The great psychometric test of Life




In my ongoing mission to find IT teen work before Summer, we were looking at yet another online application. In the olden days, if you wanted a job with a retailer, large or small, they tended to rely on the face-to-face approach, to check out if you were a people person. I mean, retail is all about the customer, so having staff who are good with customers should be top of the list.

These days, retail is all about following the online application process to a point where you forget which job it is you wanted to apply for. You also forget who and what you are by the time you finish most of them. It becomes a strange, other-worldly experience, where you pass through many portals, searching for the magic key to release you, either back into your own world or into the world of work.

As luck would have it, I am one of those aspies who loves all this portal business and is quite at home living in more than one world at a time. This is lucky for IT teen who, by the end of the application process, is usually ready to take to the drink.

This particular form was determined to sort the goats from the sheep very early on. No messing about with scenarios to see how fluffy you are, they launched right into the psychometric testing.

Rather than proper multiple choice, this was one of those true nasties where you have only two statements and must choose the one closest to your personality. eg instead of having 3 foolish or naive statements, plus 1 correct choice, you have 2 awful statements that you wouldn't touch with a bargepole on a normal day.

So, lying on my back, fighting off cats as IT teen clicked through the form on the computer, we were faced with such blistering decisions as:

1. I love to gossip with my colleagues at work
2. I think customers should be put in their place

Or, this one I did like:

1. If people are upset, I think they should sort themselves out
2. Sometimes I talk about people behind their back

Hmm, yes, great choices. Mostly, though, it's obvious, looking at it from outside the bubble, to see which answers you need to give. These tests have a habit of repeating similar questions, or at least presenting statements which lead towards particular personality types. The trick is in being able to spot them coming and then spot them again, a few times more, before you have finished the test.

I've always loved the cut and thrust of psychometric testing. I took my first one when I was in my teens, hoping to get a job in a bank. Luckily, I didn't make it through at the interview stage as I don't think I'd have been suited to the job, but the psychometric test was a breeze.

I remember it fondly, this first foray. I'd heard of them a little, I think my English teacher had warned us of their evils. I knew they wanted to see what kind of people we were, they told us this much before we took the test. Logically, I thought, they want to see who will be best at the job.

So, looking at the questions, I saw how if I answered truthfully, I wouldn't even get an interview. Such gems as:

1. I prefer to work alone
2. My friends are really important to me
3. Being part of a team is essential at work
4. I learn things quickly

Obviously, your friends are important and being part of a team is probably a good thing too, at least for your boss. But my natural instinct to say I want to work alone or to be honest and say I do learn things quickly was soon pushed aside when I recognised what they really wanted to know.

The above is a simple example but I realised before answering any questions that they would want team players who liked other people and could listen to them, while working on their own initiative. Then and there, in my first psychometric test, I put aside the real me and took up the challenge of coming across as a wonderful candidate who was everything they were looking for.

I found out later, in the interview, I'd been in the top 5% of the scores - there were about a hundred people there. I was very proud of this achievement, especially as most of my answers had been lies. I would possibly have sailed through the interview in the same fashion, except I was distracted by the strong smell of toilets coming in from the hotel lobby.

Through the years, for different jobs, I've completed many psychometric tests. The only time I have ever worried was when, for one job, they studied your handwriting. I had also studied my handwriting and knew it showed the real me. I even knew which parts of my letters showed my shaky grasp of reality and nervousness. This job I did not get an interview for.

All the others, where they relied on the psych tests, I got right through. Whatever they wanted, I was, at least for the few minutes I was taking the test. I would always be finished early when taking them and always be fully confident in my answers.

I've also done these tests in person, when people have asked the questions and looked searchingly at me as I answered. There is still no catching me out as I have my game face on and give the proper consideration to my answer, having already decided which one they want to hear before they've finished reading it out.

I believe the psychometric test is really apt for aspies, even the ones who cannot cope with social situations and feel they are really bad with people. For aspies, life is one big psych test, designed to see if we fit in and if we're the people others want to know.

The truth is, we don't often fit in and if people don't want to know us, that's their problem. But life still tests us, every day, presenting us with choices, often ones where neither option is the one we want. We choose and choose and choose, always hoping we still know the answers to these questions designed for people who don't think the way we do.

Just like the psych tests designed for jobs, the tests we pass through every day are pointless in the long run. Knowing the right answers, or the answers people want to hear, does not help us to become better at life. We do become better at hiding who we really are and in fooling others for the short time we know them. We are still us, though, at the end of each test.

The secret to finding the right life is just like finding the right job: psychometric testing will not work, as it's a system and aspies know all about systems. What we need to do is apply ourselves to the right life or job in the first place, as that way we don't need to work the system or choose the answers other people want to hear: if we are in the right place at the right time then we can be ourselves and not be worried about pretending.

When faced with nasty options that don't suit us at all, we can only choose one or the other and this is just how life works. How often, in the real world, are we faced with choices that really reflect who we are and what we want to do? Like in so many situations, we have to react to what we are given rather than choosing artificially easy scenarios that we can cope with.

Of course, that doesn't mean we can't try the psych test tricks on life too. Even if you are in the right place and doing the right things, don't put aside your special abilities to work the system and make the outside world fit your own skewed and tricksy universe. Half the fun in life is in affecting it as well as letting life affect you.

In other words, when necessary, use what life gives you to find your own place in it and to do what you want. Don't be dumbfounded into bad choices or bullied into giving the answers other people expect. Do your own thing, answer truthfully and then, when you feel more confident, make up your own rules for life and follow them.

This is always going to be much more fun than doing someone else's test, designed to weed out anti-social aspies who would rather watch the rest of the team float away on the life raft than miss the chance of being alone on the sinking ship. Doing your own thing confuses people: they find it hard to understand why you wouldn't want the guidance of others, helping you find your rightful place.

Readers, we are the others. I don't know about you, but I could write a psychometric test for anything now and gain a grim delight from doing so. Take pleasure in being on this side of the test so often in life and only answer the questions if you feel like it.

In the end, none of us, aspie or not, can really be defined by simple choices intended to categorise humanity into choices 1-4. Leave it behind and start working on number 5 instead.

Amanda
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Efficiency in the face of Aspifacy




I'm my own worst enemy, I know it. However socially awkward I might be, however difficult other people are (yes, you are), the blame usually comes to rest at my feet.

It's so easy to excuse yourself by virtue of the Aspergers and I've done it many times myself. I can't do that because; I did that thanks to; I'm only an aspie, so I can't...so many reasons which sound like excuses, complicated by the fact that all excuses are potential reasons and vice versa.

How is one supposed to know the difference? How do you know when you really can't do something and when you're just feeling a bit higgledy-piggledy and don't want to do it? It's a fine line and one I'm always falling off, to one side or the other.

None of this is made any easier by my own hyper-critical approach. One moment I'm bemoaning the fact that I'll be at Tesco in dead of night again because I haven't been organised enough, the next I'll realise I could have been at Tesco three times today if I'd just gone while I was out doing other things.

The added part of all the above is that even if I'd thought of going while I was out, I probably wouldn't because I didn't feel like it and knew that I could go tonight. And so the merry-go-round repeats.

Tonight, for lessons, I need to have all kinds of things ready but the printer ink is about to run out. I now wonder why I didn't get any while I was out, not being at Tesco. The answer to that one is simple - I forgot until I came home and the printer barked at me again.

Will I stretch the remaining drops into a full session of lesson prep? Will algebra sigh into oblivion as the page halts, shocked at its own nakedness? Will I then be forced to rush out for the ink and hope I have enough time to do it all?

Will the petrol last until I've been to lessons? Or will I have to go for some on the way? I avoided getting it last night because I was so tired. I knew when I sailed past the garage that I would regret it but I decided I was just too weary to go in and that it was a valid and proper reason.

Today, it doesn't feel so valid and proper. It's now pouring with rain, I'm on the countdown to going out to lessons and the car needs petrol almost as much as the printer needs ink. I also haven't even started getting that algebra ready.

I'm annoying myself at this point as these are little jobs which I don't like doing but which make life easier if you do get round to them. So much better to be able to actually prepare for maths lessons! Also, better to have enough petrol than to see how far a small, box-shaped car can run on momentum alone with the garage sitting in the distance, like a rainy mirage as cars behind wonder why you're travelling at 15 miles an hour.

(In case you're wondering, on flat ground it's about half a mile, which isn't too bad as it's a heavy little car - though I have to give myself some credit as, after years of practice, I am very good at driving under the influence of momentum and breathing exercises).

And the silly part of all this self-inflicted suffering is that while I'm writing about putting myself into these situations, the clock is ticking and I'm blogging instead of doing the lesson prep!

On a positive note, I did get some very important work finished today. Yes, properly important, not just catching up with Game of Thrones or anything. I admit, this is work I've also put off but it was in before the deadline and a lot of thinking time has gone into the delay. There's nothing like a bit of pressure to increase the thinking time and nibble away at the doing time.

So, for now, I'll zip off and see if the printer is feeling amenable. I know it wasn't very happy about being pushed to the limit last time but it did its best, with the minimum of fussing. I do think I may be pushing it towards the dark side though, as it's starting to chew on paper and secrete paper clips in places it has no business secreting anything.

As for the car, it's a long-suffering little box and will probably chug its way quite happily to the next town and back. It might even develop extra capacity for running on fumes, like the increased lung capacity of a professional diver. Perhaps this is the real secret to fuel efficiency - train your car to run on momentum and watch that fuel tank contract!

I'll stop there as the laptop is now reminding me I forgot to charge it. Yes, a pattern is developing. I think I may have a tendency to live in the present, don't you? Or is it just that I'm naturally cruel to inanimate objects?

No, according to IT and RT teen, I'm also cruel to them. They often need refilling, refuelling, recharging and then find the cupboard is empty. The reason is I'm wandering Tesco at the time the teens are staring sadly into the cupboard, having gone there last thing at night, with a car empty of petrol and wondering if they also sell the right ink for the printer.

You see, it all does get done in the end and, very efficiently, all in the same place. So that's okay then, isn't it?

Amanda

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Bluntness or Honesty?




IT teen had been told by a friend that he was as blunt as a butter knife, which made me laugh until IT revealed he had replied by saying, "If I'm as blunt as a butter knife then my mother is as blunt as its wooden handle."

"I'm not that bad!" I cried, picturing the offending knife with an unwieldy, rustic handle, not so much spreading the butter as flattening it into the table.

"Yes, you are," IT replied. "I didn't even think I was blunt before now, because I always compared myself to you!"

So, the acerbic, brutally honest, psychological enema that is IT teen thought he wasn't even blunt?? I thought of all the times his essential bluntness had risen to the surface like a basking shark, ready to make itself known in clear, undeniable terms. Then I thought about myself.

If IT teen, that bastion of bluntness, thinks I am the handle to his knife, what do I do to people? I know I can say the wrong thing and am overly honest, but if IT cuts to the core with the things he says, what do I do?

This is a terrifying concept, readers. It makes me feel open to the elements, left on the fell tops with only one foot on the path. I feel buffeted, blown backwards towards the scree, helpless to hold onto anything solid as the weather closes in and the clouds meld with the land.

All those times when I've blurted out the truth, or even thought carefully before expressing myself, have I been sand-blasting the other person? Has their silence or quiet agreement been a stunned response? How many times have I hurt instead of helped?

So, I talked about it with RT teen, himself something of an honesty monster. He's less blunt than IT teen, if you count bluntness and honesty as two separate things. He also was aghast at the idea of anyone being blunter than IT, but did snigger at me being a handle.

We talked about the idea that what we had considered helpful honesty was, in all truth, nothing but bluntness looked at in a different light. We hesitantly admitted that our honest answers may have been felt and seen in the same way as IT's blunt pickaxe approach.

We came to the conclusion that perhaps honesty becomes bluntness in the telling: that letting it fall out of you, without hesitation, into the middle of a normal conversation, turns vital honesty into blunt endeavour. That perhaps it's all in the telling, after all, with the tone of voice, or expression, making an honest response a more harmful blunt one.

Then, never one to let honesty fall to the wayside, I said to RT teen,

"You know, this is all very well but maybe people just call honesty bluntness because they don't want to hear the truth?"

He thought for a second, then agreed happily.

We came away from this worrying debate solid in our beliefs once again. Honesty is still for the best, even if other, gentler souls, call it bluntness. We believe, readers, that honesty has a true face that aspies see and name. It becomes other words to other people because they are so used to operating in a world that expects one person to behave differently in so many situations. If we could all simply be ourselves, all the way through, then honesty would always be recognised.

I do feel I may be excusing myself rather lightly here. I know I am an awful, terrible, frightening teller-of-the-truth. I know it upsets people. And I do, really, really do wish, I could be more tactful a lot of the time.

I hate it when my big, honest mouth lands me in it or I hurt someone - especially when I hurt someone. I get tired of other people having to think to themselves, 'She doesn't mean it that way, she's only being direct'. I would like to be eloquent in person more often.

And yet, I do feel I would rather have it this way. Let other people have their names for honesty and their belief that it has many different faces. I like to see things as they actually are, without a veil between. I like to know the real answers to every question.

Honesty, bluntness, directness, tactlessness - call them what you will, I have the complete set in original boxes and I know their worth. I see the world in a certain way and they help me to explain it to you.

If I sometimes say the wrong thing, or more likely, the right thing that you would rather not hear, then I apologise. I'm confident in the knowledge that I'm unable to see it any other way and that, usually, it's better to have clarity between us than kindly-meant subterfuge.

Oh, and readers, one more thing. Without that big, blunt handle, you wouldn't be able to use the butter knife. And without the butter knife, you would have dry toast with no butter! Faced with such a dreadful alternative, it's always better to have the use of a good, solid, rustic handle between you and the knife.

Amanda

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Seeing the whole person




They say if you want to see a room as it really is, mess and all, you should take a picture and look at that. They say that it's too easy to miss the obvious when you see it all the time and you need to look at it a different way to see it clearly.

So, your okay living room, which you just cleaned today, is transformed in a photograph. You suddenly see the biscuit wrappers on the sofa, the bundle of dog hair on the corner of the rug, the peeling paint on the radiator and the place where the cat scratched at the door frame when he was little.

All these things are meant to be invisible to those of us who are permanently distracted. We see what we think there is to be seen and anything extra is left to be noticed by visitors.

I was thinking the same approach might be useful for Life. Imagine if you could hold a cosmic camera and take a picture of your life, as it really is? Putting aside the fact we humans are only meant to know so much and would probably be driven insane by the unadulterated truth, what would we see that is not obvious now?

Would we suddenly see all those things other people have been telling us about for years? Would I understand, finally, what my mother means by me not getting round to things? Would the confusion at my inability to cope evaporate if I could show the truth of my life?

In fact, would my life become more understandable to me or other people?

It's nice to think that the cosmic camera could show my life to others in a way that might help them understand the aspie point of view, as well as the whole gamut of difficulties and impossibilities that follow us around like angry chickens.

I'd like to think that this truth-inducing picture would be there as proof that I have not slacked off, I am not to blame for everything that went wrong, that I really did do my best here, and here and that little bit there too.

It's a cosy image, this idea that you could show others how it really is, without the need for explanations or arguments. Just push a well-thumbed photograph into their hand and wait for their face to change as they saw, really saw, what it was like.

I guess this is the dream of perfect understanding from other people. Aspies want to feel justified in so many areas, like not being able to cope, seeming to goof off or shuffle into the undergrowth at the first sign of trouble. We want others to see it as we do and not judge us so harshly.

However, I have a feeling that any such picture, taken by the cosmic camera, would be for our eyes only. Madness lies in complete understanding, but by understanding ourselves completely, we could reach perfect sanity in our own tiny space in the universe.

We couldn't show the picture to anyone else as they'd only see an underwhelming portrait of us, smiling manically at the camera. They wouldn't see what we did, they wouldn't understand our need to have their ultimate approval.

With the picture in our hand, though, we might be strong at last. We could cast off the uncertainty and leave behind the quivers as we were able to face what and who we are without the need to explain ourselves. We would be able, after so long, to have that long, silent moment where everything falls into place and we realise exactly who we are and why.

What might happen afterwards would be revolutionary. Imagine yourself unshackled at last, armed with self-understanding and the knowledge you needed to tackle life without losing sight of who you really are. The bliss of such an existence!

And yet, readers, this is what we strive for every day. All the little sufferings I know you go through, all the times you clasp your hands together in anxiety, wishing there was someone to unclasp them and hold them instead. All of those times, when you wish it would stop and you could re-start, afresh, a new person, leaving behind the sharp stings of Being, every day.

All of these things, painful, annoying, upsetting, confusing, they are part of the cosmic photograph we have been given. We can never take the picture ourselves but we are allowed to look at it. The trouble is, we can never look at it all at once so we are forced, step by step, day by day, to look at one piece at a time.

Eventually, after a lot of steps and time taken to study what we can see, we can put together a mental image of the whole photograph. It is possible to finally see yourself as complete, without needing the explanations, without feeling the pain of who you are.

It is true that it takes some time to reach this stage and, just to keep life interesting, that photograph never stays exactly the same, but be comforted and know that it does happen. If you strive for understanding and a clear, honest, loving vision of yourself, you will see who you are and why.

And readers, it will be a wonderful picture.

Amanda

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Viewed through a different lens




I was struck last night with how differently we are perceived, from person to person. This is true of everyone we meet, of course. One person will always have a different view of you than another. In an aspie sense, though, the eccentric or out-of-place demeanor of your average aspie means different things to different people.

At lunch-time yesterday, I met my mother for coffee and had to run the gauntlet of the whole cafe. As usual, my outfit of choice seemed to attract the eye, though that wasn't my intention when I left the house. In honour of the sun coming out, I was dressed for Summer. This is the usual mistake I make in early Spring, but at that stage in the day, with sun pouring through the windows, my outfit still seemed like a good idea.

I wasn't operating on all cylinders at that stage, so I ignored the looks and drank my coffee. I did see my mother's eye travelling down to my shoes, but she's well-practiced enough to drag her eye back up again, quick-smart, before she thinks I've noticed.

That evening, I had to go to work and decided to keep the same outfit as the weather has cheered up and I expected other people to be wearing sunny clothes too.

In the first lesson, my student was an 8 year old girl who is not given to unnecessary compliments. She looked across the table, pulled down her top lip in a considering gesture and said, 'I like your thingy, what you're wearing today. It looks very pretty.'

'Outfit,' I answered, 'Thank you very much!'

The offending/pleasing outfit consisted of a bright top with red and yellow flowers, a crochet cardigan, the previously-mentioned crop jeans and, as I was doing a sensible job of work, no rainbow socks today. I had black tights with my little witch shoes instead. I also have a new, over-sized bag, which looks like I bought it so I could bring a dog to work with me.

Buoyed up by the genuine compliment, I then went about my work, finally ending up at the supermarket at the end of the night. At this point, it was almost dark, a strong, Cumbrian wind had sprung up and my coat was warm at home.

I scurried across the car park, dodging into the shop with the clipper-clatter of my witch shoes, trying not to fall over other people's trolleys (they will walk right into me, readers).

I was aware of getting a few looks as I went, but assumed it was because I had no coat. Then I saw someone with an amused mouth suddenly look away when I saw them. Yes, I was providing entertainment again, surrounded as I was by sensibly-dressed shoppers in coats and winter colours.

I must admit to feeling a bit ticked off then. I thought about my little student's compliment and how we had both seen my outfit in the same way. Now it was wrong, you see, out of place and too colourful. And I guess the clip-clopping didn't help.

It occurred to me then that I possibly have the fashion sense of an 8 year old, which is no bad thing in this drab and dreary world. There are worse people to emulate than girls at the age when they still feel like princesses and always have more than one best friend.

It also occurred to me that my student had seen me in an overly-positive way because she identified with what I was wearing, whereas the people in the supermarket all viewed me as a bright intrusion into their ordinary world. In one situation I had been quite at home, in the other I was definitely out in the cold (and literally, of course).

I hurried to do my shopping, eager to be home and warm again. By the time I finished, I had my basket full and swinging as I clip-clopped to the self-service tills. I was no longer worried about what people thought as I had decided, by then, that if it suited me to wear these colours and breezy clothes, then it was nobody's business but my own. As I have no intention of going up to a passer-by and demanding to know why their whole outfit is based on grey rayon, I don't see why I should take any notice of their bemused expressions when I flurry past.

I froze my way across the car park, the sky darkened by now and the wind set in as a reminder that Winter stayed longer this year and wasn't quite ready to give up on us. My crochet cardigan flapped about me as I trotted along and my over-sized bag caught the wind and banged through the air, determined to help me stand out in the dark twilight.

In the car, I thought to myself, 'This is where I am and who I'm supposed to be.' Yes, it came to me, just like that, as if it wasn't me speaking but someone sitting just next to me, waiting to give me that extra little nudge towards feeling all right again.

This is how it is, readers. We do our best and clip-clop through life, often getting it wrong in terms of what other people want. You see, you can get it wrong just as easily by trying to please other people as you can when you please yourself.

At least, when you please yourself, you are being who you really are: the person who wants to wear this, or do that, think this way or behave differently, because that's how it's meant to be.

The most perfect person in the world would still have their negative-ninnies, creeping along behind, ready to point and laugh and belittle. As none of us is perfect, why worry and why try to please others? Please yourself and you gain compliments and admiration from the most unlikely quarters.

It is far better to earn a genuine, kind remark than struggle through your day just to try for passing indifference. And if in doubt as to which way is your true path, well, that can take some practice but if it makes you happy and then others give you the shaggy eyebrow, have a closer look at them before you look down on yourself.

Amanda

My books and writing blog, with free stuff.
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When planning doesn't work




Today is a difficult day and the rest of the week isn't looking much better. And not difficult in an aspie sense either, just plain old, anybody's-business difficult.

The problems this week revolve around Jeffrey, one of my cats. He's been ill on and off for weeks and we never seem to get very far. Yesterday it looked as if he might be on his way out, then he rallied again and now I'm waiting to see if I can save him or if I have to make the decision every pet owner dreads.

Considering how hard it can be to get through a normal day, the harder ones are a real kick in the teeth. I don't know if being aspie is sometimes a blessing on these occasions though.

I was thinking about this at 5am, having dragged myself out of bed again to check on Jeffrey. I found myself veering away from obsessing over Jeffrey and onto other things. It was like a force-field was bouncing me off the Jeffers problems and back out into the ether.

I'm sure it was a protective mechanism so that I didn't worry myself down but it made planning anything very difficult. I was trying to sort out in my mind what I would do if...then filling in various scenarios.

It's a coping mechanism to arrange problems this way in my mind and although it means I worry more, it also helps to me to worry less, when the time comes. I dread not doing this, only to find I've then blundered into a situation and made decisions based on the moment which I'll regret afterwards.

It was no good, though. I couldn't think about Jeffrey and ended up going back to sleep - no bad thing. I woke looking like a horror show and dragged myself around the house, getting the teens ready for college.

I tried again to plan ahead and just couldn't. Bounced right off it, just like before, leaving me wondering what on earth I was meant to do now. How does an obsessive planner function when their planning lever is stuck in the Off position?

Well, what this planner did was muddle on. I took the teens to college, called at the shop for Jeffrey-enticing foods and sat in the car park, trying to work out what to say to the vet when she rang.

More bouncing. It wasn't that I was avoiding the subject of Jeffrey. I knew the conversation might end up with her recommending he be put to sleep. Goodness knows, I suffered enough yesterday going over this very point.

I knew she would want to take him into the office to be tested but he was so seriously stressed yesterday I was afraid that it would be the final straw if I took him out again.

I worked my way around the problem and tried to sneak up on planning what I would say to her but it saw me coming and I didn't get close. As soon as I was anywhere near thinking about what I would say, it shoved me off into the street and ran down a side alley.

Funnily enough, I had no problems thinking what the vet would say - that didn't mind being part of the planning. It was when I tried to fill in my responses that I came up blank.

Was it just stress? (Just stress, oh how we could laugh). Was I reacting by shying away from the problem, even though I thought I was trying to resolve it?

I'm not sure, but what I did instead was drive home and offer Jeffrey stinky fish (No) then strips of pork (Yes). I sat there, unable to plan and at a loss as to how the day would go, watching as he worked his way, very slowly, through the pork strips. It was only when he was on the last piece that I realised he had eaten his first proper meal for days.

While I was worrying and anti-planning, he had got on with what he needed to do and eaten. He also had something to drink. We are now at the stage where both these things are blessings. What I am left with is the root concern, that his few steps forward always seem to end in even more coming back.

So, the problem is not resolved. I still sit here with Jeffrey on the floor nearby, looking sad and quiet. But he ate more pork strips for elevenses and will hopefully eat more for a mid-afternoon snack.

Perhaps, by the time I finally talk to the vet (I'm still waiting) and by the end of today, my planning lever will have creaked back into action. I might be able to look again at the whole situation and be clear, in my own mind, of what I need to do next.

Eventually, it may be the same decision I dreaded making when this all came to a head yesterday but at least, with this break in the thinking-planning-worrying, my brain has had a chance to step back and take a breath to steady itself.

I do feel that not being able to plan has meant that future decisions will be made with a better frame of mind, which means I can trust them more. We all know what I'll probably end up having to do, but making a final decision will be easier if I am confident in myself.

So, readers, we sometimes have days which are difficult, which are hard for aspies and non-aspies alike. Like anyone under stress, aspies have to find their own way through and today has shown me that all my usual coping mechanisms can be switched off at what seem like vital moments. However, as this day has gone on, I can now say that I needed them to be switched off, to cope with the rest of the day and the ones to come.

In the end, we don't always have to be empowered or de-stressed. We can simple be ourselves and go on as well as we can, until we get a handle on the situation and are able to respond. It may take more time than we'd like but sometimes things do take their own time and there's nothing we can do about it.

In future, I'll still try to plan and see what comes before it arrives, but I won't panic if that doesn't happen. It shows that even a control freak like me can let things be once in a while and come out the better for it.

Amanda

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