As I am learning more and more what is the culprit of my being autistic, I am learning that things that many neurotypicals consider as “normal tasks” like running errands for example, can be intensified because of being overloaded with excessive stimuli and other environs.
In my late 30s I never realized that the things that many neurotypicals take for granted like shopping or other errands can be extremely overwhelming for an autistic person because of being exposed to excessive stimuli from sound, smell and other factors that are so excessive and overwhelming that it leads to experiencing autistic burnout.
It is not that we as autistic people are lazy, we oftentimes cannot muster up the courage needed in order to withstand the tasks that many take for granted. Being exposed to this throughout the week can really drain the autistic person to the point that they cannot do anything but rest and recharge from being brought down from what had to be endured. There are things that are just so bearing for them and not given the proper time to recharge or transition could be a catalyst for a meltdown.
Living an independent life for an autistic person can be challenging for so many and until recently, I never realized how much it takes out of me to do the things in life come with added overloading factors particularly for me sound-based that bring me down so much. It takes my brain to process and actually calm down from these events and particularly on the weekends it takes me quite a while to recharge from the week of activity.
It may seem foolish that I am being selfish or lazy, but it is a result of being brought down so much from being overstimulated, particularly having excess amounts of adrenaline and cortisol in my system and without a proper way to channel them out, it can set me up with a recipe to produce quite explosive behaviors to the point that many are shocked when this happens.
Understanding the fact that this is because of the autism and is a part of my life can be hard to accept when I just want to do so things the same way as my neurotypical peers and in fact I do them, but because my brain operates differently then them, it is more complexing and challenging for me to endure the same things as I do.
Therefore when there is an opportunity to have accommodations due to sensory disabilities, I strongly encourage them because life is challenging enough and when there are opportunities to make them easier, you must go for them. Not many have the privilege to understand how our brain works and ultimately affects us as a person. To that effect if there is help to make the things you have to endure in life easier, go for it. Your body will thank you for all the help you get, believe me.
Therefore, when an autistic person says a task or something is too much for them, please heed their advice, do not ignore it. It is a good thing that they know that something is too much for them and the fact that you do not listen to what they are telling you is only setting you up for a less desirable outcome. Yes, there are things that cannot be eliminated from the autistic person’s life, in that manner it is best to find ways to make it more manageable or allow them to bring some sensory aids to help them manage the environment that is not made for them.
Sometimes this can look as if the autistic individual is ignoring the environment, however it is providing them the tools they need to cope with the environment that they must endure. Believe me, if I did not have some of those tools at my disposal, It would be very challenging to do the things that I have to do. While some may not understand the necessity of having them, it is not the necessity for them to know unless it is needed for some purpose of necessary communication. It is not an instance of sheer ignorance.
It sometimes is better to do these things and whatever else is necessary to ensure that the autistic population can endure what is needed in life to make it more manageable and prevent less desirable outcomes that they certainly do not wish to endure. It is understanding when they have had too much stimuli within their system and allowing them to take time for themselves.