Open Topic

A Reflection of Being Better

This week has been a busy week at the day program with our annual fundraiser this Saturday, we also last night had our monthly employment dinner where we as members as we are referred to rather than participants or clients are honored for our working in the community. As such, I was the last one to be on the van last night which resulted in the program director and I having a long discussion on my mental health recovery, which resulted in my need to be grateful for the efforts and obstacles I have overcome in the past year and what I need to work on.

2020 has been a year from having a pest issue in my former residence to having at the drop of a hat having to move into my parents’ home, alongside the day program being closed for two months along with my employer mandating that I work remotely. The environment of being with my parents wasn’t the greatest and I began efforts to sustain housing for myself. By the beginning of November of 2020, I had secured my current residence and had overcame my challenges to get back on the right track to being back where left off the year prior.

It came with challenges with feeling like I was at fault for the things that happened to me being my fault alone, which they were not, rather a result in poor management, COVID and having to be home on a daily basis for two months didn’t help, also not my fault. What was my fault is that I wasn’t medicating at some instances and it resulted to lash out at my parents at different intervals and because our personalities clashed and I didn’t feel as if I needed to heed their advice to walk away from the heated conflicts, which now that I reflect on it, if I did that, I would have been better, but I was stubborn and had to have every word, although I value many times what my parents, especially my mother think of certain things in my life that I think or do, Sometimes, I value it too much that I don’t think for myself and totally rely on their judgement.

However, they have taught me to have my own voice and make my own decision whenever I have the ability to do so, rather than be naïve and be easily influenced by others. It is part of adulting like features to not only advocate for what you need in life, but also stand up to those that bring a positive energy to your life and cripple you from living the life that you want.  Part of self-advocacy is not only telling your stories, but also using kind words and making clear of your boundaries of what you want in life and having the ability to use your voice to say no to things that you don’t want to do or say when you need a break.

I am almost 36 years old. I have experienced a lot of issues in my life and now is finally the point when I am content to the point where I feel my life is manageable. I know that I have to keep plugging along by doing the right thing and not veering off course because there is so many other individual’s autistic, neurodiverse and neurotypical that look up to me as a role model. Is this where I want to be later in life? No! But taking into consideration of all the things I endured, I have come to accept that I need things where they are at the present moment because they work! Yes, there may be days that I just don’t want to get out of bed and get ready to get on the van, but I also have realized that it keeps my mental health in check and that until I take care of other needs in my life that this regimen is where I need to be at the present moment. I have also realized that feeling as not wanting to the daily grind is something that everyone experiences, not just me, not just other autistics, not the neurodiverse, but all. Yes, sometimes our body tells us that we need a break and that’s OK, but if it is working and you know you need to do it, then as a doctor I once had said “don’t rock the boat”, therefore I am accepting my life as it is in the present moment.

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