It’s over a month until the holidays, but I am already totally stressed out. I’ve actually been quite stressed since August, but now I can finally start planning together with my relatives.
Big holidays are stressful for a lot of people, but it may be worse for people with autism and/or fatigue/exhaustion. Stuff like deadlines, shopping, gifts, expectations, traditions, change in routines and family gatherings can be tough and there is a lot of that in December (in celebrating cultures).
We are doing ‘secret santa’ among the adults to reduce shopping and unwanted gifts. I have also tried to lower my expectations and demands on myself. My husband and kids does the most of baking, preparing and shopping since some years.
Yet, I feel stressed by just thinking about Christmas. I guess it’s all of the bad experience collected. But I will try to calm down and think this is a new year and it will not have to be as stressful as last year or the years before. The more good experience I get, the less anxious I will be. (And preparing ahead is usually helping me.)
I hate deadlines and I hate having appointments. I often arrive way too early just because I feel so stressed about being late.
Today I am bringing the kids to a new health care center in central town (Gothenburg) and I feel stressed about that.
I can’t find the bus card for one of the kids (hopefully in her school bag), I will have to meet up with them after school and handle one of the kids’ fears of passing tram tracks and taking the tram.
It’s a new place and I know I will get all overstimulated when trying to find the right door, the waiting hall and handling meeting a new health care person for my child.
And then we are getting art supplies in a store (in desperate need!) and my kids will try to persuade me to go to other stores and I will get all stressed, sweaty and overstimulated and have to handle two kids at the same time.
I’m glad this is a rare event…
I wonder what it’s like to not have mental illnesses? To live from day to day and just have small problems or problems which can be dealt with with some effort.
What is it like to not be afraid, feel anxiety and being limited in life? Being able to choose between a variety of jobs and not the few ones where your disability is not a problem.
Being able to plan anything you want for your spare time activities. (I’ve been there, but I hardly remember after five years with fatigue.)
What is it like to never have seen a therapist or cried in front of strangers? (I have met about 15 therapist since I was 11 years old.)
How does it feel to be happy most of the time and to love life? To not want to give up every other week?
I would love to try try that.
A lot of kids with ADHD try to hold it together in school. They don’t want to be different and they want to perform well. When they come home from school they are so drained of energy and they let it all out in front of their parents or siblings.
In Sweden, an ADHD-test must be initiated by the school. This due to testing being expensive (paid by taxes) and that only people who really need a diagnosis shall be tested. So far, so good. The problem is when kids (preferable girls) try to overcompensate in school and the teachers doesn’t notice the issues. The ADHD-tests are thereby canceled and the kid does not get any adjustments.
There are many burned-out kids in Sweden who can’t attend school anymore and most of these have ADHD and/or autism, diagnosed or not. Even kids who can’t go to school anymore may have trouble getting an ADHD-test. All due to the schools’ bad knowledge of neuropsychiatric disabilities and unwillingness to pay for adjustments if the kids get a diagnosis (they don’t pay for the testing). (It’s all tax money in the end, but they try to keep their budget.)
Below is one in Swedish.
I used to have a career, I was a social, I was in town, I loved to exercise and I was a good and active parent.
The photos are from 2012-2013 before I got ill.
As I wrote on my stories on Instagram yesterday (see below) my mental illnesses has forced me to go from all of this to a different lifestyle which fits me better.
And by that I lost most of my status in the society. I am now considered a burden which costs enormous amounts of money (medicine and health care is very cheap or almost free (paid by tax) in Sweden and I get a ‘sick salary’ (benefit)).
I don’t want to talk much about myself and my path to recovery (not much has happened since I got burned out 5-6 years ago), so I avoid social gatherings (not only due to this though). In Sweden your job is your identity.
What does this do to a person? A lot! I’m reading a book about equality, class and social hierarchies which I will get back to later.
It’s really hard to live with extreme fatigue/burnout, mental illnesses, autism (in a society non fit for autistics) and being stigmatized and feeling like a burden does not make it easier.
I waited 1-2 years before I dared to tell people I was sick. I hardly believed it myself the first two years. I was so ashamed.
I’ve come to the conclusion my illness is not my fault. I was never meant to be that active and the energy I had was a loan (stress and adrenaline). I didn’t know about the autism by then and I just tried to do what everybody did.
But it’s really hard to lose it all and trying to build a new life with all of these disabilities.
I should be more kind with myself. It is hard. I do what I can.
When I was a kid I was terrified of the parents of the kids I played with. Eating dinner at a friend’s house was so scary. Both due to social anxiety and poor social skills due to undiagnosed autism.
I thought my life as a parent/adult would be easier compared. That I would have the upper hand when meeting my kids’ friends. But I am still anxious, even though I am less socially anxious after years of training. I rather not speak much with the friends of my kids. I hate to serve meals and making small talk (luckily my kids have a great dad).
Today I had to pick up my daughter at her new friends’ house. But it was alright. I knew what the parents looked like and I had a very obvious task – picking up my daughter. I have done it before, I know what we are supposed to say to each other (after years of parents coming over to pick up their kids at our house). And the parents seemed to be rather easy-going. And it was fine.
But I rather not do it too often.