It is 6.10am and I am lying awake in bed wondering if it is worth continuing to try to get back to sleep. It is the second time this night that I have woken up after a strange dream that I cannot quite remember. This waking up and the itchiness of my skin and the subsequent starching of my psoriasis tells me I am stressed, but I don’t need these physical reminders, I know I am anxious. I can feel the anxiety and I am not sure I can escape from it.

Normally I have good control over my day. There is plenty of me-time to relax from social interactions and destressing, but recently I have found myself with a bit too much time and no anxiety to deal with. This has been rather nice. I have to be careful though because inactivity is often a short step away from depression so I need to do a few things to keep me happy. The difference I guess is that I can choose those things and they can be my standard solo activities.

Yesterday started okay but rather than doing our fifteen minutes of tidying up, my partner had to leave early for work so I go to stay in bed for longer than normal. This would be fine except whilst lying there my wife sends me a text querying what I can going to tidy. I want to text back and tell her I feel pressurised into making a decision I feel unable to make at the moment but I know this is not NT reasonable so I try to see when I can do something and draw a blank in my mind. I leave the question for latter but this means I don’t reply which will probably come back to haunt me.

I leave bed with enough time to get dressed and eat a bit of breakfast before getting picked up for recorder playing a few miles away. I get my gear ready piled up in the hallway and head to the kitchen for some healthy cereal but spoil it by having some honey and nut cornflakes sprinkled on top. Before recorder playing we drink tea and coffee, have a chat and eat biscuits. I am trying to stave off a sugar high by filling up with cereal but the honey is too tempting. It is rather futile anyway, I probably won’t be able to restrain myself from munching through the biscuits. I know part of that is the irritation I get from one person in particular and the things they say but the whole social thing can get a bit much I suppose.

This particular person is giving me a lift too. I know I over-react to them now. I know I am too judgemental. I know I am too easily irritated by things I should let slip by. I hate the arrogance behind this feeling. It is another sign that I am anxious, but I am too caught up in the moment to step back and realise this. So I do eat too many biscuits and get irritated by someone laughing after every statement, by another over insensitive comments and on the whole I stay out of it. Do I show my exasperation when another person tells me how different I look without a beard, and how they think it suits me without one? Probably. “It is the way it is”, isn’t the standard answer but it is better I suspect than telling them that the beard is all about me and that I don’t need nor want them drawing attention to the change, let alone passing judgement on it.

We play and it goes okay. We even have some laughs which are easy to forget about amongst the general anxiety. The trip back is uneventful but now I have to think about other things. I have been invited round to a friend’s house for dinner and to help with some IT stuff. It’ll be fine but it is more social stuff with nobody else to fall back onto for conversation so a part of me doesn’t want to go, but the “it’s good for me” to get out/help others/socialise wins. It is my night to cook at home too so I need to work out how to do that without being there. Not an issue really, a one pot mince and tatties meal on the timer in the oven will do but I am worn out from recorder playing (that’s autism for you) and we have no mince in the house.

I am also needing to look at the work emails because our office manager is off sick and my wife is busy training. It is my day off. Do I eat lunch now or wait until later? Email, lunch, shopping put in a bowl of tiredness and mix. The meal planned I decide to treat myself to a BLT sandwich for lunch with some “needs to be used up” bacon, the rest of the rashers can go into the mince. I look at the emails. There are too few emails I can actually deal with the others requiring phone calls (things I only do in emergencies) or information I can only obtain from the office. The three I can deal with require several text files and spreadsheets to coordinate so I decide to do that later, after a short rest, the shopping and the cooking. I can’t rest though, too much buzzing in my head, instead I text my wife telling her the reasons why I think we need to recruit more people into administration.

The half an hour I set aside for rest goes slowly and wakefully. Have I gained any peace? After walking out the front door without my wallet but thankfully realising before I had driven off, the shopping goes smoothly. The vegie mince I want is half price so I buy four packs and a couple of other things and the basis of five meals for five people comes to around £10 which is rather satisfying. Back home I cook but feel guilty for not addressing the emails, my wife will finish her training and find too many things to deal with. When she finishes, she messages me an update and I let her know that there will be too much work back in the office for her to handle. She is feeling the stress too and I know forewarning her will make it a bit easier to deal all the enquiries coming in.

Meal cooked and set up in the oven, I go upstairs with a large mug of marsala chai to deal with the paperwork on my computer with two large monitors because it is easier to organise the files. My wife is in the office now and I know that she will be accessing one of the spreadsheets I need to update so I have to reorder my process on the fly. More changes I could do without but I think I know the process well enough to cope, fingers crossed I did everything right. It looks okay at least. I am nearly finished when my friend sends me a message saying he is nearly at home and wants to know when I can make it around for. I message back a vague in roughly twenty minutes and hope I am right.

The visit is fine. Meal is good. I identify the issue with the computer and devise a fix, though it will take too long for me to do it in person; fingers crossed again. We have good conversations too. But my wife is expecting a conversation about work recruitment at home and wants to know when I will be back. It is a good reason to leave my friend but I wish I didn’t have more demands and difficult conversations to look forward too. I accept my fate, and carry on. Reversing onto our drive, I suddenly realise I took the dog with me to my friend’s house but forgot about him and left in the back of the car for three hours. He is certainly pleased to see me when I left him out. Back at home we talk enough about recruitment, it is even more complicated than I thought it would be. We don’t cover everything that needs to be decided upon, but it is enough. We are both frazzled by the day and need to switch off for our mental health.

I need to do something that requires no effort on my part but is absorbing. I opt for a video game and by the time another friend comes on to play the same game, I am okay to chat to him. He is a bit obsessive about Trump getting impeached and tells me all the things that are dodgy and the predictions people are making. Well I guess it means I am not completely out of touch with the outside world.

I am hungry for breakfast now, yet I need to sort out our trip to Barcelona next week. It is an official work day for me too plus I need to take the dog for a haircut too and I am meeting my eldest for lunch. Mundane I know, but for autistic me, it keeps the anxiety piling up. Perhaps I will get a midnight run tonight?