Recently in browsing my social media accounts, I came across an autism mom blogger that shared a graphic of a quote that states that autism doesn’t come with a manual, rather it come with a parent who never gives up, While I may haven’t always seen eye to eye with what my parents thought I should have done, they have always sought out my best interests while making sure I was remaining safe.
This week, I have shared a few Tik Tok’s about being diagnosed in the 1990s and not knowing some autism behaviors that are common today. We just did them, we didn’t know the jargon that is used for them today. One must also understand that given one’s space it needs to be their safe space and they are free to express themselves in the way they wish.
Making a lifestyle change is a big journey. Being in for over three months and 36 or so pounds makes it seem so easy when it is absolutely not. People think as you get into it for this length of time it gets easier. While sometimes it does, there are a lot of environmental factors along with the outlook that you have that can make or break the streak that one is on at any given moment.
To say that COVID has affected the mental health of those around the world would be an understatement. Even for those individuals including autistics that have had to experience a multitude of changes over the past fifteen months has been a challenge to say the least. I am very grateful that I have had not any ill effects of the virus or was not furloughed from my employment as a result of the pandemic. COVID added to an already traumatic experience that I was experiencing that ultimately caused me to be on the lookout for what would be my current home.
As we know in the autism community, there’s that cliff when school years ends for someone. I have seen numerous youths be proud to make it to this point when they were given lesser expectations. So, what happens? We certainly know that those that care for them, particularly family members may or may not want to continue to provide care or be unaware of a sea that is unchartered for many to be the one that has to take the driver’s seat in providing their daily entertainment. For almost two decades, I personally relied on my mother to do this. She cares for me very much and I am very appreciated for her efforts. However, for a majority of my life, they have negative baggage that when she does something that is intended to help me, it only hurts her, and she kept coming back for more. While I am not proud of this in the past decade it has been reduced down to only verbal abuse, nonetheless it still isn’t right as both my parents are both in their retirement years and shouldn’t have to be constantly worrying about if I am safe or not, although I feel that will always be their instinct, as is any parent who spends their life dedicated to raising an autistic child.
Being independent for almost three years has taught me some life lessons in being independent. I have done some things in that time I haven’t been proud of and there’s things I’ve not succeeded at. However, it is a learning curve and within time it gets better. There’s this great thing called boundaries that you have to develop that can be a challenge. Once you learn the power of it and knowing when to stand your ground, it is a wonderful thing.
For many autistics, the ability to make one’s decisions can be a difficult task for an autistic to perform. For the younger crowd, one that seems to lack the ability or show the interest of one doing this will result in the parent making these choices for them, which can result in friction between the autistic and their parents. An autistic should have the autonomy to be the person they so choose to be without judgement from their parents and supporters, yet have the support they need to thrive in their world.
While some things because of my autism or mental health challenges are at times challenging, sometimes I need to experience them and not play the “card” as a crutch to get out of something. This can be difficult because when thinking independently, it can be hard to make these decisions.
While in the modern era, we advance to the need for inclusion everywhere we look such as sports, activities, the classroom and so forth, it is also important to teach autistics and others with special needs that life just isn’t fair and sometimes we all can’t be winners.
Over the past few months, I have been experiencing overmagnification of fears. A trait of autistics that we always may do something wrong and live in a constant state of fear and anxiety. This prevents us from being our true selves and always wondering if we are going to get in trouble for something that we will do something wrong.