Autism and the dark side of Christmas

Christmas is a lovely, joyful time of year spent with family and opening presents in front of a roaring fire. Isn’t it? Well, not for me it isn’t.

Christmas is that time of year that wraps up (pun intended) everything I hate into an intense few weeks and steadily builds towards Christmas Day, when I start to feel like the world is crashing down on my head.

The thing I hate about Christmas and why I can’t fully enjoy the holidays are:

1) Crowds.

I like to sort my food shopping out once or twice a week and I always go at the times of day when I know it will be less busy. Christmas eradicates all that because most shops become extremely busy from open until closing time and people seem to have left their manners at home. I have been getting something from a shelf and been knocked into more times than I can remember in the past few weeks. As I live alone but still try to eat fresh, healthy food doing online shopping isn’t an option because of the minimum spends needed for deliveries otherwise I would just stay in and do it all from the comfort of my sofa. I do order the majority of presents I buy online as well as picking things up throughout the year when I see a bargain.

2) Music.

To combat the extra noise made from the crowds all the shops seem to have cranked the music to 11. And not just any music, bloody Christmas music. I could rant for ages on how much I loathe Christmas music! As you can imagine this is a very irritating sensory overload problem for me. Even wearing headphones and listening to music doesn’t completely drown it all out anymore plus it means blasting music into my ears, which isn’t good for them. I’ve made a promise to get some noise cancelling ear defenders in the sales to try and make life easier.

3) Presents.

Yes, that’s right, presents are a source of frustration for me. Firstly, because I over worry that people won’t like what I’ve bought. Secondly, because I over worry that I won’t like what people buy me. I tend to write lists of what I want and give them to people do that they’ll buy me what I like, deviating from that list is risky business and fills me with anxiety. I always come across as ungrateful if I get something I don’t like or want but when that happens for me it makes me extremely upset. My mind goes to extremes over everything so something that seems simple, like buying me a present they thought I would like, turns into me having a breakdown thinking that person doesn’t know me at all, they obviously don’t love me, they don’t listen to me when I talk etc. This may seem silly to anyone reading it but, to me, it’s s very important situation to be in. I also don’t like people watching me so I prefer to open presents alone. Then, when things are great and I’m getting everything I wanted, I get overwhelmed with happy feelings, which can also be too much and make me break down, cry or want to hide.

4) Family.

I don’t have a huge family but I do have a loud family. I’m travelling to Yorkshire to spend a few days with them and coming home will be very welcomed at the end of it. For our Christmas dinner there’ll be my mum, with the constant asking if you have enough or need another drink, my dad who is actually the quietest of the bunch and my brother, who has a brain injury so can be quite loud and never shuts up and constantly switches the tv over every few minutes. On top of that add sister and her fiancé plus my two nephews, aged 5 and 7 so at the boisterous, loud, never seem to sit still stage. I try my best to be present during this time of year as I don’t get to see everyone that often but I may have to give in and watch my iPad with my earphones in during dinner.

5) Food.

I have always been particular with food and textures plus I’m lactose intolerant so Christmas dinner can be a minefield sometimes. I don’t like my mash sitting in gravy as I can’t stand the texture it creates but I do like gravy on my mash, I only eat raw veg apart from parsnips so the raw stuff can’t get gravy on it either. At least my mum is getting better with it all and buys the butter and milk I have so I don’t miss out on having mash and Yorkshire’s but she does still have her moments… ‘Did you want Vienetta for dessert?’ She asked the other day. For those not in the know, Vienetta is ice cream. No mum, I can’t eat the food that causes me crippling pain but thanks for asking. She’s also getting a chocolate log that has frosting on top and buttercream in the middle so I may not be having dessert this Christmas.

Needless to say I’ll be happy when it’s all over and I can go a bit crazy in the sale shopping. From the comfort of my sofa and wearing pjs of course.

If you like what I write, want to read more and keep uptodate with my crazy autistic life then click to follow me, throw a couple of likes my way would also be amazing. I’ll try and get some writing in during this hectic time of year but, just in case I don’t, have a great Christmas.


Author: AdultsWithAustism

I decided I wanted to do something positive with my life and speak out about what it feels like to be an adult with autism.

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