Autism and Mental Health
Updated: Jan 22
So this blog is all about Autism and Mental Health, as we all know by now this year has been a pretty tough and wild one for all of us! Mental Health can happen in anyone and everyone and espically this year, its best we look after each other and stay positive, but Mental Health is also two/three times as likely in Autistic people, so lets explore why this is.
So the first thing is to be aware that Mental Health can trigger anxiety and depression and Anxiety in Autistic people can lead to Sensory Overload, as explained in the last blog post i wrote, it can lead to multiple emotions being released all at once, hence getting someone out of a noisy environment, or a crowded place with multiple people in is critical. Signs of Anxiety and depression in Autistic people, include, sweating, hyperventilating, self harm, sleep deprivation, losing motivation, lack of self worth etc.
How can you help? How you yourself can improve your own mental health:
Take them out of noisy environments, switch all tv, radio music and any form of loud noise interruptions off
Socialise with them,
Ask them to plan day or stick to a routine, (We love planning).
Use sensory toys, or distractions like a fidget toy, when i feel like this i use a pen, or a stress ball, to feel relaxed.
Go out and watch a movie,tv or listen to music.
do Stimulation or self sensory exercises,
Apps used for personalised support with Anxiety,
Brain in Hand – a diary, notes and reminders of daily tasks, individual coping strategies, system to monitor anxiety levels and access to support from the National Autistic Society.
Molehill Mountain – tracks mood, identifies triggers and gives evidence-based tips on how to self-manage anxiety levels.
So a few other things, Mental Health can trigger off, signs of Bereavement, after losing someone, and Self harm, now in Autistic people in general and maybe this also happens to Non -Autistics too, you will show signs of anger after losing someone, numbness, feeling motionless, struggling to figure out your feelings (which is completely OKAY) amongst others, and Autistic people who self harm, do this, because we feel socially isolated, i used to feel like this a lot at school, because i was different for being autistic, and was challenged to fit into an agenda or a box, with other "normal people" without being allowed to express myself, adapting to change was a struggle too because of the nervousness and anxiety that comes with it for example me leaving home at 18 years old, was a challenge, that made me feel nervous, and worried about what would it be like, will they like me? will i get on with other residents, i never lived at home without family so it was a challenge, one I took gracefully. Work/Home pressures!, this happened whilst i was working too.
How you can help? How you can look after yourself?
Talk about what is happening with friends and family
Hold special memories of them, photographs, think of times that you cherised together, and make a collage
Try CBT or counselling, to help you deal with the loss of a loved one. Talk to your GP about this
Look for treatment, contact your local MH Team
Call your 999 service, (Ill have a list of all numbers in the description)
Contact your GP
Contact your local crisis team.
Speak to someone or ask if you can stay at a friends to prevent self harming.
US; National Suicide hotline,
999 emergency number or 101 non emergency,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emergency_telephone_numbers - Link for all emergency numbers in different countries
Autistic Burnout/Fatigue - Managing sensory overload and going through Social interactions is tough enough for all us Autistics, sometimes it takes a lot of energy to go through an average day.:
However a lot of us experience burnout, which makes us feel tired, drousy, very overwhelmed with different feelings and going through different emotions.
Resorting to masking
Social Anxiety in social situations,
Physical pain, headaches migraines.
Heres what you can do to help improve this:
Make time for yourself, do something that makes you feel happy, maybe you like to draw, or you like to dance, or sing, maybe watch a tv show. I generally like to sing, make music, play games and exercise, i generally stim a lot, to feel calmer.
Use energy accounting, this is a tool where you can manage how much energy you use per day or per week so you do not increase the risk of burnout, estimate how much energy you use in certain activities that drain out, its sort of like we are Highly intense solar charged batteries, or a different planet but in truth we are not, this is just a way to save energy,
Pick realistic goals, yes its okay to dream big but do not pressure yourself with the burden of having to go to extreme measures to achieve big things, one small step at a time, life is a marathon not a sprint.
When your at work, manage your workload, create a diary, if you need to tell your boss for a timeout do not be afraid to ask for it, it will help you so so much!
Theres stuff also like Bipolar , OCD in autistic adults that can have an impact on Mental Health but ill attach a link to the National Autistic Society so you can check that out, but for us Autistics and even non autistics, know that this year has been a tricky and horrible year to be in, with the bushfires, covid-19, Black Lives Matter, the fight for justice, racial equality and disparity, know that this is affecting so many peoples Mental Health and that you are not alone.. I am with you, your family are everyone is with you right now, My DMS are always open for a chat if anyone needs it but these are some things to improve your mental health, I will do a follow up Video so that it can help you guys and girls, with your own battles, and struggles, and know that we are in this together, this year has been problematic but its the year for change, and know that after this year you will be a part of something bigger, and be a part of change, the US Voting 2020, voting has never been so important, fight for the causes you believe in and diamonds and light will shine your way!