Part of being an independent person is that you have to be OK with the life choices that you make. It can be hard for those close to you to sometimes understand the things you once did while under the care of someone you no longer want to do, but that is because as an independent adult, you have the freedom to do as you choose for your own reasons.
As adults, we should have the freedom to choose without judgment what we want to do in our lives. Just because we may have an impairment in some sort of area, whether it be being autistic or other cognitive impairment, if we know if something causes us no interest, or is overstimulating and causes challenges for us, then why do we as an adult living independently choose to do it?
From the standpoint of those that love us, they see that many times we struggle in life with the fact that isolation and not being able to get out sometimes can produce additional behaviors and challenges. Nonetheless, if doing an activity that brings no interest and causes further issues to an individual is used, it is defeating the purpose. This is when your self advocacy skills come into play. What matters is how you feel comfortable addressing the way you feel about something and how you come across to those that love so that the key points are made as to why the activity is challenging to you and why it will cause further burnout.
Now I am definitely saying that this is an all freedom pass to get out of all things. There are things in our lives that we just have to become adults and get through in our lives for one circumstance or another. There are instances such as family celebrations such as weddings, birthday parties and other gatherings that must be undertaken because our presence as family members is expected.
In those aforementioned instances, it is important to have a plan in place for you to manage any situational factors that may come into place with said activity. Sometimes things that we as autistics may need as coping mechanisms can be seen as socially inappropriate. Therefore, in these instances, a game plan is needed to be made as much as you can develop as to what you can do should you need to regroup from a challenging factor of a necessary occasion and then if all else fails, then make the necessary exit from the event.
It is not saying that those that extend an invitation or that want is included in their plans should bend over backwards to accommodate our every request as if only our needs matter. In reality, the world may not be as inclusive as it needs to be as of yet, but there needs to be some understanding of our challenges if they want us to be a part of their event or gathering.
Nonetheless, if it is something informal and you know it is going to be too much for you to undertake, then you as an autistic individual know yourself best. Sometimes if one has anxiety, your overreacting to situational what-ifs can kick into overdrive and it can be all that you think about, but in reality if you know that something is going to cause you such stress and no harm is going to be done by your presence not being there, then you have to fight for what you know makes sense to you and do what you need to do to protect yourself.
As always, it is imperative to have a calm demeanor when you are expressing your needs and concerns or they may not be validated by others. It is very important to know what could or would become a triggering effect to cause you to become affected or make the experience unpleasant. If you have done something many times and know that it no longer serves a purpose in the way that it once did or you no longer find fun in it, then why do it?
The main factor is that if you excuse yourself from something that is challenging , then it must be replaced with something that is interesting or productive to you as an autstic individual. To not attend a function and only wallow in your self-pity serves no purpose and only makes things worse.It is important to find something of purpose even if it is practicing some sort of self-care activities but to make yourself feel sorry for yourself by not going to something is not the way to solve the issue.
If it makes sense to you, you have to own the choice and be proud of it. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you.