Laurel Hill State Park CCC Monument

Reflections: Growing, Learning and Grace

The past week has been full of planning, goal setting and other things that become necessary in the realm of being connected to Mental Health Services. In that process I had two takeaways that I learned last week and one of those was about giving myself some grace, accepting mistakes and learning from them.

It can be hard to believe that I have been living in my current living situation for a year and a half now. It is what works for me and I continue to be thankful each and every day my feet hit the floor to have it. I am proud of where I am at mentally, although it can be hard sometimes to look in the mirror and acknowledge it sometimes because my brain is wired to point out what is wrong. I know if I had not been provided the opportunity to get back on my feet, I am very certain that I would not be in this state of mind,rather I don’t think that I would have gone deeper into despair than I was during the COVID lockdown.

It doesn’t mean that I necessarily tossed out everything from the first living experience, but I did learn from it and had to address some issues that I did have in it. This meant doing the things that I would always put on the back burner and make excuses for because I often discounted myself for not being able to do those things. It also meant that I needed to start becoming mature and stop doing things that presented themselves as juvenile and not the adult that I and others knew that I could be.

Yes, mistakes do happen and in fact they have where I have lashed out at others without thinking, sometimes numerous times, sometimes because I could control it and sometimes not, but I had to do the hard work and address ways to better address ways to cope with things so they do not get into that place again. It has been almost 11 months since that last day I acted out at someone, and while some of it was related to too much overload, I had to realize to better recognize when I need to seek help or guidance from other trusted sources when necessary so that it does not spiral out of control in the manner that it did.

Sometimes you also have to learn that you have to let things go in order to take care of you and for that I had to realize what was holding me back from being the person I wanted to be. Sometimes it is like the flipping of a switch because things line up and present the opportunity for it to happen that way and it can be a good thing. But, tempting chances can present themselves and you must not give into them, no matter how promising they may be.

One thing that I, like many autistics, oftentimes struggle with is change. I have learned that it is something that sometimes cannot be controlled and often reacting adversely to it will only make it worse. We sometimes think that things have to happen the way we think we know they have to, but we must also be open to changes and see how they work out. If they pose difficulty, then you can appropriately speak up and advocate for what you need. One thing I often thing is the fact that empowerment does not necessarily mean entitlement and sometimes we have to accept the things that we don’t want to as long as we are safe and free from harm and can properly manage ourselves without issues.

I know that I have done some growing and from my issues I have learned how to bounce back from adversity when necessary. I have accepted the fact that I have to give myself grace and remember that where I am presently wasn’t accomplished overnight and it took ALOT of time to get where I am and that I need to look in the mirror as I see it and just smile once in a while and be proud of the man that i am and where I can go.

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