Thursday, February 21, 2019
I am 30. I was born in Massachusetts, but I have lived in the Capital Region of New York since 1998
I currently do not do anything for a living because I am in the process of applying for disability. I don’t like the idea of not being able to hold down a job, but I have tried just about every type of job there is, and I haven’t been able to keep any of them. I have other health issues, both physically and mentally, other than being autistic.
I am a widow. My husband died in November of 2018. We were separated at the time, but it was still hard. He died of cardiac arrest caused by an overdose of heroin (fentanyl) and cocaine.
my biggest accomplishment thus far is: I am a drug addict in recovery, and have been clean since February 6th of 2019.
I want to change the world to be more kind and understanding of each other, and I want to change me to be more kind and understanding of myself.
I want those who are not autistic to know: That there is no look that autistic people have, and no identifying set of actions either. We are all different, and have different traits. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is that when I inform people that I am autistic, they usually say something to the effect of “I never would have guessed! You must be high-functioning!”. I personally don’t prefer the use of terms like “high and low functioning” because it not only is hurtful to call someone low functioning to their face, but it also gives people the wrong expectations for the person they are putting the label on. When you see me at a job, or in public, you see the face I’m putting forward to pass as a neurotypical person as much as possible. If you saw me in the middle of a meltdown, or when I’m very overwhelmed, you DEFINITELY wouldn’t be as quick to call me “high-functioning"
I want those who ARE autistic to know: Don’t hold too much hatred towards Neurotypical people. I know it’s hard not to, especially if you were bullied by them the way that I was, but it’s not going to help anything. Instead, we need to work on educating, and trying to get parents to teach their children about neurodiverse people from a young age and teach them to treat everyone as equals from the start. The people that bullied you were bullying you because they were afraid of someone who was different and that they didn’t understand. I see a lot of hatred towards Neurotypical people in my Autism groups, and it just causes a greater rift between NT and ND individuals. We can’t learn to get along if neither of us can try to understand the others.
I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 29, so my biggest resource I’d say was getting my formal diagnosis so I actually understood what was going on with me. I had spent my entire childhood thinking that I was broken or something was wrong with me, so once I had an idea what was going on, it was like a breath of fresh air. Another resource that has helped me a lot is books. I have read many books about autism and it has helped me a lot to understand my diagnosis. I’d say the last source that helped me a lot was my brother. He is also on the autism spectrum, and was diagnosed when we were young,so I at least grew up with an understanding of what autism was, so I had some idea of how to deal with certain aspects of my diagnosis.
Honestly, the first person to actually suspect that I was on the Autism spectrum was my current boyfriend, that I’ve been seeing for about 3 years now. My brother was diagnosed at a young age, but my parents weren’t really versed in female autism, and had no suspicions that I was autistic when I was younger. After being with my boyfriend for a while, he noticed signs and asked me if I had considered that I might be autistic like my brother. After doing some research I decided to pursue a professional diagnosis, and was diagnosed with a Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder.
When I was first diagnosed I felt: I finally understood why I had felt like there was something wrong with me for my entire life. I felt like my brain was broken until then. It was such a relief, and the start of a very exciting journey of self discovery. I feel like I finally understand the way my brain works now.
I feel about my diagonsis today: It has only been a year for me, so I’m still learning. I now carry ear defenders in my bag, as well as stimming toys so that I can regulate my sensory input when necessary,and try to lessen the amount of sensory overload.
I wish I had been diagnosed at a younger age, because I probably wouldn’t have struggled in school as much as I did if I had had special help with my school work. I had a really hard time relaying the problems I was having to my teachers,because they weren’t equipped for teaching children like myself. I would tell my teachers that the way they were explaining things to me didn’t make sense to me, and then they would just explain it to me in the same way. I’d tell them I just didn’t understand the way they were teaching me, and they’d say that this was the way I had to learn it because that’s the way it was on the tests. (mostly math and science)
I have faced many obstacles in life, even without including my autism and late diagnosis. I was bullied all through school, then went from dating an alcoholic to dating and marrying an abusive man who ended up getting me addicted to drugs. I suffered from chronic pain from a young age, and whenever I’d mention it to my doctor they didn’t believe me and said I was too young to be in that much pain. I was finally diagnosed a year ago with Fibromyalgia and Arthritis in my knees, which finally explained why I was always in pain, and why I was self-medicating with illegal drugs. I now have PTSD from my abusive relationship, and have also been diagnosed with OCD, an anxiety disorder, and clinical depression. I’ve only been able to get through these problems with the help of my loved ones, and therapy. I’m still struggling on most days, but I’m learning to cope better, one day at a time.