Wait! Is It Regression?
So I’ve had some external stress that I can’t control recently. I’m weeding it out since it’s not really beneficial to me to stay around so off I go. But because of that, I’ve been a little rocky on the whole being able to analyze situations. It ends up with me assuming I’m in the wrong for just about everything.
Anyways, someone said in relation to something completely different, “It sounds like regression.” And a light bulb went off. Let’s get past early childhood years. I’m not talking about that. I’m actually talking about the idea that when stressed an autistic person can regress. So I’m going to break down my recent stress and “regression.”
Alright. So stress happens. We all know it does. Sometimes stress is manageable. Other times, not so much. I’ve recently had the “not so much” type. This is stress that I had very little control over except to not expose myself to it. Let’s be honest though, I’m really bad at checking my stress if it steadily increases over time. I just assume that it’s the same and that I’m not coping well. Internalized ableism is at fault there.
Then where do we get this impression that regression happens with stress? I think it’s likely to do with the observations of those around us, namely allistic people. They’re having to interpret autistic people, usually children, who likely can’t self reflect enough to say, “Yeah, that’s not regression.” So it looks like regression.
Well, let’s paint a picture for all of you. I have a brain. Brain function on a normal week 50% of my energy goes to making sure my kids are taken care of. (Some of my taking care of kids goes to being social with people. Playdates, interacting with school staff, etc.) Then another 15% of my energy goes to my own well being. Then 10% goes to my hobbies. Then I would say another 15% goes to Facebook (yeah, I said it). I try to leave 10% in reserve because life happens.
So what happens when stress happens in any of these areas? What if some of the areas cross over into several of these brackets? Well, the stress I have been around has. It’s crossed over into taking care of my kids, taking care of myself, hobbies and Facebook. And so it’s taken my 10% in reserve. It’s also meant that I need more energy in all those facets.
This has resulted in less energy to sustain my learned skills. This looks like regression because something I’d previously been able to do, I can’t currently do. The thing is, once I’ve reduced stress (which I am doing by removing myself from the situations since they’re not in my control), I will still be able to do these skills. That’s not regression. That’s reaching a limit in the amount of energy one can devote to skills.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this.
I apologize for the unpolished form. I’m not 100% yet but doing better.