April is generally considered ‘Autism Awareness’ month. I prefer Autism Acceptance. I do not support Autism Speaks. I do not light it up blue. I am not a puzzle piece.
I thought for my first Monday Blog in April. I’d discuss an aspect of my life as an autistic adult.
The above gif is an accurate representation of how I feel about my brain daily.
I’ve wanted to write this blog post for over a year but struggled to put my thoughts into coherent words. Something I deal with quite frequently as an autistic. An experience this week made me want to make an attempt yet again–so please forgive any rambling. I’m trying.
I am autistic.
I live in a world that isn’t designed for the neurally divergent.
Let’s be honest, the world was made for the neurally and physically abled person.
The older I get, the harder it becomes to mask my way through life. (If you’d like to learn more about autistic masking, Neurodivergent Rebel has a fantastic video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZB38phQNzw)
And with masking becoming harder, it can be a battle to do specific tasks. All the author things I have to do with promo, talking to people, blogging, so many things. It can be overwhelming and some days impossible. I have days where I sit at my desk and stare at my to-do list for an hour without actually accomplishing a single item.
I get comfortable with people and routines, both of which help me climb these hurdlers within myself.
My life has been blessed with a core group of friends who go out of their way to help me…or at least not make my life more difficult.
The trouble is that I struggle with something that feels a bit like imposter syndrome. I know I need help. I don’t ask for it, but when I receive it.
I suddenly feel like I shouldn’t take the help. Like, I not only do I not need help. I don’t deserve it.
This past week offered a prime example.
My point of contact with my publisher is generally one of two people. As my publisher grows, more people are added to the mix. It causes me a lot of anxiety.
My beloved publisher graciously makes accommodations for me, so that I’m able to cope.
The downside of this brilliant kindness is that a negative internal conversation happens. I question myself. I don’t really need this help, do I? I can manage. I’ll be fine. I’m making their lives more difficult.
It’s toxic self-doubt.
I don’t know if many of my fellow autistics struggle with this. I’m sure some must.
I do need help at times. I can manage, sometimes, but at what cost to my mental health and stress levels?
One of my goals this year was to be kinder to myself.
I don’t have to be extraordinary or superhuman to validate my existence as an autistic and person.
(This is one of my greatest issues with inspiration porn featuring extraordinary autistics with amazing gifts. It inspires non-autistics, but frequently leaves other autistics feeling as though they will never be enough just as they are.)
I’m trying to do better.
How do you handle accepting help when you need it?