Autism and Mental Health

Evening,

I am wondering if i could have a bit of advice. I was wondering if autism had an effect on mental health issues and vise versa and if so how do people cope with this?

  • I think a lot of mental health issues, and certainly in me, arise from trying to 'fit in' and be something I am not. Autism in itself is not an 'illness', it is an inbuilt characteristic (some say 'impairment') that influences the way one thinks and does things.

    And this is fed by society as a whole not liking difference.  So I put on an 'act' to play the part of a neurotypical.  Only it is not quite there.  So people see awkwardness, peculiarity, strangeness because I often get it wrong.  And I try to fit in more.

    This is all very exhausting.  And creates anxiety. And for 'anxiety' also read other mental health conditions. Not being accepted for what I am.  At work I am sure they think with a good talking to I can be turned into a neurotypical.  I can't.  More anxiety.  I find it very difficult to suddenly change tasks and start up again where I left off.  More anxiety. 

    One thing feeds another.  Anxiety causes memory problems ('Did I really go to the shop yesterday').  My autism causes a different type of memory problem ('where did I put my keys?')So the combination of this causes more anxiety. 

    And so it goes on. Anxiety leads to sleeplessness, churning things over in my mind.  Difficulties in communication, exacerbating my stammer which is normally well controlled.

    Yes, there is a connection.  And how can I break this, how can I cope with it.  First I have to accept that this happens. And second I have to 'escape' to my own place hidden deep within me, escape from other people, be alone, let me sort things out myself.  And let me be in control of how I want to do things.

    Modern society does autistic people no favours at all.

  • When you consider having to deal with school, socialising, work, etc. undiagnosed, depression is not surprising. A diagnosis does not mean the end of depression but it is a step forward.

    My diagnosis has meant that I can at last begin to do what is natural to me without having an internal argument about whether it is "right" then trying (and failing) to behave in a neurotypical way.

    I agree with Trainspotter that modern society does autistic people no favours. Indeed, I would go further and modern society harms autistic people; I cannot make up my mind whether such harm is deliberate.

    You may wish to read this article about mood disorders for people with autism:
    https://www.verywell.com/mood-disorders-and-asperger-syndrome-259943

    Autism Speaks' report Autism and Health contains a section on autism and mental health. The report may be downloaded via:
    www.autismspeaks.org/.../autism-and-health-special-report-autism-speaks