This Friday at work showed how difficult my autism makes reading situations. It was a really hot day which naturally just make the children a little more emotional and testing than normal which is normal. Turns out it can also make team members feel a little more irritated and stressed too, especially with the added additional testiness of the children. By the end of the day my team were feeling things, they were discussing how stressful the day had been for them. I felt awful. I hadn’t felt the stress that they had. The heat wasn’t bothering me, yes it was hot and sweaty but I couldn’t change that and it wasn’t effecting me too badly. I didn’t think the children had been too bad, and to be fair I knew they were feeling the heat and that it effects them. Yeah I wouldn’t say it was the easiest day with them but they are children they are allowed to have days like that, just like adults are and do. My team were really effected by all of these things and really feeling it. I just didn’t understand. I hadn’t noticed the same things they had.
Once again I felt like a social failure. I know it should be a positive that these things didn’t bother me in the same way, and deep down I know that it is. It is what makes me good at my job. It is why I don’t get as stressed out, I am in no way saying that I don’t get stressed, of course I do. Just things like this don’t stress me out easily. It’s because of the way my brain is wired. I hate not understanding other people and how they feel. I hate not being able to see what causes them pain, what stresses them out. I don’t necessarily want to feel things like they do but I do want to be able to understand it. To work at preventing these things for them, Support them, that’s my job. I am there for them to lean on, talk to, try to take away the stress.
They were all sitting there discussing it, subtly of course because of the children but I could at least do as much as read how stressed they now were. I couldn’t contribute to this conversation as I didn’t feel the same way but yet I didn’t want to make them feel bad. I could feel myself starting to feel emotional about everything, my eyes welling up. I took myself off into the children’s bathroom in a pretence of getting something so that I didn’t show my weakness to everyone or make them feel bad or more stressed.
Well I put myself together, came back and dealt with the current situation got everything moving and began getting ready for the final part of the evening. One of the team members then came up to me and asked me how I stay so calmed and how nothing seems to be bother me. Of course my first response was that the heat doesn’t really bother me which is true. I didn’t know what to say. Was it good or bad that I didn’t feel this way? I knew I was going to cry again. I knew explaining was the best thing I could do. Well at least try to. I told her I was sorry for not feeling or understanding the ways that she does and that I hated not seeing it in the same way sometimes. She of course didn’t want me to get upset or to feel that way and that it wasn’t my fault. I pulled myself together we laughed it off but I was still feeling bad about it all.
When I got home that night I still couldn’t stop thinking about everything or feeling it so I messaged the team member apologising again. She told me not to apologise and that talking with me really helped, made her understand me more, understand my autism and realise what I am dealing with every day. I guess even sometimes I forget about what I am dealing with. I am so focussed every day on doing my job in the best way that I can and focussing on the role that I have to play that I often forget or am even shocked when I am challenged with my autism. I forget that I see the world differently sometimes, that my brain doesn’t work in the same ways. Yes this is a positive especially in the situation of stress at work but being different from everyone isn’t always an easy pill to swallow. It still reminds me of how much I do have to fight for my place and how often I do have to prove to others that my autism isn’t a ‘problem’ an ‘issue’ and that it wont make me fall apart or that I’m not as good as everyone else. I am. My autism makes me unique, yes, and I struggle so very much but being unique also makes me able to deal with situations that others cannot.