Dealing With Stress

Stress Balls

It’s an emotion which we all experience, to varying degrees for varying reasons, and for varying lengths of time. The whirlwind of stress can take anyone by hook or by crook, but much as we try as a modern society to mitigate its root causes and its impact on those whom it disproportionately affects, it grips autistic people generally far more strongly. In fact if there was a single defining symptom of people who live with autism, I’m afraid it is stress in my opinion. And under the same umbrella of stress I also define anxiety and worry.

There are some problems with putting autistic people like eggs into one basket. It results in irresponsible stereotypes that can corrode the foundation of human communication between one another and lead oftentimes well-meaning individuals to have either too high or too low, or inappropriate expectations of autists. At one extreme they are seen as undercapable manchildren who care little beyond Thomas the Tank Engine, and at the other we have the equally ill-conceived ‘Rain Man’ and ‘Curious Incident’ types.

Perhaps more sensibly, the triad of impairments are used by many psychologists and other mental health professionals to determine if someone is autistic. These three pillars comprise of the deficiency of ‘Social Communication’, ‘Social Interaction’ and ‘Social Imagination’. Although this is undeniably more on point, it takes one autistic person to know one. Who has authored as many books as Chris Packham, invested as much effort into making life better for others (by which we mean other animals!) as Temple Grandin has, or masterminded a film as grand of a scale and budget as Ghostbusters like Dan Aykroyd? These are social achievements which anyone, neurotypical or not, would struggle not to be proud of and that’s to put it mildly.

We can get people with the disability who have made great strides in life to get a degree, good job, house and partner, and others who for all they try can manage to say a couple words. But the bottom line is that God will always see them for their nature and soul with complete regard to the obstacles in their way. It’s most certainly not a competition. And God will see you, addressing you neutrally but not discriminatively as a predominately neurotypical readership, for the fair and reasonable adjustments you make in view of helping them, again not necessarily succeeding in your aims and hopes but with your heart most certainly in the right place.