Struggle without shame
Someone just asked me if I struggle with task initiation. And, oh yeah, I definitely do. And with stopping tasks, and transitioning between tasks. I am not an exception to the classic Autistic struggles.
But here’s the thing. I struggle with these because my brain works in a particular way, and society is set up in a different way. But I don’t struggle with them nearly as much as I used to.
My brain can be very mono focused. It’s also ADHD and can go off very easily on divergent trains of thought, like fractals, leading to the next and the next, hyper-focused on each in turn before branching off again. Like this tangent. So that’s fun. Sarcasm.
But I don’t struggle with task, initiation, and stopping, and switching, nearly as much as I used to.
Because what I’m dealing with now is simply my brain’s love of mono focusing, or of exploring, but I’m not dealing with shame anymore.
I’m not dealing with as much internalized capitalism anymore. I’m not forcing myself to try to meet unrealistic productivity models.
Those aren’t completely gone, but I’m not dealing with nearly as much of that anymore. I’ve deconstructed a lot of it. There’s still some lingering, and I keep finding new bits, and there’s probably more than I’m aware of now, but it’s not nearly as intense or causing me nearly as much pain.
So I’m simply working with my brain, not my brain and the shame about how my brain works and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All of those extra painful things on top of the simple reality of here’s how I function.
So, that means I’m not fighting myself as much. I’m simply helping myself through a situation, or letting myself off the hook for an artificial, external expectation, but I’m not fighting myself nearly as much any more.
That makes doing work, chores, life a whole lot easier.
And without those expectations of how I “should” function, I’ve found lots of ways to help myself deal with the parts that I genuinely find difficult.
For example, I water my plants and then fill up the watering can afterwards so it’s ready for the next time.
I’ve found that it’s really easy to fill the watering can then because I’m already engaged in the task of watering the plants, and adding that one extra step at the end is very easy.
But if the can isn’t filled, and I want to water the plants, it puts an extra task, filling the can, in between me and the task that I’ve mentally agreed to do, which is watering the plants. And that extra little task of filling the watering can makes it harder for me to start the process, and I’m more likely to delay watering the plants until they start looking droopy and then I feel bad for them, and I will do it, but it’s harder then because I’m also struggling with guilt.
And so, I’ve found that simply having the watering can full so that it’s ready anytime makes it easy for me to pick it up and water the plants. It’s a really little thing, but it makes a surprisingly big difference in my head.
There’s an old voice in my head that says it shouldn’t matter. That filling the can at the beginning, shouldn’t be a big deal, and therefore I shouldn’t look for a different way to do it, I shouldn’t find accommodations for myself I shouldn’t blah blah blah.
But when I live in the worlds of what should be and shouldn’t be, all that ends up happening is that I feel bad, and my plants don’t get watered as much and then they’re not as healthy and I feel guilty and shame about my ability to get things done and waste a lot of energy, doing mental, gymnastics in a fantasy world. But when I live in the real world of here’s how I actually function, and here’s what I actually need, and I’m going to do it, give myself the help that I need, then plants get watered and I don’t feel bad and I can use all the energy for doing other stuff or resting.
So this is what I mean by, yes I struggle with task initiation, but it doesn’t hurt me as much anymore.
I’m curious, what have you found that works for you? If you leave comments below, maybe we can share our tricks and discoveries, and get some good ideas from each other.