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Autism and ADHD At Christmas

Autism and ADHD At Christmas

Autism and ADHD At Christmas.

Hello, I’m Loz and I am an Autistic and ADHD Adult. It is fairly common for people to be diagnosed as autistic and ADHD and this is often called a dual diagnosis. I am diagnosed with combined type ADHD which means I am both compulsive and inattentive, Autism and ADHD can often look the same from the outside and lots of traits can overlap. If you are both ADHD and Autistic it can be difficult to know which traits are autistic traits and which are ADHD traits. They can also go against each other which can be really difficult especially around Christmas time.

Christmas

At Christmas, there are lots of changes and excitement. This is where my brain starts to get muddled up. Autistic me doesn’t want the change and excitement but ADHD me can’t wait! I am not more autistic than ADHD or vice versa. I can’t control how my brain responds to things so I have no control over how I react. My impulsivity can often cause me to become very dysregulated and that can really affect my senses and my emotions. Of course, this can happen all year round but for me, it’s worse at Christmas.

Autism and ADHD At Christmas

The Christmas Build Up

I absolutely love the build-up to Christmas. It is so exciting and colourful and fun.

As soon as the shops get Turkey Crowns in I buy them. I immediately defrost them, roast them and repeat. I do this until Turkey Crowns are no longer in the shops. If you know me you will know that I don’t like the texture of meat and prefer to eat Quorn. However, I absolutely love  Turkey and it becomes an obsession for me. My family get absolutely sick of it but not me!

Music and TV

Christmas music is so soothing and calming to me so from 1st November I start to listen to my favourite Christmas songs on repeat. This is a stim that helps me to self regulate. I also watch my favourite Christmas Movies and Christmas Specials over and over. Doing this is really comforting to me as I know exactly what to expect and what is going to happen. It’s like I am friends with the characters and I feel like I know them.

Decorations

Until the 1st of December, I am not allowed to put the decorations up. We are a neurodivergent household and I am the only one who really likes Christmas. Everyone else finds the build-up far too overwhelming and if they had their way they wouldn’t have decorations at all.

Autism and ADHD At Christmas

Christmas Events and Parties

Autism and ADHD At Christmas.

When it comes to Christmas Parties, I love the excitement of being invited. The chatting about what you’re going to wear, buying a new outfit (especially if it’s fancy dress), getting made up, listening to music and drinking a glass of wine getting ready. However, when it comes to the actual event I look for any excuse to cancel. The problem is I don’t want people to think I’m lying to get out of it (even though that’s exactly what I’m doing).

I Push Myself

So … I push myself to go. This can cause lots of stress and anxiety. One thing I do (which I don’t recommend) is dutch courage. A couple of drinks before I go to a social event always helps me to be more sociable and relaxes me a bit.

4 Things Can Happen Here

  • Often I am the life and soul of the party, I drink and dance and everyone finds me funny and I have a great time.
  • Sometimes I drink too much and make a fool of myself and feel awful
  • On occasions, I sit quietly, have a few drinks and go, home early
  • Rarely I will sit quietly and drink too much

Usually, it’s the first

Of course, if I am the life and soul of the party and everyone loves me I then arrange more social events (because we should definitely do this again!). 9/10 times I will be the life and soul of the party because I’m a people pleaser and I want to make everyone happy.

Since working here I haven’t really had any Christmas Events so I’ve avoided this for many years.

Christmas Accessories

Accessories

When it comes to Christmas Accessories I am a sucker. I love them and I can’t get enough. You should see my collection of Christmas Jewellery, Christmas Scarves and Christmas Jumpers. Unfortunately, I have real difficulties regulating my body temperature so I can’t really wear my Christmas Jumpers unless I’m outside and it’s really cold. I have tried other alternatives likes Christmas dresses and T-shirts but they aren’t as cute as Christmas Jumpers. The other problem with Christmas Jumpers is unless they are supersoft sweatshirts they are made of wool and feel itchy and uncomfortable.

Impulsive

I am very impulsive when it comes to buying Christmas Accessories. Of course, I don’t need any more but when I see something I like I get so excited and just can’t stop the impulse to buy it. This can be a problem around Christmas as it’s one of the most expensive times of the year.  As I struggle to manage my money I can end up spending money that I don’t have.

Christmas Gifts

I love love love

I love love love buying Christmas Gifts for people. Again I am impulsive and this can really affect my bank balance (or lack of it). When I’m impulsive I don’t think about how much something costs or if I have enough money I just HAVE TO buy it! As a huge people pleaser, I’m always trying to buy the perfect gift to get the best reaction from people. Often I don’t get the reaction I’m hoping for and that starts off my Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria – see my blog about RSD for more information.

But my kids aren’t fans

My children aren’t fans of Christmas and don’t really enjoy opening and getting gifts. This makes it quite difficult when I’m trying to get them the perfect present but they don’t want anything. Or they don’t get excited about what I have bought them. Last year I bought my son a mini-fridge. I honestly thought it would be the most amazing present and couldn’t wait to see his reaction. But he didn’t like it …

No surprises

When it comes to receiving presents I don’t like surprises. This is strange because I love to buy surprises for other people. I hate opening gifts in front of people because I just don’t know how to react to the gift. What if I don’t like it and you can see it on my face or in my reaction?

Gift Buying

I also leave my gift buying to the last minute. There are several reasons for that. I forget that I need to buy things. I don’t know what to buy someone. I put off buying for people or shopping. If I buy too early I won’t be able to keep the gift a secret and will tell them before Christmas what I’ve bought them.

The Big Day

Autism and ADHD At Christmas.

Christmas Day is always a massive disappointment to me. I’ve built myself up for 6 weeks expecting a movie Christmas but life isn’t like that. As the only person in the house to enjoy Christmas I’m already at a disadvantage when it comes to making Christmas Day perfect. Perfect for me is not perfect for everyone else in the house and there needs to be compromised. Over the years we have addressed this and it has become better.

Conclusion

Autism and ADHD At Christmas

In conclusion, I think what I’m trying to say here is if you or someone you care for is neurodivergent then Christmas might not always go the way you expect it to. These are just my personal experiences and it will be different for everyone. I love a traditional Christmas Dinner where others may not. So just roll with it and do what works best for yourself and your family. Christmas isn’t a competition and we shouldn’t have to follow traditions if they make us uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Let’s be honest Christmas is just one day in another 364 other days.

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