This is the end of a week, month, year and decade. How are you? Was Christmas ok? We spent it in a pocket universe. We normally spend it at my in-laws who live around 350 miles away. Christmas for me is difficult because I’m taken away from everything that comforts me and placed into a continuous social anxiety zone with sensory issues and a schedule to follow that doesn’t agree with me or is even presented to me. Why should I be socially anxious around family you may ask? Well I find that if I don’t continually maintain an active social connection with someone it’s a struggle to get back into it. I only get to re-establish family connection twice a year and it’s almost like starting from scratch each time.
It’s taken me a long time to workout what is best for me at Christmas and having an autism diagnosis has helped to shed some light on my issues. I spent some time reading the stories on the National Autistic website that I really identified with. Gift buying issues. What exactly is the ‘right’ gift? Food issues. Overloaded shops, streets and cities. It’s a lot to be forced upon you for 3 months.
This year we had Christmas early at the in-laws so actual official Christmas was my wife and I at home with the cats. All our decisions were made before the day itself so Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day were essentially stress free. We had no visitors. Meals were simple and great. We imposed a gift limit of £10 just so we had something fun to unwrap on Christmas morning. Presents from family was chocolate. I am happy with plastic free consumable Christmas. I really enjoyed our Christmas. In the afternoon we built a Lego Yellow Submarine, ate chocolates and watched Star Trek: TNG. It was so calm and relaxing. I only hope we get to do it again. This year was an anomaly year and I’m left with the debate of whether to try and openly discuss autism issues at Christmas with people or grin and bear it.
Something I saw online by the charity CALM reminds me that it’s ok not to be ok and that maybe I should be more open about my issues at this time of year. (He writes in a newsletter.)
Samaritans - 116 123
• The iPhone 11 camera continues to impress - 40 days of darkness in Russia’s north
• Talk to Transformer - drop a few lines into this and it’ll finish off the paragraph. Fun with Christmas songs.