Dealing with Loneliness [How To] (Comprehension Guide)

It’s a given that sometime in our lives that we’ll face loneliness. Yet, the question is can loneliness be a good thing. Loneliness does has it’s pros and cons along with its benefits and disadvantages. We need to be aware of our feelings and emotions and everything around us to what’s going on. We need to sometimes feel in our inner self.

People will feel lonely for quite a number of reasons, which may be including simple social awkwardness and intentional isolation. Some people may even feel lonely when they are surrounded by people because they lack meaningful connections with those people. Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes, but it is never pleasant. Dealing with loneliness can take many forms, including meeting new people, learning to appreciate your alone time, and reconnecting with your family. Here are some methods while you’re reading this article/blog into how to overcome and deal with loneliness.

Method 1: Understanding Your Feelings of Loneliness

  1. Identify the reasons why you feel lonely.

    In order to make changes that will truly help you, you will need to take some time to figure out why you are feeling lonely. For example, say you assume that you are lonely because you don’t have enough friends and you go out and make more friends. You may still feel lonely after making new friends if your loneliness is the result of having too many friends and a lack of meaningful connections. Consider some of the following questions to help you determine why you are feeling lonely:

When do you feel the most lonely?

Do certain people make you feel more lonely when you are around them?

How long have you been feeling this way?

What does feeling lonely make you want to do?

2. Start a journal to track your thoughts and feelings. 

Journaling can help you to understand your feelings of loneliness better and it is also a great way to relieve stress. Journaling can also when you write down your thoughts and feelings can be a good way to at least see how you’ve progressed in your everyday life situations that you face on the daily. To get started with journaling, choose a comfortable place and plan to devote about 20 minutes per day to writing. You can start by writing about how you are feeling or what you are thinking, or you can use a prompt. Some prompts you might use include:

“I feel lonely when…”

“I feel lonely because…”

When did you first start feeling lonely? How long have you felt this way?

3. Practice meditation. 

Some research has suggested that meditation may ease feelings associated with loneliness and depression. Meditation has so many benefits to help us mentally and physically. Meditation is also a great way to get more in touch with your feelings of loneliness and start to understand where they come from.

Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.

You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration.People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.

Learning to meditate takes time, practice, and guidance, so your best bet is to find a meditation class in your area. If no classes are available in your area, you can also buy CDs that will help you learn how to meditate. You can also use some apps that are readily available from your phone or tablet.

To get started with meditation, find a quiet spot and get comfortable. You can either sit in a chair or on a cushion on the floor with your legs crossed. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. As you focus on your breathing, try not to get distracted by your thoughts. Just let them happen and pass by.

Without opening your eyes, observe the world around you. Pay attention to how you feel as well. What do you hear? What do you smell? How do you feel? Physically? Emotionally?

Benefits of Mediation (Science-based)

There are so many benefits for meditation and I’ll only be sharing at least 12 of the benefits and they’re as follows:

1. Reduces Stress.

2. Controls anxiety.

3. Promotes emotional health.

4. Enhances self-awareness.

5. Lengthens attention span.

6. May reduce age-related memory loss.

7. Can generate kindness.

8. May help fight any addictions.

9. Improves sleep.

10. Helps control pain.

11. Can decrease blood pressure.

12. Meditation can be done anywhere.

4. Consider talking to a therapist about how you have been feeling. 

It may be hard to figure out why you feel lonely and how to move past those feelings. A licensed mental health professional can help you to understand and work through your loneliness. Never be afraid to ask for help when you’re dealing with anything on your own. Some of the trained professionals can help you get back on track to full recovery. Meanwhile, feeling lonely may indicate that you are depressed or that you have another underlying mental health condition. Talking to a therapist can help you understand what is going on and decide on the best course of action. If you want to explore why you’re lonely, finding a qualified mental health professional is an excellent option. You can try joining a club, putting yourself out there to meet new people, and making a list of people in your life and reaching out to them, but if those don’t work and you feel like you’re stuck, a therapist can help you work through your thoughts and feelings.

Method 2: Comforting Yourself

  1. Realize that you aren’t alone. 

Loneliness is a normal part of being human, but it can make you feel like you are abnormal. Remember sometimes feeling is just some feeling and emotion that we have felt once in a while. It’s okay to be alone for a time if need be. Key thing to remember is to reach out to a friend or family member and talk with that person about how you are feeling. As you tell someone about your feelings, you can also ask if they have had these feelings too. This process of reaching out and sharing with someone will help you to see that you are not alone.

Try saying something like, “Lately I have been feeling lonely and I wondered if you have ever felt this way.”

If you do not have a friend or family member to talk to, reach out to a teacher, counselor, or pastor.

2. Move forward.

 Instead of persistently dwelling on how alone you feel, do things to get your mind off of your loneliness. Take a walk, ride your bike or read a book. Explore activities and hobbies, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Having experience gives you a basis upon which you can comment in more social situations (thus talk to more people) and strike up conversations that will interest other people.

Keep yourself busy. Having down time is what causes feelings of loneliness to creep in. Throw yourself into work or extracurricular activities.

3. Do social activities by yourself. 


If you don’t have someone to go out with all of the time, don’t let that stop you from getting out and enjoying yourself. For example, if you want to go out to dinner or to a movie on a date, then take yourself out to a movie or to a nice restaurant. Although, at first, it may seem awkward to be doing things by yourself that you might normally do with someone else, don’t hold yourself back. It is not strange to be by yourself and out doing things! Once you remember why you did these things before, you can enjoy the activity for itself again.

Take a book, magazine, or journal with you if you go out to eat or have coffee on your own, so you’ll be occupied when you would usually be conversing. Bear in mind that people do go out on their own on purpose just to have “me” time by themselves; it is not as if people will look at you sitting alone and assume you have no friends.

It may take some time to get used to the feeling of being out by yourself. Don’t give up if your first few attempts are a little awkward.

4 Consider getting a pet.



 If you’re truly struggling without companionship, consider adopting a dog or cat from your local animal shelter. Pets have been domestic companions for centuries for a reason, and winning the trust and affection of an animal can be a deeply rewarding experience

Be a responsible pet owner. Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered, and only commit to bringing a pet into your life if you’re prepared to handle the daily tasks of caring for it.

Method 3: Getting Social Again

  1. Get involved in activities.

 To make new friends, you will have to get out and get involved in things. Consider joining a sports league, taking a class, or volunteering within your community. If you are very shy, find a group for social anxiety, even if it has to be online. Look on places like Craigslist, Meetup, or local news websites for activities in your area.

Don’t attend functions with the sole idea of making friends or meeting people. Try to go with no expectations whatsoever and to enjoy yourself regardless of what happens. Look for activities that interest you and that also involve groups of people like book clubs, church groups, political campaigns, concerts and art exhibitions.

2. Challenge yourself to take the initiative in social relationships. 


Making new friends often requires you to take the first step and invite others out to do things. Don’t wait for people to approach you: you should approach them. Ask the person if they want to chat or get a coffee. You must always show interest in other people before they will show interest in you.

Be yourself as you try to make new friends. Don’t try to impress a new person by misrepresenting yourself. That may lead to the end of the new friendship before it even gets started.

Be a good listener. Pay close attention when people are talking. It is important to be able to respond to what the person has just said to demonstrate that you were listening or they may feel like you do not care.

3. Spend time with your family.

 Working to deepen the relationships with your family may also help you to stop feeling so lonely. Even if you don’t have a great history with a family member, you can still try to repair relationships by starting with an invitation. For example, you could ask a family member that you haven’t seen in a while to go out to lunch or meet you for coffee.

When trying to rebuild or deepen your relationships with family members, you can use some of the same strategies you would use to gain new friends. Take the initiative to ask the person out, be yourself, and be a good listener.

3. Be a pleasant presence. 

Draw people toward yourself by providing enjoyable company. Be complimentary rather than critical. For a casual comment, don’t nitpick other people’s clothes, habits or hair. They don’t need to be reminded they have a small stain on their shirt when they can’t do anything about it. They do need to hear that you think their sweater is cool or you like their personality. Don’t make a big deal of it, but just casually mention it when you like something. This is one of the best ice-breakers around and it builds trust steadily over time as people come to understand that you won’t criticize them.

4. Join an online community. 

Sometimes connecting with people online can be easier than connecting with them in person, but keep in mind that online interaction is not an equal substitution for face-to-face connections. However, sometime online communities can be valuable ways for you to share your thoughts and experiences, or ask questions to those who are going through similar situations. Online forums often allow you to help others while being helped yourself.

Remember to be safe when online. Not everyone is who they say they are and predators feed off loneliness.

METHOD 4: Enjoying Your Solitude

  1. Differentiate between loneliness and solitude. 

    Loneliness is when you are unhappy to be alone. Solitude is when you are happy to be alone. There is nothing wrong with solitude, wanting to, or enjoying being alone. Alone time can be useful and enjoyable.

2. Work on improving yourself and making yourself happy. 

Usually, when we’re devoting most of our time to other people, we tend to neglect ourselves. If you’re going through a period of loneliness, take advantage of it by doing the things that you want to do for yourself. This is a wonderful opportunity and you deserve to be happy!

3. Consider joining a gym. 

Working out and taking care of our bodies is usually the first thing that gets tossed aside when we get busy. If you’re spending less time with other people than normal, try using that time to exercise. If you exercise at a gym, you might even meet some new friends or a new special someone!

4. Learn a new skill.


 Taking time to indulge in a new hobby can help you to overcome feelings of loneliness, even if you are doing the hobby by yourself. You could learn to play an instrument, learn to draw, or learn to dance. Going and learning these subjects with others may help you meet new people but it will also give you a creative outlet for your feelings. Turn your loneliness into something beautiful!

Cook yourself a nice meal or make baked goods for friends or neighbors. Cooking up a meal is rewarding, you can channel your focus into something nourishing.

Consider joining a club to meet other people who enjoy this hobby as well.

5. Do something big. 

People oftentimes have something really big that they want to do and a thousand excuses not to do it. Have you ever wanted to write a book? Make a movie? Use your loneliness as an excuse to do something great. Who knows, maybe it will turn into something that helps others deal with their loneliness…

To end this: We are all in control of our lives and that we are in control of our thoughts, feelings, emotions as well as our actions. What we do with our lives, starts and ends with us. We are the writers and painters of our stories. Loneliness does take time to overcome but using the right methods and techniques we can sure better ourselves if we choose to.

Autism and Loneliness

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved. “Mother Theresa
This video is not just for people with Autism that has that has experienced loneliness as once in a while everyone has in their life.
I talked about my experiences in this as well as a few tips or advice for the ones that are going through this.

Just to bear in mind before I begin writing this as you read this written blog that many people have a misconception or misunderstanding about certain people that are autistic or on the autism spectrum of how an autistic should be acting, thinking etc. Every autistic is different no matter where they’re at in their age and development in life. Autistics do have a different wiring in their brain to how they may work and that all we need to know is that we are feeling accepted and understood by the ones that we are with no matter what. We shouldn’t feel like that we’re being judged by others or being looked at a different way. After all, we are human! We need to remember that despite all of this that not all autistics are the same. If you heard the saying if you meet one autistic, you’ve met one. Some of us doesn’t like having labels on any kind that people may throw at us, no matter what it is, we may have heard many of them. We need to remove some of the expectations about most people as well as to also remove the stigma around autism as there’s still a lot of work to be done here for us on the spectrum.

Have you ever met someone in your life that you feel that you can connect with them? Laugh with them? Joke with them? etc. As if like you’re really making a connection with them and that you feel that they’re understanding you and that you feel as if you’re loved and accepted by them, right? You feel like that you’re building a connection of some form of friendship/relationship with some people, no matter what along the way! No matter what it is. We know that we feel on top of the world, feeling like that we’re loved and accepted by the ones that we are with that we cherish and love. When it does happen when we find someone that we can connect with that we feel happy and at peace in ourselves and with them.

Have you ever felt that after that special connection you feel with someone that you’re with that you’ve got some similar interests and hobbies and thinking that you’re friends for life?

Have you ever felt alone and isolated and feel left in the dark for however long of some of the situations that we’ve faced didn’t go the way we wanted or expected or even go right for us in the first place? It doesn’t have to be a friendship that was broken down. It could be while you were in a relationship with someone that it went sour and that you both decided to go separate ways. Or it could be to do when you’ve been trying to connect with people and making friends until you realised who they truly were while you were struggling in your most difficult times of your life.

For me as an example into when I am doing my utmost best in making and keeping friends some people to misunderstand me or misread me into how or what I try to say to them. Sometimes, it can be a struggle with me into what I want to say as all of it is in my head and it’s racing around and it feels like I am vomiting out all my words. Figuratively speaking. It’s like what I’v shared before I feel that I have to mask up my feelings, actions thoughts and feelings just to fit inside a box full of expectations from what a neurotypical world of how and what they want me to say, think and act. Yet, we know that this doesn’t work that way in real life. It’s all about us accepting each other no matter what we have or for even accepting our faults, flaws and imperfections.

I have come to terms now that there’s always going to be someone who’s going to try and change me no matter what it is that they think it needs to be. Yet, I believe if I was to change something about myself it is about acknowledging that yes something needs to be changed and how we can actually change it based on our thoughts, experiences and the outcome of it all. Yes, we’re all changing in every day life of what goes on within ourselves and some of the situations that we face and choose to do what we can. We need to choose wisely of our battles that we face everyday as some will come at a cost. I’ve come to accepting what I’ve got and to work with all the different situations that I face and that I hope to find the right people who will accept me for me with all my faults, flaws and imperfections. Like I’ve been accepting of others to a point of who and what they are as a person. I learnt that sometimes we can’t forever change a person until we make a change in ourselves no matter what it is. I don’t need to be told what needs to be changed as I’m working on it myself as I’ve been learning to gain confidence and independence on my own without others. I know that there’s always going to be people around me that’ll not always like me or what have you yet we’re here for a reason and a purpose in life and it’s just finding that purpose and more. I believe strongly and wholeheartedly I shouldn’t have to change how I speak, act and think. All I am asking from others is to at least share with me what I can do better if I’m failing it all.

Was there ever a time in your life however that you felt that you felt every strongly in your heart that you’ve tried to reach out so many times and that you felt that not many people would want to be there and listen to you while you’re suffering in silence? You had some sort of niggling feeling and negative thinking that no-one was there for you or wanted to be there for you while you’re drowning in your own thoughts and situations that you were going through? Sometimes, people start to put labels on you about who and what you are as a person and that then you feel that you start to believe them. You feel that whenever you’re trying to reach out to someone that no matter what you’re going through of the situation at hand that they tend to ignore or push you away. There are reasons to why they’re pushing us away from our struggles. Maybe, they’re struggling with something that we’re not aware of. Sometimes, it takes guts for someone to raise their hands and ask for help. It takes more courage to actually accept that there’s something wrong and actually work with what is wrong and also knowing the first step is definitely acceptance. It’s a sign of weakness if we act upon our negative thoughts and feelings.

Don’t let the labels to what people call you define you. You know what you are and allow yourself to accept you for you.

For me, nine times out of ten, I will be trying my best to be around others like a little social butterfly regardless of my social anxiety and to be there for others to listen to them if they need someone to talk to. To be there for them by not judging them at all, to be patient with them. To be their advice or soundboard if they need it. I believe that we all should try and be there for someone in our lives no matter what the situation that they’re facing or going through. I believe that we should also try and be empathetic and to walk in their shoes to know what’s going on in their lives. We need to choose wisely to what we want to say to that someone who’s struggling.

Website: http://shareinspirequotes.blogspot.com/2013/06/just-being-there-for-someone-can.html

Let’s be real and honest here that we all go through stages and phases of loneliness and isolation here. We need to remember when we go through these stages and phases that it’s not our fault. I believe that everything does happen for a reason and that we need to learn from some of the struggles and situations that we face to why it happened. If it was supposed to be, it will be. It wasn’t meant for us to at least go through the struggle of any kind that they’ll definitely give us some life lessons along the way. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, young or old however, autistic or a neurotypical or even a child. We all go through these phases one way in our life. These phases do come and go like the seasons that changes all the time. Imagine it for now the four seasons that are cycling all in one time. That for example: you’re lonely, got friends, you’re lonely, you’re isolated or whatever else it may be. This is how it felt for me and this is how it is to this day for me on these type feelings or cycles.

This cycle shows us what happens when people are lonely.

I look at a clear example for loneliness in me the four seasons that there are changes and phases of life like for example the leaves falling off the tree Or they’ll change color. Or the flowers will bloom once in a while and then loses its petals. Or young animals being born. Everything and everyone will go through seasons of change. Question is are we willing to change anything about ourselves? Are willing to accept that something needs to be changed?

I guess you all can feel me that there’s some parts that I’m dealing or facing right now that I do my utmost best to socialise as much as possible with others around me. (Reference: Friendships and Socialisation playlist on YouTube which you can click here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD1nCoeovTZ5FRKGUeYX9bZc7ENxkNhbD).

I’ll do my utmost best to socialise regardless of my social energy tank in how full or empty it is. I still will push forward as best as I can. In one of the videos that’s on my playlist should clearly explain about the social energy tank in how it works for us autistics.

I must admit, hell yes I’m experiencing loneliness once in a while. I don’t need people to try and insult me or criticise me at all. Sometimes, in my experience with loneliness it can be a good thing for a time having its benefits and it can also be a bad thing. With me for sometime, I had a fear of being alone or just lonely, yet I try to weigh up its pros and cons of me being lonely.

There are two different types of distinct loneliness and they are as follows: Unintentional and Intentional Loneliness. What are they you maybe questioning about these two terms that I’m sharing with you all.

Merriam Webster defines: Unintentional:  not done or by intention design not intentional an unintentional effect causing unintentional harm/offense.
Intentional:  done by intention or design INTENDED intentional damage.

Intentional loneliness is when a person is trying to be active in socialising yet they’re on their own. Minding their own business and not talking to anyone at all. Why is this? There are a lot of reasons. Maybe they’ve been bullied. Maybe they’ve tried to open up to people and then when they do they feel that their trust or lack of has been broken. Maybe they’ve tried to open up and gain some confidence in themselves and by being around people and it took them a whole while or took them a while to get to that stage in their life of being confident and being able to trust people around them. Another reason could be a death in the family or a close friend that has passed on or maybe last but not least, they just woke up and chose to make that decision to not to communicate or not to talk at all.

The other hand of the meaning of unintentional loneliness is that you’re trying your best to fit in or blend in with others, trying to get attention from your friends or family in a social gathering yet parents are talking with their peers. I’ve learnt that we shouldn’t have to blend in just to feel accepted or blend in to make friends. We should be able to be ourselves and who cares if we’re the black sheep amongst the white sheep. We’re born to stand out. We’re born to be different. We’re born to make a difference in this world if we choose to that is. For an example- you’re not going to be noticed at all and not going to be fitting in.

I’ll be sharing how to overcome or what you can do in dealing with loneliness in my next blog post. Do keep an eye out on this.

To end this blog:
It is understandable that we all feel alone sometimes in our lives. Maybe, something has happened in our lives no matter what it is for example again going through a traumatic experience such as being sexually assaulted, bullying, losing trust in people or lacking in confidence etc. The thing is if you stay isolated or alone long enough, and you keep pushing away as there’s some people that are being real and true that wants to be there for us through it all.
Advice to the viewers to watch through the video I’ve added in this blog.

To All The People Who Still Love Me At My Most Unlovable State, Thank You!

It’s good to show our appreciation to others as the smallest of actions usually shows more to others of what and who they are as a person towards us!

I want to write this from the bottom of my heart to all people that may have come to my life for a reason or a season at a time. I know that I may not be the easiest person to understand or work with yet to the ones that are still around, thank you. As you are aware and may know me by now, that sometimes for me as a person it has been hard for me to find the right people to open up to and all yet despite it all of the past experiences and situations and all that I’ve faced that I need to remember once in a while to let my guard or walls down to give people the chance to show me that they’re not out to get me but to try and assist me in anyway possible.

I know that I don’t say it enough in the way of my words and actions yet I am humbled and forever grateful to have the ones that has stood by me through all my trials and tribulations that I’ve been through right now as well as in the past. While we go through these trials and tribulations, I’ve learnt that this wills show us who will be there for us through this with their true colors.

I want to say to all the people that has seen me fail and fall on my knees as I stumble upon some situations and circumstances that you lifted me up and walked by me and guide me through it all. I want to thank you all that has been there for me as either for my legs when I am not able to walk some days as well as also my arms when I seem not to be able to carry anything.

For even when I feel that I am weak or at my lowest point that you allow me to lean on you for some strength and inner courage when I feel so convinced that I feel that others are out there to attack me in anyway that you act as my sword and shield when it arises.

Thank you for the ones that has been with me through and through of trying to keep my stable and giving me some form of hope and foundation to stand on when I fall.

When I am sometimes tired and clumsy along with being tired, you’re there by me to help me back up again and push me forward to get tasks done.

To the people that has been in my circle or has known me that has been telling me it’s okay to feel too much when you guys know me for being the sensitive and empathetic one around. Thank you. To the people that has been telling me on my bad days that it’s okay to not feel okay and to feel that I’ve been defeated in anyway shape or form that I should either come back to what may have not been completed etc. Again, thank you. Thank you for also understanding me as a person behind my faults, flaws and imperfections along with my mask hidden with my diagnoses. Thank you for also understanding me as a person who has a sensitive heart and never telling me to harden or to forever change me for who and what I am as a person and for accepting me for who and what I am as a person. You let me be able to be me and be able to express myself as a person to be able to love freely and openly. You remind me on a daily to never try and be someone else or to try and fit in a box full of expectations etc. We know that sometimes when the box is full, that it will bound to split or even the contents falls out.

On my messiest of days, when I don’t feel like myself, you still care!

To all the people that knows me by now with my voice that has been silenced for too long and now starting to try and have the courage to speak out and just to talk to every day people like you, thank you. To the people also who knows me for who and what I am – EXACTLY who and what I am and have the courage to still stick around and support me through and through, thank you. Thank you for seeing any cracks or bruises and by choice you choose to stay. Thank you for allowing me to express myself and knowing that I am not the person I pretend to be and loving my roots and everything else about me. You’ve seen me at my worst and darkest hours and moments along with sometimes when I wear my mask my mask then begins to drop or fall off and the real me begins to show or shine out. And, whenever that happens you tell me I was and I am still worth everything in this world. You tell me that I am loved, cared for and am needed to do my tasks to fulfill my purpose, goals, dreams and so much more. You tell me that no matter what I shouldn’t be afraid to shine my light and greatness to others. You tell me nothing has changed and shouldn’t have to be changed to suite others around me who wants to change me for the wrong reasons etc.

To the people who love me for me even when I am vulnerable or when I’m not lovable. thank you.

Thank you all for the ones that has been there for me to show me the meaning of friendship, love, guidance and affection. To me you are the good in this world, and to also be able to shine your light and greatness to others. You also have a plan and a purpose in life and I pray and hope that you’ll find it. You’re the ones that has helped me to see the good in me when I can’t seem to find it myself.

Autistic Exhaustion- How it feels for me as an Autistic

One of the hardest things for me to deal with as an autistic person is people not understanding what life is like for me on a daily basis as usually when I am around people that I have to put myself on repeat to share my everyday life or even just the thought of talking or socializing alone can be a difficulty in its own merit and right. (That’s if you’re lucky to have me in your life to be able to share with you anything). You see that sometimes or in the past shall we say that, it did take a while for me to open up to people based on my passed experiences and circumstances that I been through. But, today I am doing my utmost best to trust myself to approach and talk to people and let them in while leading my guard down and giving others the benefit of the doubt.

Nobody has any idea how much energy goes into ensuring I don’t mess up too badly or that I “get things done” when they need doing. I seem to try play the part really well in a “Neurotypical” world full of expectations and so on. I usually do self-doubt and think to myself in the past of questions that races through my mind such as, “Am I doing it right?, Will people like me and accept me for who and what I am? and many other questions that I am sure that the rest of us may be able to relate.
Well, they might, but many people in my life didn’t until I received my diagnosis, and even then, it’s hard for them to understand sometimes. I have had so many different people in the past and present come to me and challenge me with some questions to why I act and speak the way I do.

I will have to admit to you after being diagnosed as an autistic and being an autistic brings various challenges and joys with it. I adore my hyper-focus and passions, creativity, empathetic self but I loathe the inevitable misunderstandings and sensory bombardments from others or even just people plain ignorance and/or arrogance towards me as a person. After all, I am still human underneath all the labels. Yet, again, this isn’t their fault as this is still new but it is all about being given a chance or opportunity to let others know that it is okay to be different.

I am a carefully balanced human. I know that things that won’t be stressors to other people will be problematic for me. I tend to either shy away or as people may call it avoid it. I know that spending time in a group will be exponentially more difficult than spending time with people one-on-one. I know that I will always have to ‘perform’ to some extent, when I’m communicating with most non-autistic people.

The question to ask yourselves is this, have you ever been so tired after a busy day that you sit down and before you know it, you’re waking up out of nowhere and it’s the next day already… when you weren’t even finished with the day before? Do you wake up in the morning feel like that you will be able to set the tasks to do to accomplish and then feel that something is amiss?  This has been my reality since I was young. A few hours of an activity that didn’t involve being at home, and for the next day or even two, I’m so tired I can’t do anything except lay around and sleep. The exhaustion of autism is real and tangible in my everyday life.

Each day it takes every single bit of energy I have to focus on tasks for the day. If I don’t focus, my mind wanders and before I know it, hours have passed and I haven’t done a darn thing that’s important. Yet, I am now starting to learn to focus on the tasks to do as said that some tasks may take longer than others yet for what it is worth for it to work is to have a everyday list of activities or tasks so that then I can check them off. I have shared that for me having lists is important as I can see what I have accomplished in that day and that it gives me a sense of appreciation in myself that I can do most of the things that are given to me and boost my confidence.

I can’t sit and do nothing (literally, do nothing) because if I do, I fall asleep. I must be doing something – writing, reading, on the computer – that is engaging my brain or that’s lights out for me. I can’t sit on the couch without falling asleep, ever, unless I’m doing something. And no, watching TV doesn’t count. It’s easy to oversleep this way, which makes me more tired, and it’s harder to recover from. Some days I sleep 12 hours, others I get eight hours split into two for days on end and I’m fine. I don’t “crash” except after I’ve been out into the big world.

If I don’t focus on walking up the steps, I will or may trip. If I don’t watch very, very carefully when I’m pushing a cart in the store, I will misjudge distance and run into someone or something. Sometimes, while I am out shopping for food I will likely to take a bit longer to be sure that I’ve got the right foods for myself to have a healthy diet and nutritional lifestyle. I get majorly fatigued from being out in the world with its sound and smells and all around environment surrounding me, assaulting my ears and eyes and skin from every direction. I wear headphones as much as I can to block out noises and listen to music. I most of the time besides it being a sunny day will wear sunglasses indoors and some people may think that I may look like a dork or whatever yet I am doing this for the sake of the sensitivity towards the light. Some lights I seem to not be able to handle yet sometimes I will try and remove my sunglasses.

I’m almost always hot all the time. I may end up just putting less layers than I should be. At bedtime I have to sleep with a comforter on me, even in the summer, and need to sleep a certain way in a certain position.

Clothing is a big one. Shirts must be v-neck in order for me to wear them because otherwise, I feel as if I’m choking. No itchy fabrics like mesh or net like fabrics can touch my skin I’ve been known to smack at myself when something lightly brushes against me because I can’t handle the feeling. I prefer long or sleeves nearly all the time and pants . I’m unable to go barefoot unless it’s to get in the shower and that’s only because wet socks is an even worse feeling than bare feet in the shower. Sneakers and sometimes if I am lucky enough to go all out dressing beautiful for the right occasions are my go-to footwear, although I will wear dress shoes if I have to… but only for a short period of time and if they are too awful, I’ll take them off no matter where I am at the time!

Ugh, eating. Taste and texture issues are plenty. I rarely try new food in public places because chances are I won’t like it or am unable to eat it and I will have wasted money. I eat the same foods over and over on a daily/weekly basis with slight variations among what I can eat, and other than salt and pepper, my system is unable to handle the majority of spices. It’s not that I won’t eat food, I can’t, and yes, I do try again occasionally. This has become a problem at random times when people judge me for refusing to eat something. Here’s the thing… if I don’t like the smell, I won’t eat it. This is hard to explain, but my body knows it will make me ill and protects me. Why is that so hard to believe? I don’t know. Some people may call me a picky eater, well that is for them to say and judge upon me of everything so far that I’ve written and shared in my book and my vlogs.

I take everything literally. I don’t take as much personally as I used to, but that also requires a mental effort to keep my brain from freaking out in that area. I am able to “give” sarcasm, but most often do not understand when I’m receiving it unless I know the person really well. Written communication is better than verbal, and I cannot effectively engage in verbal arguments because my brain can’t keep up. I can’t recall how many times I was asked “did you hear me?” because when someone talks to me, I will stare blankly for a few moments processing what they’ve said before I can respond, and it’s often not fast enough to please the person talking to me. This is bad when it comes to working, for obvious reasons.

When I’m upset, I have to “verbally vomit” all the negative feelings in order to get over them, otherwise, I will start shaking and become physically ill from the overwhelming emotions. This often makes people think I’m being a “negative Nancy” and sometimes even gets me called pathetic. I feel I have the emotional development of a 16-year-old and often react before thinking because of my inability to “see the potential consequences of my actions,” which continues to elude me to this day. I am 32! Yet other days people may see me being a positive person and trying to accomplish everything that I can for myself if needed.

For a long time, I hated myself because of all this, and others picking me apart because of it made it worse. And unfortunately people can still get to me, especially when I see people referring to those who are autistic as monsters or brats that just need their butts kicked.

Let’s get something straight. You can’t beat or smack or discipline the autism out of anyone. It’s a neurological issue, not a discipline issue. Period.

Know how I learn? Repetition. That was the problem with college with me. It wasn’t my type of learning environment. Every job I’ve ever had, they showed me two or three times, made me do it, and I got it forever! Over and over I learned by seeing and doing, not by someone telling me what to do. No matter how many times someone gives me verbal directions, I will never, ever remember them. I need to see them. It’s this way with everything! That’s the reason sometimes for me to have some form of list ready to share with me what need to be done! Patience is a virtue and people should be able to give others a chance and opportunity to do so!

Ever experienced having to tell someone something over and over, only to get ticked because they don’t “get what you’re saying” after the first or second time? Yeah, nothing like being on the receiving end of someone’s anger over that sort of thing, especially when you’re intelligent like I am. I felt “stupid” for so many years; it did a number on my self-esteem.

I will never “figure things out on my own” because I just can’t. Not don’t want to, can’t. I know this because I’ve tried. I always did better in jobs where there were rules and directions and things to do in a certain order because that made sense to me. I could learn that, no problem.

The fact I know what’s happening with me and how I react to things doesn’t mean I can stop those reactions! That’s like knowing you are allergic to peanut butter and saying, hey body, stop doing what you’re wired to do because I said so! Silly, right? If I could do that though, I would, because nobody enjoys being out of control.

I’ve changed and grown, and continue to change and grow, but it’s a terribly long process that required a lot of time and effort and pain. Unfortunately, I learn by doing, and sometimes that meant doing the same crap over and over again until I “got it right.”

By the way, that’s not very effective in life, and people aren’t very forgiving of what they see as you repeating the same mistakes over and over again. But hey, I was left to figure it out on my own for way too long and in many ways, that’s still true to this day. I have more support but nobody wants to tell a grown adult what to do all the time. I “get” it.

But you know what? That saying is true… the one about meeting someone who is autistic, and you’ve met one person who is autistic. Generalizing is bad in this arena as it is in many others. I am speaking for myself here, although I’m sure many will be able to relate.

The idea that I am lazy or inactive seems anathema to who I truly am, and yet this was a label that stuck to me for a long time. It’s a label I hear other autistic people share too.

Why are autistic people so often accused of laziness? Why is it something that haunts us so?

Because of the exhaustion. It is my greatest and most enduring foe. I learnt to mask early on, and masking is an exhausting method of communicating with the world (even when it’s effective). They say for many of us that masks does have consequences and hell did I found that out in my early 20s.

Imagine if I told you that tomorrow you must pretend to be someone else. Pretend to be Bobby. I’m going to give you a portfolio about Bobby – his likes and dislikes (they won’t match yours), the things he likes to talk about, his favourite phrases, his accent – I want you to research Bobby, memorise it all, and then I want you to pretend to be Bob forever. I want you to be Bob in every interaction you ever have from now on. Well done, you are Bobby, you now have a constructed mask.

I’m not lazy because I don’t want to do something. Maybe I can’t despite what everyone “believes” I’m capable of. I’m not “stupid” because I don’t get it. Explain it to me differently. Figure out how to make something clearer if I’m not understanding. Everyone has their own communication and coping methods it is whether or not, you wish to stick with me to understand and know me more underneath my autism and other conditions.

I’m not worthless or useless or anything because I can’t function like you do, or I need more sleep, or after a day out I need two or three days to recover. Nor am I spoiled because I have to have things a certain way to function, or I won’t try a new food out in a public place where I’m likely to get sick. All of these things are part of me. They are how I deal with the world around me so I can be an adult, just like you.

This is just who I am. And all this, coupled with dealing with the world that doesn’t quite know how to deal with it, is exhausting.

And chances are it’s how someone you love is, and what people like me need are the understanding, patience, empathy and acceptance of others. Do you want to help? Well, I would like to say right now is to figure out a way to help instead of sitting there making judgments about something you are incapable of understanding. Because if you aren’t autistic, you don’t get it and I believe you probably never will. If you don’t know what to do, ask, and please be specific.

Realize how difficult it is not to “Be normal” in this world. People often tout those of us unable to “Be normal” as failing to take “Personal responsibility” when things aren’t going well and accuse us of “Making lame excuses” because so-and-so did it, so therefore, everybody else can too. This is an unsound argument — how many things can’t you do that somebody else can? Tell me, are you not a football player simply because you aren’t trying hard enough to become one? What about a doctor? Is the reason you’re not “Doing it all” simply because you’re too lazy to try? None of these things take skill, right, just “Try hard enough” and that’s all it takes.

Of course not. That’s crazy and absurd, right? It’s how the world sees me though, especially when I haven’t managed to become the “Productive adult” I’m expected to be. Why?
Because it’s easier to believe we’re failures, to see our quirks as impediments to the workplace or even in the community, and our emotional outbursts as negativity that must be squashed. Except you know what we actually are?

We’re true to ourselves. When we finally realize there is nothing wrong with us other than in the eyes of society, that’s when we’ll truly realize our potential. When we’re allowed to twirl and jump and speak our minds no matter where we are, when we’re free from the limits of a day job that forces us to sustain an unsustainable sleeping schedule for our bodies, that’s when we’ll excel.

And all the good intentions in the world to help us fit in aren’t helping because in order to do that, we have to lock away the things that make us beautiful. Society is so focused on what causes autism and how to “fix” us, they don’t see the destruction they are causing, how they are trying to erode and obliterate us instead of understanding us.

Understanding me.

Yet I am not a puzzle to be solved. I’m not something that needs dissecting and examined.

I am a person with neurological differences, but under all that, I am a human who deserves respect. A human who wants love and a family and a fulfilling life as much as many others do.

We autistic people are beautiful and exceptional and loving. We are your friends, your siblings, your partners, your co-workers, and more.

And underneath that, we’re all different. Some will excel at living a “Normal” looking life and they are happy, but there are many who won’t reach that level, who have limits they cannot exceed.

Ask yourself honestly: what is so wrong with being different? And if you find yourself saying that you don’t think there is anything wrong with being different, really ask yourself if that is true.

Do you rush in to judgment mode of others that are really different? What is it makes you think that us being different could pose a threat to you? Are we really a threat? What are you afraid of about us?

Do you look at a kid screaming in the store and think how that person needs to shut their kid up, or take parenting classes, or about how you could get that kid to behave if you were the parent? Do you get annoyed when someone fidgets or moves their body in an awkward way that doesn’t fit with the public place you’re in, or if you see a grown person twirling or jumping or doing something “Odd” in a public place?

When someone doesn’t automatically act in a way you find appropriate, do you believe them “Stupid” or lacking manners? If you try to explain something verbally once or twice or even three times, do you start to believe the person is incompetent or shouldn’t be working at their job, instead of thinking you are upset because they aren’t working to your standards or even expectations, even if they are trying their hardest at their own level?

If you ask a person a question and they simply stare at you, perhaps blinking rapidly but not speaking, would you assume they didn’t hear you? Would you speak slower as if you thought this would suddenly make them respond to you? Do you find a person dumb when you ask them a question and the way they answer isn’t exactly what you are expecting from the question?

Is there someone in your life who, when you ask a simple question, goes into a spiel about something that seems completely unrelated after giving you a short answer to what you’ve asked? Are you frustrated by telling someone to do something and feeling as if they are ignoring you because they didn’t do it? Ever get annoyed with someone who you give instructions to find something, only to have to find it yourself because they couldn’t find it even though you only told them where it was, but not to them, you weren’t specific enough?

These are all things I’ve personally experienced and let me tell you, most of them are embarrassing for both me and the person perpetuating them against me.

Of course someone doesn’t have to be autistic to do any of these things, but can you imagine this sort of behavior on a daily basis? Not on the receiving end, but to actually be this way your whole life and unable to do anything about it? How many adults out there are just like me, but haven’t been diagnosed? Can you imagine how hard life is for these people who don’t know they are autistic, and the kind of ignorance or arrogance that they have to put up with on a daily basis?

The same kind of crap I had to deal with for years from people who simply thought me “Stupid” and useless?

How many people are hurting from those who treat them badly over something they can’t help… and why are we OK with treating others like they are less just because they don’t perform like a “Normal” person does?

Lastly, you know why there needs to be autism acceptance and not simply awareness?

Because awareness is standing there next to an autistic person and knowing we are autistic… and that’s it. Awareness is pointing at a group of autistic people and saying, “They are autistic!” and thinking that’s all it takes for change to arrive in how we’re treated. Like acknowledging us makes our lives better instantly.

But it isn’t. It’s not helping us get a job, or live better lives, or assisting us with those things we can’t do on our own. It’s not getting rid of the idea that the only reason people don’t succeed is because they must have a character flaw, or an inability to take “personal responsibility” for their lives, a belief that is patently false and disingenuous.

“Failure” in the eyes of society has many more factors than just one person’s individual behavior.

We need more than your awareness. And until people accept autism, accommodate those who are autistic, and help autistic people build lives with the strengths they have instead of focusing on everything they can’t do, things won’t get better for us overall.

Isn’t it time things change for the better, for everyone… autistic or not?

And lastly, you’ll notice I refer to myself as autistic. There is this “autistic person” or “person with autism” debate… I am both. Some people want it one way, others want it another… the point is, we (the ones who are autistic or have autism) are the ones who should decide that sort of thing and what to call ourselves, not somebody who has no idea what it’s like and who isn’t autistic.

If you know someone like me or someone with a disability, ask that person what they want, what they feel and what they need. Support is always appreciated, and loving us as we are is the most important thing. You’ll be amazed and relieved that you did ask us as we can be your “Best friend for life.”

Important factors to raising a child with a positive identity

Even though, I don’t have children from what I’ve learnt from my parents and through my experiences is that the form of advice right now to give about this is:

Self-identity is one of the trickier contributors to children’s healthy development because you can’t “Do” things to your children to give them their self-identity. Rather, you can only create an environment that is positive and is accepting that allows their self-identity to evolve naturally. A part of the environment that supports the emergence of culture and media, which aim to stunt, distort, or co-opt that self-identity.

Here are some of my recommendations on how to develop your children’s self-identity amid the cacophony of messages they’re getting from media.

  1. Inoculate Your Children Against Media’s Messages

You can help your children to  resist any of the social media’s messages by priming them for those messages. When you consistently offer your children contrasting perspectives, you prime them to stand firm against the unhealthy messages. You can actively teach them “Executive functioning” skills, such as impulse control, critical thinking, and long-term planning, which will further gird them against the unhealthy messages. You can also help your children become sensitive to media’s messages which will enable them to recognize those messages for what they are and see them with a healthy scepticism.

  • Emphasize Healthy Values

You should focus on the  healthy values, morals, ethics and etiquettes  that help shape your children’s self-identities, for example, integrity, hard work, respect, responsibility, and compassion. When you emphasize values, you’re also sending the message that the values your children will be exposed to through today’s media aren’t important to you or healthy for them.

  • Highlight Your Children’s Intrinsic Passions and Strengths

Every child has some form of passions and strengths to what they can do. Even though, today the social media are telling your children that they should value themselves based on, for example, what they look like or what they have. You should be telling them that they should value themselves based on their unique capabilities, such as their academic, athletic, or artistic achievements, their relationships with family and friends, their passions and interests, and anything else they believe, feel, or do that originates inside of themselves. 

  • Keep Your Children Grounded in Reality

Your children are and will always be bombarded by messages and images from media that are entirely out of touch with reality (e.g., you can become rich and famous without any talent or effort). Yet, with persistent exposure, these unrealistic messages and images can become your children’s reality and, by extension, an unhealthy influence on their self-identity. Your goal is to constantly expose your children to the real world, namely, the one that is grounded in positive values, accurate depictions of appropriate behavior, reasonable expectations and consequences, suitable responsibilities, and the inevitable imperfections, challenges, and failures that are a part of the human condition.

  • Have Your Children Involved in Healthy Activities

The best way to keep your children away from unhealthy media influences is to keep them busy with healthy activities. Help them find activities that they love doing, whether academic, sports, or the arts, and that promote healthy self-identity. Research has shown that, for example, girls and boys who play sports have higher self-esteem, get better grades, and have fewer drug problems and lower rates of sexual activity.

  • Walk the Walk on a Healthy Self-identity

If you fall prey to media’s messages and you develop a “Manufactured” identity, your children have little chance of developing their own healthy self-identity. Be sure that you have your own internally derived and well-defined self-identity and that they see it clearly. If they do, they will follow your lead and seek to establish their own positive self-identity.

For much of your children’s early lives, you are their most important influence. They initially look to you to decide who they should be, what they should value, and what they should do. “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t cut it when it comes to parenting. You need to make sure that you’re living the healthy life that you want them to lead. Whether it’s the people with whom you interact, the activities in which you’re involved, what you talk about, or what you eat or drink, your self-identity, as expressed through how you live your life, will dictate to a large extent your children’s self-identity.

  • Create a Healthy Family Lifestyle

Your children will base much of their self-identity on their most immediate environment. If your family life is informed by healthy values, choices, activities, and relationships, they are more likely to internalize those messages as their own.

  • Surround Your Children With Healthy People

You can surround your children with healthy people in their immediate social world who support everything that goes into the development of a positive self-identity. These healthy messages will not only prime your children to think, feel, and behave in beneficial ways, but they will also provide consistent exposure to contrasting healthy perspectives that can mitigate the influence from media.

  • Talk and Listen to Your Children

Your children have a tremendous capacity to communicate with you about what is happening in their lives, both good and not so good. Unfortunately, they’re often speaking in a language that parents don’t understand. If you listen to their messages, verbal, emotional, and behavioral, you’ll be better able to hear what they’re trying to tell you, particularly when they’re asking for help. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your children, especially on topics that make you uncomfortable or they may not want to hear. Though they may not always seem like they’re listening, your children want your guidance and support because they know that they can’t go it alone and they need you are on their side.

  • Focus on Others

The one form of externalization of self-identity that is healthy is when your children direct their focus and energies onto helping others. Healthy self-identity is built when your children are not preoccupied with themselves and experience the intrinsic rewards of improving the lives of others. I encourage you to make compassion and community service family values and experiences to be shared