Autism: When The Day Is Just Too Much

I notice everything…

I notice I’m keeping an eye on the time although I’ve left 2.5hrs to do a 1hr 5 minutes journey because the reputation of the traffic in Bath plus my anxiety about being on time means I will always leave more then enough time. I know I’ll get there but my subconscious is doing back flips while I join the end of yet another long line of traffic waiting to turn at a junction. 

I don’t park in the first car park because there are lots of cars circling to find a space so I drive further to the overflow carpark. I know, at this time, there’ll be many spaces and I won’t have to worry about trying to navigate a large family car in a too small space with other cars driving around. Being social is hard enough at the best of times let alone with everyone being behind screens. 

I park the car but then repark the car as there are no lines but points at the top corners with a line at the back. My car is slightly wonky and I wonder if that will be noticed by someone else and I worry about needing to move it but don’t move it because I just. can’t. make. a. decision. 

I can’t remember the car parking app so search for the sign. I find it on my phone and it asks me to pay £5 when I should only be paying £1. At this point I could really go home because it’s started raining and I’m still wondering if I should have moved my car. I can’t make the app work because I don’t understand what I’m doing. I close the app and start again and suddenly it’s showing the screen it should; I have no idea what I did right this time.

I walk, in the rain, down to the building and I take the path (that’s not a path really) to the door that’s thankfully already open due to the person having just walking through it and I make my way to the café to buy a tea. But the noises of the coffee machine and the fridges and the waiting and wishing for the love of God that my phone would connect to the wi-fi so I can just look at something to help me zone out. 

My cup or bloody spoons (or whatever is this year’s trendy analogy for ‘I am overwhelmed with stress at this moment’) is definitely overflowing or I don’t have enough or…just whatever. 

I buy a Kit-Kat along with the tea because that’s what I bought last time. I will buy a Kit-Kat every time I’m here I know. I’ll use the same set of toilets, the same loo and try to sit in the same place in the lecture room because that makes me feel calmer. I never knew why I did this, I just did this; that was another ‘Oh that’s why I do that…’ moment after the diagnosis. 

Walking upstairs I tell myself over and over that I can do this, I can do this because that’s another thing I’ve always done. My pep talks can be both internal (when people are around) and external (when no one is around) and have helped me through my cello playing days, university assignments, walking down the aisle with everyone looking at me (despite the hype, this wasn’t my favourite day), being a young mum in the middle of the night with literally not a clue as to how to help the little one screaming full pelt. A pep talk and repeating my times tables out loud helped with that. 

‘You don’t look like you’re autistic’

No, and you know what? No one looks autistic because there is no autistic ‘look.’ At least, it wasn’t on the check list of symptoms to be ticked or not ticked the last time I looked. I’m just a body with a brain that’s doing backflips because there’s so much to think about because my brain can’t filter out the non-important stuff because it’s all important. The being on time, the using the technology, the queue of the cafe and hum of the fridges. The noise of the coffee machines, the sitting in the room waiting for the others and the hoping I’ll just get through it all.

Autism can be thought of as an iceberg in that, if you look, you can see my shaking hands, my lack of eye contact and my attention being caught by my phone. This is the bit above water. What is under the water, the unseen, is the chaos in my brain, the sweat glands working away and the increased beating of my heart.

I always end these sorts of days with a headache. An indicator that ‘that’ (whatever ‘that’ was) was just too much like a bright light in my face that you just want to push away to make it stop.


I’m sat on the sofa with the lamp on and the fire lit. No TV. No noise. I’m just typing.

Calming down ready for bed to get up tomorrow to do it all over again…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog

Autism And Best Friends

Best friends. I had a best friend at school who was really my only friend. Sure, I knew many people and was

Autism And Pregnancy

The next few blogs I’ve written are the ones I’ve wanted to write for years but couldn’t. The shame that I felt

Don't Miss

Autism And Best Friends

Best friends. I had a best friend at school who