A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called Not Knowing What I Need. It was about my feeling like I need more help to be an adult than what has been available in the past... yet not really knowing what kind of help I will need. People are always asking me, "What do you need?" and I just can't answer it because I don't know. My aunt can help me learn some things, like cooking and managing my finances... but I feel like there is something so missing that separates me from the world. Something that keeps me from getting a job, making friends, going out and trying new things, and doing all (or at least some) of the things I imagined I would do someday. Yes, if I was plopped into my own apartment, I could probably survive at the level of a college freshman living in a university apartment. IF I could manage to hold onto a job and earn enough money to pay my rent! (I've never, by the way, been fired from a job. My problem is that I tend to quit unexpectedly, when my anxiety and depression gets too bad. The longest I ever had a job was 2 1/2 years, and that was a perfect storm that made me successful. Usually my jobs are lucky to last a whole year! Hmm, maybe that is an idea for a future post. But I digress...)
One thing I am pretty good at is advocating for my needs (when I know what they are) and finding resources. So, thinking back to my metaphor that compared a person with High Functioning Autism to a person with Down Syndrome, I got on Google and found out that autism can be considered a developmental disability. This is important, because it turns out there are a lot more services for adults with developmental disabilities than there are for adults with autism. Apparently, children with autism are expected to somehow evaporate once they turn 21.
Anyways, the first thing I found was an organization that is dedicated towards helping adults with any disabilities to live independently. You can get an advocate who helps you to find classes and services and helps you figure out what you need. They also have programs to help you learn about healthy lifestyles, housing choices and stuff like that. PLUS they have classes you can take, like art, writing, cooking, etc. Fun stuff! I have an intake appointment with them in a week and a half. I'll report back!
Another organization I found is one that has more recreational opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. I am not sure about this one because it seems like it is geared towards people who need a lot of supervision, although the person I emailed about it said that they have a lot of people who are independent and go to the recreational things alone. They do the kinds of things I like to do... like going to a pumpkin farm and corn maze! Corny things (no pun intended) like that... things most adults who don't have kids find sort of boring. So far I signed up for the pumpkin farm trip, a music therapy class, and a Halloween party. We'll see how that goes!
Finally, I read somewhere about Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT. The thing that attracted me to DBT was that they teach you real skills. It isn't like regular talk therapy, where you go there and you say what you did that week and go over all of your feelings about it and try to process everything for a zillion hours. I have tried that many times, and it usually ends with me eventually not going back because I feel like climbing the walls in there. That was why I liked equine therapy, because I was actually doing something, and the therapy was something I could understand. (I still want to do equine therapy again, but I can't find an equine therapy place that accepts insurance out here!) DBT is more like a class, and there is homework and everything. You learn things like emotional regulation (which I really need), mindfulness (which I started learning about in equine therapy in Chicago), interpersonal effectiveness (not sure what that is) and distress tolerance (definitely need that.) I already had my intake appointment, and I start the group next week! The counselor says she hasn't ever done DBT with autistic people before and she is worried about pushing me to do things I am not capable of. But I think I am at least capable of improving, if not getting to the same level as a neurotypical person.
So yes... I am basically trying to build myself from the ground up.
And... uh... that's about it. Bye!