of weeks ago, but of course being disabled so needing a downstairs room AND needing a specific optician makes it a longer than normal wait to see someone. Mum came with me, as she always does, to help me with everything and just to keep me calm. Well on the day boy did I need her!!! We arrived a few minutes early as I always like to be early so I’m not ever late for things, yes I’m one of those people. We were told (as always is the case when in my scooter or wheelchair) to “take a seat” which always makes me smile as of course I’m already seated, this is the standard response and one which people don’t seem to know what to say to help. Anyway as usual, and despite having had a refurbishment, there is nowhere for a disabled person to wait comfortably. There’s no space, only chairs, and only a limited number of those too. So as usual I waited at the end of the row of chairs as far out of the way as I could. Now unlike my other time where my sensory overload came upon me suddenly, this built. I could see it happening and there wasn’t anything I could do about it because I was waiting for my appointment. It got busier and busier and I couldn’t see my planned escape route (I always have to have a planned escape, a way that in my scooter or chair I can get out without anyone blocking me it’s a defence mechanism that I’ve had since having panic attacks). It was noisy as there were lots of voices from all directions, phones were ringing, a man was playing a game on his phone which you could hear beeping and the chute thing that they have that they have canisters to send between floors was bumping. I got hotter and hotter, I had a new fiddle toy which unfortunately wasn’t working at all, and there were smells hitting me from every direction.
My new fiddle toy…
I couldn’t think straight, mum could see what was happening and was trying her best to help. The time was ticking by, it got busier and as before the sound was now at crescendo level and my fight or flight instinct went onto overdrive. I said to mum (although she already knew I was going to have to) “I’ve got to go……NOW”. It took me what seemed like forever to get myself sorted and turn my scooter on, I don’t know how I got out but I just had to go. Once outside I started to calm down but it wasn’t until we were home and I was in my own space (albeit with dad not helping) that I finally stopped shaking. Mum told me I’d gone completely white and she just knew that I couldn’t cope. We would have been over 15 minutes late for the appointment (because the optician was caught up with a trainee) and I’d been waiting 10 minutes before because of my need to be early. All I could think after was that I don’t know how anyone on the Autistic spectrum would have coped. I’ve decided that it’s time that I mentioned these sensory needs and overloads to the doctor, I don’t know what will come of it but I cannot cope with having these on a regular basis. Knowing what I do about my sensory needs and how they do, on the whole, calm me down I also have sorted out a small sensory kit which I’m going to now carry in my handbag. Thank goodness for amazon vouchers which I had earned on my survey sites, because I decided that I needed a way to block the noise out and replace it with my own way of calming which is music. I have bought a new MP3 player which has got my eclectic mix of cheesy pop and rock, and when I have a working laptop and CD drive will have all my Linkin Park CD’s transferred too. I find that the loud thrash of Chester and the others at times comforts and other times the cheesier the pop the better, so that’s what it will have on it a mix of all the comfort songs which I can hopefully have to block out the noise. I’ve also bought a new fiddle cube for home so that my current one can go into my handbag. It won’t take all of it away, I think until I can get to know what it is that causes the overloads whether it be autistic in origin or simply sensory processing I won’t ever be able to completely manage them. I have to live in a world which at times for me is overwhelming and unfortunately not adapted to either my sensory or disability needs, I need to have appointments. I think that I need to understand fully where these come from to be able to come up with a better coping strategy, then perhaps I can work out how to adapt the situation so that I can cope better with it. This is what I hope my doctor might be able to help me find out.
So I leave you with pictures of my new toys, the one that works and the one that while didn’t for that situation I will still keep for others. I am going to have to find a way of storing them all as I’m getting rather a lot now, I can see a new crafting project on the horizon can’t you?
The new, the current (which is going into my bag) and the one that didn’t work….
So let me know what you think, do you have any coping strategies you can share with me to help me cope more with theses overloads? What about appointments do you have anything that you do to help with the stress of these? Let me know below, until next time when I’m sure I will have completed another crafting project that I’ve been working on so can show you. Hope you have a good week (or few days depending on when I can post again!!!)