I have felt different my whole life, not just different but broken, crazy, and misunderstood. I do not have the words for how it feels to have 35 years of my life go by with few real forms of connection to others, being yelled at everyday in school, being bullied, ostracized, and physically threatened and attacked by both adults and peers because I am different. I cannot fully express the relief I felt at discovering I am autistic, and then came the very deep grief at a life lived without any solutions to what I experienced.
I didn’t know all I needed was ear plugs for a crowded place, that others didn’t hear the way I did, that I don’t feel hunger or thirst, that my “panic attacks” were sensory meltdowns, my communication was direct and honest, not rude, that I was blinded by light and that gave my lifelong migraines, that my needs weren’t inconvenient, my pauses to questions didn’t mean I was stupid, that I’m discalculiac and that is why I failed math, that my facial expressions weren’t of malice, my inability to speak wasn’t a choice, that I wasn’t arrogant but in desperate need of someone to notice that I. Was. Not. OKAY.
The list could go on forever. And now that I know I am autistic I am so desperate to be fully seen. I am so in need of deep and true belief, a truly engaged ear, to not be othered or samed, but to just be seen as I am for all that I am, unique.
My explanations are taken as defensiveness. My communication is seen as too lengthy. My asking for more information so that I can understand my NT loved ones is seen as irritating, frustrating, and misconstrued. My attempt to share all I have learned about autism is seen as my having a pity party. I have been told to “join a group” and that “I talk about autism too much” which I just take to mean that those I long to be close to have no interest in actually learning about me and how I see the world. And yet we are simultaneously told that we are in our own bubble, that we are hard to reach, and that it is just too hard and unmanageable to reach us. I’m trying so hard to be heard and it just feels like the more I try the further my NT loved ones get. I am sad and feeling alone today. I am becoming increasingly discouraged that I will ever truly be understood in my personal life. I am so grateful for my Autistic community online because without all of you I am sure I would feel even more alone in all of this.