Friday, 14 June 2013

It's not just a phone call...

It's not just a phone call or why the unexpected is challenging to adjust to

Today I finally built up the courage to make a couple of phone calls I really need to make. That I have been needing to make for a few weeks. I have big to do list which I am attempting to get through and these phone calls were one of the most important things to do.

Here are two fantastic cartoons by the Oatmeal which articulately illustrates why I dislike making phone calls, in particular phone calls to Customer Service type places where one has to spend most of their time trying to get a robot to understand you, and then wait for eternity listening to irritating music to actually to speak to a human and then finally speak to one. One is a bit crude (warning for those who are easily offended).
10 Reasons to avoid talking on the phone and Why I would rather be punched ... than call Customer services.

So I dialled the number for the first call and waited. I went through all the robot questions and waited, listened to irritating music. I finally got to speak to someone and then they said they had to re-direct me to someone else. So I am waiting on the phone listening to irritating music waiting to speak to an actual person when I start to hear *beep* *beep* and I know what this means. I think 'NOoooooooo!!!' The cordless phone battery is going flat. I have only been on the phone for less than 10 minutes and it is already going flat. I pretty much see red straight away. I am beyond mad and frustrated with the whole situation. I shout, vent, say some choice words and slam the phone down, even though it is a cordless phone and I just need to push the button.

It is not just a phone call. It so much more than that. I put so much effort into getting to a place where I was able to make those important calls. Now that opportunity has been stripped of me and I have no idea when I will be in a place to cope with making them again. These days since my Autistic burnout simple things like a phone call take much more effort. I have to be in the right frame of mind, with enough spoons, and my executive functioning must be at a level where I can cope with talking to a stranger and explaining the things I need to explain. I have regressed. My functioning levels are much lower and my Autistic traits are more severe since my burnout. I have no control over this. I cannot just suck it up and keep trying as I have been told to do in the past. I am too worn out. Day to day living is enough for me to manage, let alone extra things like phone calls.

I have had this big list of things to do written down for awhile and it keeps growing as time goes on. I have had unnecessary stress of family misunderstanding me and doing things which were not helpful or supportive at all. Thankfully we had a family meeting and have mostly sorted this out. However, due this unnecessary stress I have been unable to manage anything barely except looking after myself, as I have spent most of my time in either shutdown or meltdown on and off for the past few weeks because I was forced into stressful situations when I was not able to cope with them. So I just have not had the spoons or executive functioning to even attempt anything on my list. It was all too overwhelming. Thankfully now that my family understand me better, that has taken the pressure off me as they were expecting things of me that I could not realistically do. Not in my current state. I am still incredibly drained from all that has happened the past few weeks but am slowly recovering. The relief of having my family understand me gave me some extra spoons so I felt I was able to manage the phone call. It still took me more than half the day to get to the point of actually making the call. But the cordless phone had other ideas.

I had taken so long to build up the courage to make these calls and then slapped in the face with flat batteries before I even get to talk to a person instead of a robot. Incredibly frustrating and upsetting!

It's not just a phone call. It's so much more than that. It was to be the beginning of me starting to organise myself and get on with the things that need doing. It was many things.

My husband was home so he removed my son while I ranted and raved. I knew I had to burn off some energy to calm down. So I got myself ready for a walk and off I went. I walked for 40 minutes listening to relaxing music. I also stopped at a playground and had a swing for about 10 minutes which was very calming. I returned home a much calmer person. I was still mad but calm enough to think clearly. I was mad enough still that I poked my tongue out the useless flat phone and then I laughed which broke the tension. 

Needless to say we have a non-cordless phone now. I will attempt to make these phone calls next week. I am going to have a very quiet, relaxing weekend and do lots of self-care to regain spoons from all the stress over the past few weeks.

To others it would appear that I am getting extremely upset and having a meltdown over a silly thing but really I am not. They do not understand the background to why it is upsetting and frustrating for me. This happens to me with other things too. It is very hard for me to adjust to unexpected change when I am really counting on something I really do need to do.

So just remember it's just not a phone call... or any number of things. It is more than that.

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