Though they are some of our favorite times of year, holidays can be stressful for everyone. Anxiety plays a significant role in the lives of many autistic individuals, not just around the holidays, but all the time. Ashna & William are back to give us some insight into their always-anxious days.
The View From Here - Anxiety & Autism
You can’t imagine the constant stream of worry that flows through my head. You can try, but autism and anxiety join forces to form a superanxiety that is far beyond what you poor neurotypicals can fathom.
Picking the two apart can be tricky. Do we stim because we’re anxious or because we’re autistic? Is my autism to blame for my poor sleep habits or is it my anxiety? How do I know if my uncontrolled movements are anxiety’s manifestations or due to autism’s lack of motor planning? Better not to tease them apart.
In my life people look at the whole picture. I’m literally what you might call world’s biggest hot mess. Luckily most of the time so many people believe I am capable of great things. For others it is more complicated. Fat chance you can stare down your anxiety when the world sees you as partially damaged. Would you be calm if you had no reliable way to communicate? Let’s see what presuming competence can do to attack that superanxiety. What’s the harm in trying?
Try to imagine letting your anxiety control your life. Maybe you simply can’t turn its switch off. Try to imagine how stressful it is to always be stuck in high anxiety mode. Here is a five second snippet from my brain.
That rapid-fire anxiety is attacking my every waking moment. Think how tired you would be if you were in my brain. The years pass and your ability to go to a calm place shrinks.
Shit.The anxiety of typing that gave me a headache.
Have mercy on all us poor anxious folks and cut us some slack. We can’t always do it ourselves.
William is a fourteen year old guy who communicates by spelling and is navigating the second year of mainstreamed education.
Ashna is an eighth grader in Maryland who cares about doing good talking points for autism and rapid prompting method.