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Do not behave like an aspie on Christmas Day

Christmas Day Meltdowns are unacceptable.

Do what you like, the rest of the year, you awkward, noisy, silent, clumsy aspie, but not at Christmas.

At Christmas, we behave like decent human beings. We pay out lots of money to make people happy and we put down an awful lot of time and effort in making everything look right. Most importantly, we pull out every stop to make it run like clockwork.

Clockwork runnings do not happen when someone older than 5 has a meltdown. Even the under 5s are greatly discouraged from acting like spoilt brats at this time of the year, so don't for the life of you think that you can aspify this Christmas Day!


And there it is, the unwritten, mostly unspoken ultimatum: do not behave like an aspie on Christmas Day.

The expectation that if you try hard enough, your Aspergers will be held in check, like a headstrong mule trying to get through the grocery store door. If you try, you can stop it. It's only a door and it's only a mule.

Except the analogy is only half-right because once the meltdown starts, the door doesn't matter: that mule will crash through the window, hooves flying, mane glossy and wild as the head is thrown back in angry, resistant triumph. And what do you do then?

What do you do when you tried your hardest and were sure you could keep out that mule, then you suddenly find yourself standing in the middle of broken glass, trampled carrots, mashed cabbage and all around you are shocked, fearful, angry faces, waiting to see if you will break them too?

Unlike the mule, who would likely start chomping down on the hard-won goodies, you sidle off, or storm off, but you go off, leaving the people who thought you were human to watch you leave, their mouths just starting to open so they can gossip about you once you're gone.

Be cheered, dear, post-meltdown, failed-social-butterfly aspie. Now that you have broken the glass, shattered the vegetables, destroyed all confidence in your ability to hold yourself in good standing, now you can do what you wanted to do all along and hurry off to a safe place.

This is when it starts to feel better. This darkened room, lit by a gentle light and hosted only by a purring cat or snoring dog or sleeping computer...this space so un-full of other people is where you can rest your weary soul and breathe that long-anticipated sigh of relief.

With a bit of luck, a cup of tea will be pushed through the door in a while. And maybe a little box of chocs. If necessary, you can slip out later, under cover of loud, other-room merriment, and get your own refreshment.

Whichever it is, if you have spent this Christmas trying to behave and failed - or outwardly succeeded but inwardly screamed - then here it is: Christmas Night is waiting to take you in its arms and make it all better.

Merry Christmas, readers.


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