It’s officially Autistic Pride Day. I am not going to make my contribution all about the positive side of autism. There are some of us that have never seen our autism issues positively. This is a day that all sides should be aired because we all live different reality with varying autistic traits. As I have previously stated, for every one autistic that is successful, there are thousands of others who do not have such successful lives. There seems to be a theme amongst those of us that have the PDA type of autism which involves much more failure and negative experiences.
I don’t want to moan about aspects of my life. However, I am going to tell my experiences because I’m one of those that don’t see having autism as a positive part of who I am. Please don’t let my experiences depress anyone reading this who has recently received a diagnosis. The only advice that I can give those people is to not be open with anyone about the autism or yourself as a person. I was honest from the very beginning but it didn’t turn out well for me. I have also known others that have been open about things like their diagnosis and aspects of their life which have ended up having negative experiences repeatedly due to that decision. If I could redo my entire life then I would certainly not be open… even with those supposedly trying to ‘help me’. Autism isn’t catered for by the majority of services in our current system. It is a misunderstood condition which complicates communication to the point where services are more distressing to us than not having them in some cases. PDA autism can be one of those cases.
Then there is the relationships/friendships side. I feel that bits of me caused by my autism makes me lose all those that I want to have in my life. I get quite upset over this part of life. I start telling myself things like… ‘if I weren’t so defective then another person that I’d got to know and liked would still be in my life’. I’ve grown up thinking that I’m unlovable because everyone I’ve liked doesn’t like my autism part and walks out of my life. I feel that I can no longer be open or honest with anyone I come across who I like either as a friend or more due to the above reason.
I get completely exhausted, ending up overwhelmed when I try to socially function to the point that neurotypical people normally find easy on a daily basis. I only have to spend half a day with others to get totally knocked for six. I spent two or three days functioning normally, albeit with not a lot of sleep, I then proceeded to feel really unwell because I was exhausted. I find this condition frustrating. This existence feels like I am constantly fighting my brain. I want to be one way but I am stuck with the limitations which my brain inflicts on me.
There is also something which also annoys me when it comes to others. They think that due to being autistic I won’t understand things. The point that we ‘lack empathy’ is also a myth. I understand more than many people presume. I also feel things when it comes to others. I cannot stand to see another human or an animal suffering. I have realised something is wrong when interacting with neurotypicals after they’ve been around other neurotypicals the whole day who haven’t noticed anything untoward because they are so wrapped up in themselves. I’m not supposed to be able to do that… along with understanding sarcasm or being able to understand/use idioms. I can do all those things. There are autistics that can’t do these things but I’d appreciate it if people didn’t just assume and write me off as not being able to do certain things pre-emptively. I do care. I do feel etc. I’m not cold hearted. This is what I would really like people to see. I am someone underneath the anger that I may have unleashed during meltdowns in the past. Anger happens when you care otherwise that emotional response just wouldn’t happen. I’m not an indifferent person. I would rather have someone in my life who cared about others than the alternative.
I’m sorry that I cannot be more positive about having autism but this is just how I honestly feel about living life on the spectrum. I cannot possibly say that I have pride. I would have developed pride for my condition if I hadn’t experienced so much punishment for it (sectioned, labelled a criminal and recently sent to prison). I lost my son to forced adoption by a prediction of what I was going to be like as a mother due to my autism. They never took into account that I had post natal depression. Instead of helping me, they took him from me on the ‘crystal ball’ method that they use all the time on disabled parents. I have nothing to feel pride about in my eyes. I feel that it is important to mention these things on such days to really bring attention to ways our lives could be improved with more understanding and alternative options so that no one has to go through stuff that may give them PTSD symptoms.