Still alive…

Hello!

Yes, I am still with you, I’ve just been quite busy up here (really). As you may know, I started university in September, the University of Aberdeen to be specific! And I seem to be surviving, which is rather surprising. Granted, I am having about one meltdown a week, but I’m not dying in a hole somewhere so I think I’m doing quite well.

I have done a lot of things that I never thought I would, get drunk (yes I drink now), make a doctors appointment and go to a club (this really surprised me too). I have also met some very lovely people, two of whom are my flatmates. I managed to get such bad freshers flu’ that my flatmates had to call a doctor and take me to A&E (which I’d just like to say thanks again for, you’re awesome). I was okay, by the way, it was just a stomach bug.

Spinning Plates

What came to me earlier this week (which may or may not have been in a drunken haze) is that life is rather like spinning plates. Every responsibility or stress inducing thing is like a plate you have to keep spinning, so one or two plates are fine, but once you get, say, ten you start having problems. Twenty and you’re practically screwed. So, when everything gets too much and you break a plate, you have a meltdown. Currently that means I’m dropping one plate a week. Which got me thinking, what was happening at home? It turns out that I couldn’t even spin the plates at home, and I was just lying in a pile of broken plates. So, breaking one a week is a kind of improvement, right? I may have just got lost in a metaphor… However one meltdown a week is still too many, as it takes about a week to recover. In response I’ve tried to improve my ‘stressed out detector’. I think it’s actually called interoception (maybe?) and there’s a great post by Musings of an Aspie. Though it doesn’t seem to be working, but I’ll keep trying. I hope to be blogging more regularly but I have exams coming up so…

Anyway, I hope you’ve all been well and as always feel free to leave any questions or comments.

Have a good Sunday!

Why is social interaction is hard for me?

I do like people and interacting with people; that isn’t the problem. Unlike allistic (non-autistic) people I use energy when interacting with others. I still stress that I like interacting with people but eventually I run out of energy and have to stop.

I will use the analogy of tennis here. Say you really like playing tennis and your friends all like tennis as well. However they have a lot more stamina than you do, so you have to stop playing a long time before they do otherwise you’ll collapse from exhaustion.

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Ahh Djokovic you understand me

That’s how social interaction is for me; I have to limit the amount before I get exhausted or very stressed. It’s also worse with groups of people, I’ll stick with the tennis analogy to explain this. Playing tennis with one ball is easy and you could keep going for hours. Add another ball and it becomes trickier, but still manageable. Add another and you start to struggle.  Here the balls represent people, it’s quite difficult to keep track of multiple balls at once. For me, it’s difficult to keep track of multiple people/conversations at once. Each one requires analysis and effort and if there are too many I feel overwhelmed. There is fortunately a simple solution. Take breaks. Like you would if you were getting too tired playing a sport. Or I’ll end up collapsed on the court covered in tennis balls.