January 30, 2022

I’ve seen quite a few memes about the neurodivergent tendency to get nothing done for half a day before an appointment or event.

The tone is always playfully self-deprecating – like, “Haha, who else here gives in to the illusion that an item on the calendar casts a spell of uselessness on the preceding hours?”

But that tendency is meeting a real need. I discovered so yesterday, when I tried to fight it.

Before a Skype call, I only spent 20 minutes getting ready – both logistically (gathering what I needed) and mentally (imagining how it would begin). Until the 20-minute mark, I kept crossing things off my to-do list and ignoring the upcoming call.

At the start of the call, I felt very dysregulated. For me, that means breathing harder, bouncing from thought to thought with the constant sense that I’m forgetting something, and feeling like my body is floating insecurely through space.

It’s because 20 minutes wasn’t enough. Not for me, anyway.

The more years I spend exploring my brain and analyzing my challenges, the more I realize the vital importance and wide-ranging benefits of this one simple accommodation: Time.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.