It’s less than two weeks until Christmas day and I am struggling. Don’t misunderstand, I love Christmas. Time with family, good food, twinkly lights, and gifts. I enjoy these things. The problem is that sensory overload, executive functioning challenges and regular routine changes are hard for people on the autistic spectrum. Christmas celebrations feature these things in bucketloads.
The first issue is organisation. Scheduling plans and organising the big day, plus all the extras in the lead up, leaves me feeling extremely anxious and out of control. I have strategies which usually help me to cope with my executive functioning difficulties. Even with these strategies, I feel like I’m holding the strings of a large amount of helium balloons desperately trying not to let go. At this time of year I feel like I’m standing in my garden watching all my balloons float away with no idea how to get them back and under control.
Overload is also a big problem for me at the moment. Christmas is a busy time of year, my children’s school events, extra social stuff, plus extra work means down time is harder to find. I have become overstimulated and I’m struggling to bring myself back to a calm state.
Lack of routine. My day to day routines start being interrupted by Christmas from the beginning of December. I find this really tricky to manage. My routines help me to feel calm and safe and when they’re changed I feel as if I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. This makes me anxious and irritable.
I need to feel better, I don’t want to ruin my families Christmas because of my autism. I have let my coping strategies slide and it shows. So from now on I need to slow down and take regular sensory breaks. I need to use my fiddle toys and weighted pad as these definitely reduce anxiety.
I hope you all have a super Christmas and for those of you affected by autism I’d love to hear your coping strategies? Anything at all that might be helpful for me to survive and enjoy my autistic Christmas with my family.