Ok, so I’m back home now, at 22.20, after a short shift in a supported living place. Suppoted living is where a person with disabilities lives in their own place instead of care home and have staff coming in. I was there with another lady, very lively and chatty, and I actually liked her, but some parts of the shift were rather difficult. For example when that lady was talking to me while I was trying to look through the paperwork. I had absolutely no idea how to let her know to give me some piece and quiet. I don’t know why, when neurotypical people turn back to someone, this is a sign they’re not interested in the conversation and it works this way for other neurotypical people, but when I try this trick, people are still talking?
Apart from that we had some nice chat, although I did feel somehow obliged to discuss my financial situation with her so that she didn’t become another person who thinks I’m a ‘loser from Eastern Europe’. This is a difficult thing to get right, especially when it’s something that I consider private. So I’m thinking ‘private’ but I’m like blah blah blah… and anyway I’m probably not doing it the English way anyway. In Poland we say ‘my mortgage is already paid off’, in here people say ‘I really can’t afford things, you know? My bills, without food and petrol are 2437 pounds every month’. I then want to say: ‘think about how to spend less and stop moaning’, but somehow, even though I’m autistic, I know this isn’t the correct response. But what is?
Anyway, even though I mostly enjoyed the conversation with that lady, it still tired me out. I think people don’t realise that at all about us: we may like the social experience, but it still tires us out.
At the end of the shift, when night staff came, those two started chatting about all the things that changed recently, or are about to change and all I’ve heard was the same information being repeated over and over again and I though I could communicate much more efficiently than that, if someone only let me speak. I remembered the video by dr Kathy Marshack that I posted a few days ago, when dr Marshack says that when autistics give too much information or repeat the same thing over and over it is because we think we copy neurotypicals this way. I’m not sure that’s what I’m doing? I really can’t confirm that from my perspective, but I guess if I started that as a little kid, I wouldn’t remember my reasoning, and now it’s a habit. I can’t deny it though.
What I know however is, that if I try to do that, I quickly get chucked out of the conversation. I wouldn’t try today as I was new in that place but I thought that possibly for next time I should keep quiet? But that makes me upset, I literally felt like I wanted to cover my ears to hear less. I think I actually did that, but only for a moment.
Anyway, when my taxi came, I said Thank you and Goodbye and those two were still talking and ignoring me. I repeated it again but there was no reaction. I always thought that it’s very rude to ignore people when they say Hello or Goodbye. Not so much on other occasions, although that all depends on the situation, but ignoring Hello and Goodbye is the worst. Yet, it happens to me all the bloody time! And all this effort I made today to appear confident and sociable went for nothing! And what I was supposed to do? Pull the lady by the clothes so that she paid attention to me? Then it would be my fault, wouldn’t it? So I just left. I don’t think that they’ve noticed? Or maybe it doesn’t matter? They knew I was going to leave, didn’t they?
So maybe ignoring people who are about to leave is not rude, as we know that they’re leaving? And anyway, it was not a party, but a shift at work so maybe it didn’t matter? I really don’t know.
Anyway, I feel totally cheated out of any hope that I’ll ever manage in a neurotypical world: I was making an effort the entire day and it was still not good enough for the other person to notice me when I was leaving.
I think I am having some kind of a meltdown right now. Even though I’m not screaming and just curling up on the sofa, it literally feels like someone stabbed me in the stomach.
It also turned out that my booking was messed up: I was supposed to stay in for sleep in shift but permanent staff was on the rota. I don’t necessarily mind as at least I’m at home now. I deserve it, after what I’ve just been through.
Otherwise I suppose I’m fine. I mean, apart from the meltdown of course. Tomorrow it’s going to be a new day and possibly I’ll be able to write an interesting post? The first one will probably be about how I’m feeling after the meltdown. It will be interesting to see.
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