My whole life has been a coping mechanism, and in this article I’m going to talk about destructive coping mechanisms with autism that I’ve had and how I overcame them – so stay till the very end, it’s going to be very insightful, and I’ll have tips on how to overcome the destructive coping mechanisms in our lives.
Destructive Coping Mechanisms with Autism
So when I was a boy, the first thing I did was I started to rock back and forth when I was two years old. Now that, in itself, is not destructive. But over the years, I have calculated that I have rocked back and forth, at least 46,000 hours.
In fact, I stopped rocking back and forth just four months ago. I stopped January 1st of this year 2021. And looking back I could have many regrets. I could say that I missed out on a lot of experiences, I missed out on a lot of social interaction; I missed out on life in general, but on the other hand, it preserved my sanity, it kept my stress levels low, it helped me daydream and come up with plans, because I can’t think sometimes unless I’m moving back and forth.
So there’s pros and cons to some of these coping mechanisms and if they’re getting in the way of your life, then you have to reevaluate them and see if you can reduce them or get rid of them completely.
Everything was fine growing up. I rocked back and forth. Then when I was around 10, I started listening to music. I loved music. I could listen to it a lot. I listened to my dad’s blues, and then I listened to my sisters top 40 And then I got turned on to my own music when I was 12.
I got turned on to hard rock, heavy metal. You know, the hair metal bands all of that and I just loved music and that was fine. I was still doing homework. I was still playing with friends, and so that was fine. My mom even bought me a drum set, when I was 12 because I was just tapping on everything with wood spoons from the kitchen and she was like let’s just get you a drum set.
I used to play my drums after school until my dad got home at five and he wanted a quiet house, so I had to obey His rules, and everything was fine until probably around 17.
Seventeen is when I started, you know, now I’m drinking coffee and I’m smoking cigarettes. I’m fapping like boys do, which can become another serious addiction. I’m not going to say the M but you can look up what fapping is.
And so things are getting a little more destructive, you know I’m experimenting with drugs, alcohol, maybe even a little bit of pornographic images and stuff like that. I’m still rocking – in fact I’m rocking more, it’s getting in the way of my homework. I’m starting to fail school. I’m just listening to music and rocking, more than doing homework.
I hated homework and I hated sitting still in school, I just wanted to be a rock and roll star drummer, and you know school is just in the way, I didn’t care about these exams and these questions and these lessons in school. They had nothing to do with my life. I could care less about history, I could care less about economics, I could care less about proper grammar usage, all of that stuff.
I could care less. All I wanted to do was play drums, and be a rock and roll star. So, I dropped out of high school. I got kicked out of my parents house when I was 18, because I didn’t graduate and my dad and I were not speaking. Since I was 16, I gave my dad the silent treatment for two years until he kicked me out. I was sleeping on friends’ floors.
So at this point I’m experimenting more with drugs, I’m drinking more, now I’m living on friend’s floors, I’m washing dishes for a living. Life took a dramatic turn and I didn’t even see it coming, my dreams of being a rock and roll drummer and going to music school in Hollywood was gone.
You know I didn’t graduate school, so my parents weren’t going to help with the music school. And I started rocking more and more. In fact, after work I would rock back and forth and I would get drunk, and I would listen to music, and eventually those things started to take over more and more.
So in 2016, I finally got to work from home because I had created a blog in 2014. I started to write. I’m focusing a lot of my nervous energy into writing, I loved poetry, I loved reading and I loved writing, and then eventually I started doing videos. I learned how to do affiliate marketing and network marketing and I focused all my energy into my business.
But then I started to become a workaholic because I was nervous around people. I decided to just focus on my work, and write in my blog every day. So I was still missing out on social interaction. I never really knew how to interact. So I just turned to drugs and alcohol.
Then, when I was 20 my alcoholism was so bad, I was getting drunk every day from the ages of 25 to 36, I nearly died from alcohol. I was putting all of my attention into my coping mechanisms, because reality was too intense, social interaction was too intense, I was losing friends left and right, and I was dying from the battle.
At this point, I have all of these addictions and all of these coping mechanisms all working against me and giving me guilt and shame, and I’m sabotaging any success I have because deep down, I have this low self esteem.
I have low self worth, because my dad picked on me, my friends picked on me, even teachers picked on me and some of them physically hit me growing up and I’m not trying to cry about it.
I’m saying that at some point in my life growing up, I realized that the world was against me and all I wanted to do was retreat, isolate and rock back and forth, and create my own imaginary world with rocking back and forth, and then the alcohol kept me out of reality and the drugs kept me out of reality. Music kept me out of reality.
I mean, look at your life, if you’re watching six hours of TV a night, which is the average the American watches TV, there could be something there, you know you don’t want to think about your life – you want to just unwind after work or whatever. I get it.
But there comes a time when you have to face who you are and you want to do more with your life. I don’t want to watch TV six hours a day, I don’t want to gain weight, eat chips and cookies, I want to be the best I can.
Because here’s the thing. I was humbled, I almost died when I was 32 from a heart attack. Did that stop me from drinking? No, I drank even heavier for the next four years until I was 36. Finally I just stopped. I was done drinking. I was ashamed.
If you see my other videos about drinking some guy came over and shamed me and I felt defenseless, I was having withdrawals from alcohol and I just felt so much shame and guilt and I was defenseless. I couldn’t kick him out of my house and I stopped, I was like, I’m done, I can’t do this.
I got rid of the girlfriend I was with at the time, got rid of all my drinking friends, got rid of all the places I went to that reminded me of drinking, and I stopped, but I still had sugar that I had to kick, I had to kick cigarettes, I had to quit fapping, and then eventually I quit rocking back and forth, and I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’m still working on myself every single day.
So here’s a couple tips. Here’s a couple solutions to get out of those destructive coping mechanisms one. When you start to feel stressed out, just sit still. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply. Up to five, and then breathe out up to seven – so breathe in 12345, and then breathe out, all the way to seven. Okay, just slow down.
The other thing that a lot of people with Asperger’s do is they make everything either black or white. Okay, very dramatic, either it’s a great day or hell is gonna break loose, and it’s the worst day of my life. So you have to realize that there are many different shades of grey in this life, and it’s not all or nothing. It’s not black or white. Okay.
The other thing is you got to really look at your thoughts and ask yourself, is this really happening is that really true. Is that realistic, is the world going to end today. Is that realistic? Does everyone hate you? Is that realistic, you have to question your thoughts. Not every thought you have is the truth. In fact, there’s many lies that are there, our minds come up with. You have to question every thought you have.
The other thing is talk to someone, get on a chat with a counselor, there’s 1000s of counselors out there online that you can do a zoom call with or a webinar or something.
The other thing you can do is healthy distractions go for a walk, get outside, take some deep breaths and go for a walk. I used to go to the gym, and after my workout I would go into the sauna. And after 20 minutes in the sauna, I melted away all of that stress, so you got to get the adrenaline out of your muscles, you got to do some dumbbell curls, You got to do some cables, do some jumping jacks push ups.
If you can’t go outside and run, do some squats, do some push ups and sit ups right in your living room, get a yoga mat or do yoga. You could do mantras, you can say I’m confident, I’m strong, I’m learning to love and accept myself today. I’m confident, I’m calm. I’m learning to love and accept myself. I’m confident, I’m calm. I’m learning to love and accept myself. Okay.
The other thing you can do is take a supplement like CBD oil or GABA, you can take Kava, I really like kava supplements. They really calmed me down. But like I said, working out is very important, get out of sugar, start using stevia instead of sugar, get away from pop, get away from the really bad candy bars and sugar.
There’s so much sugar in everything. There’s even sugar and sliced, Turkey, and sliced ham so really start reading your labels and switch, completely over to stevia, because it’s not considered as sugar it’s more of a fiber.
So little things like that stop smoking, stop drinking. If you’re drinking a lot of coffee and you’re nervous, cut back on coffee, you could switch over to yerba Mate, it’s a lot cleaner and doesn’t give you the jitters. If you’re not sleeping at night, take some melatonin before you sleep. Take some CBD oil that helps me sleep. I do melatonin and CBD oil.
I would definitely go for walks, and just look at your thoughts okay just really consider that, you know your thoughts are against you, most of the time your ego is looking for safety, and that will create lies to help get you the safety. It will be very dramatic, okay your ego is just a maniac, and it’s not true. Most of the thoughts are not true. So you have to analyze each one and get help, looking online to betterhelp is a good source. And I’ll leave a link to the CBD oil, and thanks for watching. I hope this helps, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Here’s more Resources for Autism and Addiction
Erik C Johnson