Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Transition Anxiety: An Organized Rant

I'm on spring break right now, but it sure doesn't feel like a break.

Typically, it takes about a week for me to adjust to being at home again after living at school and vise-versa. And "adjusting" is a massive understatement. It's more like torture...

Due to my Asperger's, I suffer from what I call "transition anxiety." I'm sure other aspies, and especially auties, deal with this often... and the one thing that keeps me from getting help during it is my self-control and seemingly calm demeanor. I want to be appear normal, so I try really hard to hide the depression, mood swings, and occasional dark thoughts that cross my mind... because it's just emotion, just anxiety, and it does not reflect my wonderful life... I mean seriously, I'm blessed with some amazing friends and family, very comfortable places to live, good food to eat, etc.
Why should I complain?

In all honesty, there's a very good reason to complain, though I doubt it'd accomplish anything. Transition anxiety isn't something I can just ignore or "cure" with some miracle diet, counselling, or positivity. Believe me, I've tried. What I feel during transitions is intense and overwhelming, and my habit of burying it just makes it worse, and it can even be physically painful if it's bad enough. I'd often lose touch with reality and my surroundings, so even if I'm doing something fun,
I'm still miserably trapped inside my own head.
Everything and everyone seems scary and abstract, so I can't seek help from people, nor can I find solace in my favorite activities.

I've been trying to figure out solutions to this, and so far, I've found something that does help a bit. A major part of the anxiety is adjusting to a new routine, so I thought I ought to make an everyday routine for at home, to refer to in the future. I sat down with my whiteboard and sketched out some ideas, until finally, this is what I came up with:
Simplicity helps.
It has helped my stress levels, for sure. But you know how life works... more stuff happens, and plans go awry. I might be able to get away with this routine for a while, but sometimes I'd need to add something to my schedule, like going grocery shopping or going out somewhere with my family. And It doesn't help that most of these things pop up without warning...