I’m going to go into activist mode for the purposes of totally tearing this report apart. I do not like being told that I am lying about my disability. I’m the one that has to live with it on a daily basis. They don’t have a clue. Basically, they’ve told me that I am a normal person and in fact do not have a disability. They can’t ‘see’ my disability, it’s ‘hidden’.
Let me break it down, bit by bit. They say I don’t have reading and communication difficulties most days. I may be able to read but I struggle daily to understand what I’m reading. The world is extremely confusing for me. I just don’t understand where others are coming from because I don’t see the world the same as them. The lack of understanding has lead to me being labelled a criminal. Those comments made to me above hurt because if I’d not had this condition, wherever I actually am on the spectrum, then I’d have been to university, had a career, probably married and had children. I missed out on all that because of the disability that I have. They have no idea how much my disability frustrates me. Another thing in regards to reading is that I have a lazy eye so therefore I need glasses.
I can’t live the full life that I’d have liked to have lived because of aspects of this curse. I no longer go out socially because of depression and anxiety which is part of this disability. A part of me would love to go out socialising to groups and pubs. However, the other part of me always has a stronger pull over me. The point I’m trying to make is that I haven’t chosen not to go out socialising or the way in which I communicate. It is how it is. I know that I’m always going to be on the outside. Others aren’t going to accept me how I am in their groups and organisations because of how I communicate. I try not to be like me out there due to being punished by society for aspects of myself. I never used to be accepted of that fact and it nearly did drive me to suicide about 6 months ago.
As for the medication part, I haven’t been on that medication long. Since then I’ve forgotten it several times. I do have short term memory issues. The fact that I can still drive is most likely because this is programmed into my long term memory. They are different and if these assessors had any qualifications to do with Psychology, then they’d be aware of this fact. Short term and Long term memory has been studied and conclusions have been made that different parts of your brain is used for both processes.
The eye contact and good rapport is just a cover for my anxiety and other issues I’ve learned to mask because I was always bullied for my differences at school. The only time I ever truly show my anxiety etc now is when I’ve had enough and am approaching meltdown or shutdown mode (I used to meltdown more but now I shutdown more). I’m good at masking things because of the way I’ve been treated. It’s a way of not drawing attention to myself.
I may have attended a mainstream school but I was excluded so much I couldn’t really say I learned anything in that system. I told them I’d been in residential care as an adult, notice they didn’t put that in. And that I’d also had support up until a year ago. I also told them that I was still on the 117 aftercare section but they haven’t included this in their summing up. I go to lessons for Maths once a week now and take GCSE law as a distance learning option, that is hardly a ‘college course’. I only have limb strength and dexterity because of going the Gym. The whole reason I went to the Gym was because I gained weight and my balance is improved by developing muscles. I have a weakness in my muscles on one side (the side that went dead after I had seizures as a child) so it balances everything out. If I didn’t do that for myself then I would be more disabled. It bugs me enough in regards to my weaknesses in communication and understanding associated with my Autism. I’d feel completely stuck if I couldn’t go for a walk because my balance was so bad. I keep my muscles toned and my balance isn’t so negatively affected.
Planning journeys is something I can do only if the place is familiar too me. I remember when even the nearest city where I go to college felt completely alien to me for at least a year when I first went college there. Even when I’m asked to go pick family members up in the city I’m thinking ‘oh my god it’s a one way system, how do I get there’? That was in regards to the local hospital which I’ve visited several times over the year. I get very anxious and then I get lost because I can’t think straight. I had to travel to the place I was doing my exam place before I actually took my exams. I nearly missed the turning even after I’d gone over there previously.
In conclusion, I find life extremely hard. I get on with it but I can’t survive without enough money to live on. I may never work because of the labels that I’ve been handed due to my disability affects not being understood. I shouldn’t be condemned to living a life of poverty because of that.