Function

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I don’t work like other people work. I have energy rushes that see me fast tracking through tasks at a speed that leaves others behind. It makes me want to click my fingers at them and tell them to keep up.

I have energy dips that find me staring into the distance for days or weeks at a time. Watching the trees. Listening to birds and podcasts. Going for long walks. Missing deadlines.

This is fine. This is how it is for me.

I haven’t always felt that this is fine.

It wasn’t fine when I had to turn up in an office from Monday to Friday and work 8 hours at a desk. It worked brilliantly when I was in hyper focus, but I had to quit jobs when the staring in the distance started.

It wasn’t fine with friends, when I made a rush of plans in my energetic phase only to cancel them all the next week when my internal brakes were applied and seeing people was the last thing I wanted.

It wasn’t fine when I made myself conform to the expectations of society, which pushed me to be consistently productive and shamed me into feeling useless when I wasn’t.

It was a disaster when I tried to force myself to keep the energy rushes going, to extend the hyper focus longer and longer so that I could mirror the patterns of non-autistic people. It ended in dark days and silence and burn out.

It wasn’t helpful in the slow phases when the panic hit and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my job, with my friends, with my internal expectations. It made me hate myself and wish that I were someone else.

This is fine. This is how it was for me.

I am letting go of the need to mirror the patterns of people whose neurology is not like mine. I can’t keep up with them. They can’t keep up with me.

I am high functioning.

I am low functioning.

I am high/low/in between functioning.

I function as I am.

I am trusting that honouring my own rhythms is the way forward.

11 thoughts on “Function

  1. Thanks Leia for putting into words the feelings I have…brakes applied then to overly frantic and energized. A subtle physical system that is set into different speeds by emotional excess stimualtion at times (especially negative)-this is me! I hope to accept my own ways and support my son in accepting his in the often chaotic world churnings. (Today I have upset tummy and reflux after an emotional rollercoaster that my son has had to endure and communicate)

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  2. What you wrote is helping me understand my sons. My middle son will finish his school work and then start drawing so fast that it’s hard to keep up with him, When he finishes a test he starts drawing on the back and if the paper is taken away he starts drawing in the air. We do have a whiteboard, but it’s like there’s not enough space to fit his ideas. It must be very frustrating for him. He is verbal, but struggles putting his ideas into words written or spoken.

    I’ve observed my oldest at school and he will work and then start looking out the window. Even with the teacher providing incentives for work finished, he’s not able to complete the task asked of him at the moment. I do wonder how he feels about it. He is nonverbal and uses AAC.

    My youngest is a mix of his two older brothers, to a less of an extent. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Beautifully expressed. And so very helpful as I try to accept and honour my own rhythms. Today is one of the dark days but they are not so frequent now, I am getting there and it seems that you are too. Much love and thanks for this post.

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