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Monday, January 9, 2017

4 Things I Wish My Family Understood About My Autism

My mother and I really haven’t spent much of the last year of our lives together. I have been busy with my life, she with hers. It’s how life tends to go. She was getting my son – who she adopted when he was a baby – ready for an outing to a play place. I was meticulously preparing my own bag for an outing to a new place. There was an argument after I told her “If these headphones go on, please don’t bother me until I take them off…” She did not seem to understand how vital that one directive could be. She thought I was making a huge deal out of it. There are a few things I wish she could have understood this morning. 1. Going somewhere new IS a big deal.
When I go to a new place, anywhere unfamiliar, it is important that I have my Autism Bag with me. It is also important that I am allowed to USE my toolkit. Without it I have meltdowns more often, and become – quickly – less functional. 2. I don’t really have a choice. If I do become too stimulated, it can be disastrous. Meltdowns are ugly. I get angry, defensive and I have even become violent. They are terrifying, for me and everyone else; and they are painful. When I can’t stop them, it is embarrassing. My toolkit allows me to deprive the senses that are become overloaded, and to calm down efficiently. For me it is a HUGE part of being functional in a society that doesn’t welcome people like me easily. 3. I wish it was different. It’s easier to believe that this is how I want to be. I know this. I have thought this before. Many, many times I have wished that it could be different, that I could just make it stop. That, my lovely, isn’t possible for me. I am going to live with this my whole life. 4. It’s never going to be different. I would love to tell you that – with enough time and hard work – I will one day assimilate perfectly into your world; that I will be able to think, act, and respond like everyone else does. Truth is, that’s a beautiful pipe dream… but it is still a pipe dream. My senses are always going to be tender, and it will always be hard to come back smoothly when they become overloaded. There is not a thing in the world I would not give to change this. I would surrender everything I know and have to be neurotypical. I just can’t. Peace, Love, and Bulletproof Marshmallows Mandey T

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