Living with Asperger’s Syndrome or Autistic Spectrum Disorder can indeed be an ordeal but you should not lose hope. This blog can turn out to be the best guide for you to learn how you can survive despite your condition and function normally. All the headings of this blog are meant to help you build your life using the best tools and make the most.
Importance of Self-Acceptance for People Living with Asperger’s Syndrome
There are two types of people: polytropic and monotropic. The former represents people who have the ability to pay attention to a number of different things at a time like listening to someone while working, visualizing and responding. The latter represents people who are differently abled such as those suffering from autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.
They have the ability, contrary to what most of the people perceive them to be, but they can pay attention to only one thing at a time. When working, they cannot communicate with others, visualize or experience emotions.
However, because polytropic people function in a very different way in a society, they may not be able to understand monotropic people which usually make things difficult for the latter to lead a peaceful life.
What monotropic people need is laying a strong foundation for their life by being choosy about what they need to take in their life and what they have to forgo. It is a matter of self-acceptance which is the first step to building a firm foundation for their life.
Designing, planning and structuring our building
Just like when a new building is being constructed, strong scaffolding or a skeletal structure is required to support the entire construction process and keeps the building from collapsing. Every floor needs a strong scaffolding to support the whole structure from bottom to top.
In similar way, we also need to have strong scaffolding around us to help us feel safe and secure even when things are not going well in our life. As we grow older our needs and wants change accordingly and we all need support from each other to stay strong and feel connected.
You need to identify your own needs and wants in this relation because everyone is different. You need to make a list of all your needs; things that you can change about yourself. For instance, you cannot control the way you look or your eyesight, but, you can learn to enhance your communication skills. Once you identify your needs, you need to accept and work on areas that can be realistically changed.
Accepting yourself as who you are at the moment is the best way to develop yourself. You have to forget about who you were few years ago and what your dreams were as you were a different person with different needs and wants at that time. As you have grown older, your present requirements could be completely different.
Now, you have identified your needs, you need to make a list of your wants. They are different because they could be at the bottom of your to-do list. A want can be in the form of craving.
For instance, if you want to have an ice cream. Since it is low on priority, it is something that does not need your immediate attention and you can certainly do without having one. You need to prioritize all your needs and wants and work your way accordingly.
Your need can also be to have strong relations with people around you. Those whom you can spend your time and share your problems with. However, you have to identify those you can place your trust on and those you cannot. You may find it tempting to share everything with someone you really like to associate with, but you have to be careful what you can share and what you cannot.
In addition, you need to have a plan as you build your life layer by layer. Unfortunately, nothing is certain in anyone’s life and you must have alternative options to get you thru. If you already have a plan A, you need to have plan B too in case your plan A does not work out as you anticipated. You need to accept the fact that it is normal for things to go haywire and cause you a lot of distress, but you must be ready with alternatives.
Erecting the Building
As you create solid structure around you to make sure that you successfully erect a strong building, you need to identify the rooms you want to keep as places to insulate you from storms and other rough conditions along your way. You need to protect yourself against anything which may threaten your peaceful existence.
However, you need to accept that life is not all about good all the time and circumstances change for good or bad but nothing remains permanent. As long as there is blizzard outside your room, you need to keep it insulated until it passes away. During that time, you can further nurture your character and strengthen your resolve.
It is indeed painful to experience bad emotions but you need to accept them as part of life. Your relationship with other people can help you weather any storm, no matter how vicious it turns out to be.
It is important to accept yourself the way you are but you also need support of positive people around you to validate your belief. There may come times when someone may pass an unpleasant remark on you and you begin to self-doubt but if you keep healthy people around you, you can easily get over it.
The whole concept is that you need to keep all the roses in your room with you and throwaway all the smelly trash away. While that may not always be possible but if your room is properly insulated, negativity will not prevail for too long.
You can further insulate your room with making your dreams come true. You need to identify what you need to do to accomplish your dreams. You need to have a plan to make it till the end along with alternative plans if things do not turn out as anticipated. When you achieve something valuable in life, it also boosts your morale and makes your room even more comfortable.
Covering the walls
Polytropic individuals have a different way of carrying themselves as most of their values are tied to superficial ways of expressing themselves in social circles. They have different dress codes for different events as physical appearance means a lot to them as it reveals how sincere or trustworthy they are. As a result, they have to try very hard to pretend what they are not to win applauds of others around them.
Contrarily, people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome have a more natural appeal to them as they lack the ability to understand varying social cues. They do not hide behind an artificial wall and express their emotions as they experience them because unlike neurotypical people driven by social admiration and acceptance, these people do not perceive social interaction as their top priority.
Plumbing and electricity
Just like you need electricity and plumbing to get your building completely functional for yourself as well as others outside once it has been erected, you need to have energy sources for you to become accessible to other people outside.
It is important to have energy sources as they help you restore your sanity when you are drained or exhausted from social events or even your work. If you suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome, you consciously need to create energy sources for yourself to be able to feel connected and energized.
You have to introspect thoroughly and identify all those activities that help you feel good about yourself. If you have some friends you love to spend time with, you need to keep them for validation.
If you enjoy having certain hobbies, you must make time for them. You can hang out with your best friends and avoid socializing with toxic people as they can pollute your mind, body and soul.
Make sure that you eat balanced diet and incorporate regular exercise into your routine. If you do not like to go outside to exercise, you can stay indoors and find an alternative like climbing stairs. Take good care of yourself and remember that you become what you think all day long.
Stay positive and use positive self-affirmations to change your thoughts. You may frequently suffer from self-defeating or negative thoughts but changing the way you think can have a big impact on your life. Rely on other helpful sources to give you positive energy like support, education, counseling and help from someone at your home.
Past influences upon how we build our lives
The way you have shaped up as an adult, has a lot to do with your past influences. The kind of environment you grew up in, your relationship with your teachers, friends, relatives and parents.
If you are struggling with connecting the dots in terms of what past influences shaped your present behavior, you can make a list of all the activities you loved to do along with the kind of people you enjoyed accompanying.
Once you have a list, it can become easier for you to relate to your past and you can use them to figure out some of the interests and skills that can help you build your life. When you know what kind interests still keep you going, you can use them to open more doors of opportunity for you and even close the ones that are wasting your time.
You can learn to figure out what motivates you to build your life and strengthen your belief systems, not just about yourself but also others around you. As you become more self-aware, you can closely analyze and devise plans that help you understand yourself as well as others in a better way.
My building in relationship to my neighbors
People living with Asperger’s Syndrome do not like sudden occurrence of events unfolding in front of them as they are not capable of coping with them. They like things to be in an orderly and organized way. They need to have a schedule of things they need to be doing every week, month or year.
If certain things unexpectedly strike their usual routine, they easily get overwhelmed. However, when anything like that happens, they need to accept it as part of life. It is also supposed to be fine for them if other people, like their friends, need them to help them make successful plans.
Self-acceptance is the best way for them to thrive in life but they also need to accept neurotypical people who are also different. Teaming up with them can be highly valuable to share common interests and erect a strong building of a solid partnership.
If plans do not go as anticipated, it is fine because it allows them to introspect. It also gives an opportunity to learn what caused the plan to fail and make sincere efforts to devise an entirely new one.
Buildings in need of maintenance and repair
We all need time to recuperate and maintain ourselves to be able to function properly. The same goes for people who have Asperger’s Syndrome. In fact, they need a bit of extra care in nearly every matter of their life.
Since they are not good at handling abrupt changes life may inevitably force them to cope with, they need to have every important aspect of their life in a proper order. If they want to decide the type of clothes they should be wearing throughout the week, they must have them properly arranged according to the event they are likely to attend.
For usual weekdays, they may need to have formal clothes prepared for them so that they do not have to face any change when going to their workplace. For weekends, they have to have casual clothes prepared for them.
They are also very slow and need more time to complete things than neurotypical people. If someone needs half an hour to complete a particular work, they need an hour to complete the same job. Thus, they must not be rushed or hurried into meeting a deadline as this can easily confuse and irritate them.
People living with Asperger’s Syndrome are also highly susceptible to mood swings and they can easily feel depressed in no time. They need to consume healthy diet regularly if they have to keep their temper under control.
It is important for them to consume more vegetables and fruits and instead of typical binge-eating; they need to divide their meals into 6 small portions for the entire day. They may not have a long sleep-span like neurotypical individuals, who require 7 to 8 hours of sleep on average, but they can sleep for 4 hours at night and spend the rest of their time using computer. They also must avoid caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee after 5:00 PM as well as limit their alcohol intake.
They need to have spaces in their buildings where they can regularly go for the nourishment of their souls. All these aspects are vital for people suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome for their own repair and maintenance to be able to function to the best of their ability.
Importance of Revisiting Plans for People Living with Asperger’s Syndrome
People living with Asperger’s syndrome have to be very precise in almost every activity they want to commit to. They have to take very good care of themselves to make sure that their time and energy are not wasted. This is the reason why they always need to plan most of their activities in advance.
They are prone to high-level anxiety and stress if things do not go as planned. They always need to revisit their plans to learn what works best for them and even have alternatives as well so that they do not get stuck at one place.
They do not like to be interrupted because they find it hard to remember things. If they come across someone who tries to stretch the conversation beyond usual greetings, they need to politely put an end to it because they get easily overwhelmed.
They need to keep a written record of their past choices as it helps them learn what works for them and what does not. It is very important for them to keep practicing the strategies they learn so that they remain fresh in their minds and strengthen their building.
Being comfortable living with Asperger’s Syndrome
Accepting as they are is the best way for people living with Asperger’s syndrome to prevail in life peacefully as self-acceptance is an indication that one is also accepting towards others regardless of their disposition.
It is not that they should burry their heads in the sand and deluding themselves of their shortcomings, they need to realize that they too have flaws that they do not admire about themselves but it is completely fine as nobody is and can never be perfect.
Just like neurotypical persons, people with Asperger’s syndrome also need to play safe in terms of taking precautionary measures before a certain event unfolds. While making efforts to expand their whereabouts, they need to rely on written records of certain experiences for safety.
If things do not go as planned, it is also ok because they can seek help from their friends to pull them out. It is also possible to completely retreat from this kind of annoying situation and get back to their comfort zone.
Talking to strangers can be a real ordeal for people living with Asperger’s syndrome and to avoid appearing odd when starting a conversation with a neurotypical individual, they have to go through the following stages:
- Introducing themselves to the stranger such as: employment, name, where they live and other details.
- Inviting the stranger in a polite way to introduce himself.
- If conversation becomes too much to absorb, they can simply request to the stranger to either talk now or later.
Just like everyone else has internal seasons and they change with external conditions, people with this syndrome also have their own seasons but they need to be prepared to face them in advance to avoid anxiety.
In addition, working in a corporation is not suitable for them because they struggle keeping up with others, especially if they have to work with a team. The ideal scenario for them is to be their own boss and find work which permits self-employment.
However, they need a strong partner or trustworthy people around them to take care of their financial dealings. They cannot drive and need to be driven to places they need to go to. They can also use public transport but arrangements have to be made in advance to take them where they want to go.