Take Care (An Autistic’s Guide To Self Care)

WHAT’S POPPIN’ MOTHERFUCKERS?! Thought I was dead huh? Nah niggas, I’m alive and well, or at least I’d like to think I’ve been well, but the honest truth is that I’ve been a bit of a wreck the last year mentally. For a while I haven’t had the motivation to write anything. To be honest, I haven’t had the motivation to do much of anything for a number of reasons. We can start with work burnout. Some days (maybe more than I’d like), my job kind of sucks the life out of me. It ain’t anything wrong with the company, or supervisors because I absolutely love both. Work just simply sucks the life out of me, and someways it’s incredibly hard to be passionate about what I do. I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what’s next in life, and unfortunately I haven’t really figured that out.

I dabbled into coding for a bit, but I fell out of that as soon as home improvement projects and the search for a new car took up my time. I’m dabbling into photography which is fun, I just don’t see anyway at the moment that I can turn that into a career. I just don’t know what the hell I want to be when I want to grow up. Failure to realize my original dream of being a composer in the game industry put me in this state of flux where I float from place to place without any idea where I’m going.

I didn’t realize that going with the flow was the equivalent of jumping into the rapids, getting all sorts of fucked up by the rocks, and praying that God doesn’t send you over a waterfall. If I do end up over the waterfall, do I land on a giant mound of Mike Lindell’s My Pillows, or will I be gored by rocks? I’m not quite sure if this is the game of Russian Roulette I signed up for, but it’s my turn once again so I might as well open wide and hope a bullet doesn’t go through the roof of my mouth.

Anyways, the other thing that has been really fucking with me has been this pandemic, and no it ain’t the virus itself. As I mentioned in the last blog I ever wrote, I was never afraid of the thing. Even up to the point I gained full immunity by way of being vaccinated*, I was never afraid of this thing. I still worked with clients in person, I went to the store often, frequented Lowes and Home Depot for home improvement projects, went to upstate New York on vacation, ate out at restaurants, crossed state lines pretty frequently to ski, I still go to the gym frequently and have worked out unmasked through the entirety of this pandemic because why the fuck would I ever workout with a mask?! Seriously?! It ain’t impossible, but it really fucks with how much you put forward endurance wise.

*2023 Update: The vaccine does not provide full immunity. It’s efficacy wains over time warranting boosters. You live and you learn.

The biggest source of frustration from all of this is that I don’t see my friends as frequently as I used to. I was a pretty functional introvert and I saw people on a pretty regular basis. I ran/attended a bible study, I went to parties/functions; There’s a complete an utter lack of human connection beyond my wife, my immediate family, and the clients I work with. This coupled with work burnout, and just overall burnout with life just leaves me down in the dumps. I feel like I live the same day over and over. I wake up, go to the gym to pick things up and put them down, come home, have post workout meals and drinks, go to work, deal with clients (some of which can be pretty rough), come home, eat, watch my usual youtube channels that spell doom an gloom for society, go to bed, and do it all over again.

It’s been a long year, but I managed to get through it. I’m still getting through life, even as the world around me collapses and I feel more and more disconnected from society. I used to pride myself on being able to hang with people who’s ideals differ from my own, but I’ve struggled with that lately. When I do interact with said people, I’m generally fine; its just that when I’m alone with my thoughts and my youtube vids, it becomes increasingly difficult. Being isolated from people has made me come face to face with how starkly different my ideals are compared to the norm. I’ve accepted for the most part that being a devout catholic with conservative leanings isn’t the flavor of the month around these parts, but it doesn’t help when I’m seldom around other fellow Catholics.

With all of this, you’re probably wondering how I haven’t crumbled under the pressure of this angry birds toy structure we call life. Well, over the years I’ve developed numerous self care routines that keep me grounded on the days I feel like going over the deep end.

  1. Find things you like, and double down on those activities (as long as they aren’t self destructive). For me, that was skiing and photography. Ever since I got the hang of skiing, I’ve never been in a bad mood while on a chair lift, and cruising down a hill. There’s something about being outside that is an instant lift to my mental health. Getting hooked to skiing helps too.
  2. Get the fuck outside. I can’t stress this enough. It is really easy too doom scroll on social media and get sucked down the rabbit hole of youtube videos that affirm even your most cynical ideals. Sunlight is good for you (unless of course you have an allergy to sunlight then it ain’t always your friend).
  3. Get physically active in some fashion, even if it’s just a simple walk which plays back into number two. Just sitting around tends to worsen your mood.
  4. Cleaning your car is a really great form of self care. If you’re someone who spends at least 10-5 hours a week in your car, cleaning it inside an out can really boost your mood.
  5. Speaking of cars, if you use one then make sure you save, and invest in a car that you would be happy driving every single day for the next 5-7 years.
  6. Unplug. This also plays into number two, social media can be quite the cesspool. Some delete people until they’re only surrounded by those who think like them, but even this doesn’t help because those who think the same as you will still share things that ruin your faith in humanity. Unplugging is pretty difficult because of how addicting social media is, but it definitely does wonders to just not care what goes on on there.
  7. Interact with your friends anyway you can. I personally have grown to hate Zoom because it isn’t the same as being in person with people and Its hard for me to say if its better than nothing, because some days nothing is better than staring at another fucking screen.
  8. Get the fuck outside! I know I listed this before, but it needs to be listed again because it’s that important.
  9. If you’re religious, PRAY!
  10. If you have the gas to spend, go for a long drive to some place you enjoy. It can be that nice trail in the woods, that cool beach that overlooks the sea, or to a place you enjoy eating/shopping at.
  11. Pickup a new hobby. It’s okay to shop around, and pickup/put things down as you search for something you really enjoy.

I hope this helps. To be honest, I really suck at following my own advice and will probably be doomscrolling/watching as soon as I get off of here. But to the rest of y’all, please be good to yourselves and each other. These times are rough and will only continue to get worse. The virus may be finally starting to recede, but there are other problems a foot. Until then,

Take care; stay classy…


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