Causes of stress-
1. Upcoming events or situations that are putting pressure on you- this can be where you have many different situations happening and some might be out of your full control.
2. Daily demands placed on us- This can make us feel overwhelmed and difficult to deal with.
3. Personal problems
4. Education and study problems
5. Money problems
6. Problems with where you are living
If you already have anxiety (most autistics do) or low moods, stress can make the anxious feelings worse. If you already have a mental health difference stress will heighten that difference, during the stressful situation.
www.mind.org.uk (some information taken from this website)
Physical reaction to stress-
1. shallow breathing or hyperventilating
2. you might have a panic attack
3. muscle tension
4. blurred eyesight or sore eyes
5. problems getting to sleep, staying asleep or having nightmares
6. sexual problems, such as losing interest in sex or being unable to enjoy sex
7. tired all the time
8. grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
How you might feel-
1. irritable, aggressive, impatient or wound up
3. anxious, nervous or afraid
4. like your thoughts are racing and you can’t switch off
5. unable to enjoy yourself
7. uninterested in life
8. like you’ve lost your sense of humor
9. a sense of dread
10. worried about your health
11. neglected or lonely.
Often being stressed will make it hard to stick to routines, you might find that you are not sleeping well or eating correctly, this will then have an effect on your emotional state causing emotional stress as well.
This can make you feel tearful, fight or flight feelings, aggressive, the body will be releasing hormones cortisol and adrenaline which causes the fight or flight feelings, which many autistic people are already feeling so this feeling will be even stronger during stressful situations.
Ways to support yourself during stressful times-
1. Work out what the stress triggers are, are there things that come up regularly that increases the stress feelings, or things that perhaps happen less often. Identifying these triggers is so important as this will allow you to prepare when the triggers happen.
2. Break large tasks into smaller more manageable tasks.
3. During stressful times it’s easy to forget things, so make a list of the tasks you need to do for that day.
4. Make sure you are not overloading yourself, is there anyone that could help you? Take breaks from the tasks that are making you stressed (so important)
5. Make sure you are doing things that make you happy in your spare time.
6. Try to eat regularly and a good balanced diet (not easy!) make sure you are also drinking enough fluids.
7. Make sure to do regular exercise, as this will help to release the hormone that makes us feel happy.
8. Visit the GP (not easy)
I think stress does get to everyone but being autistic makes stress even more complicated as most (not all) autistic people will already be dealing with anxiety, eating differences, sensory differences and other mental health differences.
Stress will then make these differences harder to deal will as stress drives these feelings, this will cause the autistic person to feel them at a stronger frequency.
I totally understand that adding in support can be really difficult, just do what you can! And don’t give up!
Wishing everyone a stress free day! Girls Autistic Journey 🖤
Art work by- djamilaknopf- Instagram