Holiday Stress in Autism

by John Testore

I’m a British married man on ASD/ADHD living in Asia with my Asian wife.

I constantly need to keep my mind busy.

I can’t bear hot-humid air forcing me to stay indoors during the Monsoon Asian Summer well in the 40C aggravated by 90% humidity.
The air-conditioner screams for mercy 24/7…and so the electricity bills.

Weather can outweigh heavily on the body and mood of over-sensitive groups, leading to isolation, depression and homesickness. These mental states affect subconsciously social interactions. It’s important to share these feelings with locals.

People in this part of the world, wait eagerly for Autumn, best dry, mild season after 6 months of misery.
There are practically two seasons only in Asia weighing heavily on the body and mind.
Autistic people are extremely sensitive to weather changes, particularly humidity and lack of sunlight.

This compels to unwind with locals, excessive use of electricity, until the progression to the last stage of hopelessness, Self-isolation.
I don’t go out other than for essentials from June to October.
Mixed feelings and racing thoughts take over.

I m working hard setting up my business as to go back to Europe with my wife by next year.

Moving and Traveling have different goals. The former is permanent, the latter transient. Holiday is transient and I dread it. For most expatriates, holiday is home, regardless of seasons. Summer is just a depressing reminder of holiday to me.
Holidays are temporary illusions, they drain me physically and emotionally.
All my thoughts race to my native Europe where I have a house on the Mediterranean coast and it’s mild all year round.
I want to live, work, holiday there for the foreseeable future.
I never really understood the purpose of holidays.
Surveys have long evidenced ‘post-holiday depression and fatigue’ in most cases.
I love visiting friends whilst I hate spending a couple of weeks a year in a holiday resort.
Home must be our holiday resort, that’s where we spend our lives, unlike full-time travelers, a new figure emerging these days thanks to online jobs, although the implications deserve a separate thread.

Asia is just work to me, Mondays and Weekends are hard to come by.
Our adaptation times are longer, in my case exacerbated by living abroad.

My Asian wife occasionally suggests to take a weekly break to Europe, a kiss of death to me: 24 hours return-flight and jet-lag just to mention some.
It s 3 years since we don’t take holidays.
My weekend outings are within one-hour travel range.
I love nature, despite returning to base is always crashing, nevertheless.

It is important to choose the right place to live in for autists.
We re not of the kind who can adapt regardlessly.
We need structures and suitable environments.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to combine the two.
I have all structures where I live, though I m surrounded by cement and tower-blocks.
I have to travel 3 hours to reach the nearest beach, time-consuming and expensive, not doable in one day unless I want to return home more exhausted than before.

I guess Los Angeles has it all, but I m from England, I have to choose between inland cities or coastal villages.
I no doubt would head for the latter, herein the importance of having my business.
I believe autists do better at self-employed.

Age is an obstacle too in European politics where you are expected to be settled by 40.
Employers prefer hiring a cheap youngster instead of a highly paid experienced middle-aged.

I wonder how much environment influences autists.
Logically a lot, based on our habitual attitude.

Statistics show that most successful autists-ASDs- live in idyllic places at contact with nature.
Metropolitan autists seem to struggle more.

My biggest mistake was moving to Asia.
Back then, it sounded the best decision, I can’t live alone, my parents passed away, despite my wife s promise to join me back in Europe after settling few things in her country.
I do have abandonment issues.

Another view of holiday stress is the first week of May, the ‘longest’ Japanese National holiday.
Japanese companies offer a 10 days off a year contract enabling employees to combine them together with the ‘National Golden Week’, accounting for 17 days off in a row, in so doing it the peak of the Japanese holiday season.

Japanese love traveling.
This trend comes at a price, literally: airlines triple up their regular fees as transportation to and from airports with packed trains.
I call that ‘Exodus’ rather than ‘Holiday’.

The reason Japanese choose overseas destinations is May being low-season in the Western Hemisphere, accounting for saving a good deal on hotels.
A cheaper option altogether this time of year!
Western tourists warned… what you save on the trip, you ll triple it up in Japan s hotels. Prices drop dramatically immediately past the Golden Week.
Japanese impeccable customer-service’ loyalty, pays off the short wait, doesn’t it???

My challenge with Japanese society is forced homogeneity.

I would never pay a fortune to travel during Golden Week having a house in Europe.
I want to go home for good.
Time will come.

John Testore
My name is John Testore and I m a British-Italian man married to a Japanese lady in Japan. I m a former Medical student. I was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD in Med-school causing me to drop after my third year and join the Ambulance Service as paramedic.

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