A racy blouse and a bottle of paracetamol #autism

October 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

photo-on-30-09-2016-at-12-13

These days I’m mostly running to chase my tail. My project has had it’s central London launch, and in a few days time we’ll host an introductory evening, and open our show.

First we have to install the exhibition.

It’s the culmination of months of work, with  each phase of the project bringing it’s own intensity. But this is off the scale bonkers.

So how do I cope as an autistic? Cognitive load. Overload. Load of stress. All the loads. You name it I go it.

I mainly put my head down and push through each task as it comes – having learned that I must in most cases find the short cut and deal quickly with practicalities so that tasks don’t back up.

I carve out time to focus quietly and on my own. Collaboration requires contact and communication – but I do the majority of the troubleshooting in my own head arriving at solutions I know I can manage. Sure, I accommodate my colleagues but they generally know how I like to work and are incredibly respectful. I try to make sure I consider their needs too.

Paracetamol has been my friend – I’ve had a LOT of headaches, and discern a pattern of build-up in tension. I now know it is my body’s expression of overload. A classic was the two day social hangover after our launch – and the fact that despite it’s obvious success, I just couldn’t locate any sense of satisfaction. My focus was on the social mistakes I made that evening & my brain’s insistence on playing them on a loop.

As the kind comments and reviews come in, I am suddenly reminded of the intense concentration in the room as we presented our work. I make the connection. People really did like it. Kind phrases return and I begin to settle into a more comfortable feeling – it’s not joyful (not yet) as there is too much work to be done and a whole lot of paracetamol to swallow. But I’m getting there – almost in one piece.

An interesting development – I seem to have an increased tolerance for wearing pattern. Or maybe it’s that knowing myself better I can more easily work out what I can manage. I actually kept that blouse on all day, and didn’t pack the usual spare black smock in case it all got too much for me.

What did go to pieces was my short speech – the room fragmented and I couldn’t do the looking back and forth at the audience and my prompt sheet. Overtaken by vertigo I mainly read off the page. A disappointment to me. Any tips for overcoming this my dear fellow autistics who find binocular focus a challenge? I’d like to read my piece for our following event without the hand wobbles!

You can read about the project Through An Artist’s Eye here.

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