Change is difficult for everyone, the world we live in is an unpredictable place and no matter how much we want them too plans change and every day is different.
For some people with dyspraxia, autism or other hidden differences change and unpredictability can cause a lot of anxiety and worry. As always with my blogs no two people with dyspraxia are the same and not everyone will find this difficult. Also although they co-occur and some people can have both dyspraxia and autism are two completely different conditions.
Unpredictability for dyspraxics can be a struggle for a number of reasons and different reasons for different people. A lot of people with dyspraxia struggle with organisation, organising our thoughts and our bodies in time distance and space. The chaos that comes with struggling with organisation such as: remembering what we need on a day to day basis, getting out of the house on time, remembering where we need to be, keeping our area around us tidy the list is endless. To help us be organised some of us have routines.
Routines can serve an important function for people with dyspraxia/autism because they introduce order, structure and predictability which can help manage anxiety. For some of us when the routine is disrupted it can be quite distressing, I know I can get very emotional and my anxiety levels can rise quite dramatically when the routine I have is broken. I can often have certain shops I like to visit, music I like to listen to, will often order the same food off the menu or order the same drinks. If you know me well I'm sure you'll be aware of some of my routines such as my love of Pepsi Max. I often visualise in my head what will be happening in the day, planning everything which might happen and sometimes planning the conversation topics which I'll talk about.
Some people with dyspraxia struggle with sensory sensitivity so unpredictability in different environments such as different smells, noises and lights can be overwhelming. I know for me random loud noises like sirens or there suddenly being lots of crowds of people can make me loose my bearings a bit.
I always find it takes me a while to adapt to new, visiting new places, travelling on new transport or meeting new people. I find I sometimes need my boyfriend to come with me the first few times so I feel comfortable and less anxious. But when I do go to a lot of new places I find it takes up a lot more energy which can leave me feeling exhausted afterwards. But one thing I've realised is to break down new situations and that lots of new all at once just leaves me overwhelmed and struggling to function properly.
Another thing I've found which helps me when I know changes might be happening is by talking about them beforehand to either my boyfriend, my mum or a close friend so I can prepare myself for the changes which might happen such as going on holiday or travelling a different route, or if a plan gets cancelled and focus on different ways to try and manage my anxiety when I'm in the situation and relaxing myself. I've also been trying to focus on if a change does happen or a plan gets cancelled it doesn't have to mean everything has gone wrong and trying to find other plans or other things to look forward to can help. If you have a friend or a loved one who has routines to help them make the way they see the world in a different way more bearable don't judge them even if some of the routines or ways of coping may not make sense to you.
Even though change can be scary for everyone, I've realised that it doesn't always have to be a bad thing, it can lead to positive changes and positive outcomes and can be a new beginning a fresh start at times. Change can lead to us feeling more positive about ourselves and being able to manage situations better. Sometimes change can be gulp exciting, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and do something a little bit different