Growing up, I have had too many experiences to count about being disapppointed. Back then I was never one to “take it like a man” and accept was handed down to me. It has taken many years of tolerance, acceptance, adaption and accommodation to get where I am today, especially when handling disappointment
The first thing that needs to be reeled in to manage your expectations. This takes time, communication and preparation. One thing that you need to ground yourself with as a person with autism is the facts that surround the expectation. This often happens on a daily basis. One of the things that I struggle in life was going to church. I know it was a hour long (on average), but then would be the ideals of what would be happening in the religious season. Would I be entertained and able to comprehend the messages? What if its more crowded? The questions go on and on that can be on the border of a disappointment and could ultimately lead into a meltdown if not averted in a dignified manner. One thing to do is the challenge/solution exercise that is in this situation here.
Learning techniques such as needing to have my own space, time to myself, etc. has taught me that I need to be more cognizant of when I need a sensory break and need to walk away from something, whether or not it may affect me. If it bothers me, I need to just stay away and regroup before I do or say something I may regret. That may mean that I need to chill for a few songs on my headphones until I can rejoin and regroup. If it works, do it. Practices such as the challenge/solution exercise has helped me prepare in advance for situations that I may find disappointing. One thing that I have to be thankful that doesn’t work is just hiding the truth when we are told blatant lies and we keep trusting the source as they do but they never follow through with what you ask or propose to do. That is one quality that I am thankful in for my parents, they were frank and honest with me and didn’t kick the can down the road. We take everything literally and having a hidden or ulterior motive is a concept that is difficult to grasp and can make processing it in our autistic brains confusing, painful and sometimes paralyzing.
Life is not always fair. However, autistics have a tendency to be blunt and direct – they can be honest to a fault. As such we have trouble detecting falsity in words and actions, “They often think other people are as honest as they are, which makes us vulnerable and gullible.”
When getting ready to head out into the world in terms of good and bad contains a personal effect of preparation, but when you add in being autistic to the mix., it is even more confusing and complex to be resilient and prepare for the simple fact that life isn’t always fair. It is still a challenge for me to “read” people that I am unfamiliar with. Simply put, how can I tell all the emotions of all the people I interact with and whether or not they want or are interested in interacting with me.
One thing I never had growing up was birthday parties where the whole school class was invited. My birthday was traditionally between school terms anyway, but close to the end of the school year. I didn’t have hardly any close friends, a thing we know that autistics want but don’t have in many cases. I know If I did invite the classes to my parties that none of them would show, so I guess I was lucky to not experience that disappointment. Although one disappointment was when I grew up and was almost all set to go on vacation with my grandparents and sister to Virginia and I developed Chicken Pox on not only the last day of Vacation Bible School but the day we were set to go on our trip. I was severely disappointed. I had a hard time understanding why I had to stay in quarantine when it was summer and everyone else was doing stuff and being free. So, you could say that I had some practice in the disappointment department.