I lived mostly with my parents or in congregate settings until I was 33. As a child and even as an adult, I would helicopter parent around my mom to the point she would refer to me as her hovercraft. I could never find true independence and could never stay stationary for some time. Even now, it is a challenge and I have to occasionally move. Being independent has proved to me that there’s times of boredom, loneliness and isolation as many are experiencing right now due to the ongoing pandemic.
Now, I want to preface this writing by saying that I am not totally cut off by my parents, as such we are still intact by maintaining our own bubble. We don’t do as much in public as we once did, but we do a good deal of shopping and other stuff when we can and they are a big help to me. It took some time for me to realize that I needed to define ways to get out of boredom, and prevent boredom loneliness and the worst result of being isolated.
Let’s start with being bored. Yes, there’s things to do. I could think of a few as I am typing this post, however as in many autistics, they don’t seem intriguing. Everyone is experiencing fatigue right now and sometimes they need to rest from excessive workloads, plethora’s of chores, among other things. We know it needs done, but it has to be done at a time we can do it right and can focus totally on the task at hand. It’ll probably be OK until we get to it, despite what others’ opinions are. We know about deadlines and sometimes we need rest.
We are bored and social media is great interceptor of how to pass time, but at times it can lead to sensory triggers and become too overloading. When we need to occupy our time, I would suggest to keep a list of things that aren’t too overwhelming and can be done with ease and limited activity until you can ease yourself into things that require more skill. We can reach out to our supports if we need to, but we should only do this if we need a suggestion or a quick advice.
While many autistics appear as if they don’t experience loneliness. We do. It can come from several days of being isolated at home and some do need supports (as I do) to fulfill our social outlets and engage with others or have a job. I know this isn’t for everyone and as I experienced in not taking a day for myself in over a year, I was at the point of near overload. However, as we end the break period, I have the usual “evening blues” after a day at home, thinking about never leaving again. In the end, I fight the fight and realize that I need to keep plugging along for my mental health because I need to be active. I know there are so many in the autistic community that haven’t had the ability to do so during the pandemic, I feel for you, because the day program I attend was virtual for nearly three months and I was working half the hours I am now, but remotely. It’s a new normal, but I wouldn’t change anything in the world for it.
Lastly, as I previously stated, these hand in hand lead to isolation. While I stated I needed a break from work and day program as I haven’t taken a day from being productive in some form in over a year. I realized now on the last day as writing this that I need to be back at work and the day program this week because as someone close to me stated “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. We as human beings were never meant to be isolated, as such we as autistics oftentimes need a break for ourselves and those that associate to us closely both social and personal need to be aware of the need to do so. However, we need to gain the skillset and knowledge we need in the world out there, whether it is by volunteering, attending a day program, having supports or being employed to ability, the world is a big scary place and every autistic should get their feet wet to learn what to do in those “what if” moments. I have been in a somewhat structured setting most of my 35-year lifer and is beneficial and if an individual needs to be supported, seek the supports they need and fight for them to get what thy need to be successful in life.
Here’s to another great week!