I wanted to write on change since seeing some things online that disturbed me about the Autism population and how many view change when it comes to their diagnosis and how the tools out there to help one succeed are perceived.
Change in ones life is hard to deal with for everyone. However change to someone on the spectrum can feel like the world as they know it is coming to an end. Change can come in small forms, like a driving route to a movie theater (yes I did have a meltdown because we took a different route to the theater), or as big as moving away to college.
I have issues when it comes to change, the biggest one was after I was diagnosed and went through several therapies to help change me as a person living in the current society of today. Back then, I was against all of this saying "Why should I change these things about me?". From there I quit the tools that were in place for me to succeed and decided to go out and deal with society as the person I was at that time. While unconsciously craving to be a more sociable person. This lead to a lot of stress and anger that could have been avoided. I was constantly arguing with my parents and teachers. I started self medicating with tobacco at sixteen for the stress and ended up with what might be a live long addiction. I was completely clueless on how to act in social situations. I was doing things that I thought would make me cool, but in the end almost got me expelled my senior year of high school. I did not see it at the time, but I was starting to change without even knowing I was.
I somehow was able to get into college and a decent one at that. Roll tide, by the way. Ended up with a few friends by mere chance at the beginning. Started doing the college things like tailgating and partying. However what I did not know, is that while I was this somewhat social young adult, that I began abusing alcohol and using it as a crutch to be social. It was a one of the most constant things for me for a few years, even though it cost me grades, friends, trust with family, and some trouble with the police. I am not too sure of when the turning point was when I realized that I had become someone I did not want to be, even though I was a lot more social.
I have learned since, that change is inevitable in life, good or bad, and crucial for personal growth into the person I want to become. I know now that I wan to be more social, so therefore I need to actively work to change myself into that instead of saying "I am good the way I am" and relying on crutches to be what I desire.
Everyone changes. Everyone faces hurdles in life that need to be overcome in life to succeed. Everyone needs help with these hurdles.
I am getting better dealing with changes in everyday life, because I am constantly working on changing myself into the person I want to become. I may never get there, but no one will be able to say that I did not try throughout my life to do so.
Last words for this post are: Never just think you are unable to do something or be someone just because of a diagnosis. Because of hard work and determination I successfully joined a fraternity, got into grad school and about finished with my masters, and have a job that I currently enjoy going to everyday. All things that most people would not of thought of when I was younger.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum