I’m tired of barriers hitting me in the face because I didn’t see them coming. When we talk about resilience in relation to autistic people, we’re often treated as though we lack resilience and I admit that personally I can sometimes feel like that’s true.
A lot of the things I do are complicated and stressful and require resilience and I can cope with that. When I have purpose and my problem-solving brain is taking charge, my resilience knows no bounds. I can stay calm in emergencies and do what needs doing, but when my resilience is measured by other people’s poor communication or an avoidable unexpected change, I can feel it crumble.
When we talk about getting autistic people into work we never give them credit for how resilient they have to be to deal with that change. We never give them bonuses for their achievements in coping with new place/people/routine all at once. The visible bit can be how overloading it all is when things don’t go according to plan and you’ve already coped with so much.
Being resilient enough to do the job is a different thing altogether. By then routine can have set in, environments aren’t new, support is in place, you know how things work; but those early days can be too much of a barrier for so many.
But I see you. I see how huge that beginning was, I know how tiring and painful and hard it can be, I know how unreliable the people you should be relying on may be; I see your resilience. I see it for what it is; that you are more – not less – resilient than those who aren’t affected by those things. You are incredible and mighty and if you can just push on through those difficulties can fade with familiarity and practice.
We are mightier than they will ever know and our resilience is humongous – even when we have to turn back.