Having some time off over the past few weeks provided me some time to self-reflect. As my mind often thinks that it would be in a better place if I remain stagnant in my activity, I also realize the importance of having responsibilities in my life as they provide a purpose for doing things to prevent me from being in a sad state of mental health.
Navigating a world that is not made for everyone can be difficult. I also know that having responsibilities that are nearly the same as my neurotypical peers is something that many autistics struggle to obtain and that if I simply give up that I will be a part of that negative statistic of not having a fulfilling life. I observe many of my autistic peers online and whether or not they are getting paid for work, they are using their talents in some capacity. However, for me, it would make me stir crazy and be risky for me to remain home all the time. I also realize that I am a very valued person and while I understand that everyone may not be working in that capacity, I know that I am being depended on for many things because of my dedication and passion to the work that I do in whatever capacity that I am under at that given moment.
Last week, I reflected with the director of my day program when he was seeking out the position that I have currently held for over 12 years. At the time, I was filling vacancies on other placements and had no intention of returning to the workforce. When the program director sought this placement that was to be short-term in nature, I was intended to be the first round. I had very little idea of what the position entailed but I caught on. When it was discovered that I had the option to keep the job. I stuck with it.
While in those early years I did not have as much flexibility to remain at home, I often called off or ran from doing the work because doing what I needed to do seemed scary. One of the primary responsibilities included social interaction, something for any autistic person is quite the battle. Something changed over the years to the point where I socially grew and the work became easier as time went on. It is with much gratitude that I was the only placement during the pandemic that was not furloughed amidst many other overall struggles with my life at the time.
Fast forward to today, I still at times fight the internal battle of why I still do what I do. It can be so easy to just give up my responsibilities and become a sluggish person that will cause continual decline in overall health. I often want to point the finger to those such as my mother and my therapist for “making” me carry on these responsibilities but in all honesty I know that it is not only a necessary evil in life that must be undertaken, but also something that I need to have in my life in order to be well. While being at home day in and day out may seem like the ideal thing sometimes, in my right mind, I know that it isn’t the best thing for me and while sometimes going through the motions can be a struggle, many times they are overactive in nature and in most cases I have nothing to worry about.
I don’t know what the future holds. I just know that there constantly has to be some sort of activity in my life where I must be doing something productive and with others, mostly outside of the home because I know the dangers that can happen if I am not cautious of isolating too long. It is about being resilient and beating the odds in life and doing what is the right thing to do