Autism and Mental Health
Posted by JadeCrumble
14th Mar 2015

I read information on mental health all the time but there is never any mention of how it is related to autism unless you go on an actual autism website. I think there needs to be more awareness of how the two are linked and hopefully this blog will help anyone else who is dealing with autism and mental illness.

I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome 2 years ago, having had it my entire life. It was a massive shock to me and it took a while to accept. I felt different as soon as the diagnosis was confirmed. It felt like my entire life had been changed and I had to adapt it to come to terms with a condition that I have had my entire life.
But do you want to know what the hardest thing was? Realising that all them years I had been dealing with anxiety and panic disorder, half of it had been because of an undiagnosed condition.
Yes, I have also dealt with an anxiety disorder from a young age until now and that caused me a lot of discomfort and it did disrupt my childhood.
But as I have got older and started researching my condition, I have learnt that my autism has a hell of a lot to do with how high my anxiety levels can get.
I have read that anxiety is common amongst people with Aspergers and it just bothers me sometimes that, if this had been addressed earlier, maybe my childhood and daily life wouldn't of been so difficult.
But even when I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, I wasn't offered any sort of help and support. I understand there is currently no 'cure' for autism, but I was not offered any support of any sort. I was basically told to go and figure it out myself. And maybe that is the best way to go about it but it can be very confusing coming to terms with the fact that you are a different person to what you thought you were.

But the anxiety has varying degrees of how severe it can become. As a result of how severe it does sometimes get, I do suffer from panic attacks.
If anyone has knowledge of Aspergers Syndrome you will know that people with the condition usually set out their lives into routines to help them balance life and make sense of the world around them.
I myself have developed routines for certain days and situations, and even though it does help make life easier I have noticed that if this becomes disrupted or not possible I do become very low and very anxious.

For example. when I attended college travel was already difficult because of my anxiety issues but I did notice that if a different colour bus came or a different bus came from the one I would usually get...I would become very distressed. Sometimes I would refuse to get on the bus until the one I usually got came.
I also had certain seats that I would have on the bus, and if these seats weren't available that would also make me distressed and feel very uncomfortable and anxious for the entire journey.
As you can imagine this was not ideal when I was travelling for a long day at college and also travelling alone.
Another example is that, if I didn't wear or eat certain things on certain days, I would feel very uncomfortable and as though things were out of my control.
I managed to adapt to these changes, but sometimes it became too much for me.

I suffered with depression last month and I am currently still overcoming it. I recently found out that depression is also linked to autism and Aspergers
One of the main factors for the reason of me developing depression was not only my inability to travel anywhere but also my family's unwillingness to understand the things I was dealing with. They have known that I have anxiety and autism for a while now but none of them seem to show any understanding of it. Usually I am left to deal with things on my own and figure it out myself and that can be quite upsetting. I also found it frustrating trying to explain to my family what my Aspergers actually entails and what it means. They don't seem to understand that it affects more than my social life and social interaction.
So I did become quite isolated and if I'm honest I still do feel that way.
It is upsetting when people show no willingness to understand what you are dealing with so they can help you.

I never knew how much my autism affects my mood until I don research on it. I can become very low when plans change or my routine is tampered with and it can often take me days to come out of it and get back to normal. It is frustrating when people think you are just being moody for no reason, or don't have a good enough excuse to be so low.

I hope to continue to write more about autism in more blogs but hopefully this helps others who suffer with the condition and helps them understand that they aren't alone.

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