>…and bad things happen when I’m on autopilot

>I function on autopilot a lot. I don’t really think about what I’m doing. I have a bad habit of always thinking about the next thing I’m going to do. I don’t “live in the moment” very well at all.

My mom and I went to David’s Bridal today to shop for my dress for my sister’s wedding. It’s dark blue and has short sleeves. It’s sparkly on top, with a ribbon around the middle, and the bottom is made of taffeta. Here’s a not-very-good picture, but at least you can get an idea.

Anyway, after we got the dress and appropriate undergarments (which are ridiculous, I might add), we went to go look for shoes only…. the car wouldn’t start. We tried again. We tried while cross our fingers, crossing our eyes, and sticking our tongues out (not really). It didn’t work. My mom called my stepdad, Bob, and he came to jump the car. So we went back inside and waited for a while, until he came. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was the second time in three days that the car pooped out on us, so I think my mom was a little frustrated.

We got home, and my mom told me to go get the mail and put my sister’s wedding response card thing in the mail right now, before I forget. I went through the back door, up the basement stairs, out the front door, got the mail, and started to look at the mail I got from the Social Security office about cash assistance. I was fully absorbed in that, when the doorbell rang. My mom was rather annoyed that I’d locked her out downstairs. I apologized, and I thought she came in behind me in the front. I wasn’t really paying attention, because I was distracted by the fact that I’d gotten mail. The next thing I knew, I had a crash and a scream. “Lydia, come open this #*$&W% door RIGHT NOW!”

I ran downstairs. I was so confused; wasn’t my mom already in the house? Apparently not. Apparently, what my mom had meant by “you locked me out downstairs…” was “come back downstairs and open up the back door.”


She got so mad she broke a window in the door so that she could yell up the stairs to me.

I think she’s over it; she just lost her temper. I… am keeping Elsie close by because I’m still so nervous. I’m afraid that my stepdad will yell at me for the broken window, because he yells at me for everything. I’m sure I’ll hear about this.

I can’t help but to think if I didn’t have autism, I wouldn’t do stupid things like that. I would be more present in the moment and less in my own world all the time. When I think hard about it, I can truly focus on what I’m doing for a little while, but not for very long. I could never do it all the time.

Guess I’d better get used to doing stupid things, eh? You’d think I’d be used to it by now.

Sigh. Now where’s that cat?


5 thoughts on “>…and bad things happen when I’m on autopilot

  1. >Hi I discovered your blog about a month ago and I've read through all you posts. I've enjoyed reading as a 33 year old recently diagnosed I have been eating up all the blogs I can find on the subject. Anyhow, one thing I've learned in the past few years even before my diagnosis is to accept myself for who I am and my limitations. I used to be really hard on myself thinking if I just tried harder and I could keep things together for short times but, everything would eventually fall apart. I never understood why I couldn't keep it together ALL the time if I could sometimes. So, my point is there should be times you can just let loose and go on auto pilot. I mean look at all things you did. Went shopping for a specific type of dress, undergarments AND shoes. On a really good day I could handle shopping for all those VERY uncomfortable things to shop and try on. I would be done though for the day after doing those things. You also had to deal with the broken down car and I don't know about you but, for me then to be around someone else who's also frustrated that drains me too. At some point you have to be able to allow yourself to go on autopilot and home should be the place. I'm living with my parents too and I feel I have to be hypervigilant about things while I'm there and it is draining but, my point is that when we aren't hyper aware of everything it's because we're tired. I can't function at that level all the time nor should I be expected too. I don't quite understand what happened in your circumstance with the door and how she didn't come in once the door was unlocked but, at any rate it sounds like it was just a miscommunication and maybe didn't have anything to do with your autism. She was just frustrated form the day too. I hope you can learn to be okay with yourself when you go on autopilot at home. It's kind of like a few posts back when you were talking about your friend who want to learn some ways of coping so his stims don't look so obvious. He may be able to do it for awhile in the day but, at some point at the end of the day he needs to let loose and act the way that comes natural to him and let himself recoup from being hyper aware of what he's doing. God does not expect us to be anyone other than who we are. He is gracious with us we need to be gracious with ourselves too. That is something that took awhile for me to learn but, once I realized that I have legitimate limitation tha aren't me just not trying hard enough or being lazy it all has just clicked for me. I hope doesn't come across as preachy I don't mean it in that way.

  2. It is more than 4 years later that I’ve found and have been inspired to respond to this post. Lydia and others, I do these types of things all the time. Some of my autopilot mistakes are enormous.

    Nobody should be yelling at you, ever. If you come across this post and are still getting yelled at, please seek outside help. If I may suggest, contact a college Psychiatry or Behavioral Health department. Most of the time, such people are pro-active and will help you find resources. Reach out to the police, women’s organizations, organizations for youth, whatever it takes.

    You can lead a good life with people who accept you. You will find them. They will understand. You can and will accomplish great things. I’m like you. I make mistakes. But – I do accomplish good things. I have two Masters degrees from reputable universities and with good grades. I have a patent in mobile computing that is about to be approved. Playing and writing songs is among the things I can do. Please let me point out to you that music is great for the autistic mind.

    You deserve love, respect and a peaceful home. If you don’t have these things, please reach out to reputable authorities and professionals.

    Learning to accept and appreciate yourself for who you are is a long but rewarding process. You have to pursue that goal and try always to reach it. Think about your good qualities, your accomplishments and your talents. Most of all, treat yourself and others with love. It will not always be easy to find self-acceptance and peace in who you are, but you must try. You will become frustrated at times with this condition, but that’s alright.

    Please allow me to thank you for your courageous post. I hope that since the time you posted your thoughts you have found happiness and peace at home and within yourself.

    Speaking of frustration, I’m very frustrated and am hurting right now (but I realize that’s just part of living with the disorder). I have found comfort in your words. This is a wonderful gift you have given me and others. You have taught me that there are other people out there like me. That is something I didn’t fully realize. I don’t feel so alone now. Your words will help me pick myself up and move past the frustration and pain.

    There is another way you have helped a fellow person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What you have written here will help me explain to others what having this condition is like. I haven’t been able to do that as yet. It is comforting to know that there is a way to explain. I surely understood you and others will too.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    D in the southwest U.S.

    • It’s interesting to read your words so long after I wrote the post, because I have absolutely found all the good things you describe! I really don’t think of my autism as a “disorder” so much as it’s just… me. Being female comes with distinct disadvantages in our society, but it doesn’t make it a disease or disordered state. Same with being short or coming from another country. Many of the issues stem from the way society treats me and not anything about… me. I am what I am, and these days, I’m quite content to be so. I’m so glad you found comfort in my long-ago words, though. You are NOT alone–this community can be divided but there are some amazing people in it.

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