Let’s face it, leaving home can feel like you’re Frodo leaving the Shire on a quest to Mordor.
It’s normal for change to seem frightening, particularly for those of us on the autism spectrum. I was petrified when I moved to the city to go to University, 5 hour’s drive from Hobbiton the small rural town I grew up in. But here’s the thing; when it actually happened, it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I expected. I’d built it up so much in my head that I’d made it seem worse than it really was. (I find this is true of most fears actually; they’re like that little dog that snarls like a territorial lawnmower when it’s behind a fence, but turns into a wimp when there’s no such barrier)
One of the most helpful tools for easing the transition is a strong support network. If you’re moving out but still living relatively close to your family, you can visit them or have them visit you whenever things get overwhelming. While this wasn’t an option for me because of the distance involved, I found that daily phone conversations were a workable substitute.
Another trick that softened the blow for me was watching movies, reading books, or playing games that are familiar, to create a sense of continuity. If you have special interests, try focusing on those to ground yourself in something comforting.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help; almost everyone needs a little when moving out of home and learning to live independently. It’s okay to find things difficult at first. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes you a little while to get the hang of things.
When I was 16, I thought I would never be able to leave home. As of writing this, I’ve lived independently for 6 years. A lot of things seem impossible until we actually try them.