Overcoming Obstacles in Life
Overcoming obstacles in life can be easy for some and more difficult for others. For me overcoming obstacles is something that I deal with everyday. As I have autism, the way I see the world around me is different to everyone else. This does not stop me from doing the things that I want but I have had to learn to adapt to the many situations that I find myself in.
Social communication has always been a great struggle for me. When it comes to social situations, having a conversation can be a bit of a challenge. When I’m with a group of friends I would ask myself what are they talking about?, do I know anything about that topic?, and is it something I’m interested in?” For others it might be as easy as saying “Hey did you see that Conor McGregor fight the other day?” If I don’t know what they are on about, I would feel as isolated as a blue man in a crowd of red people. Most of the time I chat with the friends who I share a common interest with as it makes it a whole lot easier to socialise. Sometimes they tell me about the topic that I know nothing about in order to give me a better understanding of it.
Initiating conversation is what I find most difficult and no matter how many times I try, I still feel awkward as I don’t feel comfortable. As a result I often wait to be invited into the company of others rather than putting myself forward. This does seem ironic considering the fact that I have a great interest in performing arts and I am very confident when it comes to performing on the stage. I think that this is one of the major obstacles that I find difficult to overcome.
Sensory issues relating to sound, smell, taste and touch have caused me many problems. I find it extremely hard to concentrate in a classroom when I need to study for a test. My hearing is extremely sensitive so when I am at my desk trying to concentrate on my work, all I hear is the banging, the shouting, the screeching and I feel like I start to lose focus. This is very difficult for others to understand as they do not experience as much pain as I do.
I feel so frustrated that I want to get up and force whatever is making the noises to stop. This issue is easily dealt with when I study in a room with no noise at all which helps me to concentrate better. Noise in the classroom is not an issue when I don’t have to concentrate on anything in particular.
Structure and routine are very important in order for me to get through my day. From as young as I can remember my day has always been structured with routines which was also evident at school. Any changes to my routine would cause me major stress and anxiety. When starting Secondary school I faced numerous obstacles such as longer schooldays, big buildings, changing classes, changing teachers, and changing books. For someone who needs routine daily, this is extremely difficult.
I like to be prepared for changes to routine however I do realise that some changes are unavoidable but this does not stop me from stressing out. I have had to learn to adapt to changes but no matter how often this happens I continue to find it difficult to cope with. I now realise that adapting takes time and I have learnt that the change is not as big a deal as I first anticipated.
Autism is a life long condition for me and the biggest obstacle in society is the fact that most people have little or no understanding of it. I feel if there was more awareness of autism then I would have less obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately this will not happen overnight as autism is such a wide spectrum and no two people are the same. I realise that I will continue to have many obstacles throughout my life but I am determined to succeed with my personal goals and to hopefully become an actor someday. Thankfully for me I have great support from my friends, my family and school which has made my life with autism very manageable.