A slight gloom is heading over me. There’s a new system coming in at work, and to nobody’s fault, the first week is always about teething problems and things settling in. It was brought in yesterday across the site, but tomorrow is the first real test, and I know this week won’t go well, but I’ve asked all my colleagues to bare with me and the new system as well as the receptionists. They all understand, and patients are only being charged for the first hour of parking, so it won’t cost them a fortune this week in theory. Though there’s no guarantee it’ll all be working really. So my theory for this week is it’s going to be bad, and there’s nothing I can do about it apart from try to make the best of it. I don’t know how it’ll go, and that’s the problem for me, I don’t like not knowing, but I’m learning.
One thing I find is that the majority of people have an avoidance technique to their phobias, for me, I have a hatred and phobia of crowded places. I’ve gone to Goose Fair on Wednesday night, because Friday and Saturday nights, it would be so busy you could barely move, and I’ve avoided going to gigs because they’d be too busy to breathe for me. It’s supposed to be one of the most common anxieties, but there’s varying degrees. I don’t suffer with anxiety as much as I did when I had my major breakdown a couple of years ago. When I had the original breakdown, I could barely leave the house. I was getting everything delivered to me, and when I did leave the house, it would be a quiet part of the day, either late at night or middle of the day when everyone was at work or school. And even then, it’d induce panic attacks a lot of the time, so I stopped leaving the house except for emergencies, like my parents dragging me out of my flat. Nowadays, I don’t like supermarkets like ASDA, but I’m happy to go into Aldi or Lidl or Sainsburys at any point of any day. So to me, that’s fine because I will go to a lot of places but I won’t stay very long in places that aggravate my attacks due to the high shelving, narrow aisles and horribly florescent lighting. I’ve come a long way, and some people would argue I need to keep pushing so I never get panic attacks ever again, but that’s not really achievable. I’m learning to deal with places I don’t particularly like, but I don’t avoid ASDA, I went in the other day to get something for my mum, but it was a flying visit. I will avoid shopping on a Saturday unless it’s first thing at 8/9am at any store, and that’s because I don’t enjoy things when it’s so busy you can’t properly look at things.
One of the things I’ve learnt at group therapy is that it’s all about baby steps and making a ladder per say to the ‘final goal’. Though the final goal may not be the achievement you aim for. It’s all about making small progress over time and getting comfortable with those changes before you keep pushing forward. You can’t just say you’re going into a busy supermarket at 11am on a Saturday and expect to be okay. You won’t do yourself any favours. So try 9am on a weekday first, when everyone is at work, with a friend in a small supermarket. Repeat it, then maybe have them wait outside once you’re okay with that thought, and then maybe have them wait in the car until you can go to that small place without anyone. Then progress to bigger places and repeat the same small steps. And you’ll find that in time, it’s all okay.
With Aspergers, I also can’t read body language that well, so I don’t always get the social conventions people expect you to instinctively know. So for me, busy and packed places aren’t good for that either. So for me, I’m happy with where I am on the ladder. I can’t reach the top, but I’m not far off. I could walk into ASDA at midday on a Saturday, get what I wanted and walk out. I wouldn’t have a panic attack, but I certainly wouldn’t like it at all. My mum did comment that I’d learnt some of them, but I still don’t always understand when I’m being too loud, or too forward and brash with people. Though I do tend to be fairly reserved at first, it’s when I get comfortable with people that the problems start.
It’s important to remember that you can’t control other people, and if they don’t understand you and how you are, then it’s all their problem and fault. You will never be accepted by everyone. You will be accepted by those who are worthy of you. You will always fit in somewhere, and if you don’t currently fit in, then maybe, it’s because you aren’t meant to but there is somewhere for you to move to.