Autistic in Times of Covid-19 – Sunday 13th September 2020: Moving House!

Hello everyone,

Apologies for the lateness of the last blog, apologies for the newsletter system not yet working, apologies for things all taking a bit longer – it’s all due to the housemove!

I was already going to write about this house move, what I did right, what I did wrong and how to take care of myself in a subsequent housemove. Because I’m wrecked, it’s going to be a limited set of ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s.

10 DOs:

  1. Prepare. The best thing I did was to get all the admin out of the way with at least two weeks notice. I freed up an entire day to just focus on getting through to customer service agents and I succeeded in getting everything done in good time. The later I would have left it, the more stressed I would have gotten.¹
  2. Pack early. I made sure that most of the packing – apart from absolute necessities – was done and dusted ten days to a week before the house move. I’m the kind of person who’s moved from severe inertia to an almost hypomanic restlessness when it comes to Things Jorik Has Not Done Yet¹. The way to deal with that is to simply do the things I can do when I can do them. I can then tick them off and move my brain to other things.
  3. Write down ideas and plans of action when they come to mind. If I hold everything I need to do in my head, they stack up and stop me from being productive in other ways.
  4. Stick with good intentions and planned activities. I need to keep some semblance of normality, even in the run-up to a move when nothing is normal.
  5. Get friends and family to help out. I’m not great at asking for help. I’ve been raised to not rely on anyone else, but there is nothing wrong with asking. My partner’s parents are property surveyors and know exactly what to do in a house move. I felt a bit guilty about being so fortunate, but they were only too happy to help.
  6. Get a van/truck, find a driver. My partner’s dad had rented a van to get everything from my flat to the new place. Initially he found it difficult to get to grips with the driving, but eventually did. If you’re a driver and aren’t confident with large vehicles, try and find someone who is.
  7. Done with all the work? Try to relax. That’s been really difficult for me. Only today, with the new flat vaguely in a state where we can live in it can I feel myself breathe. And what am I doing? I’m writing a blog.
  8. Allow yourself time to say goodbye. A living space is like a person – you spend a lot of time there and they have meaning. In my case, my flat in Oxford represented 4+ years where I showed the world that I could be an adult. I lost jobs and found them, I lost a lot of weight, I was single and had relationships there. I cried a lot and experienced moments of total joy there. It didn’t become real that I was leaving until the day was practically there. My friend Harry told me to take my time saying goodbye. Initially I tried to without feeling much. On the day however, I took some pictures of the empty flat and had a little cry. I am really fortunate – I will always have connections to Oxford.
  9. Celebrate. After the move, my partner and I had dinner out and then a long walk along the river Thames. We live in Reading now, mere metres away from beautiful fields and the river. That connection to the natural world is vital and making new memories is important.
  10. Rest. After this blog – I’m done. I’m going to crash and give myself the rest of the day off.

7 DON’Ts

  1. Overload yourself. I still managed to do 100 things at the same time, so I was exhausted the day before the move and actually ill on the day itself. I only managed to do everything through adrenaline.
  2. Allow yourself to lose sleep. I was ruminating on all the things I hadn’t done in the week previous. That plus exposure to damp walls made the last few nights tough. I woke up feeling very ill the morning of the house move.
  3. Forget to eat regularly. I am currently on a diet and exercise regime. I still need to eat regular meals, at the same time. With everything happening at the same time, eating can fall by the wayside.
  4. Get lost in frustration. I was very snappy over the past weekend, due to the new diet and exercise regime, as well as stacked stressors galore. I wasn’t aware that my body was telling me to stop – I needed to be told. Afterwards, I gave away my phone and computer to allow me to play Animal Crossing and sleep.
  5. Live in chaos for too long. If you’re moving house, make sure that you immediately create a safe area that’s organised in the mess. For me that was the kitchen table. For others that will be their bedroom. If you only have one room, make sure you don’t…
  6. Forget to organise where you’re planning to store your things. I hadn’t been told exactly what would be in the flat when we moved in, so we were pleasantly surprised when we got in. But some people might find less furniture than they were promised, so make sure that, like us, you take enough with you to ensure you won’t be stuck without storage space, for instance. Or, more importantly, a bed.
  7. Forget that: this stressful period will come to an end. Every bit of this is stressful, that’s the point. No-one enjoys their own house move. It’s ok to be occasionally overwhelmed.

Do you have any additional questions about moving house? How do you deal with a house move? Let me know in the comments. Additionally, I have been in contact with David Mason, who’s researching how autistic people deal with moving house. Please fill in this survey, which should take you up to 35 minutes: https://kclbs.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6PVpsncwKAEhNFX?dm_i=4U0R,E06A,16KU9B,1MVYO,1 You have until 13th December, so if – like me – you don’t have the energy right now, no problem at all. Have a lovely Sunday and a brilliant week.

FOOTNOTES

¹ I do need to make the point that for many people (especially those of us with kids, disabilities or caring responsibilities) doing things early won’t be possible. That’s ok – if anything, that’s another reason why you deserve help and support in this house move.

²I struggle with the concept of ‘not yet’. This is due to autistic people on the whole often having a slightly different experience of time than non-autistics. Janelle Monáe is here though to explain it:

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Post Author: jorikmol

Professionally Autistic

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