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  • Pamela Ehn

PRODUCING WHILE AUTISTIC

I have to admit that it's a struggle, though oddly, it's not the actual producing stuff that's the challenge. Though sometimes I do want to scream, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP CALLING ME!!!! I have forty people trying to get my attention at all times which makes it hard for me to get things done that I need to get done, like the necessary paperwork. It's even interfered with my job. My poor boss was getting so irritated that I wasn't fixing the fax machine when my production blew up, yet again, just as I sat down at my desk.


No, the hardest part is that it is playing havoc with my executive dysfunction. I get woken up every day by fires I have to put out. Mornings are not my best time. I mean, I can work in the morning and get a lot done, but only if I'm left to myself and not having to interact with anyone. I had previously arranged my life so that I would spend my mornings by myself editing engineering textbooks, and then go to my other job later in the day when my social muscles have woken up. Even that job doesn't require a lot of social interaction. So if I have rehearsal or some other engagement where I have to socialize, I'm at my peak.


But what happens when I spend my morning on the phone putting out fires is that I literally forget how to get dressed. I'm finding that I don't have the spoons to wash my face. So I often end up spending a half-hour sitting after I put out fires trying to figure out the procedure for getting dressed. Apparently, it's this one thing that takes up all my spoons, not building a company from the ground up.


Weird, huh? But for autistic people, this is not unusual. We may be extremely competent in one area and flail at things that people take for granted as easy. But it's not easy for us. Getting dressed is literally the worst part of my day. And it's not because I'm particularly fashionable or vain. It's trying to get clothes, any clothes on my body, and this procedure takes way too much bandwidth.


Being constantly interrupted right now is why I left the house the other day without my pants. I go down the stairs and I'm wondering why my legs are cold. But then today, I came home to find that I completely forgot to lock my door when I left the house that morning. I've been poking fun at my executive dysfunction for a long while now, but this is no longer funny.

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