1 in 68: Living in the "Real World" With Autism
As I sit in my bed with my laptop, applying to jobs way later than I should be, I read over the latest post on Indeed and wonder a few things:
“Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life? How will I ever find a decent job if I can’t even wake myself up at a decent time in the morning? Damn, adulting is super shitty! How do all these other kids do it?”
It happens pretty much every time. I freak out, start to doubt what I can do and believe that I don’t deserve any sort of success. I tend to run through these thoughts over and over in my head, and everything speeds up faster and faster, as if my brain is a steam engine nearing the last stop on a railroad track. When someone asks me, “What’s wrong?” or “How can I help you?” I don’t even know what to say. When I try to open my mouth to say what I need, I can’t even get the words right. At times, I feel like an imposter, not ready to face the real world like the cool, confident women I aspire to be like. I know I have the same thoughts, feelings, ideas and values as a lot of people, but I have to express them in a different way for my family and friends to understand.
Other people I know may feel the same way once in awhile, especially when confronted with something as tough as a job search, bills or keeping an apartment tidy. But for me, and other people with Autism, it’s slightly different. People with Autism may (keyword: MAY) have issues with their communication skills. We may (again, MAY, not everyone with Autism is the same) process life in a different way and not understand certain things the first time we hear them. But don’t worry, we understand things, maybe just not the way you do.
Now, my advice to all of you… For those with Autism, these feelings of self doubt could be multiplied BIG TIME depending on the situation. Something may be overwhelming, such as a smell, sound or sight. You might not be able to express how you feel about this, but someone around you will understand. Just know that you can make it in this world and that someone out there wants you to succeed. Even if you don’t have many friends, your family will always be there for you; for support, guidance and love when you need it the most. Never forget that.
Those who don’t have Autism, don’t think there isn’t something here for you too, because there is! Next time you see someone who doesn’t act like everyone else, lend a hand and help them feel welcome. It’s difficult to understand something you don’t know much about, but it’s easy to support those who face adversity every day by making their lives just a little easier. Take the time to understand those who aren’t the same as you, and make sure you help someone in need no matter what; you never really know what’s happening in someone else’s life. People on the Autism Spectrum may look “normal” to others, but you wouldn’t even know what some of them go through each day. So, always be kind and remember, Autism can affect anyone.
Besides, normal isn’t real anyway.
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