It’s okay to feel drained, and it’s ok to let it show.
Often, allistics don’t understand the complex interplay of factors that affect our outward behaviour. They might perceive you as unresponsive or rude, but in reality you might be struggling to remain verbal and socially present because you’re feeling overwhelmed, or you’re feeling drained after a difficult day and can’t process what people are saying anymore.
There are all sorts of things that go on in our lives everyday that allistics know nothing of. Whatever you’re struggling with, whatever pressures are put on you, I want you to know that you don’t need to behave the way allistics might want you to – you don’t need to meet their expectations. Often meeting these expectations puts a huge strain on us and can be damaging to our health. And quite basically, it just isn’t worth it.
It’s completely okay to have limitations that are different from people around you, and it’s important to be aware of what your limitations are. You don’t deserve to have people tell you to ‘just try harder’ when you express your limitations. Your limitations and boundaries might be different from others’, but that doesn’t make you wrong or lesser than others for having them and expressing them.
It’s okay to struggle to do things that allistics might find easy. There are many things that we can find challenging, from making food to taking care of our hygiene because of sensory stuff or mental health or executive dysfunction. Sometimes its because we struggle to remember, sometimes it’s because we struggle to notice when things need doing, and sometimes we don’t have the processing energy to perform certain tasks. You might see other people around you getting on with things that are proving to be a challenge for you, but your limitations are normal and deserve to be respected. If you need to take a long time with something, that’s fine, and if you need to ask for help with something that nobody else seems to need help with, it’s totally okay. And I will firmly tell you that it is nothing to be ashamed of either. We are allowed to ask for, or do things, that make our lives easier and less stressful. We don’t have to prove ourselves to anybody. You deserve to receive help with things if you need it.
What often helps me a lot are things like writing lists and setting alarms. Everyday. I write a to-do list and keep it where I can see it. You could keep a planner to organise your week, and set alarms so that you don’t forget things. It’s totally okay if you need to remind yourself about things like drinking water, eating, or washing, and if you need to break down tasks like cooking a meal into small steps.
Actually, its an autistic trait that the signals of hunger, needing to go to the toilet etc, are all a little delayed or we are under-sensitive to these bodily cues! So if this sounds familiar, don’t feel bad about it. You have full permission and reasons to need to set alarms or reminders to do things like this too.
Above all else, I prefer Google Calendar the most on my phone. I have an iphone, so i can add a widget to my home screen of google calendar. It allows me to add tasks, reminders and schedule in anything I want for however long. Because it’s right on the front of my home screen on my phone, it means i will never ignore it by accident. I know alarms or writing things inside books can be challenging for those of us with ADHD, because once we stop looking at something or get too familiar to it, it stops existing, becomes invisible or we tune it out. So this is a really good thing to utilise if you find yourself forgetting about the very book you wrote things inside of or become too desensitised to the sticky notes on your refrigerator.