Saturday, October 15, 2011

Autism and Anxiety

Having autism gives a different perspective on reality.  I can't really say that it's a better one, but it's a different one.  While thinking differently has its benefits, it also has some costs.  For instance, many people with autism have problems with anxiety.  I am one of them. 

Before m medications were changed, I used to have trouble falling asleep.  I was often filled with irrational fear.  I could not stop myself from wondering: what if someone broke into the house?  What if the house caught on fire and we couldn't get it?  It went on from there.  I was a smart person with a vivid imagination and a sometimes narrow focus of concentration; therefore, I was prone to anxiety.

Ever since I was my medications were changed, I have had an easier time falling asleep.  Even on the nights when I forget my medication, I can still fall asleep without difficulty.  For a child dealing with an anxiety problem, the advice I can give is see what the child's psychiatrist has to say.  Maybe an adjustment of medications is necessary.  Maybe there is another issue.  I am not a professional; I am just a writer who has a good grip on my own autism.  The anxiety that occurs with autism can seem irrational, but I know that if I am in that state of mind, that worry is all I can focus on.  I cannot really see around it even if I tell myself that the fear I am feeling is irrational.  What ultimately calms me down is different every time, but it is possible for me to calm myself down. 

Earlier I was worried about what kind of impression I made to some people I just met.  I was worried about that during my entire twenty minute drive home.  It did not affect my driving; it was just a nagging feeling that something was wrong even though there was nothing really home.  When I got home I sat down at the table and read a "Star Wars" book for about twenty minutes.  Once I set the book down, I was calm.  The nagging feeling that something was wrong had dissipated.  The fact that I was actively involved in a task, like reading, really makes all the difference.  There is always hope, no matter how hard it may seem.

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