Hi everyone, first time posting, and I think I just need to get things off my chest, hope this is okay. My situation is that I’m currently a temporary carer for a loved one who’s going through a difficult mental health time (after some life events, they’re having a big flare-up of long-term depression, anxiety and PTSD; they also have ADHD). It’s been going on for a few months now, and I’ve been spending weeks at a time with them, on and off, insofar as my other life commitments allowed. They’re slowly getting better (and have therapy coming down the pipeline soon), so I’m hopeful.
One aspect that makes it difficult for me, though, is that I am autistic, and need a lot of alone time and quiet to recharge my batteries. At the same time, the biggest form of support my loved one needs is company. So it’s a continuous struggle to find the place where I can support them without burning myself out. I’ve already had a few meltdowns because of not having enough time and space for my own mental health.
Today is shaping up really challenging, in part because my plans for the day are going off the rails (and that’s another thing that really upsets me as an autistic). For the past week or so, my loved one has been doing relatively well, so I was going to spend today on my own projects: first, do my paid work from a coffee shop (I work remotely), and then do my creative work in the evening. We talked about my plans ahead of time, and were in agreement. Unfortunately, last night, an unrelated event triggered another anxiety episode for my love, and they’d been spiraling since then. They insisted I still go through with my plans, though, and I felt that, although they’re very anxious, they would be safe at home alone for a few hours.
Still, I offered that they walk to the cafe with me, just to get some fresh air. They liked the idea. Towards the end of that short walk, it became apparent to me that they had interpreted my invitation as “come sit with me while I do my work”. And I decided to let that happen, even though I knew it would be bad for my ability to concentrate. Still, I adjusted the day’s plan in my head again and confirmed that they were welcome to stay. Then, just as I was done with my food and about to start work, they got up and declared they were going home so as not to be in my way… just as I’d successfully wrapped my mind around the idea of working with them sitting nearby.
I know that to some, these changes may sound insignificant, but my brain has trouble dealing with them, and now, instead of sighing with relief and getting on with my work, I’m fighting back tears in the middle of a cafe and typing this up. I feel so frustrated and out of control. And also really annoyed: because I know that my loved one thought they were doing a nice thing for me by taking themselves home to give me the space to work, but in reality, this one more change in my day only served to stress me out more.
I’ve been reading posts on here, and I’m aware that my struggles fade in comparison to what other folks are going through, but I just really needed to get this out. If you’ve read this, thank you.