I recently read this blog post by anonymouslyautistic and feeling inspired, I thought I would try to list out what my ‘toolkit’ holds. I call them the ‘essentials’, and they are things I carry with me pretty much everywhere (and when in some lightheaded foolish moment I decided not to bring these I am usually sorry at some point). They help prevent getting meltdowns and generally just make my life easier.
- Earplugs. I have a difficult time with noise and can at the most unexpected times need to put in my earplugs. I also like to bring my noise-cancelling headphones with me, but sometimes I make do with only earplugs and normal, small (handbag-sized) headphones.
- Warm clothes. I have an (almost) irrational fear of getting cold, and it affects my mood when I do, so I will often bring warm clothes and at least a windproof jacket even on a summer day with an immensely small chance of rain, wind or drop in temperature. But I feel safer bringing it, and so I do.
- Snacks. Just as with feeling warm, I don’t like the prospect of getting hungry with no supplies at hand at all. I can get shaky and it can affect my mood also. I do not need to bring a full lunch pack, but a small box with some almonds and chocolate or even just a few bonbons will do.
- Alcogel. I don’t like public restrooms, so to clean the seat alcogel is handy. Also for cleaning the hands in various other circumstances.
- Hand cream. For dry hands since they start itching when they dry out. This especially happens in the winter months – which, here in Denmark, is like almost half the year…
- Aspirins. You never know when a headache will set in.
- Reading material. Usually a small book, but may be a magazine, newspaper or something else. I like to have something meaningful to do in case I need to wait.
- Fidgeting toy. Something to keep the hands busy. I don’t always need this, but especially for when I get stressed, angry or nervous this helps me calm down.
Of course needed things like my keys, wallet and phone are also things I bring around with me every day, but they are not on the list because I wanted this list to reflect the things that I find are essential to bring, but which others may find are just a kind of ‘surplus’.
One last thought: I probably should start bringing some citrus smell around with me, as smells can also really put me off, but the closest I come to this is my hand cream which has a passion fruit smell (as the citrus smell has been discontinued – why must they always renew and change everything?!).