make or become different
an act or process through which something becomes different
It can be difficult to deal with change. Sometimes things happen which, positive or negative, may throw us; making us feel unbalanced and out of control. We may find ourselves struggling to accept change; fighting it, resisting and denying it as a means of coping and protecting ourselves. Often, it is encouraged that we reach out to others when we are struggling to process or cope with change; we are encouraged to be proactive, look for the positive within said change, give ourselves a break and remove pressure from our initial inability to encompass the new situation or scenario. Developing emotional resilience can help us with such eventualities going forward, and, with determination, this is fairly easy to develop. Eventually we will get there, and the initial fear and discomfort experienced will be forgotten.
Change is something we try and hold in mind, especially with C. He finds change incredibly challenging. Like many people with autism, C thrives off structure, boundaries and routine. We try our best to support him with this, however insert small, manageable chunks of difference which deviate away from his initial preference. Testing in a manner which will not cause an ungodly amount of anxiety and distress, in an attempt to help him to widen his horizons and his ability to cope with the matter that, unfortunately, a lot of things do change in life, which he cannot influence or direct.
This weekend there have been lots of changes in C’s usual routine:
- Dad did our weekly shop on Friday morning, not Saturday
- I worked at home on Friday
- Mum went to her mothers, which was unplanned and not aforementioned
- Trampolining was not on on Saturday morning. Instead C went for a walk.
- The Christmas decorations were retrieved from the loft, and now our house is fully festive and decorated from head to toe.
- Dad took C shopping on Sunday morning, instead of on his usual walk.
- Mum came home from Nana’s; C never knows how to react when someone returns after being away
These changes may seem trivial, however living in a world which is so vastly out of your realm of understanding and control is a challenge in itself. The above made C unsurprisingly incredibly anxious, agitated and aggrieved. Although we described and informed C of the changes, it was still a struggle for him. Unfortunately only so much structure could be put in place to support him.
My Dad couldn’t accept why C was acting so out of turn this weekend. He was frustrated, saying he had “given up by lunch time” today. When mum and I pulled apart the weekend and highlighted the above, the penny (finally) dropped. Dad spends so much time scalding C and his behaviour, seeing it as ignorance and defiance of his authority. C of course, is not deliberately so – he is trying to make sense of his surroundings, and tries to hold on to anything which he can as a means of helping him to cope and stabilise. Needless to say, C is also a teenager. I don’t know about you, but I was pretty defiant at times as a teenager. Your emotions and hormones are running wild and, to be frank, being told what to do or being criticised is hardly what you wish to be on the receiving end of.
You don’t have to be able to relate to someone’s behaviours or experiences, but you have to try to emphasise and understand their function. I’ve tried to give C space this weekend – I understand he may be feeling on edge, and ultimately, I do understand why, even if his reactions may seem nonsensical and avoidable. Being supportive of C and his perception of change is so important to ensure not only his happiness, but that of everyone within our family unit.
Change is one constant in life. Unfortunately such a constant can be both beneficial and detrimental; it’s important we learn how to deal with and support those around us with both.