i don't often talk about overly personal stuff on my blog, but i have posted once or twice about having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. i'm generally able to manage it reasonably well, but occasionally it does start to get the better of me. and, inspired in part by a friend's blog post (from a while ago!), i decided it might be time to tell the truth.
for me, aspergers means that i get hugely stressed very easily, especially if i need to do something that takes me out of my usual routine. people with ASDs often have what's described as a problem with imagination – not in a creative sense, as the word is generally used, but in the sense of imagining/predicting future events. that means that although i can cope quite well when i can control my environment and stick to a predictable routine (which is why running my own business works so well for me, as i can organize everything exactly how i like it!), i really struggle when i have to do something that takes me away from the studio & my regular life (trunk shows, marketplace events, etc.).
it also messes with my sensory perception – lights are too bright, noises are too loud, some types of clothing (a lot of which, unfortunately, are necessary for appearing in public!) are painfully uncomfortable. i can't really process more than one sound at a time, so in group conversations, or situations where there's any kind of background noise, i have to lip-read (which is pretty exhausting). we're all bombarded with sensory input wherever we go, but people with ASDs can't usually filter/block out the unimportant stuff – we take in everything, which can be completely overwhelming.
having an ASD doesn't mean that i dislike social events, though. i LOVE meeting up with friends, travelling, and going to trunk shows & yarny events – it's so amazing to meet OMA customers & online friends in person, and get the chance to chat & hang out in “real life”. i've done a couple of events recently that have been so much fun, and am travelling down to the very cool looking Beshley's Wool Shop in bristol next week for a two-day trunk show – and i'm really looking forward to it.
what i have to keep in mind, though, is i don't always have the spoons to do everything that i want to do. there are always limitations – if i'm at something social one day, i generally need a day to myself the next day. if i have a lot of work to do, i need to take some time off afterwards. if i have something out of the ordinary in my schedule, i'll need some time to mentally prepare myself for it – especially if it's something i've never done before – and some recovery time afterwards.
things have been very busy at work for quite a while now. it's taking me a while to recover financially after last year's horrid VAT debacle, so i've been taking on a lot more than i normally would to try & get the business back on an even keel. since i've just kept plodding on month after month, it only occurred to me a few weeks ago that i haven't actually taken a proper holiday since my christmas break last year (i've been away from the studio for the odd few days here & there since, but most of that has been for work-related events!). so it's no wonder i've been feeling more & more tired recently.
this is by far the BEST job i have ever had – even my worst ever day at work is a million times better than my best day at any other job i've ever done. but that's almost part of the problem – if you're lucky enough to be able to work at a job that you're completely passionate about, you literally can't stop doing it. i LOVE what i do, and i want everyone else to love it too! i want to send out online orders the second i get them, to respond to emails immediately, to solve any problems before they even happen (or as soon as they happen, since unfortunately i can't always fix problems that don't exist yet!). i want to keep making the colourways that people like, and get them back in the web shop the second they go out of stock; i want to keep coming up with new colourways that my customers will like even better than the old ones. but no matter what i might want, the fact remains that i'm only one person, and that sometimes, my ASD means that it takes all my energy just to get through the day.
so, i've decided it's time for a break. after my trunk show in bristol (i'll be there 8-9th november, so please come say hi if you're in the area!!!) i'm taking a whole week off. (i know!!!!!). that means the studio will be shut from 7th-16th november, including the trunk show dates. and to stop me trying to do too much work when i'm supposed to be taking time off, i'll only be posting out orders every other day (monday 11th, wednesday 13th, & friday 16th); i'll also only be checking my work email once a day (shocking!) during the post-trunk-show week. the rest of november & december will be pretty busy with 2014 club dyeing as well as a so-far-super-secret project with a fabulous designer, so i definitely need a little time off first.
so if you're looking for me from 11th-17th november, i'll mostly be doing this.
& i'll see you on the other side!!!