With autism you have to constantly go through battles, your entire life. Often a fight in your mind over control on a bad day, or simply to gain better control of your surroundings.
However, please know if you are autistic, every battle you go through is a victory, I truly mean that.
I really struggle against losing control, but not just of my mind, my ability to speak or to the point of meltdowns, but the loss of control over the balance I try and create in my life. However the toughest one to deal with, literally and mentally, is the loss of control of my hands.
As soon as I begin to get anxious, they tense up and I don’t even notice at first. I often look down when stressed to see my hand already in a fist. I have access to my thumb and finger next to it but not much more. I have to adapt, I literally can’t use my other fingers at all, until I settle.
I remember my wife once saying to wave to the driver that let us cross. Unfortunately, it was not the best day for me so my hand was fully clenched. One in a fist and the other gripping my walking stick very tightly. So, I declined and kept walking. She asked me afterwards why I didn’t wave, that could be considered rude. I showed her my hand and said I’m pretty sure waving with a closed fist would have looked a lot ruder. It’s these little things I have to think about if I get stressed, what can I or can’t do.
The problem is you need to prepare for this, but social spaces can be very unpredictable. I tend to only go to the local shop, where the staff are aware I’m autistic. They are really nice and supportive; I still struggle but they do make it easier. Sometimes if my hand is clenched getting things of a shelf can be tough and I do need help.
So yes, we have our battles, often too many to be fair, but we do get through. There have been times I wasn’t even sure it would ever end, feeling like my mind was going to torment me for the rest of my life. But it didn’t, eventually things changed. A good day finally came along and things slowly felt better. The battle was over, the worst thing is letting it stop you fighting for the life you want. That’s when you’ve lost the war, so please keep fighting, and appreciate the victories when they come.
Put it this way, life is like a biscuit, it can be broken, can seem so counter to the way it was pictured. But it can still be good, it can be enjoyed and, I agree, it can be really hard sometimes. But the truth is it won’t be forever, eventually it will soften.
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All the best
Words – Ross A Fraser
Imagery – Ross A Fraser
Graphic Design App – Canva