Let me start by saying I’ll try not to draw this out because nobody wants to sit and read a blog for hours. With articles and videos becoming shorter and shorter I realize that we want to grab information quickly and move on to the next gratifying stimulation on the internet. So never fear, this won’t be painful. However if you’re here because you’ve likely stumbled onto the autism and mental health tags then I’ll have to give you a brief back story of why this precipice of which I’m about to roll over and soar is so important.
For as long as I can remember I have felt like the odd man out, an alien, a mistake, a square peg trying desperately to fit into a round hole (insert any other fitting cliche here). I’ve gotten somewhat better at camouflaging myself now in my 27th year of life than I used to but I still remember the struggle. I have been in mental health services since I was 5 years old when my mother and my godparents couldn’t figure out why I would throw “temper tantrums” for hours on end, audience, no audience, didn’t matter. I would bite myself, claw myself, scream at the top of my longs non-stop, cry, kick, arch my back, pound the ground, throw myself, beat my head against the wall, basically any type of physical abuse I could put myself through to physically exhaust myself for as long as it took until there was no energy left in my little body.
Frustrated, they turned to counselors. As I got older the meltdowns continued. They never stopped. That being said I have an extensive history in mental health and with people trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me. Over time I learned that if I wanted anyone to like me I had to learn to keep quiet because when I spoke, sometimes I got it right and people laughed, but more often than not, I got it wrong and it was really weird or really rude. I never could understand which, though, or how. All I knew was that I I tried SO hard that it was evident. I was trying TOO hard. So I learned to keep quiet. Stay quiet. Blend in. Do what they tell you. But even then I couldn’t stay focused.
I couldn’t stay focused on sports, school activities, group projects, class activities. I feel as though my entire life has been me being in my bubble and being yelled at for it. Trying to figure out how to co-exist with people that hate me for no reason. Anyway, when I finally grew into adolescence (whoa that was scary for everyone) I became possibly the angriest person alive and just said, “fuck it”. I did not care what anyone thought, whether I graduated high school, whether I lived or died, whether I had friends or didn’t, whether I found love, whether there was God or wasn’t. Once I got my hands on a portable no-skip CD player and some ear buds there was nothing anyone could tell me anymore and I was unstoppable.
Equipped with my one true love, Jonathan Davis from Korn, inside of all my notebooks and every Korn CD I could afford with my allowance I quickly became very hateful and secluded. My mother had to call the police on me several times, there were alternative school stints, self mutilation, stays in mental institutions where I fabricated bouts of hallucinations so I wouldn’t have to go home and then eventually when I began running with a group of people who actually accepted me for who I was… my mother relinquished me to foster care, albeit for my best interest. However at the time it was absolutely devastating to me.
I’m skipping a lot of details and some things that may be important but I’ll get to that later in this series. Right now I”m focusing on why this is all important. They threw me in with the bi-polars, then with borderline personality disorder, then PTSD, then Major Depression, then Panic Disorder, bla bla bla bla bla… but on May 3, 2017 I saw a new Dr. for the first time and she asked me different questions. She asked me why. Why am I depressed. She asked deeper questions, deeper and deeper until she got to the root of the fact that I’m resentful of having to touch everything with my hands every day. That most clothings are extremely uncomfortable and offensive, and that I hate my household duties and my life as a stay at home mom because of the textures I handle not because of the tasks I perform.
I live in an endless cycle of guilt and anxiety because I can’t stand for my children to touch me but I let them do it anyway because I don’t want them to feel unloved. But secretly inside I want to YANK my hands and arms violently away from them because my skin is on FIRE with loathing at being touched by other people and their filthy hands. Then she said it. “You may have high functioning autism.” And the curiosity bred an obsession to know everything I could know about it.
So here I am 2 weeks later after another Dr.s appointment. After having gone into more detail about more of my qualms and despair at why life and people and relationships continue to baffle me and she says in her profession opinion I”m on the spectrum but she can’t diagnose me because she doesn’t specialize. So she’s sending me to be evaluated in another town. My family is reluctant to hear this and doesn’t want to talk about it but I want to shout it! I want to scream it! Because if this is the answer then I don’t necessarily have an excuse but I have an answer! It means I’m not a freak! I”m not a weirdo! I”m not unlovable or a terrible mother or a horrible wife or just terrible at life! It means that I can find out what’s wrong and live better. And it means I can find my place in the world beside people like me in a community beside people who have known for a long time and know how to get by.
So now I guess we play the waiting game for the phone call that tells me the appointment is scheduled. I’ll be back then.
“Somebody Check My Brain” – Alice In Chains