How on earth do you get it through to family and friends how to treat your aspie at Christmas time? The time of good cheer and all things sociable is a nightmare not waiting to happen but which happens in real time for at least the next two weeks. And that includes those of us who like the season.
So what do you tell people? How do you tell them. Let me count the ways.
Please noteAvoid the obvious tactic of painting a great big sign and sticking it outside your front door with your direction of choice written on it. If you want to do that, go ahead, but your family will still knock on the door and say,
'Did you know you have a sign saying Piss Off at your front door? You did? Oh, well, I guess it wasn't meant for me.'
With that in mind...It's a simple method and it's mainly in the execution (no, not that kind of execution).
1. Tell people to stay away.
Yes, stay away. Right away. Presents? Post them. Cards? Made for posting, damn it. Too late to post? We don't mind them late. Too stubborn to post things? Determined to deliver to your door? Deliver to the door then, just don't expect it to open.
2. When your friends and family turn up at the door anyway.
Don't open the door, but if they peer at you through the glass and you don't have the face to continue standing behind the Christmas tree, come out and wave them away like you would with pigeons.
3. When your friends and family think you haven't recognised them because you appear to be waving them away and not letting them in:
Hold up a pre-made sign with YES I WANT YOU TO LEAVE printed on it. Hold it close to the window as they will scrunch their eyes up as if they have lost the ability to read.
(This part of the process includes some waiting time as they stand, mouth open, aghast, trying to work out if you are serious).
4. They knock on the window and ask if you are letting them in (having decided you really cannot be serious).
At this point you will be tempted to fling open the door and ask them if they remember the conversation you had only yesterday where you told them you were not having any visitors over the festive season because your aspie finds it too stressful. Please resist this temptation. Of course they remember the conversation, they just didn't think you meant them.
5. A discussion takes place whereby your relatives decide how to deal with this latest madness from you.
Take the opportunity to close the curtains while they are having the discussion. If you do not have curtains or your blinds are flimsy, lie down on the floor and pretend to be in a deep sleep. This isn't actually a very good tactic but it does confuse people.
6. Your phone will now start ringing.
It's strange how, having seen you only yesterday and had that whole conversation about keeping away and then having come today and been kept away by you, that people who are wanting to visit will then call you to see why you are not letting them in.
7. If you have a toddler, or can borrow one, let them answer the phone. If you do not have access to this age group, please make sure you have pre-recorded an answer phone message containing a small song about Not Today, Thank You. Singing answer phone messages are quite unnerving and should get the job done.
8. Be prepared, after all your effort and suffering, for your aspie to ask you why no one is visiting. The fact that your aspie hates these unexpected visits and detests having to open presents in front of people means nothing at the moment of asking.
9. Don't forget to spend at least half a day planning how next Christmas will be easier because (fill in the blank with whatever got past your defences this year).
10. If all else fails, refer back to the giant printed sign posted at the front door. This counts as a Christmas craft and can be decorated to suit the message. Use as much glitter as you like and don't worry too much about teaching passing children new words.
Above all else, do whatever it takes to have a Christmas to suit you and your aspie first.
Not today, thank you
I want to be alone,
Not today, thank you,
Please don't even phone.
I want to have my Me Time
I want to lock the door,
And if you keep on phoning,
I'll not answer any more.