Every person, regardless of whether they are PNT or ND handle stress in different ways. Personally, I spent years in high stress-working environments and I always convinced myself that I was fine in such. The reality of the matter was, that I found distractions, many of them unhealthy ones, I smoked at least a pack a day and I was usually in the pub as soon as I could escape the office, usually leaving when the pub closed. I also vented my stress on others, becoming irritable with people and so on.
I also worked as a successful alternative DJ and Promoter for about a decade, something I enjoyed throughly, again a high stress role. The benefit was that at this point, I combined drinking and working. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a drink and on occasions, I drink more than my doctor tells me that I should. I also never want to be in the position where having a glass of wine or indeed abstaining is no longer my choice.
I was never really aware of the ‘other things’ I did to combat stress. Most of these have been pointed out to me. Remember, these are specific to me personally and that any person with autism or asperger’s is different, although there are certain common tendencies.
Other things I do which aren’t necessarily a ‘stim’.
I’m very keen on organisation, to the point that I plan everything to a greater or lesser degree. This can, and does, involve extensive use of ‘To Do’ lists, a whiteboard, iPhone reminders. But, before anything get to this stage, I tend to vocalise my thoughts; frankly, I talk or mutter to myself.
Another thing, I’m prone to is pacing. I pace backwards and forwards like an expectation father, this generally happens whilst I’m on the phone to people. In fact, I can only think of a handful of people throughout the last decade or so I don’t feel the need to pace whilst I’m on the phone with.
Finally, and anyone who knows me in person or spends time getting to know me; I ramble. This, is apparently not uncommon. For those us on the spectrum, one of the common difficulties is social interaction and communication (some people distinguish them, whilst others and personally, I’m not convinced that they aren’t both different sides of the same coin.) Some of us don’t speak at all, others struggle with verbal communication and then, there are some of us, who either don’t shut up, or don’t always realise when it’s someone else’s turn to talk.
Many people with Asperger’s have higher than average intellect and have higher than average language skills, but the misnomer is that because we have an extensive vocabulary, we are efficient at conversation. I’m good at communicating in so far as I’ve trained and mentored others as well as having taught and I am intent upon qualifying as a primary school teach: I can get a point across, I’m good with making an argument or proposal. My problem is that I struggle with the finer points of conversation, the subtle exchanges and non-verbal signals, amongst other things.
And forward to the now: –
At times, I like the telephone. I like being able to contact my people on a personal basis. I’m not so good with official calls. I’ve spent some time today resuming my saga with Student Finance England and their subsidiaries and agencies. These calls, require my planning and knowledge that I am going to have to (1) make the call, (2) probably get bounced around different people, companies and so forth, and finally, (3) incur a lot of stress in doing the above, even if I get the achieved result.
These calls have taken me three days to make! Six different numbers, four different people and two call-backs. I might finally have the answer I need, to the one question I was asking.