Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Routine and Change

School has started back for a new academic year and the rugby season has kicked off!

I am so happy it's ridiculous.

My life can return to what stands for normal in my family. I know what I'm doing from day to day and have a regular routine again!

The thing is, for all I moan about it, I really like working in a school and having a basic timetable I can follow from day-to-day / week-to-week / term-to-term. It gives me structure in a life I deliberately try to keep very open and fluid. I've always been very fearful of having too much routine and becoming compulsive about following it. I worry that my nature is to follow automatic habits and that I would get very distressed if unable to.  For this reason I like to mix up my drive home route occasionally (although it's not very long so there's not much option for change!) and vary the days of the week I do my washing/shopping/cleaning. Even following the rugby has variety in locations, days and times so not every weekend becomes repetitive.

I like variety and change and some random chaos in life, it keeps me thinking and more importantly it stops me becoming stagnant and trapped in a mundane cycle that would send me into a spiralling depression - and yes that lesson was learnt through experience!

I feel that people are too afraid of change when it comes to Autism - sometimes it's not the #ActuallyAutistic person that is rejecting the change but the people around them who are worrying about their reaction and can't cope with the additional support we need to manage the transition process.

Change and mistakes along with tears and anxiety have made me the person I am today because I experienced them, survived them and ultimately learned from them.

Don't stifle someone because of your fear, don't 'protect' someone from the normal everyday nature of the world that throws changes and chaos around like fake snow at Christmas. The world will never stop being the way it is and while there is sense in routine and planning there must also be wisdom in recognising that some things cannot be planned for or made to be regular. It will not always be dry when you go to the doctors, the train to work/school will not always arrive at 08.34 precisely, the recipe for Fanta may not always remain the same.

We do not stay the same as human beings throughout life, we grow and change and mature and decay. Life is, by its very nature, never static and never 100% predictable. The human mind, autistic or not, needs to be able to cope with that concept and learn that there are many many things we simply cannot control and the best way to do this is to look to nature. Science teaches us that we don't know more than we know and even what we know now may not be what we know tomorrow.

So my motto for September is very much "lets get back to normal" but also a hefty dose of "embrace the chaos" - let's see what the month brings!

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