Once again, I’m wandering round the house on my day off, feeling jittery and close to tears, my skin prickling. I can’t listen to music because I can’t take the additional sensory load. I can’t cook because of the smell. I can’t work in the garden because the sun is too bright. Of course, I could force myself to do all these things,, but you know what? I want to do them and enjoy them, just like any non-autistic person would. I don’t want to push myself through things that should be pleasant, colouring them with overload and formless anxiety.
The only good thing to be said for this is that at least I now have an explanation. I’m not a useless procrastinator; there is something happening that makes me feel this way. Of course there’s also this, the knowledge that things aren’t going to change, the infuriating knowledge that whatever I do I am going to waste a lot of my life like this.
I was educated in a tradition that said that if you don’t have something tangible to show for your efforts at the end of each day then you are a failure. Try as I might, I cannot shake off that lingering voice in the back of my head. Look at that weekend, it says. You spent half of it sitting on the sofa reading, when there was all that stuff needed doing. You have a long list to get through and you’ve barely touched it. You are a failure.
I’m still adjusting to this knowledge of my difference. I’m still holding up my experience, examining it, asking is this autism? or is this just me being a failure? and trying not to conflate the two.