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Friday, 6 October 2017

Its Time for Honesty

I often get asked what it’s like to live with autism, ADHD and the other things I have been diagnosed with. Now here it is, honestly, unedited, no rose-tinted glass, no trying to make parents feel better. It’s time for honesty.


But first, one other thing. Often when you ask what it is like to live with autism, many will struggle to answer and the reason is, we don’t know what its like not to be autistic.
What I’m going to say over the next couple paragraphs is likely to insult, scare or outrage many people, also, this is my personal experience and others may vary!

Some days, I reflect on the gifts autism gives me, and on those days is when I often talk about autism, but today, today is a day that isn’t like that. I’m fresh out of what I can only describe as a verbal meltdown. I lost control… again… and that is the biggest issue with living with autism, I feel like I have no control, in many ways, I have no control over how I feel, how I act, how I come across, how people perceive me. I can’t fake a good mood when I’m down, I can’t fake to be calm when I’m angry. Lying is really difficult, and many will say that isn’t a bad thing, but realistically, how many small lies do toy tell through the day to make life easier, to make yourself seem friendlier, nicer and generally fit in more… now imagine for a second you can’t do that.

You can’t fake a smile, you can’t say someone looks good when they don’t, you can’t lie to yourself. In life I cant be who I want to be, I have to be who I am, what I feel constantly. And you know what I feel, anger, frustration, confusion and most of all sadness.
I’m angry over the way the world is, the way I am often viewed, the way I lose out on opportunities. I’m angry because despite how far we have come I am not truly equal, but you really want the secret as to why I am most angry, when I reflect on myself… in many ways… I really am not equal to the average person.

I am frustrated because I have so much to offer in the right environment, the right line of work, the right way of life, but these are so far and few between. There aren’t many work places that can adapt to working with a workforce that has autism. And when you find one that can… well often the people who work there can’t. I’m frustrated because I’m often viewed as less, viewed as inferior, or rude, or mean all because I can’t understand many of the things that happen in social environments.

Confusion… this is where it gets interesting, I am confused by many of the things listed above, but also because I know why I am seen and treated this way, but I can’t seem to figure out how to fix the problem. You give me a puzzle, and I can solve it, you give me a question and I will find the answer, you give me a task, I will work out how to complete it. But you give me people… and there’s nothing I can do to fix myself… just let that sink in for a moment.

And then comes the sadness… the sadness at the realisation that this is likely the way the majority of my life will go, the sadness that there are so many other people who are feeling the exact same way. The sadness I am not valued for who I am, but mostly, the sadness that I know, deep down, I’m just not the same.

You see living with autism isn’t just sensory issues, bad behaviour, learning difficulties and the like. It’s people, people who learn to doubt themselves because everyone around them proves they should. People who think they are wrong because they are different, but most of all, it’s people who want to fit in, but just can’t.

People who are often just trying to fix themselves.

Thanks for reading,

Ben.


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