Sometimes I forget I have autism, especially at work. I work at a bank, and things are usually the same every day. I help customers with their transactions. We have a weekly schedule. The opening and closing routines are always the same. Even though I think I do well with changes, the structure helps me remain calm when changes do come.
Things were different when I went into work yesterday. The opening routines were the same, but everything changed after that. The lobby was closed. We could only help people in the drive-through. I could handle that, but then more changes came. Our cash machine was not working, and they asked us to wear gloves the whole shift. I started to feel anxious. The longer I wore the gloves, the more anxious I became. And customers kept coming, so I did not have time to process all the changes and adjust to them.
After an hour, I took an early lunch to get away from everything. I broke down in the break room and could not stop crying. My boss came to check on me after a few minutes. She said they would work something out with the gloves and that I could go home for the day if I wanted. I decided to go home because I was emotionally exhausted. I took a nap almost as soon as I got home.
After the nap, I called the branch manager to discuss my needs. She told me that I could take an additional day off if I needed. I felt fine at the time but said I would let her know. As the afternoon progressed, I felt tightness in my chest and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I told my manager I would take another day off and return on Thursday.
It is not fun to have a meltdown at work and not be able to explain why to your boss and coworkers. But I am grateful for their support through it. I only realized after this experience that I did not like the new girl because she did not fit in my routines. She did not do things the way I wanted, and it frustrated me. I know I owe her an apology, and I need to express my appreciation to all of my coworkers.
Anyway, my something good for yesterday was being able to talk to my sister to help me calm down. Then coming home and finding some peace in the chaos. I am hoping the extra time to process everything will help me return to work tomorrow better equipped to handle this whole situation. People need banks to stay open during this time as much as possible, so I am glad we are staying open for now.