When I first started this blog, I was writing largely about my own personal experiences. Back then, the only diagnoses I had (that would stick) were autism and a substance misuse disorder “in remission”. I wrote largely about my experiences as an Autistic addict in recovery, and not a lot else. Over time, I have discovered my ADHD and Schizophrenic identities, and my drug and alcohol addiction has remained “in remission”.
So, in order to have a bit of a throwback, I wanted to write a little about something I experience personally in the hopes of starting a conversation.Tanya Adkin and I have been writing about AuDHD (see more here, here, and here); I thought it might be nice to capture one of my quintessential AuDHD experiences.
This is a word that is often thrown around in child care circles and animal husbandry, but in my Autistic and ADHD world, it has a slightly different meaning.
I have a safe space, and this space is equipped to meet all of my needs, sensory, sleep, work, nutritional. There are no limits to eat I keep within this safe space. To most, it appears that I live in a state of chaos, but in actual fact I have my needs fulfilled in this space, and what appears to be chaos is actually a completely curated space. I know where every item I need resides.
What does this look like in practice?
My nest starts with a sleeping space. A comfortable bed with plenty of pillows and a duvet that doesn’t make me too hot. I have a galaxy projector that projects colours and lasers onto the ceiling. I have various LED lights, many of which respond to the television and soundbar at the back of my desk.
Synchronised visuals and sound are essential sensory needs.
My oil diffuser runs in the evening, often filling my room with the smell of sweet peas or lavender, sometimes cedarwood. This allows me control of my olfactory sense.
On my bed can be found an assortment of snacks, books I am reading, my medication, and notebooks. I also have a tripod with a light ring next to my bed; the ability to take notes or record on a whim is essential for my impulsive mind. The multiple books mean that I can read and research in accordance with my attention hyperactivity, which often needs me to hop from book to book rather than focus on one at a time.
My computer sits off to either side of the TV, moved into place during the day to allow me to work. This is a space where I often crash and pass out rather than intentionally fall asleep, as such, nothing is removed from its spot before I sleep. My days are busy, and I need to know it won’t matter if I crash at the end of the day.
Finally, next to my bed is my sons cot. This is in a position where I can see, hear, and get to him easily when he is in the room with me.
The cherry on top is that all of my electronics are voice controlled, reducing the need to waste spoons on setting up this space at the end of each work day. I simply utter a voice command and lay back in sensory bliss.
What are the benefits of such a curated space?
This is my space. It allows me to have control over one small part of a traumatic and offensive world. While it required the privilege of working to set up (because money stupidly exists), it was worth every penny.
This means that for all the turmoil in the world, there is one place where I can be safe, one place that is mine, one place where my needs are entirely met. It is absolutely vital for my wellbeing. I enjoy the company of family and friends, but I need my curated solitude to keep me grounded.
Please consider supporting my work with a paid subscription to my Substack.