ASD: This is My Therapy

I live with autism. No, I am not going to proudly proclaim that I am autistic, because in the English language that puts my autism as who I am, and I am so much more than a label. For quite some time my psychologist encouraged me to write about my autism. What’s it like being an adult with autism? What’s it like having a career with autism? What’s it like being a doctor with autism? Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It all depends on my mood. My mood right now, after a disgusting display of ignorance by quite a few people is to share my therapy. I know that there are going to be some really distressed people in both my career and in general in the upcoming months, especially with holidays and Covid-19. I prepared many months before for issues that may or may not arise. I didn’t do it for a virus, I created my therapy as a recommendation from a therapist who said I may need a way to cope after returning to the US from overseas. Ergo, I adopted my companion, Nakama. He kept me from being at school all the time, gave me focus outside of education, and started me walking on my many racing adventures! All of the races are virtual, and even with the world’s crappiest Internet, I can still look at pictures from the route of the race, so even though I am physically walking the same routes over and over again, I can pretend I am walking in Australia or Chile! This is my therapy! The word therapy is not a bad word. I am pretty sure most people on this planet would benefit from some form of therapy. Nakama keeps me young and energized. Prior to Nakama entering my life I was a teacher all the time. I would be working on lesson plans for hours, conversing with students well after a reasonable hour, going to school an hour before the contracted day, and leaving a couple of hours or more after the contract day ended. Basically, I was kind of lazy in personal time, but overworking in my teacher role. I decided to adopt Nakama less than two months after starting my job in Alaska and probably saved both my soul and my body. Now I walk quite a bit and have walking goals! I made a goal for myself; walk two weeks on the Appalachian Trail. I decided I wanted to walk with another friend, so I adopted Tomodachi! Now my pups and I are working toward that goal. This is my therapy! I take my soulmates out for a walk, this is part of the therapy. I cook them dog-friendly human food, this is also part of the therapy. As a person who lives with autism, in a world full of chaos, I need to be in control of something. My career doesn’t give me that. Education is not the job for someone who is rigid, unless they have a way to cope. This is my therapy. I get to educate students in a chaotic world in which I have no control because I know that at the end of the chaos (day) I can go home and see my pups, eagerly waiting for me to entertain them. They love each other. They love me. I most certainly love them. This is my therapy. It is how I cope with all the stress of living in a world that does not give an inch, does not promise love or kindness. I found what I needed to cope. I take full advantage of my furry family. We will survive together. This is my therapy.

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