Photographs and writings documenting 4 years of non-stop solo travel by an autistic female

Why American Culture is Toxic to People with Autism and Mental Illness

People think that travel is difficult for someone on the spectrum but i do not believe this is so. Travel was so much less stress than working a meaningless job that you hate.  When I traveled full- time i would work for food and a place to sleep. I did not feel too attached to the job because I knew that I could always leave. The whole point was to do a work exchange for a month or so and move on to the next place.

Now that I settled , I feel like my life is meaningless. In America people often have to work numerous jobs that they hate. Many employers will not hire full time labor due to the fact they would have to give them benefits and treat them like human beings.  For someone on the spectrum that can be very difficult. Many of us hyper focus and have difficulty focusing on things that do not interest us.  Another issue with working with autism is that we may have a harder time dealing with pressure and time limits.  I have faced burnout in as short as a month at some jobs.  It is nearly impossible to find jobs as an adult that will accommodate your needs as an autistic person. You are forced to mask all day and for some that results in a meltdown or shutdown.  Most of the government funding goes to school aged-kids and even that is ridiculously low. Adults get cut off  and throw into a world that is way too overwhelming for many of us to thrive. For me this  can result in suicidal ideation and low feelings of self worth.

Travel can provide an escape from that and a sense of relief. Some cultures are not as fast paced as American culture.  As an oversensitive person with autism ,I feel more at ease along the Mekong Delta or Southern Europe than i ever will here.  Whenever i am down or depressed , I consider giving up all of my belongings and leaving again.  Other than Autism, i have sever anxiety, OCD traits and bouts of horrible Depression.  I have panic attacks on occasion.  I had not had one panic attack during my time abroad. My conclusion is that It is a direct result of the culture in America. A culture so competitive seems toxic to me.

In America there is so much to worry about. If you are sick and can not work, you worry about being able to eat. The housing cost is so high and pay is so low.  I have Medicare and it is hard to find doctors that accept it. I have no vision or dental insurance and the copayment for therapists are so high.  If i would be physically injured, i could not work and very well end up sleeping on the streets.  Many of us on the spectrum can not hold down a job and are so burned out when working one that we shut down when we come home. By shut down, i mean have no energy to speak to people. For me i stay in my room for day under a blanket and do not come out.  I usually cry when this happens and sometimes wish that i were dead.

I wish America would slow down it’s pace a bit and not be so angry and competitive. The toxicity of this culture has claimed the lives of countless people. Their lives were lost to health problems triggered by stress or suicide . The truth is many of us with autism develop mental health issues because we can not thrive in such a culture. This has to change but sadly, i doubt it will.





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    What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious experience concerning unpredicted emotions.

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