>The admission: I’m terrible at waiting.
The explanation: When I realize I need something at the mall, I want to go now. When I want to paint a new paint-by-numbers, I want it today. When it’s time to go somewhere (especially vacation), I want to go yesterday.
The surprise: I text Leigh when I’m anxious about something. I know, your jaw just hit the floor, right? But really, when I’m anxious, I get stuck, and I can’t seem to get out of it myself. I’ve been anxious a fair amount recently, mostly in the evenings. Somehow, after all this time, I still don’t know for myself what Leigh would say. I’m so stuck in the anxiety, I have to actually ask her all over again. I’m sure she loves it, all the repetition.
The problem: Part of autism means that I get very stuck in the here and now. If I’m upset about something right now, I feel like I’ve always been upset about it and always will be upset about it. So if I’m anxious, I can’t see past that, and I feel like the anxiety is permanent. And if Leigh isn’t answering my text fairly quickly, then in my head, I’m forever on my own. I never said this made a lot of sense, it’s just the way it is. Since Leigh is going to Mexico this summer, she won’t be able to answer me right away. We’ll have to rely on email, which can take some time. So I need to be able to wait until she can get back to me.
The solution: I need to work on waiting, realizing that what is right now is not permanent. I came up with an idea. When I text Leigh about something, even if she can answer right away, her job is to make me wait for a few minutes. That doesn’t mean she’ll ignore me but tell me specifically to wait for five minutes and then we can talk. Once I can do five minutes, we’ll do longer, and longer, and longer, until I’m capable of waiting until the end of the day. I may or may not be able to fix the anxiety by myself, but I need to be able to at least sit with it for a while. Hopefully, over time, I’ll get better at this whole waiting thing.