I have been practising mindfulness meditation for a while and I know that for me my aspie anxiety is less when I meditate regularly. Travelling interstate yesterday by myself I encountered a number of issues that would usually have combined into an aspie panic or meltdown. My ride was unable to take me to the airport (I called someone else and asked them if they could and they said yes), my plane was delayed but no information was ever provided other than a cursory “it’s late” twenty minutes after we should have boarded. The shuttle bus dropped me off at a different hotel with vague directions to get to the hotel. The hotel door was locked with a sign on it saying “this door closed, please use other door”, with no explanation where this other door might be, and it was 10pm and pitch black and I am not familiar with the city.
At each point in this litany of stressful things, I stopped my racing thoughts to focus on what is happening right now, can I influence this in any way? if not, I need to accept it is how it is and breathe and be in the moment, and then the moment will pass. If I can influence it, how, what can I do? Then I need to breathe and work out what to do and do it, even if that means asking people questions that they might perceive as silly, or asking things that should be obvious.
In addition I had a good book to read and a map of the city and my phone with gps, maps, hotel phone and address details. I was prepared. My partner had wanted me to get a taxi, but I am not comfortable in taxis and don’t like to use them unless I have to. Her point was a taxi would take me door to door. She had a point, but it turns out the shuttle dropped me off around the corner and across the road from the hotel, which took me all of 90 seconds to arrive at, or at least arrive at a locked door of.
I held the panic at bay to be in the moment and mindful of what what happening, and the context of the happening. So, the door was locked but there was another building next door with a slightly different name but the font was the same and the colour of the name was the same, thus is stood to reason they were owned by the same company. Tah dah! I was right, and in I went.
I love travelling but I usually get quite distressed when things go wrong. I managed to avoid this by working hard at applying mindfulness which had the benefit of keeping me calm-ish and helping me either solve or accept the problems.
This morning I have been out for breakfast, map in my pocket, exact cafe address forgotten but map location remembered. I found it eventually and was still calm – shame it wasn’t actually as good as trip advisor said but never mind. I am just happy to have discovered that it really is possible for me to be more calm and less stressed by applying the mindfulness techniques I am learning.
I know many other adults on the spectrum who use mindfulness techniques as I am about to teach another lot of people about this technique after they happily mastered the volcano breathing I have previously written about.20140725-114550-42350718.jpg