Anxiety is a big part of my life, it is part of everyone’s life at some stage, but for children and adults with ASD it can be very intense and interfere with daily living.
I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder when I was younger and put on medication but this never really worked great for me although it has worked very well for lots of other people. If you heard about what I worry about on a day to basis you would probably laugh, but the anxiety can keep me awake at night and stop me from doing things I want to do and targets I want to achieve
A common form of anxiety found in people with autism would be social anxiety. Some people may wonder why am I writing about social anxiety when they see me out and about socialising, but I must force myself out. Believe me there are many nights I can think of nothing better than sitting in and not seeing people, but I know if I don’t force myself to go out I will never end up living a life to the full and never make friends. It might be the easy thing at the time to just stay in but in the long term this just makes it a lot worse.
Anxiety is a strange one it can hit at any time without warning. It often hits me when I least expect it and in the worst places. One moment I can be happy and the next start crying, feeling as if I don’t know what is wrong with me. With anxiety, I have days where I don’t want to leave my bed or my house. I often become anxious when out in a social situation and then after worry if I said the wrong thing and what will people think about me.
I am sometimes asked why I turn up early for events, the reason I go out so early (as others with autism do) is so that I can get settled into the environment and start to relax prior to the place getting busy. I generally go by a thing called Lombardi time (Vince Lombardi) which is if you are not 15 minutes early you are late, so if I have an appointment at 3 o’clock unless I am there by 2.45 I am late.
When I get anxious it affects me physically, I start to sweat, I feel sick, it affects my appetite, I can either have diarrhoea or constipation and I feel very drained. Emotionally I feel overwhelmed, my thoughts and feelings are all over the place and I don’t want to communicate. My anxiety has led me to suffer from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) I do things such as wash my water bottles (that I take to bed) 3 times before I fill them up, checking the front door is locked several times before I go to bed, even getting out of bed to check again this and other many other things that sound mad!
Some tips that can help with Anxiety:
Medication from GP
Get a Dog
A lovely line I will leave you with is: ‘’You will worry less about what people think of you when you realise how seldom they do’’