The last time I wrote about autism it was about specifically hyperlexia and dyslexia and generally about sensory processing issues. This is about another side of autism, social anxiety.
Social anxiety is why you’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties, or towards one side of a room or another. It is also why I once failed to turn up for a job interview, I found the location well before the interview time, but never found the courage to get through the door. A shame, as I wanted that job. It is also why I find visiting over friendly churches offputting.
In order to do anything new I need to do my homework. A new holiday location needs a lot of research, I can spend weeks on Tripadvisor learning where the good places are, so I can avoid places with a “Buzzing atmosphere”. I do better social interactions in smaller groups, though crowded shows, where everyone in concentrating one one thing, rather than lots of groups talking about different things, I like. Social situations like parties are enjoyable but very emotionally draining. I need a lot of me time to recover from a party a church weekend or similar situation where people are supposed to interact.
The danger in learning about things in advance is that I overthink things. Thinking things through can help to see and overcome problems. Too much and I can spend too much time worrying about things which are very unlikely to occur — take possible problems with the flight, packing some underwear in your hand luggage in case your large case gets separated from you is sensible. Worrying about plummeting from a broken up plane with your clothing on fire is not something that needs to be worried about, not only because there’s nothing you can do about it, you get reminded about everything that can go wrong by the cabin crew in the pre-flight announcement and my worries include being separated from the underwear in my hand luggage. What’s the worst that can happen? I have already worried about it.
Autistic anxiety is bad enough without adding to it.