Saturday, March 16, 2019

I am 33 years old and am from South Carolina. Unfortunately, I am amongst the many unemployed on the spectrum.
Although I did go to college and became a Nationally Certified Pharmacy Technician but couldn't handle all the people.

When I was a kid my brother and I pretended we were knights and we would be on are bikes and have sticks and try to jam them into the spokes to throw us off our bikes. Lol lots of scrapes and bruises
I am very nervous around people but love to play my bass guitar. I play in front of 500 people every Sunday, but because I am playing it helps calm me down and I just look at the drummer lol

I would for one like people to know it isn't just children who have autism! All children grow up and so do the needs. Another one is people don't seem to understand because we don't look a certain way we must not be disabled or have any special needs even though you may tell them you have autism

My life has been tough. My dad was very abusive verbally and mentally and it has caused me to be afraid of people. My mom was very loving and was the only source of encouragement I ever had. My dad often tried to keep me from talking to my mom and not sure why but she let him mostly control that. In 6th grade I got really my first real good friend named Terrance and with all the parties my dad had every weekend with many drunk people stumbling around I was able to hang with him. He was a refuge for me a lot of weekends as well as my friend James who I met the same year. My mom constantly told my dad I needed to be tested but he would always say no there is nothing wrong with him he is just lazy or some other hurtful thing he could think of. While my brother and sister did their own thing, I was like my dad’s personal slave. Even as a child I was required to do no less than 17-wheel barrow loads of dirt a day along with picking up numerous loads of cut tree limbs across are 2-and-a-half-acre land while my siblings didn't have to lift a finger. When my dad’s friends needed help, he sent me to do the physical labor and when I was exhausted and hungry and stressed out, I was a worthless piece of shit. I lived like this until the age of 22.

Growing up I struggled in school and had to have speech therapy. I didn't even begin to speak words until I was three. I always had more fun playing by myself and from a young age noticed I had an issue with texture and certain tones. I can remember my mom having many parent teacher conferences over my struggles with learning and also because I was not socializing with other children. I also had my routines where my mom and I would go every weekend to the store where I got a ninja turtle figure and later a x-men figure. This is a routine I still carry tile this day. As I got older, I mostly locked away in my room to get away from my dad, but it was also my bubble my safe space. All through school I struggled and still do with communication. I didn't understand why everyone could carry on conversations and when I tried my mind would go blank and I take everything literal. Some of the people would be sarcastic but usually I would just stare at them because I didn't understand them. When I was 18, I got my first job which paid good, but it was hard. I worked at Target Distribution Center T-594. I was miserable with the lights and sounds plus all the people. I wanted to quit but also couldn't because of my dad. I had meltdowns every day but didn't know that's what it was at the time. I lasted there for Three and a Half years but was let go over a rubber band I was putting on the boxes popped off and hit someone. I didn't mean for it to but they said it was a safety issues but all I could think was yay I am getting out of this hell. Wasn't thinking about being home with my dad. My next job lasted all about a month and a half at Hollywood video making way less and again dealing with people. This was right before they went out of business and I go in one day to have the manager say bad news the store is closing. It has been like this for me with jobs to even with working at CVS at the age of 28. This is when my mom died suddenly of cancer and all my coping mechanisms were lost and I had a massive regression. Thankfully I had my wife to help me. My mom died a month before my 29th birthday and 3 days before Thanksgiving. When this happened all the people who were supposed to be my family told me I wasn't wanted anymore. 😥 A year later I am watching YouTube and this video about Asperger’s syndrome is playing and I am like oh my God this is me!!! I wake my wife up at 3 am and she is instantly like yeah scarily this is you. Next, we go to this nurse practitioner named Thompson who after telling him what has been going on all my life and what we think he recommends me to mental health. I instead was told they don't do autism diagnoses there. I found my current therapist online and made my first appointment. After struggling to talk with her she said she felt I was close but not Asperger’s but would have been PDD. After a couple visits, I take these tests she tells me are the DSM5. After another couple visits, she tells me its official you have autism.

I am so happy I got my diagnosis because it answered the why! I spent many times asking my mom and then my wife what’s wrong with me why am I so different. Now I am part of an Autism group that meets twice a month that has given me some of the best friends I could have ever asked for and then I also joined this group.

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