Note: As part of my Day Program, I contribure to the program’s newsletter. In June 2021, that Newsletter transitoned to a monthly basis as much of the elements of the program are back to a in-person status.
My dream vacation would be biking the Great Allegheny Passage and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath. Both trails com-bined you can traverse from Pittsburgh and right through Connellsville, connecting to the towpath at Cumberland, Maryland the rest of the way to Washington, DC. With the trail going literally through my back-yard, there is ample opportunities to make smaller segmented trips or make one larg-er one which has been dubbed as the “ride of your life”. I hope sometime in my life that will be able to see all parts of the trail and not on a computer or television screen.
Autism Awareness / Acceptance Month
April is Autism Acceptance Month. For several years until 2021, it was and still is in some cases known as Autism Awareness Month.
I always had the signs from an early age but due to my ability to com-municate, I was diagnosed until 1998 with Asperger’s Syndrome, although it has since been removed with the last DSM revision, I still get to keep my diagnoses which took a long road to get to that point.
I continued down to a long journey through many services to where I am today. Having a relapse and the COVID-19 Pandemic brought to light my need to drive some of my advo-cacy skills towards Autism Advoca-cy, therefore I write weekly blogs, vlogs and manage the website dust-insdynastyusa.com to share my story along with sharing things from it across several social media plat-forms.
This year, I am privileged to be a part of Fayette County Behavioral Health Administration’s County Leadership Team Autism Subcom-mittee where I get to share my lived experience to hold an event on April 21st connecting autistic individuals and their families with first responders.
I also got to go to the March Commissioners reading and stand along a family member of an autistic indi-vidual for the reading of the Autism Awareness Month proclamation, proclaiming April as Autism Awareness Month right here in Fayette County. This was planned to happen a few years ago, however COVID halted this.
I proudly accept my diagnosis and wouldn’t change anything about it, although it should be noted that Au-tism is a neurological condition and I have a host of other mental health challenges, which is common for autistics.
Doing What’s Important
Life can be challenging, COVID has taught us that more than an-ything. It has taught us that we need to sometimes do things that we may find unpleasant or unwanted. For me specifically, it taught me that I cannot be act like a child or fight with others to get what I want because I don’t like what I have to face.
When we become adults some-thing that has to be understood we cant do what we really want to sometimes. Many times, there’s expectations we have to make to get things we need or even protect our mental health.
It can be hard sometimes to do what we don’t have to do be-cause we don’t want to, however we must understand it is likely expected of us to do it because it has been proven to be beneficial although our brain may not see it in that way.
We may want to express our an-ger or other dislikes for some-thing thinking we will get things in our favor, and while we may need to advocate for a valid reason, it must be understood that expressing your view or concern for something isn’t necessarily the way to get things your way.
Expressing your frustration in an argumentative manner could like-ly result in your concern being further dismissed and not validat-ed. It must be remembered that we must always choose our words wisely and think about them before we communicate them in any format.
I have came so far in my journey, but it is an ongoing process that I am learning that I must continue to understand although I don’t like what I have to go through in the present moment, what I am experiencing is only temporary and using my coping skills, if necessary the feeling will void itself and I will move on.
It has taken decades of services to get to the point where I can do the things that I am doing in the present moment. There is for sure more growing to do and someday I can close more chap-ters and open new ones.
Life is what you make it and while you may think where you are is unpleasant, you must al-ways keep your head up and work on Improving yourself and keeping yourself well