Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.
Feeling the wind pushing against me reminded me that I was really high up and the ground was really far down below me. I already knew that I was afraid of heights. How did I get here? Why was I challenging my fear of heights? Making an effort to engage in healthy risks was the reason I found myself twelve stories up on the viewing platform of a lighthouse with my friends. I thought since I was dressed appropriately for climbing the lighthouse, it would be a pretty safe risk. Especially since I knew there was a high railing so I could enjoy the view yet be safe. Also, being with my friends allowed me to feel more comfortable doing something I otherwise wouldn’t do on my own.
The experience of challenging my fear of heights got me thinking about what makes something a heathy risk. I believe that heathy risks help me grow as a person and that they are an important part of life. Having lots of experience and self knowledge, along with trusting myself helps me choose smarter risks. I have the freedom to take risks and time to weigh most of the potential consequences of those risks. I try to be realistic about my abilities, especially what I can and what I can not do. I have the ability to do a lot on my own however I also have long term friends and family who can help when needed. For example, one may need help when buying a car, vetting potential dates, and planning big trips.
Even with help, I don’t always like the consequences of my choices even when I make the best decision for me. I have found situations where there are no good options and you just have to try your best. I learned to make heathy risks or choices by starting small where the consequences aren’t that big, and then I moved on to more important decisions. Taking risks is hard for me and I don’t usually enjoy it, however it does get easier with practice.
Remember how I told you about being twelve stories high looking down, wondering if the view was worth dealing with my fear of heights? I’m still afraid of heights but the view was worth it. Turns out going down the steps was harder than going up and took much longer for me. I knew I was afraid of heights but hadn’t counted on going down the stairs to be so unnerving. The good news is I had my friends there to help me. I made it to the ground and looked at my friends and said, “That was spectacular but I’m probably not gonna be doing that for a while.” (By the way, I didn’t know it was 12 stories when I was up there; I waited until I was on the ground to ask how high it was!)
As I touched on during this blog, healthy risk is something that every person has to decide for themselves. It takes courage and strength to embrace the fact that you have choices that you have to make every day. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun but I wouldn’t have it any other way.