As an autistic person, our brains can constantly be in overdrive. It can be constantly brewing thoughts that can sometimes be negative and if they are allowed to spiral and obsess out of control. Having a healthy balance of when to entertain and rest your mind is key in living independently as an autistic person.
Yes, living on your own comes with responsibility. While there are tangible things to upkeep on as an independent adult such as your body and home itself, it can also, especially if you are on your own (like me), leave time for thoughts to brew. Sometimes these thoughts can brew out of control and oftentimes be the only thing we can think about or it can spin off additional thoughts like the “what-if’s” of that moment, thinking of what can be at times the most absurd things about a situation.
We as autistic people are more challenged than our neurotypical peers at understanding what is really an issue rather than what our brain amplifies it to be. What may seem small to a neurotypical may be amplified in a varying degree to an autistic person and it can sometimes be the only thing that can be thought of until something is known to relax their mind. Oftentimes, no matter how much someone tries to assure them that something is fine, it is not until it is assured in the brain of the autistic person and nothing can change that.
While it can be that our autistic minds are continually pumping information, there can at times be moments that we just need to step away from any kind of stimuli and rest and calm down from what is bothering us. This happens for the most part when an autistic person senses it themselves. Unlike in times of meltdown, this is knowing that you just need to rest your brain because it is intertwined with your physical feeling of that moment and an autistic person just doesn’t have any more energy to give to themselves or anyone.
When an autistic person says that they need to get away and calm down, this should never be discounted for what it is. It is not an excuse, rather they are telling you they just need out of the predicament that they are in because they can sense it being way too much for them to manage at the present moment and is not that that they want “out” of something. It is that it is too much for them.
It is having an understanding of the body of an autistic person that is crucial to knowing what can be withstood versus what cannot. Sometimes accommodations can be given to have necessary auxiliary aids in order to manage through things that are too overloading. It is knowing the triggers of meltdown and knowing what best to do to avoid it. It is taming that autistic mind so that it can best manage its person in a world that is not been made for their needs to be best accommodated.
It is knowing how an autistic person’s mind works and whether or not you need to have noise and fill or that you need rest, or even both, like me for example is what should be understood in every autistic person that you meet and be understanding and accepting of their needs and let them know that everything is going to be just fine and they will be the best that they can be.