By Robert Shmus
When living on the autism spectrum, such as having Asperger’s, there are a lot of struggles that can come your way.
One of those struggles, especially for me is anxiety. I’ve always had to struggle with anxiety, and what makes it especially difficult is it comes in waves.
For instance, in the morning I can feel very happy-go-lucky and even jovial. However, later on that day, my anxiety will kick in. My heart will start racing, and I’ll stutter, shake, and get very paranoid to the point of being scared to death. Most of this has to do with certain social situations.
Due to me having Asperger’s, it can be hard for me sometimes to do well in social situations.
At times, especially if I know people, I feel fine and I can enjoy myself among company. However, there have been times in which I would feel afraid even when there’s no danger to be seen. It’s as if I’m going to medieval battle with no armor, no sword, only my flesh and blood. Yes, it can be that scary.
There have been times in which it has gotten so bad, I would be afraid to go to social events, even though I really wanted to.
No matter what day it is, this anxiety can creep up. However, I have been testing things to help me with this.
First, I take deep breaths. Although this might sound very simple, it has helped me to calm down.
Second, I recite sayings to myself, mantras if you will. These sayings could be, “you are in good company,” or “you are going to do great today.” No matter how I say them, they are reminders for myself in times of anxiety. So far, they have been very helpful both at work and in the social world.
I’m still learning more tactics to help myself get through these challenging moments.
I guess what I am saying is for those on the spectrum with this issue, and even for those who are not autistic, there are times when anxiety may creep its head around the corner. But there are ways you can fight it, and most importantly, you are not alone.
If you have suggestions to combat anxiety please comment below.
Robert Schmus is 30 years old. He resides in southern New Jersey outside of Philadelphia. He currently works as a licensed social worker at a residential house for adolescents with developmental disabilities. He helps the youth who are going through crisis to maintain stability. He does this through individual and group counseling, in which he educates them on utilizing coping skills. Being on the spectrum himself, he is also a self-advocate and advocate for adults, who are on the autism spectrum. He has been part of numerous advisory boards and has done public speaking events. Robert currently has an LCSW license and is working on also becoming a motivational speaker. He can be reached at +1-609-280-7863 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.