Healthy Lifestyle, Wellness Wedbesday

Wellness Wednesday: Having the Reason To Live

Note: The topic of suicide is mentioned in this blog post. If you feel you are in need of crisis support reach out to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 (In the US) or visit my Mental Health Crisis Resoueces on the website.

May is Mental Health Month. It is one of the greatest comorbidities that an autistic individual can experience. Often, we feel in pain mentally and our brain often thinks quickly and at times thinks that dying by suicide is the answer. It can be hard to see at times that there is a reason to live.

There are times my brain spirals to a point where I think that there is no way out of the misery that I am and at times I will vocalize to those in my close circle that I want to end my life. I may say it, but I have NEVER acted out on it. Some say I do it to get attention and to some point that may be true, but in reality if I would just be honest with myself without all the dramatics, then I feel I could be heard for what I am truly feeling.

The importance I find in having a reason to live is that there are so many people that look up to me, value me and respect me for what I have been through and what I do that I know they would be devastated if something in that manner would happen. I know the world would be less happy without me in it and that there are reasons for me to continue my journey, even in that very moment that I may not think that is the case. As someone on a autistic community Facebook group posts daily, “Life is Worth Living.”

I will be the first to admit that some days are harder than others and that I just want to escape the world that I must endure. There are things in life that are tougher for me than others, but in reality I am tougher than I think. In the grand scheme of things I need to realize that I am important, valued, kind, loved and I matter to so many. Just  because those aforementioned things are something that is not completely able to be seen by the autistic person and they are also harder to recognize as well, this makes it more of a struggle to see that it is better to keep living, even if they think there isn’t.

It takes alot for an autistic person to step up and reach out for support when they need it in trying times. Sometimes family may not be seen as the best solution for them because the family may show them some tough love or not have the dynamic that is needed for them the autistic individual to regroup. However, as feelings are not always visible to the autistic person, affirmation by a family member should always be given to them as much as they can as it is not always something that may be understood by an autistic person. 

Everyone has moments when they are not their best and as such it does not bring the best in them. It is important to have the ability to learn how to cope properly when things get stressful or too much so that oneself can de-escalate from the stressful times in their lives. In all my life, I have never seen Mental Health brought to the forefront as much as  it has been these days.There have been more resources and tools as their ever has been and even more, there is additional prevalence of autism, including the need to not only be aware of it, but accept autistic individuals for who they are and that there is a need to take action to make the world a better place for us to live in even as there the world is not always made to meet our needs.

As such the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has created a section for individuals with neurodivergence as there is a greater need in this area of life. Included are a list of newly created warning signs for autistic people when they are in crisis.

These warning signs are contingent upon a marked increase or change of specific experiences or behaviors that are different than usual for that individual. Often more than one warning sign would be present in an autistic individual at imminent risk of suicidal behavior.

1. Sudden or increased withdrawal 

2. No words to communicate acute distress 

3. Current traumatic event, reported by self or others 

4. Marked increase in rate and/or severity of self harm 

5. Worsening in levels of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression 

6. A new focus on suicidal talk, ideation, or death-related topics that are not a special interest 

7. Perseverative suicidal thoughts and ruminations 

8. Seeking means or making plans for suicide or suicidal rehearsal

9. Statements about no reason for living or no sense of purpose in life 

10. Hopelessness 

People experiencing a mental health crisis are encouraged to visit  to access support services

This blog post is not meant to scare anyone, but is intended to explain that mental health and suicide are at an elevated risk in the autistic community and taking care of an autistic person’s mental wellness is an essential element to their daily living.

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