Originally published October 7, 2017, on Jepsonfiles.com
Everyone with autism is not the same so I don’t know how my experience will compare with others. But I can tell you what it is like for me. When I was really young, I didn’t really know that I was different. I just knew that my parents were worried about me and started me working with all types of therapies and interventions. It was really tiring for me to have to work that hard all of the time, but it is probably why I am able to function at my current level and I can look back on it and appreciate what my parents sacrificed to help me progress.
I can remember how very clouded my brain felt all of the time with an occasional moment of clarity that was always short-lived. My brain was constantly racing, and I could always hear a lot of background noise that made it really hard to concentrate on what people were telling me to do. The only thing that helped me to be able to focus was to cover my ears and not look at anyone in the face. I know that is not socially acceptable but it’s how I got through life.
I also tried to control my immediate environment the best that I knew how by surrounding myself with favorite toys and objects. For me, that was Toy Story toys. That movie came out right as I was developing signs of autism, and it got stuck in my brain. And, even to this day, I have a hard time thinking about anything else. I really am quite sick of Buzz and Woody, but I can’t seem to let go entirely. Just throwing the toys away doesn’t help, so I don’t think that is the answer. My dad would do that sometimes, but it just made it worse for me. I think that as my autism gets less severe, my link to Toy Story also becomes less intense. I guess it is like a kind of lab test of sorts.
Anyway, as I have gotten older, my brain has definitely improved. I don’t have as much noise in my head, so I can focus for longer. I still deal with a lot of issues though. Anxiety is probably the biggest of those. I deal with that by being outside as much as possible. That really helps me, especially if I can run around or jump on the trampoline. If I don’t get that time in, then I’m in much worse shape.
The hardest thing for me now about having autism is that I can see all of the things that other people my age are doing, and I’m still pretty dependent on my parents for everything. That really sucks. I really want to have my own life, but I don’t know if that is in the cards for me. That is a hard reality to face. I love my family but wish I could be more independent from them. But each year, I’m improving so who knows?
That’s all for this post. I’ll write a separate post about what advice I would give to parents of autistic children. Feel free to share this with anyone you think it might help. I can’t imagine what it is like for the moms and dads. It must be just as excruciating. The end.
Autism won’t stop me. Just slows me down.