I got stuck trying to answer a question more times than I answered. I mean stuck for minutes and sometimes for hours.
I would have been under the impression that making choices was difficult for everyone but the more I immerse myself into learning and understanding my own Autism the more I see this is not always true.
This morning a post showed up on my face book asking If you were stranded on a deserted Island which 4 things would you choose to take with you. The picture below had things like a tent, sunscreen, knife, rope, hand saw, water purifier, fishing rod. Ect. I sat there for a long time trying to choose and alas I could not. Here is why
My brain kept going in a completely different direction. The entire question is misleading. Why would I choose to take something with me to go be stranded on a deserted Island? The logical part of my brain has held me hostage from making any sort of choice that would lead me into danger.
I moved on and answered the question like this. I would not choose to take any of the items with me because I would not choose to go and be stranded on a deserted island.
Being asked to make choices about more than two options can leave Autistics exhausted.
The familiar question of “What do you want for supper” is easier answered in a different room than the kitchen and never easy to answer while staring into the refrigerator.
Add on top of that the decisions that must be made immediately and it sends me into an anxiety attack.
Studies have shown children with autism show more activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain that is there to relay crucial information needed for quick decision making. This ability is lost more and more into adulthood.
How dangerous is this for an Adult with Autism?
Life demands we all make decisions and sometimes life demands we make them quickly. Studies show that 50 % of adults with autism (that’s half) have been abused by someone they know. Many stay at home to avoid needing to interpret peoples motivations and as a result can be taken advantage of and even harassed or manipulated.
Being bullied is NOT a choice but as an adult with Autism I still continue the useless cycle my brain takes in trying to figure out what decision I made or choice I made to deserve being bullied.
When an adult has the ability to make good decisions beyond the influences of others they have the ability to steer their own ship (guide their own life, choose their own journey) However this is not the case with most Autistic Adults. More than 44 % say they do not leave their own homes.
There are now a few people in my own immediate circle of family and friends I can trust to help me make my own decisions. They do not take the choice from me. I am grateful for these people in my life. But making decisions is still a frightening thing for me to do and still sometimes my decision just like choosing the objects to take to a island where I will be stranded I choose sometimes just not to go and not to choose anything at all.
This is where I say a BIG THANK YOU to my husband for being someone I can trust! I don’t know how I came to the decision that he was someone I could trust except for one thing .. When you can trust someone-
It doesn’t Hurt.