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.
I found that speaking up for yourself is difficult and that saying “no” is not a popular response. Sometimes others encourage me to do something that I don’t feel comfortable doing. Sometimes when I say “yes”, there is a high price I pay for being so agreeable. I used to say “yes” even when it was a terrible fit, and afterwards I would fall apart. I would get so frustrated that I would feel like banging my head against the wall. Not a good idea as that just hurts your head and doesn’t get you what you want.
During the past year I have had to limit my time spent with family, especially siblings, as I realized that my past few interactions were not good for my mental health. I could only stay an hour or two as multiple conversations, familial “chaos”, teasing, criticism, and kids everywhere was overwhelming. I try my best, get so exhausted, and have a “meltdown.” I get into arguments with siblings even though I hate negative interactions and I try to keep things positive. I have decided that if I want to “boycott” these family get togethers, that is okay. It is better for my mental equilibrium, and they know I care about them.
If you say “yes” to something, make sure you are doing it for yourself. I write blogs since I enjoy expressing myself. Gratitude is elusive and often not expressed in the way you want, so say “yes” to the things you enjoy and to the requests that may “stretch your comfort zone” but that you feel won’t be detrimental to your well-being. Sadly, most people may not understand how difficult it is for you. Try to do things for people who care about you, and that you care about, as they are more likely to appreciate what you do. Helping someone you like and who is grateful makes a big difference for me. I will do a lot for someone I care about and feel good about it.
I think in the future I will be more careful about what roles I take on and what requests I choose to say “yes” to. To make sure things are a good fit for me, I like to ask a trusted family or friend for their insight and support in making the best decision for me. Ultimately, taking care of yourself should be your #1 priority, and nobody else can do it for you!