I am happy, but there were many times in my life when I wasn’t. Looking back, I think my unhappiness was usually a combination of two things: Unmet needs, and the belief that those needs could only be met in one impossible way.
- Needing compression, and believing that nothing would ever feel as good as a hug from my crush.
- Needing connection, and believing that my acceptance depended on looking and acting in acceptable ways.
- Needing consistent habits, and believing that my struggle to establish them was merely a lack of willpower.
Autism was a shortcut to discovering both my hidden needs and alternative ways to meet them – like weighted blankets, friends who embrace neurodiversity, and systems to support my executive functioning.
But even before autistic stories became widely available, I could have approached my failures with more curiosity: What do I think I need? What deeper need may lie beneath it? And are there other ways to meet that need?