thewanderingmonster to “I Wish I Didn’t Have Aspergers” #AutismPositivity2012
I’m Kit, and I’m autistic. Diagnosis isn’t important – how can a mental health professional know you better than you know yourself? – but because the university psychology department needed more autistic folks to run experiments on, they threw me at a student who was training to be able to officially diagnose people.
She told me what I already knew.
Now, this is a piece for the AutismPositivity flash blog, and I admit I’m not that positive. But I wanted to try to write something, partly because I know there’s gonna be folks posting these who have no idea what you’re going through. They’re going to be saying they never wished they were neurotypical, and maybe that’s even true. None of us know what you’re going through, because none of us really know who you are.
So, what do we know?
We know you have Aspergers. There is no clear consensus on the mental difference between Aspergers and Autism. It really depends on what people expect from you and whether you’re having a good day. Aspergers is supposedly “higher functioning”, but the concept of functioning levels is bunk. At the moment, I’m pretty high functioning – I’ve showered, made my own breakfast, and I’m now writing what I hope is a coherent blog post. (The fact I got up after noon is irrelevant, I hope.) But yesterday I was lain on the sofa, forcing myself into the cushions, scratching them to distract myself from the feelings of terror rattling inside my head. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak – I couldn’t get myself onto puzzle pirates (my current favourite computer-based distraction) to calm me down.
You can’t call that high functioning.
We also know that you ain’t having it so great right now. We’ve no idea what the problem is, so we can’t give any specific hints to help, though people keep telling me I could do with earplugs. I can’t promise that things will get better – I couldn’t promise that to the queers, either – but I can tell you, we are in the same boat. Some of us, below the water line.
What words can I say that I hope you want to hear?
We’re all here for you. You’ve been online, and I hope you get the chance to regularly. Get yourself onto twitter, tumblr or a blog site. No matter how little you can phrase, how few of your experiences you dare speak aloud, pass them on. Use a pseudonym if you’re worried that your mum will find your rant about the difference between what she expects from you and what you can do. Post whatever you like. Everything you post will be about autism, because autism pervades your life. Reach out to us.
And we, the autistic people of the internet, will reach back. We will listen, read and watch, as the world becomes too much for you, once again. We will comfort, distract and share our knowledge. We have to support one another, as so often no-one else will.
We too have bad days, difficult families, unusual interests. We fall apart, argue, get trapped. And I personally wouldn’t be able to go on if it weren’t for the people I’ve found online. Sometimes I’m finding it so hard I can’t go on at all, but I tell them, and they say “We want to keep listening to you”.
No matter how hard it is, you’re not alone. Talk to us. We’re here.