I have lots of routines, or things I need to do the same each time.
You may think a routine means that each day is the same, that I get up at the same time, then have a set routine of everything. No routines can be other things.
This is only a short blog and I shall write one tomorrow about change, which links on from routine, but the blog would be too long to write them in one long blog. I hope this helps you understand why my routines are important and that routine isn’t as black and white as you may think.
A definition of routine: ‘a sequence of actions regularly followed’ so by definition this things I will discuss in this blog are routines, but maybe not what you think of when you hear the word routine.
I eat the same meal every time I go to a restaurant. I remember when I was growing up (this was pre me being a vegetarian) if going to a place like a pub I would eat gammon stake, with pineapple and chips and ask for the peas to be a salad instead (well I’d get someone else to ask) Italian restaurants were the same type of pizza.
Down the road from me is a cafe/restaurant called Kim by the Sea, everytime I have food there I have their veggie fish and chips with no tartare sauce.
If I have a curry I have to have a veggie korma and in fact myself and Evan had to leave a restaurant after looking at the menu at our table when we realised they didn’t do a korma, because I became very distressed and was having a meltdown.
When I buy a drink from a shop, I buy 2 x 500ml bottles of light ribena. If they don’t sell it I’ll try another shop. On my way to therapy, I always get myself 2 bottles of light ribena.
I have a set routine of order of washing in the shower. I have compulsions to count things in 3 sets of 3, therefore being equal to 9. There are likely more, but when something becomes so engrained in your life, you don’t even think, you just do it.
Why you may ask. Well they help make me feel safe. I know I will like the meal I am going to eat, I know what to say to order it, I am familiar with the routine, the routine makes me feel safe. It can help to reduce anxiety. I know I can cope with the texture of the food. If something happens which means my routine changes, either because something is unavailable or I have felt forced/bullied into doing something different, then I become very distressed. Change to my routine is hell for me, that is a whole blog post in itself, which I shall write tomorrow.