Living On My Own
As an autistic adult, one of the biggest fears I had before moving to my first flat was feeling lonely. This was especially so, since I have never found making new friends or expanding my social circle an easy task.
They say moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, autistic or not, and from my own numerous experiences this is certainly true.
Another factor which contributed slightly to anxiety was how far away my family are; my mum and sisters live in Northern Ireland and my dad in Scotland. Indeed, my closest family are all in London. On the other hand, I am fairly used to being on my own, even when I have previously lived with housemates.
Yet I am not ashamed to admit that there are times when my autism and anxiety can bring strong feelings of loneliness and isolation. This is when my over thinking can be my own worst enemy, and often spiral into depression. I am very fortunate to have a few good friends living in Cardiff who are there to listen.
Living on my own has also made me realise that it is important to keep my mind and myself busy, especially as Covid restrictions are easing and we can all get out and socialise a bit easier.
Having more space to yourself does have its quirks. There is no need to worry about other people’s dirty dishes and mess. You can also play your music as loud as you want without worrying about your housemates being too loud themselves!
It might sound strange to some but having the space to organise and showcase my 400+ film collection is something that is quite important to me. Indeed, if I won the lottery, the first thing I would do would be to build my own cinema room with posters and all my collector’s editions.
Do you need support for autism when living alone?
Perhaps the most positive feeling that comes with living by yourself is a greater sense of independence, responsibility and pride, and indeed, self-control of your living environment. Between buying a fridge and organising my own bills, I at the very least feel slightly more like an adult and a bit older.
Every person on the autistic spectrum, however, is different and it is important to recognise that all autistic adult needs are also different.
If you are looking for support for autism and independent living, or any guidance, our autistic staff at Autistic Minds are happy to share their experiences and advice.