• Bekki Semenova

Living with Autism and Comorbid Dependent Personality Disorder

My name is Bekki Semenova, and I am here to share my insight into what it’s like living with autism and comorbid dependent personality disorder. Because of this, I am often described as a very ambiguous and enigmatic person. Many people find it hard to understand me, even those who have known me for many years.

Many autistic people fear and are uncomfortable with change, life transitions, and other adult expectations. Many may completely avoid the topic of growing up, discussing future events and plans for the future, and struggle with adjusting to other seemingly normal situations that neurotypical people don’t think much of, or even look forward to.

Events and milestones that seem positive and exciting for most neurotypical people, such as high school graduation and getting a first job, might be extremely anxiety provoking, overwhelming, and triggering for nearly all autistics.

But what makes it even harder for me is my comorbidity with dependent personality disorder. The expectation to be more independent and taking responsibility is even more triggering. While, like everyone, I do want to make my own choices in my daily life, I have an excessive need to be constantly taken care of for both my emotional and physical needs. Even when I am able to do certain things, or have learned how to do them, I still avoid doing them as much as I can myself, and tend to want others to do them for me, and I go to many great lengths to try to convince someone to take care of me.

There are many examples of how dependent personality affects me on a daily basis that is often misunderstood. For example, if I am home alone, I would wait for my family to come home to prepare food, and even though I can hypothetically prepare something for myself to eat, I would consciously wait for the opportunity for someone to do it for me or at least help guide me through it with their supervision. I would often rather be hungry and have someone prepare food for me, than to not be hungry but show independence and prepare food myself.

This is to be distinguished from autism and other developmental disabilities, although the two conditions share some of the similar symptoms, people with dependent personality would avoid doing things or tasks, as much as possible, even if they are able to do them on their own.

Many times, I don’t even want to learn to be independent. I like the comfort of having someone to depend on to take care of my needs. I feel more at peace that way. And that is the reality for many people with dependent personality disorder. Having autism on top of that makes it even more challenging for me, and many others with those two as comorbid conditions.

In conclusion, I urge therapeutic facilities, schools, and other social service organizations who work with teens and young adults to closely pay attention to the individual’s behaviours, and reasons behind their behaviours, and what you can do is try to understand the psychological reasons behind why someone might try to circumvent and avoid even wanting to be independent, and if someone is out there like me, who has comorbid autism and dependent personality disorder, we have to unite together to make society more accessible for us, instead of always forcing us or creating expectations for us to learn to be independent and care for ourselves.

If you want to connect, have any questions or comments, or simply want to share your experiences with me, you are more than welcome to email me at bekki.pitayash.2003@gmail.com. Looking forward to connecting with you all!

Bekki Semenova

Vaughan, Canada

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