Routines and structure are beneficial to everybody to one degree or another. Who doesn’t like some stable predictability in life? It keeps us calm when expectations are met and we can navigate our day without a steady stream of unforeseen surprises.
For many of us on the autism spectrum, or at least me, the ‘to one degree or another’ is key. To me, a seemingly minuscule switch (in the mind of a neurotypical) can literally rock my world. It just does. Sometimes I can handle it better than others. We are all more susceptible to our own personal kryptonite
depending on what else is going on.
Of course it follows that keeping structure in place helps me move through the day more easily. Obvious and simple solution, right? Right. Until it’s not. Let me explain. For me a routine that’s adhered to regularly becomes a LOOP. A loop is when my body becomes so accustomed to doing something in a certain way that it is unable to NOT do it that way. It causes distress and anxiety not to adhere. The problem is that life is fluid and deviation is necessary. What happens when my loop is interrupted? My emotions react and my body follows. Often it’s not pretty. I can’t control it though. This frequently gets called being obsessive or compulsive. There are, I think, some similarities, but it’s a different animal.
Why do I bring this up now? Because COVID-19 is upending everything. Routines big and small are shattered. My inflexibility is showing. This is to say there are those of us out here that are extremely sensitive to structure crumbling. Be aware.
I could talk loops and breaking them for days and probably will at some point. Not today. Today I’m getting some real time practice in, courtesy of my Mom: Master Loop Breaker. Seriously.