WARNING: Part of this post may trigger anxiety or distress.
For me, having autism/Asperger syndrome has its positive points and negative points. While its positives include giving me the ability to be creative, retain information and generally being more understanding of others; it also has its downsides such as making me socially anxious at times, giving me sensory overload and misinterpreting how things are communicated. Although I try my best to remain positive, I have dealt with traumatic events in my life such as the passing of my grandmother when I was 13 and a few of my great uncles over the past decade as well as general worries such as financial concerns; mental health issues including two hypomanic episodes and bi-polar affective disorder (my symptoms of these have since faded away); and stress from school, college and university work as well as my Avon representative job that I resigned from last year after having worked as one just shy of five years.
Before I discuss more negativities and how I have dealt with and still deal with them, I would like to give a big thank you to Brogan Tate and Cara Wood from PollyPocketBeauty for inspiring me to write this by writing their own blog posts about positivity (the links to these are at the end of this post) although I have added my own personal touch to this post.
For the majority of 2016 I isolated myself from my housemates, particularly the only other female who lived with me at the time because I found her behaviour unpredictable at times (she’s also an ‘Aspergirl’), thus causing concern for my house support staff. In October last year she moved to a studio flat next door to my combined residential care/supported living house and my former care home. This made me anxious and guilty for not spending enough time with her (my MA at university also restricted me from spending time with her as well as other housemates and support staff). Two days after this was announced I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw a link to Brogan’s blog post about how she lifts her mood when she feels down. I read the post and I found it very helpful so I replied to Brogan’s Tweet with the link saying how it helped me deal with my worries and anxieties. Brogan replied saying she was glad it helped me and she encouraged me to “keep smiling!” I soon began to re-kindle my friendship with my friend by visiting her studio flat as well as her current flat; watching DVDs and YouTube; and going out for hot drinks.
Another home-related anxiety I had was the behaviour of one of my male housemates who is also on the spectrum. From the end of August to the beginning of October he exhibited behaviours such as walking around the car park in circles, swearing and screaming in the middle of the night and (TRIGGER WARNING STARTS HERE) threatening suicide when another housemate seemed to ‘talk down’ to him (END OF TRIGGER WARNING). The housemate in question eventually acquired some gerbils and I believe that they have made him happier and calmer, thus giving me a peace of mind.
On a more positive note I have thought up some ways to deal with my negative feelings such as listening to music through headphones (this helps block out unwanted noise), watching a favourite film, TV show or YouTube channel (including those by Brogan and Cara), telling myself to move on from negative situations that don’t work out or cannot be resolved; writing my thoughts down; and thinking of more positive things to come in my life such as moving to my own flat, which I’m confident will be better for my wellbeing as opposed to sharing my part of the house with four other people.
Once I played on a Facebook ‘mini-quiz’ that made me determine my positive life quote. The quote is as follows:
“If you can let go you found the gate to happiness.”
This quote is especially true in relation to moving on from negative situations that can’t be changed.
Overall while I have witnessed traumatic events and faced more general worries and anxieties over time, I have learnt how to deal with the latter two issues more positively.