Monday, May 20, 2019

I am 36 years old and live in Loveland, Ohio.

 I’m a stay at home dad and have a part time job for extra toy money. I love it!

A surprising fact about me is that I’m a decorated Marine Corps veteran that fought in Fallujah.

My biggest accomplishment so far is the relationship that I have with my wife and kids. Even on the worst days I would rather walk through this world with them than alone.

I believe the only way to change the world is to first change yourself. I want the world to be loving and accepting so I work to make myself more loving and accepting.

The only thing I have to tell neurotypicals we don’t need to fixed we need to be accepted for who we are “warts and all.” Autism is just a different way of experiencing this thing we call reality. Different doesn't mean disabled.

Many things have helped me through life. In a weird way Marine Corps boot camp is just an intense 3 month ABA session. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. Completing that really showed me how much personal power I possess. These days I manage sensory issues with medication and meditation. For the gap in executive functioning I have posters that I made around my house with schedules and “how to” directions.

The most awkward and kind of funny story I have is how I got fired from my first job as a grocery bagger. An especially annoying customer was telling me where to place each item as it came down the conveyer and I got really frustrated. I snapped at her “Lady I don’t stand at the foot of the bed and tell you how to do your job!” I was, rightfully, let go on the spot.

The advice I would give other autistics is your health, mental and physical, is an experiment with a sample size of one. Not every therapy will work but some of the therapy that is most effective might be the most difficult. Keep a journal of what works and what doesn’t. You have to track the results.

There were a lot of red flags that my parents missed but my wife picked up on that point to me being autistic. I have a very structured routine and woe be to the creature that disturbs it. I also have an obsession with Batman. Not comic books in general but everything Batman. I repeat words and phrases that catch my attention. I stim constantly.

I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 32. It was a few months after my daughter was diagnosed at age 4. I took her diagnosis better than I took my own. Because of the dangerous misinformation from groups like Autism Speaks I felt that it was too late for me to ever be okay. It threw me into a terrible depression.

It took some time and work but I finally did get to okay. I love my autism. Everything I have done and can do, which is a lot, is because of my autism. I have found that the positives far out way the negatives, and the negatives are easily overcome with mindfulness.

Growing up in the christofascist midwest of America with undiagnosed autism made me an accidental rebel. My childhood proved the old saying “the nail that stands tallest gets hammered hardest.” I developed very low self esteem and began to self medicate. By the time I was in college I developed a heavy drug and alcohol addiction. I did not know that the self harm I was inclined towards in my dark moments were meltdowns. All I knew was that I hated how they felt and would do anything to stop from feeling that way again. That led to several, thankfully unsuccessful, suicide attempts. 

I have had a few obstacles to overcome in life. I had an absent alcoholic father, and a mother who switched back and forth from outright physical and emotional abuse to total neglect. I also had an older brother going through a rough time of it as well who would take his rage out on me. To deal with the pain of this I self medicated with alcohol and drugs. I eventually “ran away” to the Marines. That was literally jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. It was there that I saw the true face of humanity and it is terrifyingly ugly.

I eventually got to the point where I thought I couldn’t take it anymore. Facing a terrible choice I realized that I had to not kill myself but kill my ego. I didn’t have to be the best I just had to be me and that would be more than enough. I would not say that I have overcome my obstacles. I am overcoming my obstacles. It is a process that begins again everyday. I stopped asking myself “can I do this” and started telling myself “you are doing this.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this
    Although I was never in the military
    My mother was very abusive and neglectful of my needs
    As if I was someone who could just radically transform if she drugged me or made me be good. She couldn't accept who I am and never will. My husband isn't perfect, but accepts me for who I am and takes care of me and my kids so I can function . I'm still learning, thank you for your courage to write