Something Good- Day 250-254

Sunday was a relaxed day. We watched a video about several inspiring Christian stories. I spent most of the day lying on the couch because I still did not feel well.

I felt a bit better on Monday and tried pulling weeds and taking care of the lawn. Unfortunately, I did not have the energy to mow, but I did get the big weeds out of the lawn. Then, we watched movies and went grocery shopping.

Tuesday was a very busy day at work. Luckily, I was able to fix our server early in the day or it would have been even worse. I came home exhausted. We watched a show and then went to bed.

Yesterday was a better day. My nieces came upstairs for a bit to have dinner with us. Then, we went to my friend’s house. We took a walk with her and her son and caught up on each other’s life.

Today, we had a small birthday party for my oldest niece. We went to the store with her to pick out a cake. After dinner, we had the cake and ice cream. Then we took pictures with decorations my sister had set up while I was at work. It was a fun afternoon, and we enjoyed the time with our nieces.

Something Good- Day 169

Today was a rough day. I was pulled over by a police officer for not stopping at a stop sign. I had stopped, but there is a curve in the road and walls on each side, which prevented the officer from seeing me stop. I do not know what to do when I get stopped by a police officer. I panic and get defensive because I did nothing wrong. This is my third time being stopped by an officer, and my panic reflex has gotten worse each time. It especially makes me anxious because I feel like I have no control over it. I obey all traffic laws as well as I can, but that does not mean I am safe from an officer trying to make a point.

Anyway, the officer gave me a warning, which I still resented because I knew I had stopped. As I drove away though, I was overcome with feelings of anger and resentment and hurt. I wanted to call my best friend or my sister or other family member, to help calm me down and get to a state where I could go to work okay. Instead, I drove to work and blasted my music. My body tensed to the point where my hands couldn’t move the way they should. I thought about pulling over and calling my boss, but I relaxed just enough to drive safely to work.

My body was aching from tensing up so much, and I was in a bad mood. My coworkers could tell right away that I was upset. After working for a while, I finally calmed down enough to do my job. I did snap at one of my coworkers at the end of the night though, and my boss asked me what was going on. I told her about getting pulled over and my bad experiences with police officers and wanting to call out sick. It brought back up some of the feelings, but I mostly held it together.

Anyway, in the midst of all this, I finally was approved for my house refinance. I have been waiting for this for weeks and working on refinancing for months. I am grateful for the terms I was given though and the way this all worked out.

Another thing that made me smile today was talking with a lady who took her dog outside to do his business. She had a crutch, so I stopped to ask if she needed help with walking her dog. She thanked me for my kindness and said I was sweet to offer. She introduced herself, and we talked for a minute before I drove off. It felt good to connect with someone for a minute or two.

Something Good- Day 138 & 139

I have been helping my sister start a blog for a religious project. She is editing Jesus into photos to show how He is present in all aspects of our lives. She published her first few posts and has been excited all day to see how many views she is getting and from what countries. You can check out her blog here.

I also had the opportunity to check out a comic someone shared with me about a superhero with autism. It seems like a cool concept, and I would encourage you to check it out here.

Something Good- Day 125 & 126

I went to the dollar store yesterday to get some necessities. I am always surprised by what I find there. I came out with the couple things I needed and two more bags of snacks and other fun items. I was also able to talk to my friend and her son last night.

Today my sister and I went to visit some friends because they had to put their cat down. We talked for a while and then went with them to get shakes and fries. It was nice to spend time with friends again and help get their mind off the situation for a while.

Something Good- Day 78

I slept in this morning until around noon. My sister brought me breakfast in bed. Then, we worked on the Airbnb and went grocery shopping. This afternoon, I signed a lease agreement for short term rental of my basement. It was good to know that we will still have income next month even with everything going on right now. I am still unsure of what the summer will bring, but I have hope that everything will work out. Today feels much more calm and hopeful than yesterday. I am grateful I took the day off so that I can return in better spirits tomorrow.

Something Good- Day 77

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.

Something Good- Day 13 & 14

I got off early yesterday, so we were able to go to a friend’s house to have dinner and play games. Afterwards, we met up with another friend to watch a movie, which was also really fun.

My favorite show started up again last night, so I was able to watch the new episode of “The Good Doctor” tonight. It hit close to home because I relate so much to the main character, but I just love that I can explain my feelings through someone people can watch on screen.

The Need for Opportunities

Not many people realize I have autism. It is not a topic that comes up very often in everyday conversations. And I have grown so much in my abilities to communicate and cope with my surroundings that I hardly notice it much of the time. Through all this, I have realized how important it is to have opportunities to learn and grow.

Most people take talking for granted. They see friendship and having conversations throughout the day as normal, everyday occurrences. This is not always the case for someone with a disability or for someone who is a loner or an outcast or even just an introvert. I remember being afraid of my voice as a teenager and young adult because I used it so little that I was constantly afraid it would not come out right when I needed it.

I have grown so much over the last several years because of the opportunities I have been given to communicate with others. I have seen the differences in my abilities to communicate because of the practice I get in communicating. I talk to people constantly at my work and at home with friends and family.

This has not always been the case in my life, and I first started noticing the difference when I visited my sister’s family on a regular basis. I noticed that it was easier to communicate and the words came more readily because I would always talk more when I was with my sister. I would read books aloud to her children. I would be engaged in conversation with the family and extended family. I was given the opportunity to use my voice more in those situations, and it created a notable difference in the rest of my week.

Since that time, I have been given an incredible amount of opportunities to improve my social and communication skills. I was asked to teach a class at church. I translated often at work and conducted orientation meetings for new hires. I gained a best friend that pushed the limits of my communication skills and allowed me to explore the social demands of friendship in ways I never had before. I was constantly using my voice and communicating my needs and using my social skills. They say that practice makes perfect. I am not sure if that is true, but practice definitely makes you better. The more I was able to practice my skills, the better they became.

My point with all of this is that growing up, I went to therapy and had scattered opportunities to learn communication and social skills, but it was not enough. I learned the skills necessary to place an order, ask a question, or do other things that were required of me, but it never came easily. It was a constant battle to communicate my needs and not feel lost in a world that I could not seem to understand. Now, communication and life in general has become much easier to handle. I know how to do things that I never thought possible in my earlier years. And things do come relatively easily.

I don’t know if it would have been possible for me to have more positive social experiences while growing up. I was an outcast and bullied and extremely cautious with who I trusted because of those things. But I hope that the world has changed enough that it is more possible for children today to have these experiences. I hope it is more possible for children with autism to learn social skills by practicing with their peers. I know the importance of those opportunities. I have seen how much of a difference they can make. And I hope we all try a little harder to give people the opportunities they need to become better.