Hi there! I've experienced something bad, yet encouraging today and wanted to share that here. Today at work, in the office, I've had one of the worst, if not the worst shutdown I've ever experienced. To start at the beginning, we have a weekly meeting with the whole team (~7-10 people) that usually lasts about half an hour. Normally I can deal with it just fine, we have a very calm and well-structured culture there. Today, however, things were quite turbulent. People were talking all over each other, someone got loud, even our direct boss came over from 2 rooms further down the hallway because he noticed the meeting was taking an... "unproductive" path. This situation overwhelmed me so much that before I could react and get out, I completely froze, fixated a point on the floor and was unresponsive for what I was told must've been about 10 minutes. I don't have full memory up to the point where our team leader "got me back" by tapping my shoulder after most people had left the room and I seem to not have reacted to multiple tries to talk to me. Now, while that was scary and exhausting and many other bad things, it is extremely encouraging how the situation was handled by my coworkers. I'm working at the place for pretty exactly half a year now, and this was the first major overflow reaction I've experienced there (which I see as a very good sign, by the way). This was a scary situation for my coworkers as well, but everyone was extremely nice and calm and helpful after they realized something was wrong. My team leader brought me to a calm area of the office while I was still majorly disoriented, offered water and fresh air and gave me as much time as I needed to cool down. They even offered me to go home (without having to worry about work hours) should I need that, which is also something they already mentioned multiple times before when I mentioned that I'm autistic and something like this *could* happen at some point. (Luckily it wasn't necessary, I regained my energy after a few minutes and could finish my day as usual) This is strengthening my thought even more that working in that place was the right decision. It also showed me how well it is possible for an autistic individual to succeed even in an environment full of neurotypical people. In the right environment, your strengths are valued and your weaknesses are not held against you. That is true for everyone, but I think it is essential for autistic people. Everyone can find that right environment for themselves, the only thing you must not do is stop looking and accept a situation that does not fit.
Posted by Grayscale at 2023-02-23 22:53:46 UTC