We are both neurodiverse, I’m diagnosed and he isn’t, not that that makes any iota of a difference. We both had green zone meltdowns today.
He gets excited to decorate the tree, we both love pretty stimmy lights, I get overwhelmed by the process, unless I’m left alone to do it myself (control issues I guess) but love the end result. We always get the tree the day before we decorate. So tree yesterday and decorate today.
Normally we go on our own to pick one from the tree farm, every year I feel so guilty and awful for all the trees that will be cut down in the name of a day that I don’t really believe in, but that is another story all together. I’m a tree hugger so for me I feel like I can feel their saddness that we are going to take them away from their underground network of comunication. This year we were making a day of it with our daughter, who is spending her first Christmas in her new home with her boyfriend and new baby girl. It’s a beautiful special time for them and a nice one for us to share. However I get very stressy about doing family things I often need time by myself and dont want family to think I’m being moody or not enjoying my day, and I can only take so much of busy noisy enviroments. I knew it would be busy, and sometimes I like to walk off and be away from things if I can find a wandering off place that’s quieter than the hustle and bustle. Lea made it easy for me, it’s a place we could take our dog who always makes me feel better about everything, and Lea knows I can only take so much before I’m done with people, noise, music and walking about. We are quite similar in those things so its nice we can understand each others needs on those points. I got to do the things I wanted to do as he made sure I was considered in my wants, I often feel I’m just tagging along doing things everyone else wants as I’m not good at comunicating what I want. We got to sit down for drinks a couple of times so it was as relaxing as we could make it for us all.
So decorating day arrives, Lea loves to cook and he decided we needed a full on Sunday dinner before we decorated, there were only of us 2 eating as the rest of the adult kids who still eat at home were at work. So he cooked for the 5,000 anyway, we used to have 5 kids living with us when they were all at home and old habits die hard I guess. He went upstairs to get the decorations from the attic and there were some tree decorations that he couldn’t find. Well that was it he started to pack it all away saying he wasn’t doing it cos he can never find anything in this house, (which is absolutely true and I often feel this way too!). But the build up of having heard about going to get this tree with our daughter for the past month, and how great it was going to be made me feel stressed that it was now not going to happen. I cleaned up after the cooking frenzy as I know an untidy kitchen gets to us both, but as he started to get more frustrated about the missing decorations my head boiled over and I started to yell that we better be doing the tree cos it’s all’s I’ve heard about for the past month, and we will be having a good time doing it or I clearly will be having a full on meltdown over it, and no one wants that. I’ve been very melty lately and it’s super tough on the people around me and mentally exhausting and embarrassing for me.
Anyway, neither of us are very good communicators of our needs and it has been something we are working hard on. We both have so many similarities in our neurodiversity, and also a few big differences, but communication is so important. So I think we did well that between his frustration and my stress levels building that we both managed to calm down by saying how the situation was making us both feel, saying the things it was causing our minds to think and our hearts to feel. So I did the things that he finds annoying and I don’t mind so much (the lights going on the tree), and he searched (unsuccessfully) for the decorations and had a tidy up, which always makes him feel better. The end result is a partially decorated tree, we can finish it another day, Christmas is 24 days away so there’s time.