Transitions Reimagined

Yesterday we arrived in Torquay for stop six of our tour of eight UK towns and cities with our new show Burnt Out In Biscuit Land. We’ve been to Bridlington, Gloucester, Bradford, Margate and, most recently, Peterborough. After Torquay we head to Stoke-On-Trent and lastly, Wigan. I’ve been enjoying being back on tour, but it’s been quite gruelling.

Touring means I’ve been leaving and arriving in lots of different places, and because I don’t have a permanent support worker at the moment, different people have been supporting me each week. I’ve written before about how I find transitions between one place or activity and another tricky. Leaving or arriving home is a transition I find particularly hard, and touring means I’m doing it a lot!

Bedtime used to be the same sort of flash point, but a couple of years ago I created a visual tool to help me manage this and to ensure there was consistency from one night to the next. This has been a gamechanger and I now rarely struggle with the transition to bed.

On Friday when we arrived home from Peterborough I found it tough, and I got very distressed. When Leftwing Idiot and I talked about it afterwards we discussed the possibility of making a visual tool that could support these transitions.

Over the weekend I drafted something and trialled it when we left for Torquay yesterday. It helped me feel much calmer and more in control. I printed the tool on A4 paper and folded it in half so that leaving is on one side and arriving is on the other. It fits easily into my emergency bag so I have it to hand whenever I need it.

A digital tool for helping support transitions. A landscape A4 page is split into two sections the one on the left focuses on Leaving and the one on the right Ariving. Both Have three headings stacked in a column the read: Now - Prepare, Next - Focus, Then - settle. There is additional detail for each stage that includes things like - agree transition time, Body Prep e.g. have a wee and agree first task. The tool aims to help provide a consistent framework for leaving and arriving places.

It’s a work in progress, and I imagine I’ll continue to tweak it over the coming weeks, but I wanted to share it here straight away in case it’s useful to anyone else. I’m also sharing a blank template so it can be adapted for different people or situations.

I sometimes resist tools like this because of my own internalised ableism. I tell myself that I should be able to manage these everyday transitions because other people can. Or I try to convince myself I just need to try harder. This is obviously rubbish and tends to mean I only act when I’ve reached a crisis point.

I really want to change this pattern and get better at strategies for transferring from one situation to another. Writing about it here feels like a first step to realising this and to holding myself accountable on this commitment.

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