Anxiety Advice #1: Explain Yourself

I’ve probably talked about this before on here, but since today is my first real day at internship I think it’s a good topic to revisit. I have autism. I know I have autism, my parents know I have autism, my friends know I have autism and my health providers know I have autism. My new coworkers, obviously, weren’t aware I have autism. That’s perfectly logical, since autism isn’t visible on the outside and I never told them about it.

That brings me to the first lesson in a series of advice on how to deal with your anxiety: explain yourself! This will be a series that I’ll revisit from time to time with tips on how to deal with your anxiety. These are things I learned over the past decade and if it helps another person curb their anxiety or stress even a little bit then I’ll be very happy about it. I know how much anxiety sucks and how hard it can be, so anything I can do to help, I’ll do.

So what do I mean when I say to explain yourself? Tell people what you struggle with. To give a real world example; I get tired when I have long days. I get overwhelmed by the things that I need to do and this makes me anxious. If I ignore this, it’ll turn into panic attacks and ruin my day or week. If I instead just explain myself ahead of time, that’s a lot of pressure gone immediately. I told my coworker that if I don’t have any appointments, I don’t want to linger. Being at my internship costs a ton of energy and a lot of lesson prep and assignments can be done at home just as efficiently.

People with autism can do a lot more than we sometimes think. We’re very capable people, but we need to do the things we are good at (and enjoy, very important too). If we do that, and we explain to the people around us what our baggage is and that sometimes it gets a bit heavy and we need to put it down and take a rest, we’ll be unstoppable. Find your limits, challenge those limits, but know when to fold and ask for help and understanding. Most people are kind people. They’ll respect your boundaries if you clearly lay them out, and of course we should do the same for others. So scream from the rooftops about your needs and never feel ashamed about asking for help. We’re all in this together and the best things we can do is life one another up. Thanks for reading!

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