Being an autistic adult, it can be hard to recognize that you have to know how you are regulating your mood. This can play a part in having a sense of it when having to interact with others and recognize when you need to take a break and take care of yourself before moving on.
As autistic people, we are often seen as prone to our moody selves at our weakest moments. This traditionally occurs when we are not our best selves or our personal needs are not met. It can be at times when we are irritated by having to give attention to something that we do not want to when it is challenging for an autistic person to regulate or mask themselves when they want to be heard or validated?
But what if that sense of mood passes off as being uncaring or in a mood?
It happens to me more than I would like it to be. I am many times unable to be logical or sensible about emotionally checking myself before approaching someone or something that is going to cause me emotional drought. Sometimes, it feels like it has to be done or someone will not understand how things really are. It can take having to realize that you have to recharge your drained battery and just get away from the things that stress you out or are a trigger to being a challenge.
As we are entering 2023, I am getting better and the moments are getting less. But those moments when I get in my mood is when I have not been able to do the things that are proven to take care of myself. This can be in instances when there is an abundance of sensory overload or stimuli and you are caught off guard without the ability to filter or regulate yourself in order to autistically mask in a way that you don’t express what you are bluntly thinking.
Not having a sense of what one’s mood is something that an autistic person really struggles with at times. It has taken me a long time to even get to this point when it gets deep and I really know that I need a break or are unable to follow through with something. But what about those moments when it seems less known. Those moments when you just snap? It can seem like you lack the ability to regulate your mood or are careless about the things that you intend to do.
It is recognizing that you need to just practice the same old adage of stopping and thinking about making your choices instead of what instantly is thought while understanding that you need to revisit what you intend later. We as autistic people often find a sense of urgency of wanting to finish what task we need to because we fear having a sense of retribution for not being able to complete it on time.
It goes without saying that we sometimes need to put things in perspective sometimes and understand that things for the neurodiverse or other challenges can be more cumbersome to endure and are more challenging than our neurotypical peers. When we show our emotions, it is often that we don’t get the negative attention that it is perceived to bring. We don’t like to be reprimanded for the way we conduct ourselves, especially if we know that it is not the right way for it to occur.
Everyone is human and we all have our moments. But for autistic people, those moments are quite frequent and intense and it can be difficult for our mood to regulate because of several factors. Sometimes it takes tough love to us autistic people by those in our close circle that we need to keep our emotions in check and that it is indeed OK to prioritize our needs over the worry and anxiety of others by just keeping things simple and direct and not allowing room for additional emotional dialogue.
It is knowing that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that it will take time for mood regulation and having a sense of mood to get my emotions in check so things will be even better someday.