#Talk Nerdy To Me™’s @staffwriter
Getting out of bed may be easy for you, but for those on the spectrum it can be one of the more difficult tasks we are faced with daily.
Thank you for asking Liam Neeson, lemme break it down for you, my friend …
1) Sensory issues
For many autistic people, their beds can be a sensory refuge. For example, our bedding is the exact “softness” desired, and our temperature is regulated in bed. When you get up and out of bed, you are often faced with cold air which can feel overwhelming sensory-wise. The world is often a place full of sensory issues.
2) Difficulty initiating the task
Autistic people sometimes struggle with initiating tasks due to executive functioning. This can include getting out of bed. Due to executive functioning difficulties, it can be difficult to get out of bed even if we want to.
3) Sleeping difficulties
A lot of autistic people struggle with sleep due to difficulties with anxiety, differences in hormones being secreted, and having an atypical body clock. This can mean that getting out of bed can be more difficult as we may be sleep deprived. We may find it difficult to wake up on time too.
Autistic people sometimes struggle with depression which can make getting out of bed difficult in the morning. Depression can impact the motivation, and interest that someone has in their life. It can make everything feel overwhelming.
5) Facing a day which might be difficult
The world can be overwhelming for an autistic person, whether that is due to inherent communication differences, facing discrimination or bullying, or facing sensory difficulties. It can be hard to get out of bed into a world that isn’t always kind.
6) Multitasking (aka remembering and following multiple steps at once)
Although it might seem like a simple task to get up and out of bed to start the morning routine, there are quite a few steps involved, and holding each instruction in our head can be difficult. Autistic people sometimes struggle with short-term memory.
7) Demand avoidance
Getting out of bed can feel like a demand especially if we are told to do it. For some autistic people, particularly those with a PDA profile (meaning Pathological Demand Avoidance), demands can trigger massive anxiety and make us feel unable to do the task.
8) Difficulties with transition between daytime and nighttime
Autistic people sometimes struggle with change and transitions. The transition between daytime and nighttime (in terms of getting out of bed) can feel overwhelming and stressful for autistic people.
9) Going into a special interest hyper focus
Special interests play a key role in lots of autistic people’s lives. Sometimes, I find that I end up hyper-focusing on my special interests while in bed and then don’t realize that time is passing.
10) Autistic burnout
Autistic burnout can be exhausting and can completely drain your energy to the point where it is impossible to get out of bed. During burnout, you can completely lose the skills which you had before. It isn’t laziness, it’s exhaustion.
11) Decision paralysis
The morning can involve lots of decisions whether that is deciding what you are going to wear, what you will have for breakfast, or what you will do that day. All these decisions can be stressful for an autistic person and may mean that we just feel completely unable to get up and make them.
12) Time management
Autistic people sometimes struggle with time management and this can mean that we struggle to keep track of how much time has passed and how long is left until we need to do something. This can affect our ability to get out of bed.
It’s also helpful to remember that we all have days where getting out of bed feels like an uphill battle. That’s why it’s important to remind ourselves that things will get better — even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. Taking the time to recognize and appreciate small successes is an invaluable skill that can help get us through difficult days.
If you’re having trouble motivating yourself on a regular basis, don’t hesitate to reach out and talk with a therapist, trusted friend, or reach out to Jen in social media (see below).
With practice, patience, and communicating your needs to your partners/ support system, you’ll find the perfect morning routine that works for you.
If not, well, there’s always tomorrow.
Got a question? Want advice? Need a swift kick in the bum?
HMU in social media … I’m on most of the things, and soon to be on your mother …