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dys/functionally disabled

i want to record this for my own sake. as a reminder. but perhaps also as a way to show how, particularly if you only see a disabled person in a context where them not being functional could have consequences so, thus, they always seem ‘fine’ or ‘functional’ to you.

or if you’ve known someone for a while and later find out they’re disabled and think, ‘but they don’t look, act, or seem disabled’ and maybe feel the need to say this aloud.

or if you already know someone is disabled but its been a while since you’ve known but it doesn’t really seem to limit that person in any way that you can notice until one day they fail to show up to some date with you with a last minute text about how their disability is flaring up. and ur like, ‘omg, they’re just using this as an excuse to be flaky’.

or like how you the person has a disability but the symptoms always just so happen to be active at the most inconvenient times for you. when you’ve asked that person for a favour. when you’re supposed to go out. when you’ve been dying to try this restaurant but they say they can’t handle the stairs even though they climbed like ten stairs yesterday and there are only three here.

last time i worked on sunday, my boss happened to be in the office as well. she asked how i was and i mostly made grimace face. bc the previous day had been a day full of disability fails.

and, i actually wanted her to know, for once. what a day like that actually was like for me. so i was like: i think, at best, i did maybe 15 minutes of actual work in the six hours i was here yesterday.

she was like: O.O

i shrugged and said it wasn’t a good disability day for me. just before leaving for work, my anxiety starting the gut clenching that let me know that if i didn’t take an ativan a panic attack on the subway was highly possible. i’ve been having a lot of ibs flareups the past few weeks. so i took it. it helped me stay calm until i got to work.

turned out to be a good thing because i did, in fact, have diarhea that mornig and chances are there would’ve been a panic attack and, worse yet, it mightve caused me to lose control of my bowels. this has happened to me in the past. its why i get panic attacks.

unfortunately, ativan is sedating and makes me a little dumb via medicated brain fog. which is extra bad this morning bc i’m also still on 100mg of topirimate for my chronic migraines. this shit has been giving me serious fatigue and brain fog. consequence: after i sit at my desk, i’m lost in a fog. by the time i look at the clock its 12:30 and i’ve been at work for 2 1/2 hrs and i have no idea what i’ve been doing.

so i’m like: i should work.

the problem: i’m autistic and the jaws of executive dysfunction immediately clamped down on me.

Executive function (EF) is a broad term that refers to the cognitive processes that help us regulate, control and manage our thoughts and actions. It includes planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, initiation of actions and monitoring of actions. 1

I bolded the relevant issue that impacted me on saturday (well, cognitive flexibility will come into play later on).

based on the time like, i think it took me about an hour to free myself from the jaws of executive dysfunction. which places me around 13:30.

i start actually doing things. and i work. not with greatest amount of focus and concentration, but dammit, i work. eventually, i finish the thing i’m working on. and close my ticket on redmine. yay!

as a reward, i finally go eat lunch. but i bring it back to my desk as is my habit so i’m not really taking a lunch break.

i move onto the next item, which while a new thing is more of the same kind of thing. except…. its broken. i spend a bunch of time just sitting there clicking the mouse over and over and over to ensure that, yes, its broken.

following procedure, i email my colleague to inform him that the thing is broken.

so i think: i must do a wholly different thing.

(unbeknownst to me, executive dysfunction has crept up behind and, suddenly, i’m back in its jaws!)

the hour is 14:30. my shift ends at 16. this means i have 1.5 hrs left to battle with executive dysfunction and do more work.

sadly, executive dysfunction also went on its lunch break and is invigorated with not only initiating tasks but also has cognitive flexibility in its belly. i must get my brain to both switch and start a new task.

16:00 rolls around and i leave defeated and in shame.

i don’t know why this ended up being told in a vaguely amusing fashion. *shrug*

in reality. it was all exhausting. in part bc my meds made me fatigued. but also bc i’m not sure if others realize it, but trying to work takes more energy than actually just working. at least it does for me. then i also have to deal with the (excessive, bc i am depressed u know) guilt for sitting there and being paid for, essentially, doing nothing.

i mean. i tried. i did. but i know other disabled ppl know this day. you’ve had this day. actually, if you’re lucky you’ve had this day. there aren’t actually very many work situations that would allow an employee to get away with doing what i do.

by all rights, i should have been fired the summer of 2015. i worried about it all summer. fortunately, i had basically no supervision that summer so no one was around to notice that i was too depressed to function and essentially did no work. i only did enough to make it look like i was still a functioning human. that’s it. same as i’m doing right now.

but. i want to stop doing this. its hard though, after a lifetime of ensuring that i’m always perceived as competent and functional.