There are times when home life,
Affects work,
And work affects life at home,
For autistic people this is doubly true.
We need our space,
Our time to recover,
A place to think,
Without the distractions,
Of the phone ringing,
Office conversations,
The rapid taping of a keyboard,
The sighs,
The scratching,
The ticking of the clock,
And all the thoughts that spring from them.

As I sit in this room at home,
The only real peaceful view I have,
Is of the blank television screen,
That appears over the top,
Of the laptop,
As I stare into the distance,
The TV’s greyness barely reflecting Anything back to me,
I feel calmer,
If I focus.

To the left of it,
So many CDs and books,
Many of the titles I can read,
And might whisk me away,
Into Greek myths,
Or Shakespearean plays,
Or autobiographical thoughts,
Combined with any number of other sensory triggers.

There is a difficulty at work,
Which doesn’t involve me directly,
But as a partner in the business,
I support the other partner,
Whose desire,
Is to mediate a solution,
So that everyone can move on,
Behaving in a manner,
That allows the business to function,
And people to live lives,
The way they choose,
So that the emotional fallout,
From work,
Doesn’t get carried,
To contaminate the home space.

My speciality,
Is transferring information,
From one source,
To another place,
Usually transforming it on the way,
And gaining insights.
Classically this is shown,
In my choice of studies,
Mathematics,
Computer Science,
Astronomy,
These all take data,
And manipulate it to come up with,
New numbers that lead,
Hopefully,
To an increase in knowledge.

At work,
I crunch numbers,
And produce the payroll,
Provide insights or thoughts,
From accounting reports,
Take words and images,
To produce websites and leaflets,
Take user problems,
To commune with the internet,
And find answers,
Not always wanted,
Reform legal templates,
To gain data compliance,
Tell banks to transfer money,
To pay bills,
Salaries and pensions.
No exactly a people person then.

Yet I have insights on the workplace issue,
I recognise the pattern of behaviours,
One methodical,
Logical,
One irrational,
Emotionful,
Both protecting themselves,
In a way,
That seems reasonable to them,
But utterly unreasonable,
To each other,
One pressing for a solution,
One attacking,
Because they really need to get away,
Escape,
To calm down and tame,
The monster,
That has been revealed.

At another time,
These people are me.

The staff cannot access their emails,
Programmes are slow in starting,
And keep pausing,
For no reason,
People are struggling to work,
I identify the problem,
The server has lost contact,
With the licencing authority,
That all our main software uses.

I ask the employees to find,
Non computing tasks,
To occupy themselves,
They struggle to cope,
Whilst I,
Doggedly,
Work my way through possible solutions,
Nothing else is important,
Restarting the server doesn’t work,
Internet searches produce hints,
But these are from years ago,
I try the suggestions anyway,
Learning to find things,
Download things,
Apply things,
And reboot to find the answer lies elsewhere.

I need that answer,
But I don’t know where it is,
Finally a trail,
Leads to something,
I really don’t want to do,
Editing the core parameters of the software,
One false move,
Could cause catastrophe,
Possibly losing everything,
But  I have no other options,
I am scared,
But logic dictates my next move,
There is no room for fear here,
And no-one else to fix this,
I make the changes,
Double checking everything I do,
Slowly,
Methodically,
Carefully,
Save and reboot,
Anxiously watching the screen,
For the ten minutes or so cycle,
Relieved when I can login,
Happy that this time,
It worked.

Relentless,
Methodical,
Logical,
Unemotional,
Unyielding,
These characteristics enable me,
To find the solution,
After hours of effort,
To the computing issue.

Apply that to a person though,
And I would miss the point,
An emotionful human,
Is signalling something,
They are in distress,
And they are doing,
Everything they can,
To stop that anxiety,
Fight,
Flight,
Or freeze,
Basic survival behaviour,
Reacting to those modes,
Is missing the opportunity,
The red flag of warning,
This person,
Needs,
Space,
Needs,
Time,
Needs,
Peace,
To bring the mind to order,
To dissipate the emotion,
To process the situation,
To heal the wounds,
And recover themselves.

And if you’re lucky,
They will see the hurt they caused,
And take responsibility for it,
However unintentional it may have been,
They may hear that,
The raised voice in their view,
Was screaming to the other,
Frightening to the other,
Leaving a fear,
That the threat,
Might be repeated.

I can become that monster too,
Buttons pushed,
Innocently done,
That trigger the emotional overload,
An inability to think straight,
A pain that I cannot bear,
I don’t feel,
I have no control,
I will fight you with words,
To make you go away,
I will try to escape you,
And fight you if you get in my way,
I will shut down all emotion,
And concentrate on logic,
Recognising the words,
But not the actions,
Or the emotions,
Because if I did,
The creature would take control,
And I would be lost,
To someone,
You would not recognise,
To someone,
To be scared of.

I understand how these situations can happen,
Because I can see both sides,
And I know a way of healing the wounds.

Both sides have to show their vulnerabilities,
And be able to explain what happened,
They have to give up,
The control they so stubbornly refused to yield,
To take responsibility,
And say sorry for the hurt they caused.

And I believe,
In the long term,
That the red flags,
Can be seen,
Before the hurt is caused.

When I focus on the words,
And not the emotion,
When I become judgemental,
And place the blame on the other.

Catching these things early enough,
Can allow,
An acknowledgement of the issue,
A time-out to reflect,
Ownership of the dynamic,
Or perhaps a third-party intervention.

At least those are my thoughts,
Experience tells me,
It isn’t very easy,
To see the signs,
Let alone react to them,
The monster still lurks,
Ready to pounce,
Sometimes when you least expect it.

 

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