Portrait by the 2021 YRTC Race Poster
Healthy Lifestyle, Independence, Reflections

Reflections: Another Year Older Doesn’t Change Anything

Last weekend, I had the opportunity of turning another year older. While I have had a great amount of personal growth within the past year or so, I have to accept that there are some things that aren’t going to change, no matter how much I want them to. I must accept them for what they are and not have a guilt trip about them and cause my mental health to decline.

Being autisitc, despite having a lot of experience handling change, I have seemed to have had my share within the past year that has presented a lot of challenges of how I live my daily life. In my right mind I understand the necessity of my weekly routine, as normal as it can be, needing to continue for the time being. However, there are times I get into a flight mode of thinking and want to abandon everything and just remain in what is safe. What I have had to learn to accept is that this is not just the mind of an autistic person, but the wish of many in the working world. And while it would be nice to have the individual freedom that being a person that had no responsibilities outside of the home would provide, I accept that it isn’t a healthy habit and would lead to isolation and regression of many of the things I know I need to do in life to be well.

It is in that catastrophizing process where it becomes an all or nothing state of mind and all I can see is the way out. My mind is a prisoner to catastrophizing and rumination of false statements that many would deny. When I get into that mindset, it can be very difficult to divert myself from that way of thinking. The fact of the matter is when I am at work and during the day program, for the most part, I seem to do great and enjoy the things I do. It can be environmental triggers present themself and the thought of jumping on the negativity train because of what I see as what I don’t like or believe can cause me to isolate and get into a deep dark space that can be very hard to evolve out of.

Yes, holding all my thoughts and emotions is tough to keep together at times. But, in reality things aren’t as full as they were years ago, and even some of the things are done within the confines of my own home, which gives me the ability to be myself in a safe space. Additionally, I understand that being sedentary by isolating and regressing will only wreck further havoc on my mental health and those that love and support me, and they don’t deserve that.

Sometimes, we don’t want to hear what is told to us by those that love and support us, but sometimes, especially if we have a good relationship with the one giving the advice, they are telling us something because the not only care about us, but the know us and know what is best for our well-being. It can be difficult to take the advice from those we think don’t know all parts of what we have to go through. But if we want their advice, we too have a responsibility to confide in them the struggles we are facing because it is likely they know the best way of helping us out of the challenging things we think we are experiencing. 

I’ve always been told that life is what you make it and you have the choice to make it good or bad. I have the tools necessary to get me through the times I have these thoughts along with a good support system. It is just the fact that I need to be honest and direct and seek help when necessary and not continue in the patterns that are negative and will just become a waste to my life. I have so much to offer, there should be no reason that I act the way I do because I am experiencing in life what many of my neurotypical peers expereince.

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