It gets better. Those three words are what I can say to anyone that has been struggling with the onset of anything since the world has been in a broken world. I am here to tell you that you can get at your lowest and rebound to a better place, but to do that lies within the powers of yourself. If you are willing to make the change, it can happen.
You see, two years ago in February 2020, beneath what I knew, I was beginning to experience a mental health crisis. I had to leave my first home suddenly, with what I could take with me. My “home” was my parents’ computer room. I couldn’t go to work, but I could later go to day program and I guess that was what could hold me on.
I was originally cleared to work on March 16, 2020. Just as this thing called COVID-19 was brewing. The night before I was to return to work, I received a call from my supervisor that because of this new pandemic, my return to work would be put on hold for at least two weeks. The next day, I went to the day program and that evening, we were told the same thing, two weeks on hold. So, the only thing I had to look forward to was outpatient therapy and mobile psych services delivered via the telephone.
As things transitioned to what they were during the stay-at-home period, I began to adapt and looking back, I was able to see how blessed I was to have the things to keep going despite all the challenges I was facing. But I hit rock bottom at that point. From living over a year in a rumpringa in not taking care of myself mentally, the boiling point came from me not taking care of myself in my parents’ presence. However, they are what saved me from crisis by being tactful and getting a hold of my therapist, who is still today, my rock in getting me out of a crisis. Having a professional relationship with her for over two decades and as she nears retirement age scares me, but I know I have to stay on the better side for that reason alone.
Meanwhile, with COVID still looming above us, I had to close the door on my first independent situation and realize that I had to pick up the pieces and start over again. As a person who was slowly coming out of the trenches and discovering who he was, it was hard to say goodbye but I realized that it was necessary to move on. But, I was resilient and began to pound the pavement and get back on the path to independence.
How I got my current state of independence was what I can call pure luck. It normally doesn’t happen that way. I want to say that it was part of me being proactive and understanding the need to not regress and move slowly back into a sense of independence. I knew having my feet wet at independence, that I wanted that and I had to do what I needed to do so that I could have my freedoms again.
I also discovered what didn’t work in my last experience and what was important to maintain independence. While I wasn’t totally out of the woods to improve my mental health, I got stable enough to understand the difference from what was totally wrong and knowing that I couldn’t go back to that point again. I knew the importance of maintaining this home and the detrimental effects of what could happen if I couldn’t do so in this opportunity. I also knew that it was the last opportunity in my preferred town and I had to make it the best that I knew to.
My new independent situation set the base for what I needed to be grounded in my new journey of self-discovery and the importance of having to keep grounded in learning what I wanted and didn’t want in life. It taught me the importance of being well and what benefits it could provide. I needed to hit rock bottom in 2020 to learn the things that I needed to learn in order to have a sense of mental stability.
I know over two years ago as I started to have a downward spiral and experiencing so many changes and having to handle patience with grace, things I know autistics experience challenges in handling. I am here to tell you that it will get better, but you have to be in the driver’s seat and be the one behind the wheel of change and steer yourself in the right direction of where you want to go, no one can do it for you.