As most of you know, I’m autistic. As fewer of you know, I’m 23, and just moved out of my mother’s house into my own apartment. It is a lovely apartment, and (silverfish and noisy neighbors aside) I couldn’t be happier with it.
Unfortunately, this whole living-on-my-own gig also comes with a lot more responsibility than I’m used to, so it’s taking me a while to adjust. Because of the autism, I handle some things better than others would, and some things, notsomuch. All the chaos around the move and adjusting meant I couldn’t start my new novel until late December.
The good was that that novel? Went so damn fast. I’m a speedy drafter, so I was comfortably past 56k words in record time.
The bad was that that novel was also not right, so I had to scrap everything I’d written and rework my outline from scratch.
The also bad is that now my brain is too tired from drafting the wrong words to start drafting the right ones. Combine that with adjusting to the house, a messed up sleep schedule, and other obligations, and I’m having a hell of a time getting my life in order.
What’s tricky about mental disorders and illnesses is that you have to monitor yourself carefully. Push yourself too hard, and things snap. You can–you need to–pick up on the warning signs, but it’s more complicated than that. You’ll always ask yourself questions. Am I taking things too easy on myself? Could I write this novel now if I pushed myself, or would pushing myself just result in a breakdown? If I did succeed, would I have enough mental energy left for all the things I have to do next month? Should I take it slowly so I’ll at least get some work done, or should I stop entirely so that I have time to recharge?
That’s where I am right now: exhausted and figuring out my next move. It’s not conducive to either writing or blog posts. (It’s very conducive to ‘sleeping in until 2PM’ and ‘playing Pokémon’ and ‘staring at the vacuum cleaner but being unable to bring myself to pick it up.’)
On the bright side, there is a chance a lot of this will improve over the coming years. For one, I’ll get more used to managing the apartment. For another, I’ve known for a couple of years that I likely have ADD in addition to the autism, but never pursued a diagnosis. Now that I have to deal with deadlines and an apartment, I think it’s worth looking into a diagnosis and medication to see if that will help me manage my time and energy levels better.
I’m saying all of this in part because I am a chronic over-explainer, but also because I think it’s important to talk about. There’s no shame in having a brain that works differently from other people, or struggling with that on occasion. No one should think they’re alone or a failure because they can’t manage everything the rest of the world seems to manage.
I’m around on Twitter if you want to see what I’m up to, and hopefully I’ll be back in business soon. Until then, please excuse the blog silence. I’m alive, I promise!