The Challenges of Living With An ASD
Living with any form of Autism Spectrum Disorder is not always an easy thing. Like with anything medical, you have good days and bad days. Over time, you learn to manage it, and deal with your most pressing symptoms, but your ASD will always be something you just have to live with.
I myself live with Asperger’s Syndrome and have been doing so officially for over a year. The past year since my diagnosis has been perhaps one of the best of my life. I feel lighter and happier than I have in a long time, I’ve met so many amazing people that I never would have met had I not been diagnosed, and I’ve discovered so much about myself and what I am capable of.
That doesn’t mean it’s been all good times and smooth sailing. There are days where my symptoms weigh me down.
I still struggle with my social interaction on occasion, particularly if I’m not used to being around the person or group of people. I still struggle with understanding the subtle nuances of communication like body language and other social cues. I still struggle with multiple OCD-type behaviours including germaphobia, which has been particularly problematic for me, leaving me fearful at times to touch anyone (including my family) or anything. Sometimes, it even feels like my hands have been encased in cement and on two occasions I’ve washed them so frequently and hard in hot water that I’ve actually scalded them, causing open cuts and pain whenever I’ve so much as flexed them.
Such are my struggles. I have my own ways of dealing with them. I use writing and music when I need them. I use medication to control my OCD tendencies. I’ve even started a channel on popular video-posting site YouTube in an attempt to get over some of my social anxiety.
However, I think it’s important to note that everyone diagnosed with an ASD is an individual and that depending on their diagnosis, severity, and personal traits, they will have their own strengths, their own challenges and their own ways of dealing with said challenges.
As such, if you are someone dealing with an ASD, like I am, I encourage you to find a combination of methods tailored specifically to you that will help you to deal with your symptoms.
If you are someone who helps to make up the support system for someone dealing with an ASD, I implore you to remember that there are a multitude of different options out there. Your first instinct might be to seek therapy or medication of some sort in an effort to help the person deal with their symptoms, but that isn’t always the best course. Do some research into different ways of controlling the symptoms of the ASD that the person whom you are supporting has. If at all possible, let them be involved in making the decision in regards to their treatment. After all, you have to remember, it is their body and their life.
As I said in my previous piece for The Spectrum Connection blog, living with an ASD is not exactly easy. There will always be challenges. However, with the proper tools and coping methods, it is possible to lead life as if the diagnosis, whatever it may be, doesn’t exist. It may never be gone, but you’ll know how to deal with it when its most pressing symptoms emerge.
Matthew Lemay is an aspiring author and entrepreneur who has been writing for three-and-a-half years and whom is currently working on several writing projects. He has been living with the Asperger’s Syndrome strand of Autism Spectrum Disorder for over a year. He has been associated with Integrated Autism Consulting since very early on in his personal process of dealing with his diagnosis. He is a regular attendant of their Social Club program. He hopes to one day fulfill his dreams of authorship and entrepreneurship and use his resulting platform to advocate for others and support causes that he believes in. When he is not writing, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, listening to music, watching films and television series, learning languages, biking and swimming. He currently lives in Barrie, Ontario.