Things I need when I am struggling
Sorry it’s been a while since I put out a new post. I have just started my final year at university and had my birthday, so I’ve been very busy getting myself used to being back at uni.
A few weeks ago, I read another blog post about the things this person needed when they were having a bad day. I read through this and a lot of what was written resonated with me. So, I thought I would do a similar one about my needs.
Every autistic person will have different needs according to their sensory and emotional profile. They may be sensory-seeking (hypersensitive) or sensory-avoidant (hyposensitive) and will regulate themselves in the way they feel most natural to them, this is mainly through stimming. By having people who understand what your needs are, you will feel much more supported and comfortable knowing that someone will look out for you and get you out of that situation or lessen the feelings to avoid a meltdown.
These are mine:
· Headphones: I have noise cancelling headphones that I wear every day. I take them everywhere with me. I use them in crowded and noisy places because noise can overwhelm me. If I have my headphones on in an indoor place, it usually means I’m struggling with the noise.
An incident occurred while I was away on holiday a few weeks ago. I was with my family, and we went into the clubhouse to play bingo as we do every year. This time, it was so noisy and busier than we have experienced it before. It was just too much sensory input all at once that I immediately began to struggle and started panicking. The most reassuring thing for me was that my aunty was there, she knows about my autism and what I struggle with and instantly saw the change in me, she came up to me and asked if I wanted to go outside to calm down which I did, after I calmed down I was then able to join in with the rest of the evening. I am so grateful that she was there with me looking out for me and I really appreciated that.
· Don’t ask me how I am feeling: I am alexithymic. I already can’t understand or identify how I’m feeling so I don’t need any more questions asking me that because all it does is frustrate me and overwhelm me because I can’t give you an answer.
· Use short logical questions: If I am overwhelmed, I struggle to process information because there is too much of it. But by using short logical sentences I can focus on that because it is straight forward for me to think about.
· Allow me processing time: For the same reason above. Information overload makes me get all flustered and panicky because I can’t process multiple things at once. But by giving me a few minutes to process what you have said it will calm me down.
· Reassurance: Having anxiety is tough at times, I will overthink everything and internalise everything too. So, chances are everything will be a bit wobbly in my head and I just need something to settle it.
By doing these things, they help me calm down, especially when I’m in an uncomfortable or stressful environment. Sometimes we have to be advocates for our own needs and have to say these to other people if we are on our own or have someone who supports us advocate on our behalf. Being autistic in a society that is not adapting to neurodivergent people is stressful and we struggle far more than people may notice, our anxiety levels are automatically higher because we have to deal with noise, light, and all the sensory input and that is a lot to take on a daily basis. By being able to understand what a person needs when they are struggling will help them feel supported and not so alone in a world that can be a lonely place for an autistic or neurodivergent person.