As we are entering yet the resurgence of COVID and if we haven’t been, I have taken notice of the many routines of autistics upheaved by this angry pandemic, myself included. It hasn’t been easy to adjust to the many routine changes this year, but with each transition it comes better. With that one must understand what may come easy to the neurotypical adult in many cases isn’t natural to the autistic person.
For example, out brain is wired differently, without a doubt. That can mean that along with our autism that we navigate daily, we may also have to focus that with ADHD or ADD, thus making us hyper focused or scattered on our interests and maybe not so much on other life sustaining tasks to be cognizant in daily life, such as bathing, toileting, eating and general maintenance of our bodies and/or habitat.
Experts in the mental health and autism communities know this essential to the individuals well being simply because it makes them feel better about themselves and helps the individual become a destigmatized member of society. Thus, making it necessary to keep care of yourself. Also, by not taking care of life’s essential tasks, you are increasing the chance of autistic burnout and not feeling your standard self. Therefore, I must stress the importance of doing life’s tasks even if they are not the most suitable to the autistic.
I was one for a long time that was like this in many forms of keeping up with life’s activities. I would not shower for days; I ate only because meals were prepared for me or I ordered delivery or take-out. I despised and griped at the idea of doing dishes because I thought it was a stupid thing. As a child I had fears of public and school restrooms, thus ignoring the need to use the restroom. Having multiple accidents changed that, and accepting the reality of toileting, However, whenever the need to use the toilet arises and I am hyper focused on something, this as it is in many autistics, can become difficult.
These are many of the topics of the independent autistic community are embarrassing and people don’t like hearing about, but they are real and they do happen. Family members don’t know or may not even know what to correct or rectify the situation. It just takes trial and error and it can be quite embarrassing, not only to the autistic but those that care about and care for them.
But they have to be addressed. If we as a neurodivergent community want to be accepted by neurotypicals, then we have to accept our deficits and work on them, no matter hard and grueling tasks they may be. In my present living environment, something just clicked, I am taking my medicine on a routine regimented basis, I am showering daily, I limit my take-out and delivery and cook and clean up more and take pride in the new space that I have. Now my bedroom isn’t always perfect but I do tackle it every so many days.
The moral of this post is that in life, and especially in the world of self-care and self-awareness, we need to be cognizant od the need to do life’s daily chores and understand the importance of being a productive member of society whether we are sheltered in a home or out in the community. Everyone’s routines have been upheaved this year and for right now that doesn’t seem to be going away. Besides all the COVID mandates that we must follow, to be well we must follow all of what is standard in life because it will cause regression in the autistic mind and will send one’s mental health into a state of decline. I experienced that last summer and I don’t want to go there again, 2020 has been one heck of a year to me, and I only want to improve from the mistakes I have made.