Adulting, Independence

Adulting: Coping Signals

Being an autistic adult, you can have all coping skills at your disposal, but until your brain gets the signal to employ them, they are useless. The brain will continue in the negative state again and again until you deploy them to their benefit.

There are times in my life that my brain gets triggered by situations that produce flawed ruminating thoughts that at times are hard to escape. If I allow myself, these thoughts will continue to produce adrenaline and cortisol , thus producing excessive energy with nowhere for it to disperse to. It isn’t like it is the first time I have visited this vicious cycle. It sometimes happens quite often and at times it can be solved by just listening to the signal to deploy the many coping skills that I have learned.

Sometimes, I will only employ only one coping skill and think it will solve everything. But, if I am triggered by something really deep, then it can be hard for it to escape my brain. The cycle starts and if I do not end it by listening to the faint signal to deploy additional coping skills, then things can get worse with no way out. Those in my close circle can be on the receiving end of my misery and no matter how much they tell me to ‘snap’ out of it, it can sometimes be impossible to do.

The reality is that there are dynamics in my life that just are never going to change. It does not matter how much I plead for what my brain tells me, which is often to eliminate or escape the issue, it is just my brain being worked up and I need to deploy my coping skills. Sometimes, these issues are quite miniscule in nature and have very little effect on me, but sometimes because of traumatic or other reasons, they are intensified and if not coped with, they can get really out of control and play over and over in my brain, again and again. 

This can be further exasperated when other challenging results or thoughts are added to the day’s events and you can have too much energy within you. It is imperative to be able to deploy those coping techniques in order to manage my headspace and not allow the thoughts of the things that I cannot control to get out of control. There are many good things in my life and sometimes I catastrophize the thoughts I am given way out of control when in reality they have very minimal effect on my daily life.

It is always imperative to have a plan especially when there is alot of free time for oneself when negativity occupies or headspace It is important to have a list of coping skills at your disposal in a plan or a binder of where strategies or techniques can be applied when you need to do things to be mentally well or you may be struggling as a visual go-to. While I understand that not everyone may have the skillset to do this, it is imperative to do things in the way that works for you, Make the font in a way that you can enjoy it in the size and designs that work for you. Use graphics or other elements that make it understandable in times of distress. It is not helpful if you cannot use it!

It is also important to find the thing that make you happy and bring joy in your life so that you do not live in the vicious cycle of negativity and use the techniques that are taught to you. For nearly the past two decades that I have been in therapy, I chose to not do the hard work to best manage the more challenging things that caused discontentment in my life, yet I allowed myself to go back and back session after session never doing what I needed to do to make it right. Sometimes, you have to realize that you have had enough of living this cycle and if you can’t fix others, then you have to fix yourself or life is just going to be downright miserable.

For nearly the past two decades, I have lived every day in misery, feeling sorry for myself because my brain thinks flawed thoughts that I thought overpowered me and held me captive. However, I do have control if learn to manage to cope with the things that are unpleasant in my life and not allow  them to produce negativity in my brain.

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