Have you ever watched how your brain can shut down your ability to solve, “Where did I put it” because you’re so ashamed and panicked that you’re too broken to find something ever again? In my house, I discover that if I have lost something, I tend to let my brain spin on the worst case scenario while I’m looking. Since my brain is burdened with the arduous task of imagining everything that could possibly go wrong because I don’t have ______. This morning, it was my phone. I needed it for three things. If I found my phone, it would let me place an instacart order for the milk. (SERIOUSLY, how did I NOT notice we were on the last gallon??) text my husband during lunch and let him know I was okay (otherwise he’ll start imagining his own worst case scenarious about how I’m lying unconscious in a pool of blood and I’ll have to fix the post-imaginary-trauma-stress-disorder as soon as he’s home) and turn on the tv for the babies who will. not. stop. screaming! (I don’t mind, of course, because I’m a loving mother who’s perfectly attuned to her children and can focus under any circumstances.) And to top it all off, my phone is apparently dead, because find my iphone isn’t helping! That means I won’t be able to sign in from my husband’s phone and call it. In this state, I am annoyed by my brain every time it throws up the suggestion that I could solve this if I would stop fixating on the stress. If I would stop looking in a panic, and find a solution to all the other problems, I’ll find my phone immediately, because I’ll start acting like the human that lost the phone- the human that wasn’t remotely stressed about losing a phone, and therefore didn’t make a mental note about where it was! So, in the past few months, I simply start doing what I’d do if I never see my phone or credit card or _____ again. Once I’ve solved my panic by finding solutions to everything stressful, I find things Amazingly enough, I wouldn’t have learned what was going on if I hadn’t seen another autistic friend in our entrepreneurship forum panicking about how she lost her keys- both sets. It reminded me that she looks like me and acts like me, and might find a solution like me. There were two stories I told her. One was a fun story about how I’d been praying to find a lost credit card, and the thought process that followed the prayer. The other story was about how I tended to panic so forcefully that I couldn’t think where to find the credit card with the trusting, restful, and peaceful nature that imitated God’s perfection until I found a way to block out the panic. I don’t block things out easily at all. That’s one of the frustrating side effects of the autism. First, autistics are unlikely to run through an “alternative things I want” list in their minds when the thing they want the most is not available- oh, how I wanted that phone! Second, we tend not to set aside emotions, because they always feel bigger than our thoughts. I haven’t yet found any good hacks for the emotional side, although I’m on an active search and have begun investing in coaching and courses that seem to be created by people who have felt emotions with that same level of hopeless intensity. But what I can almost always do is solve the problem that is a problem right now. An example from this morning when I lost my phone: Right now, the babies are screaming, and I have another phone that will turn on the roku. Right now, I need to place an instacart order, and all the tools I need- the signed in website, and the promotional email that will offer free delivery- are on my computer right now. Actually, my husband will get a message on Messenger easily, if I would quick type one in right now. So, I do the computer thing and the extra-phone-turning-on-the-roku thing. The son who’s been procrastinating putting away his clothes hears that there’s actually a possibility of watching television, and suddenly remembers where he put his motivation away in his brain while he was procrastinating. (He’s very proud to share how well he’s solved his lack of motivation, and I wish I could laugh out loud. Good thing he can’t see my face!) And so I sit with the babies in an easy chair to watch the talking box. My arms flop down below the arms of the chair. My left arm bumps a long, flat, hard lump in the pocket of the chair cover. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s my phone.
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- Post published:June 16, 2021
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