Image Description: Dramatic plunging preternatural mountain scene in moody shades of grays, greens, violets, and a clouded sun. "Mitre Peak in Fiordland", by Peter Hammer of Unsplash.

Just My Top 25 Ways to

Reduce Anxiety as an Autistic

1. Become more familiar with the powerful uses the word 'No' has, consent, consent withheld. This word is your best friend for life. Because autistics are too eager for the 'Yes' that others impose or want from them. Assertiveness is learnable, assertiveness eclipses any passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive mis-stance.

2. Make connections with other autistics in the way that best suits you, that is sustainable - able to go on and on, enriching - gives more than it takes from you, is not draining, matches your spoons well, and theirs too.

3. Develop a stronger sense of what anxiety is, where it comes from, how much comes from anger, angst, thwarting, belittlement, your sensitivity being ignored, etc., and how easily it can grow into anguish or worse.

4. Get emboldened to change your 'ecology', who you associate with, who impacts you, who has access to you, who helps and who hurts, as much as you can.

5. Work with others to change your 'environment', how the world impacts on you, hopefully with a growing sense of choice and control.

6. Develop the practice of deep compassion in all things, starting with self-compassion and extending outwards, especially with patience and love.

7. Develop a sense of it not being "all up to you", not all upon you, giving yourself a break you would readily give to anyone else.

8. Stop procrastinating and instead start avoiding less important stuff on purpose, to a plan, a ruthless one if needed.

9. Challenge every killer message of 'broken' tossed your way, the pejoratives, the attitudes, the presumptions, the discrimination, the abuse, the threats... all that stuff.

10. Reach out to others who are suitable... plug-in, network, listen, communicate, debrief, unload, touch, smell, volunteer, protest, write.

11. Stop listening to social and non-prescribed drugs that lie and tell you that you need them in order to be you, chemical tricksters that make you who you actually are not, that restrain and dim the you in you.

12. Exercise daily, eat better, sleep better, get some rays even on cloudy days, look for what is good in your locality and become intimate with it.

13. Abandon the lie of perfection, perfectionism, ... getting better is good enough, is human, is rational, is acceptable, is progress - perfectionism is a sickness needing cure.

14. Defeat rushing thoughts, mental overload, with singular tasks that require focus, passion, full involvement, your autistic strengths.
15. Chain - if someone cannot help you with something too big for you, ask another person, and another, until someone can.

16. Think communally - what criticism or weight you put on yourself, are you willing to dump on all other 200 million+ autistics? If it doesn't fit them, it doesn't fit you either.

17. Accept that some anxiety will remain, that some anxiety is a heritable trait, that some anxiety serves to inform, educate, warn. Hear it, listen to the remaining anxiety.

18. Be yourself. as only you can be, as having to both live with yourself AND pretend to be someone else is exhausting, pathetic, and anxiety-inducing.

19. Have a plan ready to help wind-back any 'catastrophization', the belief that the worst that can happen will happen, an exceedingly rare event.

20. Practice reason, most especially to expel superstitions, groundless fixations, pan-phobias, conspiracies, thinking errors, time-wasting thoughts.

21. Don't leave 'ghosts' in the cupboard, expose them to light, challenge them, fight them, see them off, resolve them.

22. Never accept that fear can be best handled by desensitization, hardening-up, 'tough-love', inappropriate exposure. Actually revolt against that. I.e. Even if it means being revolting to those who suggest it.

23. Reconsider the value of list-keeping, over-planning, remembering, hanging on to, storing-up, counting, and unforgiveness. Pick your battles, don't hoard battles yet to fight.

24. Actively seek to reduce self-consciousness. When you are out walking, you seldom remember those who walk past you, and they likewise unless you have two heads or flaming orange spikey hair. Sadly, the truth is, we are very nearly invisible, except to those who would mean us harm, or love us. Flickering souls. Not people with three-foot wide raging acne pimples waiting to burst over everyone near. Flickering souls.

25. Let anxiety show itself, not be bottled up - stim, flap, jiggle, whistle, stroke, pace, rock, sing, dance, push, squat, spin, laugh, etc. Announce it: "I am anxious!". It's kept under dangerous pressure by being hidden. No apology for not being brief... unacceptable levels of anxiety are in the lives of most autistics still.

~ ʎllɐǝɹƃ uɥoɾ #weseeyou