Yesterday, I got home and did nothing. I lay in bed with the same song on repeat, thinking about the meaning of life. I was in overthink mode and had no energy to do anything.
I didn’t even have the energy to play a game on my Nintendo Switch or to pay attention to a film, and that’s saying something.
I woke up this morning with my earphones in and a phone under my pillow with no battery. It must have been a looooong, thoughtful night.
But today was different. When I woke up at 6:30am and felt amazing.
I replied to 5 weeks worth of emails I had deferred due to not really feeling able to respond, wrote half a blog post (coming soon), plus had 2 lots of breakfast and had a bath before I was picked up at 9:05am for work. Recently I’ve been struggling to even manage breakfast.
I got home from work at 4pm and I was oozing with energy. I went shopping, went to the gym for the first time in a month and started writing a new presentation. Right now, I am effortlessly writing this whereas it usually takes a lot of time and thought. I even managed to tidy my room today (I usually keep it very clean, but never tidy) and had time for a one man party in my kitchen which the neighbours probably heard.
Some days autistic people can have very low amounts of energy. Things that may seem easy to you like washing the dishes or making your bed can feel like Mission Impossible to us sometimes. Other days, we are like superheroes and can do anything and everything.
I’ll use my bedroom as an example. I have had such low energy over the past few months that I have felt completely unable to tidy it. It got to the point where it was an absolute mess, and no matter how badly I wanted to tidy it, I couldn’t. It just felt like it was impossible before I even started, and my room ended up looking like this:
I agree – it’s horrific.
Just to be clear – I am a clean freak. When I’m at my student house and my mum can’t tell me off for using too much water, it isn’t uncommon for me to have 4 showers a day. I also sanitise my hands before I eat anything (even if I’m not using my hands) and spend a lot of time cleaning, including completely washing my phone and iPad every day. But when I have no energy to function properly – whilst cleanliness is essential, tidiness isn’t.
Thankfully, my mum took the time to tidy it all up for me about a month ago and I have managed to more or less maintain it since.
My point is, our ability to do things fluctuates from day to day. I’ve had a lot more bad days than good recently, so I have been holding it all together at work then been unable to do much when I have got home. But I have still had my good days where I have been able to be productive and super energetic.
The problem autistic people face, is when we can do something on a good day, then we are expected to do it every day. I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works. Today, I could have easily jumped on stage and twerked for the nation if I was asked to. Yesterday, you probably wouldn’t have even got a reaction from me if you slapped me in the face.
I haven’t quite worked out properly the reasons for these fluctuations yet.
I think one major reason is spoon theory (Click on the link to read about it as I cant be bothered explaining lol).
Another big thing is that us autistic people tend to overthink a lot. It feels like the worry, negativity and analysing physically drains your energy and stops you from doing over things.
Today, compared to most other days, I woke up with no worries and nothing to overthink about. I have had a rough few months after revealing to everyone that I am autistic and completely changing my life, and maybe I’ve finally got to the point that I can stop being super anxious and start being productive again? I really hope so.
It’s quite a strange phenomenon, when you feel like you are being physically drained by your thoughts. I wonder if this happens with neurotypical people too (please let me know)? I often have debates and discussions in autism support groups on Facebook, and I can feel the energy being absorbed into my phone (unfortunately, this doesn’t charge my battery). I’ve started leaving my phone at home recently while I go out and go to the gym, and it has made me feel quite refreshed.
Of course there are going to be more things that come up that cause stress, anxiety and all the rest of that rubbish, but I’m hoping there isn’t anything for a while so I can carry on being productive and useful – if that’s how I wake up. I’ll have to wait and see.
Other than the two possible explanations above, it is quite surreal and difficult to understand. Please let me know if you can shed any light on this, and then I’ll update this post.
Either way, my point remains. We can’t always do what we usually do every day. If an autistic person says they can’t do something, please respect what they say, no matter how ridiculous it may sound to you.