Leaving the Comfort Zone

This week has been a challenging week. With a huge change in transportation in the day program, returning to walking on the trail and some other minor challenges to face next week. It has worn me out a great deal and has caused some toughness among those that care for me. Hopefully, it gets better as I know that it will eventually. Still, the initial getting out of what we have been used to for so long is very challenging.

Within the past week, I have been approached with challenges of trying things that have many unknowns to them or are spontaneous. Sometimes I was asked if I wanted to do an activity or go somewhere without enough time to plan to think about what is comfortable versus what has challenges for me. Therefore, I result with returning and remaining in my home, although I would have preferred to do something for fun. However, my anxiety kicks into overdrive with the tons of “what ifs” and I catastrophize of all the things that COULD go wrong but are unlikely to do so. When I return home, I often times lay in bed or on the couch throwing a pity party about everything that I think is wrong in my life, but in essence I have control of doing what I want but am fearful of stepping out of what I am comfortable with.

The same can be said about doing things that I know in the end are good for me. If you are following my blog, yesterday I wrote that I returned to walking after an almost two-month hiatus. In the moments of when my mother picks me up to do this activity can be very challenging for myself and her as well, I often will try to find a way to get out of it if at all humanly possible. We exchange in messages and calls back and forth banter about wanting to go and not wanting to go with her eventually coming to my house to pick me up and take me. In that five-minute drive from my house to the trailhead I will banter with many negative and condescending comments of her “forcing” and “making” me go walking. Regardless, once we get to the trail and start out, and start going through life’s problems and in no short order as in last night, we reach our turnaround point and then we head back and our walk is over, painless and incident free.

Then there is the new or changing situations. When things change this can make us feel very uneasy. More so as in many autistics when things are done in a different way that we are used to, we feel as that it should be done the way that it always has been done and we shouldn’t differ from the course we have been accustomed to knowing. This can also make us feel uneasy and want to not continue to allow our minds to be open to changes that are a result of someone who has no experience of it being done in the way it was previously done in the past which was in our comfort zone. When we experience turnover in those that serve us, we can’t expect that each person in that capacity perform their duties in the same exact way as their predecessor. We as autistics should have the understanding to not have the expectation bar held at the same level as that predecessor. As long as the necessary tasks are executed in a safe and correct manner and the basic needs are met, that is all we can ask for.  Change is hard for everyone, but is more difficult for autistics. However, if we have out coping mechanisms at the ready as I have been, the challenges can be easier to tackle.

I also know that I need to work on many of these things that can become challenging on my supporters because all I want to do is throw a pity party about how bad these things are for me. While they are things that can be challenging and sometimes abrupt, that doesn’t mean that I have to take out on them because I think my life is that bad and is worth making major changes of doing nothing at all because they are not within my comfort zone or that I did not do something that I probably would have enjoyed in the end. We as autistics can find it challenging in decision making and settling on a choice with not knowing whether or not we will be satisfied with its result. I have to realize that when the majority of the things I embark on, I rarely have an issue or become a failure at. It can be a challenge embarking on that activity or change at first, but once I do, the majority of the time, I have no issues whatsoever. It is just that when it becomes an issue, I feel as it was a really bad thing and I will ruminate it and use it as a defense of why I shouldn’t do it. However, if I want to be happy, I need to choose to do things that can at times be out of my comfort zone so that if abrupt changes present themselves, then I am ready to face them at ease.

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