Michael's Thoughts From - Autism Awareness Week
Autism is a complex condition that certainly requires further understanding as much as anything else, because understanding it properly is how we get closer to facilitating changes that would uplift the mental health of the autistic person, and the trials of mental health that they are subjected to as an indirect consequence of living in an inflexible, rigid society that only sees one neurological archetype.
'Square pegs don't fit through triangular holes' Its encouraging to see that awareness grows thanks to the power of social media and growing charities but its - attitudes changing as a result of this growth, where mental health issues associated to autism depends on change. We've all heard the typical British clichés 'stiff upper lip' or 'you've just got to get on with it.' These can make a bit of difference in lighthearted, neurotypical (non-autistic) conversations but they speak to the inflexiibility within our society I point out above. Its part of an attitude embedded within us that doesn't make way for the neurodiverse world we live in. In the reality of the autistic person, 'just getting on with it' really isn't that simple at all. Everyone is their own unique human however with autism, a common but varying factor to bring awareness to is the autistic mind and the way it generates an overwhelming analyses and assessment of all things at once, producing very debilitating levels of anxiety that can become depression. These struggles can be overlooked and this is where raising awareness becomes a tool for greater good. Autism requires patience and for the autistic person to be heard regarding their expressed needs. Perhaps what they need in the moment might not make sense in the neurotypical world, but it doesn't have to if all we're doing is hearing them, to then respond with a supportive and open mind. So if for example, an autistic person spontaneously feels that they can't attend a specific appointment as stress levels rise, it may be hard for a neurotypical person to get their head around why as they assess the situation through their own version of reality. That said, it doesn't mean that we can't hear them and support them in their need to retreat from said appointment. This act alone would contribute to improving mental health around autism. There's much work to be done.