Hi, I’m Toeps!
We autistic people are often good at stressing ourselves out. When we lose track, the same thoughts keep popping into our heads over and over again. Stress builds up and we can’t manage to calm ourselves down. When we ask for help, others say, “Don’t worry!”, or ” You’ll be fine!” Well intended, but perhaps the most unhelpful thing someone can say at times like that. “What do you mean, it will be fine?! How can you possibly know?!”, my head screams. Below are some questions that might actually help when an autistic person is stuck in their thoughts.
“I just saw you on Dutch tv station Max, and I think it’s really bizarre that you have houses in the Netherlands and Japan (*), and a job. I think you take advantage of autism for your own gain, yuck!” An email with pretty much this content I received last week, when I was on the train back home from my appearance at Tijd voor Max, in which I talked about my new book. In less than half an hour, this triggered viewer had taken the effort to Google me, check out my site, draw his conclusions and compose an email – although, judging by the language and typing errors, it was a pretty rushed message. Just five minutes of furiously pounding on a keyboard and boom, he had told that faker on tv the truth for once!
“Yukarigaoka, city where you can see the future,” read the inscription on the 40-year-old people mover (often called monorail, but it’s not the same) making its rounds through the town. Yukarigaoka, or Eucalyptus Heights, was built as a feat of urban development that Walt Disney dreamed about in his EPCOT days. High-rise buildings with lots of greenery, large malls with facilities and, to keep it all car-free, a largely elevated people mover that runs circles to and from the main train station.
Last Monday was Sea Day. A national holiday in Japan, and therefore a perfect excuse to go out. To the sea, or elsewhere. Jean-Jacques and I chose elsewhere; in fact, we had bought tickets for a steam train ride in Tochigi prefecture!
As an autistic person, I sometimes find it difficult to manage stimuli. It is often too much, and if I go beyond my limits I sometimes have to recover for days. In my book I wrote about how I learned to create structure by planning. Now you may be thinking: Sure, planning is good, but how exactly do you do that? While I don’t think there is one method, and I believe everyone has to figure out what works for themselves, I have listed eight points below that have perfected my planning over the past ten years. I hope you find them helpful.
The day before yesterday, I had surgery. This was no surprise to me, and nothing serious either, because I had already planned this operation six months ago. In January of this year, when I was also in the Netherlands for a while, I went for an intake at the Bergman Clinic.