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inflation and OCD/autism

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inflation and OCD/autism

Postby birdsong87 » Sat May 21, 2022 7:05 pm

We have a problem and very little idea how to solve it.
D. presents with a lot of autistic traits and restrictive behavior that she uses to regulate herself. In the past she has used restricted eating and drinking when she got stressed. We were able to shift. Because she likes numbers we asked her to keep an eye on our finances. Becaue we are poor her restrictive behavior in that area has benefited us a lot over the past few years. Enough that we are not in a constant financial crisis anymore. her way of keeping money together, no allowing us to spend anything on impulse and her way of not allowing us to buy certain items at bad prices allowed us to set aside a bit of money.
Inflation messes with us all but for her it is worst. Suddenly the prices she knows by heart change every single time we go to the grocery store. there is no stability in knowing the numbers anymore. And most of our staples are now beyond the line where she would usually forbid us to buy them at all. it is just not done, buying cheese at this price. or fruit and veggies.
Suddenly we are back to restrictions on food. D. gets extremely dysregulated and her autistic traits seem to spike. more stimming. but also less connection to our body. a lot of anxiety. the way she calms herself is a bit OCD.
We brought it up in therapy but our T had her mind somewhere else and we think she didn't even realize how bad the issue is. We kind of need fresh ideas how to cope with inflation and this problem with regulation.
We are attempting to shift her pattern of overcontrol to focus on our home and cleaning. decluttering does bring the anxiety down. but that is a very short-term solution.
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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Sun May 22, 2022 4:04 am

That's a tough problem.

Could she handle taking care of a pet? Like a cat? For some reason, that idea keeps coming up when I think about this. Maybe shifting the focus toward needing to regulate another creature--feeding, grooming, playing, etc could be helpful, and there's the bonus of a pet being able to regulate her?

The only other thing I thought of would be to shift her completely to some kind of online game, like Minecraft--where playing for certain amount of time each day and building a world might be soothing, and she could be as OCD as she needed to be without it affecting your self-care.

I know those are practically opposite ideas, but that's all I could come up with. :?
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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby birdsong87 » Sun May 22, 2022 1:03 pm

our financial situation is not good enough to get a pet. On top of that, our housing situation doesn't allow for it. We would really like to have one but it is beyond us. I am also not super sure if D. cares for living being at all. we started decluttering to keep her calm because that mean control over lifeless items she can push around.
It is obvious that we won't be able to control inflation. We would either have to dissolve the controlling behavior or shift it. I just don't know how to approach this.
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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby fireheart » Mon May 23, 2022 5:57 am

I think that maybe what makes this situation extra tricky, is that there are real life needs behind the behaviour. I doubt that D would be as obsessive if you were rich. It sounds more like she is trying really hard to keep you all safe.

So it makes me wonder if "solutions" to the problem also don't have to be more real-life based. E.g., perhaps considering if there are other ways you could get support? Like starting to also visit a foodbank for extra options for food? Or re-considering or re-explaining the plan to eventually get back to working so that there is more of a perspective for D?
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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby Snaga » Mon May 23, 2022 5:41 pm

re: food banks. I used to use one years ago, a food distribution, that is. For a reasonable price (maybe $20 usd/week) we'd get one or two big banana boxes worth of assorted food and often other items as well, besides the loose stuff in boxes. If you do follow fireheart's suggestion, depending I guess on the nature of the food distribution- since D. needs control, how will D. deal with odd quantities/uncertainties of what you receive? I mean, one week I might get four bottles of mustard. Heck every week we got at least one mustard. I never lacked for Gatorade. One week, we got two or three cases of pre-made pizza dough. One week it was a case of lettuce- not one or two heads- a case. We'd get a smattering of items and then always one or two things in quantities we just didn't know what to do with.

I was just wondering if weird, impractical quantities/nature of items would actually be more triggering for D. But then again I'm sure not all food distribution networks are like that- but the one I'd signed up for was. And eventually we just gave it up. Won't know until you try.

Edited to add: salvage groceries! Don't leave out salvage groceries! Especially for normally high-dollar items like cereal. We used to go to 'bent & dent's all the time and way things are going, we'll probably be starting the habit back up real soon.
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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby birdsong87 » Mon May 23, 2022 8:20 pm

there is one food bank option in the city and it is closed because the demand got so ridiculously high they can't provide any more help. You are right Snaga, the random nature of the items would mess with us. they make an effort not to pack weird bags but we would still have to get items to complete the meal and then it wouldn't even be a meal we chose.
we had an idea and maybe it helps D. to always calculate the difference between the price that day and the expected price? that way she could focus on maths more? and use her expertise in prices in some way. totally not sure if it will work but we do have to go tomorrow, one way or another.
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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby YunaTheSummoner » Tue May 24, 2022 6:48 pm

I don't know if this will be helpful but would D researching 'prepping' for different 'cost of living' situations help etc?

Kit used to do prepping to help her anxiety, Here are some tips from Kit's prepping Journal ..

gather all the blankets and duvets in one place so you know where they were if the electric should go off in winter.

Sleep with one duvet under the bed sheet and one on top so sandwiched between them or if you have a sleeping bag put that under the duvet and get in that with an hot water bottle in the bottom...save on heating bills at night or powercuts

Choose one room to stay in with smallest window (if possible..but not your bathroom as they are usually always cold) as more heat escapes through windows, you can use sticky tape to stick bubble wrap to inside of window it will act like insulation.

A couple of Torches and batteries from a £1/dollar store in case of power cuts... or an headlight is handy for us as we need walking aids/wheelchair so its difficult to hold torch and move at same time (like to get to bathroom)

Not sure where you are in the world but we've used online discount stores where tins are cheap cos its about to go out of date but tinned food can last for years and some 'fresh..about to go out of date' stuff can be frozen. .... Or there maybe somewhere local to you that's similar.

Food is often cheaper towards the end of the day when they're trying to get rid of food whose use by/best before dates end that day.

If you live anywhere they have have market stalls with fruit/veg etc go near end of day when they're getting rid of what's left from that day.


make a little 'cold hamper' - (any empty box will do) food you don't mind eating cold incase of power cuts....crackers, crisps (potato chips in US) cheese spreads (n tubes) have a longer life than fresh cheese or couple of jars of jam, chocolate spread or peanut butter etc.

Tinned fruit and tins of evaporated milk. If you get oats and soak them in evaporated milk and leave overnight (in a sealed container in a cool place) you have overnight oats for breakfast the next day. use a bit of jam or golden/syrup/maple syrup to sweeten.

Bottled water and fruit cordials (Not fresh fruit juice that would need the fridge), long life milk.. (non dairy milks often last longer too)

Tinned fish is a good protein source if you like it and can be eaten cold in an emergency. if you're vegetarian/vegan try and find some protein shakes on offer to store that you could just add bottled water or long life milk to for extra protein.


just little things like this, you don't need expensive gear but maybe just 'having a plan' will help D cope if something like a powercut happened or you couldn't afford to have heating on.


Food banks should cater for allergies so you may be able to control what you get a bit by telling them you have allergies and can they leave out .. (list foods you hate and wouldn't eat)...or you have no oven can they just give you things you can make by boiling a kettle (pot noodles, cup-a-soups etc if you prefer that kind of thing)..They usually have a longer best before date too to keep in your 'emergency stores' even if you don't eat them then.

Maybe D can go through your cupboards and see what you've got that has a long best before date that could be kept back or eaten cold?...organise them in as separate box, add a torch and batteries if you have some and write 'emergency' or 'power cuts' on the box. It may help her feel more prepared 'just in case'.

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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby birdsong87 » Tue May 24, 2022 9:42 pm

the last thing I need is anyone going into prepper mode. That costs a ton of extra money to pull off. and needs space we don't have. And it really doesn't solve a problem, just creates more paranoia. We need D to be fully oriented in reality, not diving head first into a dystopian fantasy about the future.

we managed a short shopping trip. we found some items that were cheaper than usual due to being in season now. Other prices at least stayed the same. That had a surprisingly big impact. maybe focusing on differences really is helpful, especially when paired with frequent small shopping trips to make sure that prices are familiar and we go often enough so they won't change all the time.
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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby lilyfairy » Wed May 25, 2022 3:00 am

birdsong87 wrote:we managed a short shopping trip. we found some items that were cheaper than usual due to being in season now. Other prices at least stayed the same. That had a surprisingly big impact. maybe focusing on differences really is helpful, especially when paired with frequent small shopping trips to make sure that prices are familiar and we go often enough so they won't change all the time.

I understand not wanting to go "prepper mode". That could get overwhelming really quickly.

I meal prep. (Was trying to avoid the use of the word "prepping", but slightly different context). I have a large freezer. Even when I had only a small freezer I would still make big batches and freeze a few portions. I buy meat when it's on special/clearance and freeze it or use it the same day for making meals. I always check the clearance sections in the supermarket for things I can use. Find out what time of day supermarket bakeries mark that day's bread down for quick sale. When I am able to go to the fruit and veg shop in the next town over, I always check out the clearance section first, and then sometimes use what I find there as the basis for making meals- I might find a tray of tomatoes or capsicums that are a bit bumped and bruised, I'll cut the bad bits off and use them in several meals. I'll stew fruit with a short shelf life. I just have to think outside the box a little as to what I'm going to make. If I'm out of ideas I'll sometimes google "recipes with X". But I make big batches of things and freeze them and find this an economical way of cooking. And it means I don't have to cook for one every night. I usually just out of interest cost them once I'm done (add up the price of ingredients and divide that by the number of portions). Generally works out about $2-3 for a single meal. It also means being ok with only buying things in season and substituting ingredients.

I shop by specials- we have 3 different supermarkets in town, and I check the catalogues each week for specials. Between the three places I have a number of items I regularly buy that I never pay full price for by shopping around- it does require a little bit of pre-planning though, which even still, is just the time taken to go through the catalogues and check the pantry while I'm doing it. I often walk out of the shop with more than I intended to buy, but that's usually where I've stocked up on some on-special items, just buying one or two extras for the pantry- not full prepper mode, but just being a step ahead and having a few extra non-perishable staples on hand. Or having extras so I don't have to buy the item full price- a supermarket's specials have a cycle of a few weeks, so the same item will be on special again in a few weeks time. I know if I got really stuck, I have enough basics in tinned items plus rice and lentils that I could get creative with. Might get boring, but I could do it.

My own focus when I go grocery shopping, even though I do have a general idea of what things usually cost, and am seeing things go up too, is not so set on the dollar amounts, but what I can make savings on and how thrifty I can be with what I have. Could helping D to focus on savings on individual items and overall savings made compared to normal cost rather than actual cost amounts help? And in planning what you need to shop for? I too am not in financial crisis, but I need to be careful with what money I do have each week.
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Re: inflation and OCD/autism

Postby birdsong87 » Fri May 27, 2022 2:03 am

We've had another small success tackling this from a very different direction. we have some personal experience with a trauma therapy technique that uses imagery to change trauma situations. it is what the clinic T used a couple of times to help us last year. we are reading a book about it right now and thought, why not. it is just imagery, won't hurt. even just a tiny bit of it seemed to have a considerable impact. totally unexpected. but I guess we will wait until we see our T who is also trained in that technique, to continue. I guess the lesson of the story is that not everything can be fixed without confronting the trauma that led to the behavior. Behavioral approaches only ever get you so far before it needs a proper trauma approach.
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