So I wasn’t sure that I had any other idea to contribute in the #TakeTheMaskOff campaign as it wrapped up, until today…
I’ve had a tough week. I’ve been some kind of under the weather for the past two or three weeks, but it’s been really bad this week. So, I went to see my friendly neighborhood medical provider today. I found myself cracking jokes to her, to her nurse, and maybe even to the lady working the front desk. First of all, not my style normally. So guarantee my inhibitions are a bit lowered due to not sleeping well because of the the pain and miserableness I’ve been in all week. Why? Because I normally don’t just start cracking jokes to anyone. But what I got to thinking about was how much humor was helping me cope with said feelings of miserableness.
When it comes to coping for a lot of autistic people, the problem is that most people who are not autistic just don’t understand the mental fortitude it takes to deal with things sometimes. Their answer is usually some variation on the same thing:
If you say this to an autistic person, I warn you right now, be prepared for a poor reaction in return. To “just deal with it” requires so much preparation that we obviously don’t have. You say “deal with it” is the same effect as me telling you that you have to give a 20-minute speech to give five minutes from now on the “Effect of Socio-Economic Statuses Among Crippling Socialistic Desires In Marfa, Texas”! (Sorry, Marfa. You were random here.)
Thank you, Pintrest, and whatever elementary school teacher originally drew this up. This may work for little kids, but it can also hold true for adults. This coping skills wheel is all about self-care.
Self-care is important as an autistic person. You need that time to recharge and gather yourself. Even more so, if you are a newly diagnosed adult, you need time to figure out what being autistic means to you and for you. This will help you start to understand yourself better.
I’m not going to really dip in to the kinds of self-care because those will be different for everyone. Self-care can’t be someone else’s routine. It needs to be your own.
In spite of my own dropping off in contributing to the #TakeTheMaskOff campaign, there has been lots of autistic people contributing their voices for the past several weeks. Please, go on social media, look for this hashtag, and read what autistic people have to say.
Also published on Medium.