Living with Asperger’s syndrome has turned out to be a literal roller coaster in more than one sense. For starters, you don’t always know how to deal with intense feelings, with different situations that are out of your routine, and, this is the best part, you have to discover the best way to process it all in a healthy way.
With the level of anxiety and depression that often accompanies Asperger’s, it feels like the syndrome creates mental health problems, although the case is unique for everyone depending on personal situations and life.
Asperger’s causes us to feel uncomfortable in an unfamiliar environment, around unfamiliar people, and so the best choice would seem to be just to avoid such situations, but that’s exactly what an Aspie should not do.
Even with this medical condition, we are completely able to live a normal life, and trying to do so is the best way.
I recently came to discover that my phone is one of my best friends in those uncomfortable moments.
If my alarms start to sound, if there’s something weird around me, I take my cell phone and try to do anything with it. See old photos, browse my music, re-read text messages, or even just read the name of my apps.
It sounds strange, but that gives me a sense of confidence. As an introvert, I spend a lot of time on my own and with things I like to do, which then become familiar to me.
Among those things is my phone, and to see it, just for a minute or two, disconnects me from the real world; it gives a break long enough to cope with it when I have to return.
However, there are hard times when your mind becomes your worst enemy and tries to take control on yourself. People say we have to speak, to share, but besides the stigma of already being in the autism spectrum, to deal with the one for mental health is unthinkable for us. We already prefer to keep our own business out the public eye, then what do we have to do?
Again, technology saves us in a time of need. Go right to any social media that you like, or any app you have to chat with your friends. It will be easier to express what you are feeling by writing that by speaking. I know the feeling and I promise that it will get better in no time, just try to breathe as deep as possible and wait for it all to come out.
If there’s no chance you can use any computer, cell phone, watch the TV, go to the movies, or whatever, lock yourself somewhere no one can disturb you, see you, or even know you’re there. Touch something, think only about that one thing in your hand/s, and repeat to yourself in a whisper that you are “here” and “now.”
Mind and body are linked, mens sana in corpore sano, and repetition can really help you turn your attention into the real world and not that twisted, desolated version your brain is trying to create.
Finally, and most importantly, depending on your likes, what you do, what you’ve done and your background, there are many activities you can use to fight anxiety. Do you like to read? Grab the thickest of books you have around. Music? Listen to your favorite song over and over, sing in a low voice if you prefer. Are a fan of videogames? A mini binge never killed anyone.
It does not matter if people think you’re strange if you’re becoming weird, or if you lose your mind from time to time. Friends won’t judge you, family will support you, and those who don’t understand and criticize, why should we care about them?
Alan D.D. is a writer, journalist and blogger from Venezuela. After years thinking he was just introvert and shy, he discovered he had Asperger’s syndrome while doing what he loves the most: reading. Since then, he writes about the topic whenever he can, and when not immersed in a book of his or from his favorite authors, can be found most likely at the movies or playing Heroes of the Storm.
This article was featured in Issue 71 – Navigating A New Year