Some days - no, make that most days - I have a really hard time getting out and socializing. I'm aware that interacting with people and having friends are what I'm supposed to do as a female young adult. Even as a geek girl, I'm supposed to have a small group of friends I go out with regularly and invite over and talk to, people I can make plans with and actually follow through on them. The summer is supposed to be a time of getting out, doing things and hanging out with friends.
My summer has mostly been spent alone or at work. When I go out, it's usually with my cousin, who is the one female my age who I'm close to, or with my mom. As much as I don't want to feel like this is bad, I feel pathetic. This isn't what people tell me I should be doing. If I were like most girls my age, I would be out doing things. I would be able to go to the beach on a trip without having an anxiety attack or needing to schedule everything to the minute, or drive to an unfamiliar area and visit something new without being terrified or risking having a breakdown in public, or having someone stare at me because I'm flapping and bouncing all over the place. I would be able to go on the camping trip I've been wanting to do all summer because I would have friends to go with me
When other people get involved, there are more variables, which means
more change and more stress. What if one person can't come and I was
depending on them for something? What if the driver decides to stop
somewhere off the plan? What if I get lost, or the place is closed, or I
lose something important? And then, the big one - what if I get overwhelmed and have a breakdown which leaves me nonverbal and unresponsive? All these stresses pile up and make me not
even want to go anywhere. I want to stick with what is routine,
predictable... safe. What I know. While logically I know that anything
can be dealt with, I fear these variables. They make it hard for me to get out.
When I think about how little I've interacted with people this summer, how few places I've gone, it hurts. These are the days when autism isn't rainbows and sunshine and happy advocacy. These are the days I want to be neurotypical, the days I wish to be normal.