So here we are! We survived our holiday. As the last blog indicated, I was planning to talk about how (not) to go on holiday when you’re autistic. Due to the sheer amount of stuff that happened in the previous 7 days, I couldn’t. Instead, you’ll get that one at a later point. This week’s blog is going to be nice and brief, after the big ones you’ve been slogging through these past few weeks.
Instead, I’ll put in some of the lessons I’ve learned on this particular trip.
Yes, I prepared. I made sure I had overnight stays dealt with and planned out our trip months in advance. In fact, this particular trip was actually going to happen in September 2021, but for… a virus of some sort? I don’t know, there was something. In any case, the train is far less stressful than flying for me, so even with a 2 hour delay on the Eurostar, I was able to relax (a bit).
- Understand your sleep needs
I need to rest sometimes. My partner and I don’t sleep in the same bed together, but during this holiday we had to, since we weren’t sleeping in our own house. Of course, we massively appreciated having a place to sleep, but still had to consider our sensory needs. At one point, I had to move to the sofa, where I was jumped on by cats, but still had a good night’s sleep.
- Prepare for sensory needs
I made sure I had my headphones and earplugs on me, as well as my sunglasses for when it got too sunny. What I hadn’t brought were actually warm clothes, so I was pretty chilly for a lot of the outside portions of our trip. Apart from that, I had prepared excellently.
- Allow yourself flexibility
So, we took that day off. We spent it doing absolutely nothing at all, which gave us the energy to function for the weekend. I knew that it would be intense, so I needed all the energy I could muster. It actually worked out that the friend I was supposed to see in Leiden couldn’t make it due to Covid, though I’d of course far rather seen her.
- You’ll never feel like you’ve prepared enough – GOOD!
This was a weird one. I had dealt with all of the travel admin months in advance. In the weeks immediately leading up to the trip, I was still worried about having forgotten things. The day before leaving, my partner notified me of the Covid Passport neither of us had prepared. So, we did. It all went through that very evening. We didn’t have to use them once.
- You will sometimes get in trouble on GWR…
On our way home, we were utterly exhausted after having been up and about since 4:37 AM UK time. We actually needed to wait for the 19:37 train from Paddington, but when we got there and the 18:02 was about to leave, I unthinkingly ran for it. My partner was also too tired to think clearly, so we just boarded the train and I didn’t connect the dots that this was a problem until we were ticketed for it.
- …and have a public meltdown.
I was in a bad state. My exhausted partner now had the unenviable task of calming me down on public transport, on far less sleep than advisable. He wasn’t happy. But, after a few minutes, the meltdown let up and I was able to help him with his feelings of shame and frustration at not having said/done something first.
- Cancel all your work and exercise for the day after you get back.
My partner was far more on top of this than I was – I’d booked to teach several lessons and mentor some people, as well as a full workout at 9 am. No. I cancelled everything the day before we left. I needed it. My brain was totally incapable of functioning. In fact, I’m probably still recovering and recuperating. I don’t know how neurotypicals come back from holiday already refreshed and fully rested. You’re mad you are, you machines, you!
I don’t think I’ve got ADHD – if I do, I manage to hide it very well. On Sunday, I had thoroughly cleaned the house, I was done with all my work. I didn’t need to do anything – I could just write. I went to my partner’s work so I would not get distracted. Instead… I got distracted. I wrote a few emails for mentoring/tutoring purposes and took care of some outstanding admin that had managed to slip me by.
Reader, I did my taxes.
I sometimes don’t like my brain that much. I love writing. I really do. I do everything in my power to get writing done. Yet my brain isn’t playing ball when I want it to.
Please listen to last week’s Blindboy Podcast, where Blindboy deals with his recent autism diagnosis. That diagnosis is, in fact, really recent actually, with lots of painfully recognisable stories. Share it about with other good people on the internet.
I’ll leave you with this. On the podcast, when Blindboy said that his next piece of fiction is going to be deliberately neurodivergent, I felt a twinge of jealousy. This is obviously nonsense. I felt it a bit more when Naoise Dolan, Camilla Pang and Dara McAnulty were becoming bestselling authors. I don’t like that part of me. Bitterness has held me back for so many years.
I will finish my book in my own time, dammit. I’m not the one with a patreon and the established career. It’s ok that I’m not. I will hopefully be able to do some more writing this week. I have a few meetings, a limited set of tutoring sessions and some mentoring. My meeting with my own fiction mentor in not until May 13th. In the meantime, I still have a lot of time. I can’t write if I’m not in a state to do so. When I do, I create excellent work. As we all do.
Lots of love!