Autism: Emotional Control

I’m currently feeling a bit inundated with work, so I’m just going to allow myself a brief time here to check in with how I’m doing before moving on to my actual responsibilities.

Yesterday was busy. In addition to navigating simultaneous work assignments, I did a self-directed therapy session, ran a few errands, and did a bunch of household chores like laundry, dishes, and mowing. Mowing was more like weed whacking because the grass had grown with such abandon with all the rain we’ve had; plus, the lawn has been too continuously soaked to mow for a couple weeks.

The biggest disappointment of the day came when what was supposed to be the highlight—retrieving my long-awaited hold at the library—turned into a bust. This was an audiobook version of Debbie Macomber’s Cottage by the Sea, but it was missing two of the nine disks. Useless. The librarian offered to put me back in the queue for the title, but I sunk to the 21st position waiting on just two copies! Because my local library doesn’t own a copy, it’s an interlibrary loan, so she couldn’t override the system’s settings to put me list for the other copy even though it had been my turn. Truthfully, I almost had a meltdown right there in the library; I was so upset. I really wanted the audio version and I’ve been fervently anticipating it since February. If you can imagine a neurotypical person to have emotional control that is tightly regulated such that it runs out slowly throughout the day with various adversities, much like sand passing through an hourglass, an autistic person has a more rapid and uneven depletion like sloshing lots of water out of a shallow and cracked bucket. It doesn’t take long, nor does it take many stumbles in a day, to end up with a dry bucket before the early afternoon. Something like the library disappointment was like catching my toe on a rock and catapulting snack down on the ground in a puddle of the entire contents of my bucket. I held it together, but the rest of the day, I felt emotionally spent.

And so, I now have months to wait for the book. I’m trying to be fine with it, but honestly, I’m still super bummed. While I could buy it on Audible, I can’t justify the cost right now, particularly because it should have been (and eventually will be) free. It feels ironic to be so disappointed by something as inconsequential and insignificant as a book issue when I face WAY more difficult hardships every single day, but that’s part of an autistic special interest/obsession. These types of focuses alleviate some of the tremendous chronic depression, pain, and loneliness. Particularly with my chick lit reading obsession, I’m temporarily transported out of my pain by a good story. And that can be a far more potent antidote to my challenges than any pharmaceutical drug.

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