Keeping My Job

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Over the weekend I was talking to someone who was asking lots of questions about why I have a babysitter. He wasn’t convinced it was a good idea.

As we discussed the various ways the babysitter helps me he listened. At the end of it, I summarised it as ‘having the babysitter means I can keep my job’. At that point he started to understand.

I’m surprised it took so long for the rather blunt statement to come out but it is super accurate.

I often feel guilty about the babysitter. Part of me tells me that I am bad or lazy. Or not trying hard enough. This is really bad when I am tired or down. At those times the anxiety can turn into a sense of depression and these thoughts can become very strong.

However I think that’s a distorted lens. When i tried the approach of ‘trying harder’ I just got burnt out and very unwell.

The babysitter comes to look after me in the evening. That reduces demands. It means there are a few hours a day where it is safe to relax and get spaced out.

Everyone needs down time and time to relax. For me, because when i relax I get so spaced out its hard to relax when home alone. Having someone i trust watching TV in the room next door makes relaxing possible. They make the environment safe. If the doorbells rings or there’s an emergency while I am spaced out they can act to resolve the situation.

By having the babysitter I can maintain both living independently and keeping my job. I just don’t have the energy for both. Perhaps over time as my routines become more stable I will need less support. But for now it’s working really well.

I still feel guilty about needing help. I think I always will to some degree. At least this way I can feel like the help achieves something bigger than me.

Because of the babysitter I have the stability to write this blog and to do the accessibility work I do for the BBC.

Millions of people’s lives are improved by my work. That’s a damn good outcome all because someone else runs me a bath or reminds me when it’s time to eat dinner.

This is why I am proud that we found an effective solution. It’s unconventional but it works so well.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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Jamie: @JamieKnight
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