Saturday the 26th September, 2020

Another day, another struggle!. I often say this to myself on waking. I wake up early today, some noise (a plane?) disturbed me mid dream, which is always the worst time to wake up. The dream was vivid as usual, bright and fully detailed, although only remnants of it are available to my late morning memory: something about drinking a glass of blood, and being in nature on a country road.

I fall asleep again and finally wake up at 7:30 am – quick, get out of bed, time is running out!!. I need to start reading at 8 am!. I will just have to accept that today reading won’t commence until 8:30 am, which is stressful. Stop taking life so seriously Anna, calm down, no need to rush!. Do I listen to my self talk? Only partly. I feel a bit frazzled. But I make my breakfast of stewed plums in a splash of orange juice, which I sprinkle with a high protein nut and seed granola my brother gave me for my birthday. I also consume two Ikea wholegrain sesame crispbreads spread with tahini and sliced banana, a glass of orange juice and the mandatory coffee.

I quickly wash up, brush my hair, do my teeth, get dressed, collect my book (currently finishing A Place For Everything by Anna Wilson, about her autistic mother), headphones, note paper, pen and white noise CD from my bedroom and set to work at the eating/food preparing/reading table in the kitchen. I make a second coffee, as is usual in my morning routine. Headphones on, white noise playing, I start to read, and I finish the book I started almost a week ago in about an hour. I decide to call it a day with my reading, as I’ve completed a book and need a break. I will start my new book tomorrow and will try and read for my usual two hours.

I turn on the internet and check my latest uploaded videos on you tube – I like to review them from time to time, as I’m a perfectionist. I then start to listen to the Thoughti Auti podcast by Asperger’s Growth you tube channel, which is really interesting, because I enjoy hearing from other autistics here in the UK.

Tiredness creeps in and I grab a third coffee (just about acceptable at 11:30 am) and a cheeky extra bowl of granola. Most days I settle for two mugs of coffee, but I feel particularly tired this morning. I’m now waiting for my dad to bring me my food shopping, as he does all my shopping for me at this time owing to Covid anxiety.

I will very shortly go for my 30-40 minute brisk walk, and it looks like a nice day: sunny and cool with a breeze, but the planes overhead are distracting and I’m very sensitive to their noise, which is not good for my already raised stress levels. I will go for my walk, put shopping away, wash hands over and over, then have lunch, go back on the computer where I will do hardly anything constructive for hours, before making my dinner: baked and stuffed pitta breads, a recipe from my Mediterranean cook book. Then I will start my bedtime routine: brush teeth, get changed into my pjs, watch you tube videos of other autistics, as I’m trying to work out my identity as an autistic person, and I greedily devour other autistic stories, which can result in negative comparisons while also being affirming at times. Talking about my evolving autistic identity will be the subject of another blog post sometime in the future!

At 9 pm if not earlier I will turn the computer off and get ready for bed. A very predictable life in a crazy Covid riddled world, same routine every day, feeling overloaded and frazzled every day, not being able to break out of my routine, but trying hard to do so, trying hard to break new ground because I feel I’m not achieving much compared to others, and I can’t help but feel stressed about that. Yet everything is so much effort for my brain, because I can’t put a bit of effort into something, I have to do a task with complete focus, and that’s exhausting. So I dither and procrastinate, then feel bad. Tomorrow will be the same. Meanwhile, the house gets dirty and dusty, I tell myself I will sort it out, but that rarely happens. I need support to clean the place, but Covid means I can’t currently access that support. In any case, right now it’s about mental survival and getting through the pandemic.

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