Autistic Confessions – I Don’t Handle Last Minute Changes Very Well

When I set out to do something I need to know the end time and like to know what to expect.

For example if I go to an event, even a very busy and loud event with lots of people, I am able to get through it as long as I know when I will be leaving. During the event, I conserve my energy accordingly so I can last.

If you make me stay later at an event I may not have enough energy to get myself home without breaking down. I try to hold things in but depending on how much longer things run, I might cry or have a meltdown .

Another example is when guests visit. I need to know how late people will stay. If my guests stay extra days it will stress me out because I won’t be able to recharge while there are extra people in the house. Entertaining is exhausting to me.

A last minute request as I am planning to leave work can send me into a silent rage, but will smile and act like everything is alright even though I am panicking inside and the world is swirling.

Even if I smile and agree – I need to stick to the plan and last minute changes stress me out.


54 thoughts on “Autistic Confessions – I Don’t Handle Last Minute Changes Very Well”

  1. Oh yes!
    A wave of dread floods over me when I am not given time to process a request enough to make it feel as though it always existed; it is probably the reason for dreading phone calls as much as I do. Spontaneity is an enemy as is flexibility.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. omg. omg. omg. love this post. the very first sentence is me too! i’ve always been like that and have wondered if anyone else experiences that. so, do you get really agitated when the time changes or details change? not trying to pry, just wanted to gain understanding. you’re awesome!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Reblogged this on ARC Books and commented:

    I can so completely relate to everything said here, I can handle just about anything if I know how long it’s going to last and when it will be over, but anything, even the things I am okay with, become a nightmare if they’re a surprise or they run longer than expected.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Change and the unexpected are literal nightmares for me. Tell me when something starts, how long it will last and when it will be over, I may not like it, but as you say, I can harvest my energy and get through it.
    Had to share this so tweeted and reblogged.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We have often witnessed this with J. We have tried explaining to others why we have such a fractured approach to social events, and they don’t seem to understand that his mind works in a different wavelength. Finality, boundaries, time frames…all extremely important to him, and -by association- to us. We live with timers, and we respect them. If I put a timer on for half an hour at the grocery store, I will be out of that store in half an hour. If the line is too long, I will cut the trip short, or talk to a manager and explain my quandary…

    Thanks for writing this piece. I have shared and hope people will “get” that it’s not as cut-and-dried as “get over it.”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank YOU. You are awesome. Such insight I can’t get from J, and you help a LOT with your postings. I’ve wanted to tell you that for a while, but I’ve been distracted from that purpose by life’s idiosyncrasies.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I need to share this with my husband so that we are more careful to explain and define times with Evan. We’ve always known he struggles with undefined times, but your insights are most helpful. I’m going to also tell Evan about you, and what I’m learning. It will encourage him.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can relate. With my own disorders, I don’t like last minute changes to my planned out routine or disruptions. I had planned out when I was going to write a paper and got a surprise visit from family- which destroyed my plans. I got furious and started crying. I can totally relate just a bit different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do…. but here is the thing the rush of adrenaline is instantaneous and uncontrollable. It pumps through me – I feel it happening and choose not to get swept up in it. Logically I know there is no problem so I deal with this automatic brain response. I can calm down and do because I know the response is not logical but it happens before I can even think.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Very much relate. This is me and my oldest boy. My daughter and my husband are on the spectrum, too, but seem not to mind so much some spontaneity as long as it is something they enjoy. It’s interesting balancing for different personalities…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another, “Yes, this!”

    I have reached a point at which I mostly don’t actually go into melt-down mode when asked to adjust on the fly, but it still takes a lot of mental effort.

    And the point about knowing how long to expect guests to stay and so forth in order to conserve energy — that clarifies something I’ve been tangling with mentally. I have one friend who takes a very l’aissez-faire attitude towards time, and it has been difficult to explain why it’s a problem for me when he’s catching a ride home with his Mom (who sometimes works very late) and I’m stuck sort of indefinitely waiting because he doesn’t set a specific time. Now I know how to explain it to him without sounding like an autocratic jerk 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Me neither and I’m somehow more than half of the 400 pages done. You’ve already got all the material written. You could maybe keep formatted like the blog, with essays grouped around a topic? I like how concise the posts are! People can flip through to what applies to them most?

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I can ask another of your followers about that as that’s what she did. I’ve seen Lulu stuff sold on Amazon. The publishing companies I know use Lulu and then can sell the books themselves and also Amazon. I have friends with a dozen rather popular published books on Amazon at normal prices ($10 a book) and they make almost nothing. When there was a publishing industry that could afford proof readers if one took your book you made a grand if lucky. I had literary agents in NYC and Toronto and I was amazed I could make as much from one article as from a first novel or memoir. It’s supposed to be much harder to make money as a writer now because of the free content online. I’ve never met anyone except Donald Woods who ever made a living as a writer but his book about South Africa was turned into a movie starring Denzel Washington. Oh, I worked for William Burroughs. He made money off writing obviously. But unless they can turn it into a book or Oprah says read it, I’ve heard it’s bleak. But yeah I know several people now that I think of it with at least half a dozen books on Amazon, some cheap self published e books only, most “real” books and kindle books and none make enough to live on. 😦

            Liked by 1 person

          2. There’s just so much free media like blogs and free e books etc. That’s great for us who need information but sucks for those providing it. There’s a lot of book tours you have to do to tell and radio interviews etc, so it’s really unfair for introverts, autistic people, those who can’t travel, etc. I could write journalism but not speak it, so I never accepted a radio panel invitation. I talk/singsong like a 12 year old valley girl or say incredibly controversial truths and could have just cried. I had a radio show in college but couldn’t deal with speaking. I’d just list the music trying to be very careful with pronunciation which I suck at. I heard it sounded sexy LOL.

            She said she’s commenting about how to do Amazon.

            A book is mostly good resume fodder to do other things. You appear official. But it’s almost always to get speaking gigs that pay. Sigh.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Thank you, these are all very good thoughts. I am not looking to be in the public eye like that. I like my calm solitude. I want to help as many people as humanly possible but becoming so public would be my biggest nightmare. I guess I am self limiting in that way.

            Liked by 1 person

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