So You’re Autistic, Now What?
I remember the person testing me, asking if I felt different
When I first started testing for Autism, there was a part of me that didn’t want to know. Maybe I could fall back on instead of my brain is different from everyone else I could just be weird. But I knew being diagnosed with PTSD made it easier to have a dialogue about why I wasn’t okay with certain things. And be kinder to me when I was having episodes of being brought back to what caused the PTSD.
I remember the person testing me, asking if I felt different. To not let this test that said I was this to define me. I thought back on the years I suffered as a kid. I’ve always blamed myself for my learning difficulties and how teachers made me their project to break and remake me into what they wanted me to be.
There are discussions about children bullying other children, but I feel like it’s rarer to acknowledge that children are attacked by their teachers. I was blamed for things I didn’t do and constantly in trouble at school from preschool throughout grade school. The funny thing is that I was the quiet child who kept to herself and had no friends in class.
I know that my family would deny my being autistic. I’m sure they’d say I’m just weird and that my upbringing wasn’t like anyone else’s, so of course, I’m strange. But now, when I don’t have a tolerance for specific clothing, materials, tags, or food textures, I stop blaming myself and chastising myself for being so difficult in life.
For example, I recently traveled hours to get to my friend who is also autistic. The tag for my bra was just so that it wasn’t lying flat against my back. My whole perception was focused on that one point. It caused my skin to itch, and I needed to address it because it kept building up this sensation. I couldn’t seem to think myself out of ignoring it.
I’m sensitive to light when driving and will get overheated, especially with my one arm that brings the full sun when I’m driving for long distances. The driving simulation and the highway sound build up inside me as well. It’s like all these stimuli make me feel too full, like a cup that’s overflowing everywhere.