So the last couple of years has basically been me trying to fit into the neurotypical world while ignoring my neurodivergent differences and, in so doing, inadvertently losing all the progress previously made.
It went as follows:
Received autism and fibromyalgia diagnoses. Being told by social workers to file for disability. Then trying to file for said disability but having to join a “work program” before being considered for disability. Being pushed by said work program to jump through a shit ton of hoops (some helpful, some not). Then left to my own devices (flailing in the wind, really). Physical and mental health decline. Finally filing for disability because the trajectory set in motion wasn’t working. Cutting the hours at the job that the work program pushed me into because of physical and mental health decline (the job was already part time so cutting it to so little that I was barely there). Physical and mental health continue to decline so I have to take a medical leave from work which led to being “let go” by the job last week. So now Im just on disability trying to get my mental and physical health back on track.
If Im being perfectly honest, the last two years feel incredibly wasted when considering the result. I mean, I guess the silver lining being that Im finally on disability BUT the journey there was incredibly unnecessary. And frankly, it fucked with my health so finding the silver lining in that is difficult.
In retrospect, what I should have done was quit the job when it started making things worse. I’ll elaborate. When I got on disability I cut my hours for two reasons. One reason being that I physically couldn’t endure the work for long periods of time (also I can only work so much before it cuts into the disability). The second reason was that I wanted to keep the job because it gave me the motivation to get out of the house twice a week. So it was, for a short while, beneficial for my mental health even though the work itself was strenuous on my physical health. Then, the pandemic hit, which caused an uptick in my usual mental health difficulties. Also, changes were made at the job. New management and new workers. Which yea, thats normal, it happens, but remember that change can be incredibly difficult when you’re autistic. The old management knew my struggles and accommodated accordingly. The new management did not. I tried, though, to continue working while struggling with the increase of difficulties. It became harder to communicate with customers as well as more difficult to work because of physical pain. So this decline led to increased IBS .. stuff. I took a medical leave bc I kept calling in sick, was in and out of docs offices because we (I and doctors) didnt know it was IBS at the time. Eventually though it was figured out to be IBS and the realisation that this is yet another thing I just have to learn to live with.
So I go back to work in January, Im there less than a month when the management calls me into the office to let me go. They mention that the decision was made in October, which was confusing, why was I still there in January if thats the case? I guess they were waiting to see if they could find another reason to let me go or a reason to keep me? idk it was a weird conversation. The way it played out was incredibly odd to me. And I think this is due to differences in communication. The management is neurotypical and I’m autistic. So theres bound to be confusion, most likely on my end anyway. There was a lot of open ended statements. Like, being left to make the choice of how long I work there… instead of being given a definitive amount of time. I, personally, would have preferred to be told “your fired, leave now” without all the niceties. The option of staying for up to three months was odd because I grew up in the states, where if you’re fired you are done that very day. And I mentioned during this conversation that I was actually considering quitting so losing the job wasnt upsetting. But the way it happened was so confusing, I didn’t know if I was supposed to leave or not because my shift wasnt over and the management said that I could choose to stay if I wanted so I got upset by that confusion. Since I was visibly upset, the management then said you can leave now, so I did. She made a comment that she thought I was too stoic during the “letting go” convo but I was unable to communicate at that time that I wasnt upset that I was let go, I was upset because it was done in such a non precise manner which left me confused. Looking back at it now what I should have done (this happens a lot, in the moment I dont react right away) was say that no I dont wish to continue working any longer. Because I didnt want to work any more. I had made the decision to quit recently, which I was working up to doing because I have to plan that shit out to be able to do the thing. But now Im sitting here wondering what Im supposed to do tomorrow. Because tomorrow is my next shift. Am I supposed to call in? I dont fucking know. If I dont call in, will they call wondering where I am? But why would they care where I am if Ive been let go? And why the fuck do neurotypical people leave conversations so open ended like that?
So that is where Im at now. Just trying to process the most recent events in the past two years. I had made such progress at first. The work program did help in that it helped me get therapy and stuff like that… but I was also being held to neurotypical able bodied standards. Which I could keep up with at first, but the longer I did the more damage it did without my realising it until it had already became a significant problem.
So now, I guess I will just call in in the morning to be sure. And then I will begin the journey of getting my shit together. Again.
Im gonna need to find some hobbies.