On Monday I am starting a new part-time job. It is a cleaning position where the company sends people to clean in various facilities. My facility is located two minutes from my house. Thankfully, I have been inside the place a few months back as a temp worker. However, my anxiety is going through the roof.
I keep imagining scenarios in my mind. I keep trying to picture what I need to do and how to get it done promptly. I wonder how much I will mess up and disappoint the company. People with Asperger’s deal with this type of anxiety all the time. Aspie’s wonder if they will measure up. We strive to be perfect, but in doing so, we over think everything.
My brain gets me in trouble most of the time in the workplace. I can never hold on to a job for an extended period. It depends on the job and what I had to do that determined how long I stayed. The longest I stayed in a position is 2 1/2 years. I worked as a pharmacy technician. The shortest I stayed at a job was two hours, and I walked out without telling anyone.
I suppose I get overwhelmed by the various stimuli on a job, whether it is people or the environment. My biggest challenge is dealing with people. My mind can’t distinguish between a person having a bad day versus the person just wanting to try to communicate with me.
My worst job entails where I have to speak on the phone. My absolute fear of talking on the phone is paralyzing. I’m not sure what I hate worse, making calls or answering the phone. My heart beats crazy, and my breathing gets labored. I need to picture in mind what I need or should say over the phone.
My fear of talking on the phone stems from childhood. Nothing traumatic happened, I didn’t have a desire to utilize the phone. It was another challenge with keeping friends at the time. In my time, there were no cell phones, texting, or the internet. I am thankful for today’s technology, at least I have other means to communicate.
Another aspect in the workplace that affects my endurance to stay at a job is handling criticism. A boss could have a bad day and not intentionally lash out at me, but I take it personally. The individual might not say a hint of criticism. My brain hears something and interprets it differently. I wish there were times I could find the on-off switch in my mind. I have yelled at previous bosses and most times walked away the same day I felt insulted.
Photo by Mike Chai from Pexels
I discovered I had Asperger’s a couple of years back, and it explained my lack of holding a position. I have tried jobs here and there since my discovery. My track record is anywhere from a couple of days to about two weeks. A couple of the jobs my shoulder is experiencing pain. One of those jobs, I was a package handler. I liked the job, but my shoulder did not agree.
Also, I tried my hand at driving people in the area. It was a massive step for me. Aspie’s are terrible with direction, and I had to rely on using my phone to find people and drop them off to their designated places. I learned the art of small talk which I would never have done in the past. I think my discovering of having Asperger’s gave me freedom. It has not come easy.
I face challenges every day. I wonder how I will do with starting the new job. Can I handle twenty-five hours a week and not have a meltdown? Will I disappoint my bosses by not doing a good job? How will I manage if the customer comes to me and complains? I try not overthinking the what-ifs and focus my attention elsewhere.
My most significant deterrent to anxiety at the moment is my writing. I concentrate on new material for both my blog and new poems. Writing is therapy and helps me to not focus on my issues. It doesn’t mean I will not handle my issues or need to deal with them; they don’t overwhelm my mind as it did in the past.
In the past couple of years since my self-diagnosis, I’ve done some methods to overcome some of my obstacles. One of the ways is positive self-talk. I was in a bout of depression this past year. It got to the point of suicidal thoughts reentering my mind. I kept focusing on the positives in life. Also, a huge help, I forced myself to leave the house even though it was a struggle. In no way am I saying these methods work for everyone, but it is making a difference in my life. I am noticing a change in me over the last few months. I am retraining my views and how to handle work situations.
I still have difficulties in a social setting. My next challenge is to go hang out with a lady friend. It will be a big step since socializing is not my thing. I am stretching myself in not only my personal life but also work. I’m not sure how long I will stay at the cleaning job, but if I leave, I want it to be on good terms. My goal is my writing will take off, and I can work from home. Right now, I take the outside job as an opportunity to learn and stretch my abilities.
I am not where I used to be, and still am a long ways off from achieving all my goals. Asperger’s has many challenges with it. I feel Aspie’s are highly gifted and talented but need guidance and direction. My hope is by writing posts, and what I’ve done so I can function, other Aspie’s will believe anyone can overcome any obstacle. It takes discipline and tons of hard work. If I can accomplish what I have done so far, I know other Aspie’s have a fighting chance.