Growing Up With Autism: Putting My Mental Health First

One of the best things I ever did for myself was to put my mental health first and not be afraid to talk about it.

Please teach our society that seeking support for mental health challenges doesn’t make someone ‘crazy.’

When I was a kid growing up on the autism spectrum, I saw a therapist for a short time due to my challenging behaviors.

Being bullied in school, I would avoid mentioning this as getting help and seeking good mental health was often labeled as being ‘weird.’

Some of my mental health challenges were because I didn’t speak in complete sentences till I was 7. I would feel a wide range of emotions for not being able to communicate my needs.

As an adult, I have a job as a public speaker and speak openly about mental health. It’s important to me to use my platform to discuss topics like mental health because it not only is something that impacted me, but it also impacts many in our community.

For example, while autism is not a mental health condition, some who are autistic have mental health challenges associated with their diagnosis.

Today in the U.S., 1 in 5 Americans deal with mental illness.

With that, I wanted to write this and share some tips and advice for our autistic loved ones who may be dealing with mental health challenges:

  • Rule out as many co-occurring conditions with your primary physician: Some autistic people have dual diagnoses. For example, I have a dual diagnosis of dysgraphia, a handwriting disorder, due to my fine motor challenges.
  • In that conversation with your physician, ask for a referral for a mental health professional. Seeking professional help can help your loved one with guidance and strategies focused on their needs.
  • Think about self-care. I’ve met many people during my journey, from nonspeaking to professional speakers, who’ve been positively impacted by hobbies like Yoga to practice mindfulness and meditation techniques. But, of course, there are other hobbies you can consider as well.
  • As we do so often in the disability community towards making sure our needs are met, we need to have the same motivation toward mental health challenges. By advocating for mental health resources, we can make a better day for those in our community.

Regardless of where you are starting, I hope we can break down stigmas around mental health. You are not alone in this journey.

Written by Kerry Magro of Kerry’s Autism Journey

The post Growing Up With Autism: Putting My Mental Health First appeared first on Finding Cooper’s Voice | Welcome to the Secret World of Autism.

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