So, this week partly I have been focusing on self-regulation. This topic has sparked an interest in me because I have been hearing about it from other advocates and their autistics have been doing this. I, being diagnosed over twenty years ago and now learning things on my own am discovering these terms as we go along. I had an epiphany of when and why I need to recognize when to self-regulate on a more constituent basis.
Last week, I went to my parents’ house where I was helping my mother with a project and after awhile I became frustrated. It became to the point I was shouting at her and reducing her to tears, I didn’t realize that I was doing this until she said “she wasn’t used to be being yelled at”. This is when I realized that I needed to take a breather and calm down by whatever method possible. Whether that is listening to music (my favorite) or walking around or stimming. It is essential that I do so in order to keep my mental stability in check.
As I have grown up over the years, my aggression has diminished, yet when I am around my parents, I continue to live in a vacuum of a spoiled little brat where I want them to baby me. In reality I know that the way I act is unacceptable, yet I keep dishing out the negative behavior out and they never give up no matter how hard it hurts them in the process. When I was living with them last year for a brief time, they would give me cues to self-regulate by telling me to go to my room, yet I would ignore their prompts. This would oftentimes lead to a less-desirable outcome, usually with the therapist being involved (thank goodness, or I would be somewhere else and not writing this.)
In contrast, when I am in public, I utilize a combination of masking and self-regulation to manage myself. If I am in a moment when I cannot self-regulate, I will oftentimes mask, because I know that style of behavior, especially when I am navigating alone in public is not appropriate. However, If I am with my mother specifically sometimes I will get loud and boisterous and that can get quite embarrassing, I am a college educated 35 year old-man and I know that for the moment I need to hold what I am honestly feeling in for the time being until I get to my safe space where I can express what I am feeling, many times I have been close to being involved with the law, however it is by the grace of God that I haven’t ended up in the mental health system or jail.
Now I know that everyone is open to medicating autistics, however as an autistic who has been on medication for decades and recently having not been on a proper regimen, I have realized that the times I could not regulate myself was mostly when I wasn’t following my regular medication regimen. One of the professionals have stated time and time again that medication is oftentimes the foundation to one’s mental health recovery, and while being autistic isn’t totally a mental health condition, many autistics are additionally diagnosed with a mental health condition, thus making one neurodiverse. While one of the medicines that I am on helps with the irritability of autism, it is a lifesaver and diminishes the overthinking of thoughts that are associated with autism, I know I need it for survival to do all the things I do such as writing this blog.
In closing, what an autistic says they need some time to regroup., make sure they are given the space to do so and time to do so. As long as they are safe, if it works for them, let them be regulate themselves by doing whatever they need to in order to get themselves to the point they can interact with others again, because anyone that knows an autistic knows that we don’t want to have a meltdown, because then we will really regret doing that, and we want to just be able to get through life’s challenges with ease