Adulting: Autonomy

For many autistics, the ability to make one’s decisions can be a difficult task for an autistic to perform. For the younger crowd, one that seems to lack the ability or show the interest of one doing this will result in the parent making these choices for them, which can result in friction between the autistic and their parents. An autistic should have the autonomy to be the person they so choose to be without judgement from their parents and supporters, yet have the support they need to thrive in their world.

Growing up, I had rough teenage years, I often don’t talk about it because it puts me down in the dumps. I spent the majority of one summer, including my 15th birthday in and out of psych hospitals. When things didn’t work out, I was sent to residential treatment for nine months, which took a turn as my parents didn’t care and wanted a vacation from me. I later learned in adult life that they did it because they thought they wanted the best for me.

After being placed in residential, the sent me to this camp on a twice a week basis where I was continually restrained for minimal reasons. I learned recently that it traumatized me immensely, and for a fact I know it did as it took a long time to build trust again with others again. As I finished my high school career much better than I started it, I went to post-secondary training where I lived in constant fear in worry that if I made the wrong move that I would be sent home to my parents or disowned for my beliefs.

Today, almost 15 years after returning home with my parents for most of that time, have had severe struggles with autonomy. Yes, I got to make purchases, but do they make me happy if I would have been criticized for them. When I moved out on my own almost three years ago, you would say after a year of settling my new roots of what I have been holding for almost three decades, that I then decided to go on a rumspringa with my medication which partly set me into a downward spiral. Then, there was a time I had to move into my parents’ home before my present home became available.

Now with nothing to bother me on the horizon, I sill reserve judgement of the things that I do. I think this in part has to do with the setbacks that COVID presented us last year. When we are finally in a time, we are finally starting back to somewhat of what was pre-COVID times, but with masks, one wants to get out and do things for their benefit because they (I) know it is the right thing to do. Yet, I hold back because I am afraid of being held in judgement because of what or how I choose something may not be what someone else thinks of me. I personally have to build up the courage and gull to move on and not care what other people think or buy into what they WANT me to believe.

I also have to know that what I am thinking in life is valid and whether or not others, including those close to me believe it or not, I have to know that my feelings are valid and I don’t have to please them because I may hurt their feelings. They are accepting of what I am feeling, yet I feel as if I am going to let them down for my choices in life. Yes, detrimental choices, such as not maintaining my medication regimen were hurtful at the time was indeed detrimental and put me at risk of several things.

Yes, some may think that one doesn’t know what everything in the world means when an autistic person says things they want to be. However, we have to stand up for wat we believe in, regardless of what the oppressor may think of what they think we know. They shouldn’t discount an autistic person. Yes, we can be easily influenced, but we do out research and if we know what we want, we go for it. Please understand us and accept us for who we are, that is all we ask., I wouldn’t have been through all the things in my life to think at this point of my life that I haven’t thought a certain way all along.

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