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Building agency and resilience

Living with autism, anxiety, OCD, and chronic pain

By Spencer GoldadePublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - April 2024
Building agency and resilience
Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

As someone diagnosed with autism, an anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and chronic pain, here's the deal:

Being diagnosed as autistic years ago is hardly one of the interesting things about me. These days, I embrace my awkwardness, confront my challenges head-on, and remember to be patient yet persistent with myself. I carry it more as a badge of honour while at the same time not letting myself be defined by singular labels. 💫

Anxiety disorder? Check. Anxiety may knock at my door, seeking to sow seeds of doubt and fear. Yet, in the face of adversity, I try to stand tall. I won’t allow myself to cower in the shadows of my worries but rather march forward with courage and conviction. 🌱

OCD? Oh, yes. Every time I feel the tendrils of an unhealthy habit creeping in, I channel my inner strength to dismantle and nip it. 🌟

Chronic pain? It's been a constant companion since childhood, growing more pronounced with time. The last three years were particularly painful. Yet, I refuse to let it define me, and I show up as much as humanly possible. With mindful self-care and a commitment to holistic wellness, I grit my teeth, take my drugs, and get out into the world and experience life as much as I can. 💫

Boundaries are absolutely essential for self-care. But let's not confuse them with excuses. 💪

I cultivate as much resilience as I can. I try not to use the cards I've been dealt in life as a shield and contribute what I can to those around me and the communities I am part of, which have helped hold me up over the years. 💥

Here are a few things that have helped me to build agency and resilience on my journey:

  • I try to build strong, healthy relationships with folks who will enable my good characteristics and not the ones that hold me back.
  • I don't let my diagnoses define me. Just because some medical journal or professional says something will be hard for me doesn't mean I don't do it.
  • I ask people what they meant instead of assuming. Gathering clarification and avoiding assumptions is one of the healthiest things I've learned to do.
  • I find time and aids to help me focus, and remove as many distractions as possible. I am particularly sensitive to sound and light, so I often work in a dark, quiet room, for example.
  • I try to contribute to someone, a community, or something every day, without competition.
  • I think about what or who I am grateful for and try to share that with others.
  • I set clear, measurable goals for myself to ensure I have purpose and am looking forward with meaning.
  • I look back and learn, making changes to how I operate rather than repeating the same mistakes over and over.
  • I try to build empathy for others and understand and show compassion for their own struggles.
  • I look at every scenario from a variety of perspectives and reframe things as much as I can.
  • I do things that bring me joy or refill my cup. It sounds simple, but it’s hard not to confuse this with self-medicating.
  • When I notice my diet, sleep, or physical wellness fading, I self-correct and re-affirm practices that help.
  • Probably most importantly, I try to identify problems early and often and act on them instead of dwelling on them.

We may not get to choose many of the cards we've been dealt with, but we do get to choose how we play them. Build agency and resilience, and don't let anyone take away or diminish it; reframe your point of view as often as you can. I promise it's worth it. 🚀

psychologymental health

About the Creator

Spencer Goldade

eMBA, UXCert, BDes, WebCert, CGD, CSPO

Director of Product Experience @ ZayZoon.

Vegetarian, cat-dad, friend to animals (except wasps). Very picky about waffles.

Leading teams in product, making games and writing fiction.

Where to find me

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Comments (15)

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  • Mike Singleton - Mikeydreda day ago

    Excellent and Deserved Top Story, We are featuring this in the Vocal Social Society Community Adventure on Facebook and would love for you to join us there

  • Flamance @ lit.about a month ago

    Great story sir well done

  • Great Story Thank you for sharing ........................................ By:https://webdesignindubai.com/

  • Susan Fourtanéabout a month ago

    Congrats on the TS!

  • Marie Wilsonabout a month ago

    Bravo on TS - your article totally deserves it! Thank you!

  • Esala Gunathilakeabout a month ago

    Congratulations on the top story!

  • Naziashahid Raisaabout a month ago

    Its really a beautiful story. Congrats for being in top🎉❤️

  • Your resilience and determination are truly inspiring! Thank you for sharing your journey and these valuable insights. Keep shining bright and empowering others with your wisdom. For those interested in learning more about content writing, check out this link: Content Writer

  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Great piece - the suggestions are detailed - and I really liked the summary at the end.

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Thought this was a great way of explaining things - Boundaries are absolutely essential for self-care. But let's not confuse them with excuses. So good. Great top story.

  • Ameer Bibi2 months ago

    A very well written or researched story that's really helpfull for all those people who are surviving with these

  • Ace Melee2 months ago

    I have autism, along with schizoaffective and dysthymia. I have chronic pain from a few digestive disorders. Despite things going on, we keep on persevering. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago


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