For those of us who are autistic, the world appears vastly different from how it appears to other people.
And it gets even more interesting-if you can use that term-when you consider that as a spectrum condition, each autistic person sees the world differently from another. There is no seen-one-seen-‘em-all scenario here. On the contrary, once you’ve met one person with autism…you’ve met one person with autism-that’s it.
So, as one would expect, this is a much personalised list since I can only speak for myself. These are 11 things which I have learned since being diagnosed with autism.
When People Say They “Understand”…Don’t Get Your Hopes Up
When people say that they understand what autism is, what they mean is that they are aware. They know of it, and all that it entails, but whether they are ready to adjust their own attitudes and accept you is another matter altogether.
Socialising is a Herculean Task
Socialising must be learned the hard way. It’s either that or staying indoors and missing out on life and all that it has to offer. Most of the time you just have to make the effort and hope you don’t break down in a panic attack.
People Don’t like Being Told the Truth
It’s all well and good when you are a kid and people are willing to give you some leeway. Once you become an adult, however, people are not so quick to forgive. People assume you are being rude when all you are doing is saying exactly what you are thinking.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
People take this the wrong way and mistake it for being neglectful, but sorry if you are not standing right in front of me then the chances are I am not thinking of you. It’s not that I don’t care; it is just how my mind works.
You End Up in Arguments without Even Knowing Why
When you do have someone in front of you looking to socialise, the chances are high that you will end up in an argument and have no idea why. If you are lucky you are with people who “understand” autism then things may not get too far out of hand.
People get confused when you don’t “Sound Autistic”
People assume they know how autistic people sound like. They forget it is a spectrum and different people are affected differently. It does not matter if someone appears fine and sociable on the outside-if they say they are autistic, believe them!
A “Normal Life” Just Isn’t in the Cards
You soon realise that you are never gonna be like other people, try as you might. And this does not mean you are a failure, it simply means you are different. The sooner you realise the better so that you don’t get frustrated by your situation.
It’s Important that You Learn To be Kind to Yourself
Once you accept that you are always going to be different from all those around you, you can look upon yourself a little bit kinder. You must accept that maybe your goals are going to have to be accomplished differently and make the necessary changes.
It would be good to Be Able to shut out the Noise in My Head Every Once in a While
With all the possible things that could go wrong, you are constantly trying to plan ahead for all the possible scenarios-and that makes for a lot of head noise.
You Sometimes Wonder How Lovely It Would Be To Not Have To Plan Everything in Advance
It would be great not having to plan every possible social scenario in advance and that includes everyday tasks like standing in line to pay the cashier at the petrol station. This constant brain activity throughout the day is tiring.
In the End, I Can’t Be Me, If I Were Any Different
I can’t be anything other than autistic. There is no cure-there cannot be a cure if it is not a disease to begin with. I am just wired differently, and even with all the stress this brings, to have it any other way would be to no longer be ME.