Conquering My Fears

Conquering My Fears

Conquering My Fears

My mind prepares me for lots of challenges. I keep visualizing what i would do in certain situations and that lets me handle those better when they come

One of those challenges I have had is my fear of heights. In my younger years, this would be a constant around late spring where I would almost forget how to climb up to go on the swing and would relearn from scratch. My dad would patiently coach me every year and I would become proficient by the end of summer. And then this cycle would repeat again next year. And on for a few years.

This moved from the playground to the stairs. I would be terrified to climb a new set of stairs. We have visited friends where we would come back from their garage because I would refuse to climb up in spite of all the patient coaching and support. Somehow my perception of depth constantly needed recalibration.i would overcome only for those cycles to repeat like with the playground.

This was still occurring when we got to japan. My fight with the staircase started as soon as we entered the house we were staying in. It took me a while to climb a relatively small set of stairs. The anxiety was debilitating. And since I had asked to explore the culture and nature, I had apparently signed up for unlimited climbing practice through the many shrines and mountains that were in our list to visit.


As we started our first sightseeing visit, I was more inclined to seek refuge in a wheelchair we had rented to minimize my sensory overload. But as we started hitting spots without easy wheelchair navigability I was forced to venture out and try. I of course had a full cheerleading squad that was actively encouraging and supporting. I just decided to lean on them and take one step at a time. And once we moved into nature and wilderness I took inspiration from what it had to overcome to try a little harder. Suddenly we were zipping through steps everywhere we went. By the end of the trip, I was actively seeking stairs to climb.

I am not yet fully convinced if I have put this fear to rest. But the japan trip ought to be a huge turning point.

Swarit Gopalan

About the Author

I am an 11-yr old autistic, nonspeaker that uses letterboard to spell/keyboard to type to communicate.I live with my family in Florida and go to Invictus Academy for school. 
I find a lot of solace in expressing myself through poetry. Music and nature also help me stay in the present, there is nothing better for me than to have my movement create a symphony with nature and to truly enjoy the sights and sounds. Living in harmony with nature is my life’s mission.
Right from the time of diagnosis, we are only told about all things we cannot or will not be able to do. Along with the check that is written to the doctor for the diagnosis, it often feels like our agency is written off too, especially without a reliable communication mechanism.  
Time to change the paradigm with more non speaker voices. It has always been a dream to share my thoughts and perspectives with the world so that I can be one of the catalysts to creating a better understanding of non speakers in general. 
My hope is that my words will help change the world from sympathy and pity for those like me to one of deeper understanding of our lives and allyship to ensure our rights.

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