same old same old

so people with autism like me usually don't like too much change but has anyone else got to the breaking point were you can't take it anymore because i'm in high school right now and it's the same thing every year since elementary i just go to school and eventual have summer and then go back and i can't take it anymore... and it's not just school it's also happening to things like holidays and my birthday and i'm losing the joy i use to get from my birthday and Christmas and i want to get those feelings back. so does anyone else know how i'm feeling and can you offer some advice.

  • Yes, I do know how you’re feeling. I currently can’t even take the change between night and day. This has taken me a while to work out, but even the change between night and day is too much. I too have lost all my joy for Christmas and birthdays etc. I always used to get the biggest Christmas tree I could find every year and for the past few years I haven’t bothered with one at all. I’ve been out of work for a while now, since my meltdown/shutdown/burnout starting last year and the thought of going to do a routine 9 to 5 job makes me want to commit suicide. Seriously. I know that it will simply be a cycle of work, weekends, holidays, rince and repeat and I can’t take that. It’s not living, it’s surviving. 

    There are no easy solutions to this. But this is how I currently understand it. I think that the accumulation of me not catching up with processing all the changes etc that happen through life, I eventually start shutting down parts of my brain etc to compensate which results in loss of joy etc in areas of my life. It’s like the balance of the scales are tipping. And as a result, my world kind of gets smaller, so I start being aware of the small transitions/changes that take place throughout the day and block other stuff out, as a way of coping. But that effects all other areas of life and I start getting down on myself and when I start doing that, I can’t see solutions and I just see this awful series of changes that are meaningless. 

    This is a majorly simplified version and it may not be clear or apply to anybody else. But I think basically, what I’m saying is, we’re basically currently overloaded with our lives and every situation is different but for me, what is working best, is to begin to minimise my life as much as possible in all areas of my life, get organised so I feel more in control, keep things simple, get lots of rest or exercise or whatever helps you to relax and to try to divert the mind towards more pleasant things. It’s hard to say, because we’re all different but it sounds like you would benefit from speaking to somebody about this, sooner rather than later. 

    Is there a support worker or somebody you can trust at School who you can talk to about this. It’s imperative that you speak to somebody. There are no quick fixes but they could help you with distressing techniques, ways to reduce any stress, they could help you explore areas of your life which could bring some joy back. Until we start talking about it with somebody else, all this stuff just keeps swirling round our heads and sometimes it doesn’t take much to change the situation. But please just approach somebody about this, either at school or at home and start the ball rolling to get you some support. 

    Take care and let me know if any of that or none of that makes sense or if it relates to you and let me know who it is you will talk to. 

  • There's an old Buddhist saying, which I often take comfort from...

    "Change comes regardless."

    Thus, if you're in a good and enjoyable situation, remembering that it will pass - and that everything... and I mean EVERYTHING... is subject to the law of change - gives you more power to savour the moment and truly appreciate it. Likewise, if you're in the midst of a bad situation - something dire, unendurable or sapping - then remembering that change will come irrespective of what happens is empowering. It gives you hope. It gives you the endurance insomuch that you just have to wait. You don't even have to do anything, as the world is in constant change around you.

    You don't say what age you are. But my experience was that when I finished my (much detested) school, wow... my life changed big style, and in ways I just couldn't comprehend. I'm nothing like I was at school now, and life was so much better after school (I'm not one of these people that gets nostalgic about their school days at all). Some people will glibly advise you to make the most of your school days and youth. I'm not foolish enough to think it's always that easy.

    My best advice? Wait. Change comes regardless.

  • Or you can simply chose to enjoy all moments, each and every one of them, without such labels as good, bad, happy or sad. If we think something is unbearable, it will be unbearable. That’s not to say we might not be experiencing some strong inner emotions or strange behaviour or whatever, but it is only when we name those emotions that they become enduring. For example, excitement and butterfly’s of happy anticipation is often experienced in the exact same way as fear or dread. Those same jittery sensations in the stomach. If we simply observe them, we might learn something. If we don’t, either way, they would simply come and go as life does, like the wind, the breeze, the storms, the sun. We are all of the same energy. If we simply allow ourselves to feel what we’re feeling, without putting a name to it, we would simply enjoy all moments. 

  • It sounds like you've outgrown these things, as we all do around that age, and you need something new and challenging. It's true that autism and change don't naturally fit but that doesn't mean that those with autism don't ever get bored. With school, you've been there, done that, and perhaps it just isn't interesting or inspiring anymore? 

    I'd see that as a good sign really because (as you are about to leave school in the next year or two)  you're life is soon going to change in more ways than you can even imagine right now, so being ready for the next phase will stand you in good stead!

    Maybe it's time to start planning for what you'd like that next stage to look like? Perhaps a club / course / weekend job that's related in some way to whatever you think you might like to be doing after school? It doesn't matter if the club / course / weekend job turns out to be not as good as you expected - it's just about research at this stage and it's fine to try out a few things to see what you might enjoy. (In fact it's a good idea to try things out in this way (short-term, one after the other) while you're still at school because it's much more difficult to do so later on when you're actually relying on the job (for instance) for an income.