Over the past few weeks, I have been resuming what was in most ways the routine that I had pre-pandemic. While many things have changed since then, there are still many things in a brick and mortar form that are still there and I have now realized how much the pandemic had set me back and what I needed to do to build myself back up to where I left off over two and a half years ago.
Over the course of the past few years I have experienced a great deal of regression of the skills that I had gained up until the shutdown occurred in March 2020. Experiencing that, along with the many other issues caused even greater regression and produced additional anxieties among myself and also among many others with similar challenges. At this point, I am realizing that continuing down the path that I was by sequestering myself in my home, as I have always known for decades, is not healthy for myself. As such, my commitments at the day program because of cutting back on that schedule in many areas was not being able to be totally fulfilled and likewise the population has been slow to rebound since the pandemic as the mental health community as a whole is not wanting to return to environments that cause extensive change.
For me, it was a no-brainer to return back in some capacity to the routine that I left not only in that regard, but also in the regard of getting out in the community as I once did prior to being removed from it over two and a half years ago. Last week, I celebrated four years from my first days of independence and as such, I realize that I needed to rededicate myself to doing more of the right thing on all realms and doing and returning to the interests and hobbies that I once enjoyed seems like a no-brainer in restoring my way to some sense of reality.
Returning to the routine that I may not have been accustomed to in over two years can cause further autistic burnour, therefore I realize that it is imperative to practice additional self-care as I see necessary in order to prevent challenging situations from arising. I have been learning new techniques in therapy to aid in this process and that has been helping greatly in aiding the ability to manage the day-to-day stressors that appear in my life so I do not taking my frustration to others. Gaining and opening up to more natural supports has also been an additional benefit, thus decreasing dependence on professionals who are experiencing their own stressors because of additional workloads, personal issues, etc. Family supports can also be beneficial, but they too deserve their own time to be themselves and need to take care of themselves as well.
Sometimes, being autistic, it can be hard to see what things we have at our disposal because we cannot see the whole benefits of it working for us. Many times we are shy to ask for support or reach out to talk to someone due to anxiety and fears of being judged or put down for the faults we have. Being in the dark ages of autism, the faults were more often pointed out than pointing out the things I was doing right in life, and as such, like many from my generation, this can skew our way of thinking to always see the negative in a situation rather than see it fairly.
There is a vast world of untapped potential in the autistic community and keeping it sequestered in the confines of the individuals is not providing a service to anyone. Yes, there may be other issues that each autistic may need addressed in tandem with unleashing their fullest potential, but when you can see more of a benefit than a risk or a challenge, it will be perfect harmony.