There has been a lot of controversy around Autism Awareness with some saying awareness does nothing. The real key is to have acceptance.
When I was a young girl I remember my grandmother taking me to the doctor. That was the first time I ever heard the word Autism. I was very young and was not yet in the habit of listening in on the conversations of adults.
I liked the books at the doctors office. The chairs were wooden and I remember being afraid of getting a sliver from the wood or cut from it. My body always felt uncomfortable and I especially did not want to be sick
On the way home from the doctors I could see clearly the obvious upset of my grandmother. I thought I had done something wrong so when she said “do not talk about this” I gladly agreed. I agree to something far bigger though because it was not until in my 30’s I actually started talking about it again.
But acceptance was far from my reach. Many did not want to accept this diagnosis. I suppose they were convinced I was crying out for attention. (the entire thing is confusing to me because attention seeking is NOT what I ever did) Their reaction to hearing I am Autistic only deeper confirmed in me that something was definitely wrong with me.
I began the pursuit of changing every part of myself however trapped I felt I wished for that wooden chair in that doctors office so I could ask that doctor- Why did you say that about me in the first place?
I returned to the doctor and a psychiatrist and I received a same diagnosis. But also learned that my sensory processing disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and social skills and communication were most affected. I was told the window to help me was gone and that most supports where I live were offered to those who were younger.
I was encouraged to volunteer at a farm doing art with those on the spectrum since I was verbal and loved to paint. (I declined)
And this began my isolation in the world of Autism. I was once asked to please stop saying I had Autism because it was an embarrassment to our family. I did not oblige , I really couldn’t. I desperately wanted to understand what made me so different from others and change myself.
I wanted to die- I tried 3 times but the idea of burning in hell forever didnt sound any better (that was just another bad thing I believed as a child)
Then came my own acceptance.
I have to say I would have accepted 40 slivers from that wooden chair easier than I would accept that I am Autistic. It has been an incredible lonely journey- However I have an amazingly supportive and understanding husband who has been by my side encouraging me to seek more understanding every moment of the day. Sometimes just by copying him I can find greater acceptance.
He once told me of a blog he read about an Autistic person being upset with those that said he had autism. He said it sounded like he had a disease! ..OH BOY I can relate to that for sure. He suggested that rather than saying someone has Autism- say I am Autistic. I have began to do this and it has helped a lot.
I Know not everyone and very few will genuinely Want to accept I have Autism. It may be the greatest journey I ever take with very few but I am continuing it.
I often question- God why did you make me so different
Job 10-Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.
I once caught myself leaving the kitchen flapping my hands and instant fear took over me but it felt great!. Since I grew up in a very strict religion none of that was acceptable. I had not realized how much of myself I had kept hidden for my family and for society.
Autistic Tip- Try your best to not only gain information and awareness about Autism. Try also to accept it and most of all accept your loved one.
We really need to just be accepted. We are not stupid, we are not liars, we are not attention seekers, we are not being bad on purpose, we are not here to make your life miserable, we are not here to embarrass you.
I can’t apologize for being Autistic and I am sorry Grandma I had to talk about it.