Being at a social event…it never feels like you’ve simply entered a space with other people. It feels more like waking up in another person’s dream…like being thrown there. You find yourself in an unfamiliar space. The context and reality are inscrutable, cryptic. Nothing works the way it’s supposed to. At a basic level, you don’t know how to be.
“Let’s make a friend.”
The earliest memory I can recall is probably from a time when I was three or four years old.
A parent recently asked a question about her autistic child and radical self-acceptance.
She described him as being very inquisitive about his differences and having a strong sense of self. He is aware of his diagnosis, has terrific self-esteem…but he is currently quite young. The mom is worried about adolescence and whether or not he will continue to feel good about himself once there is more social pressure to conform and hide differences.
After I meet with a psychologist for a few sessions, she begins to mention the possibility of an autism spectrum diagnosis. I bristle, insist I’m just there to talk about depression.
Let’s call it a personality screensaver…
I was already of the opinion that Autism Speaks is a pretty awful group. Their message is so dire, bleak, that it seemed pretty clear to me: they do more harm than good.
Two questions this time around. One from a parent…and one from a lady diagnosed with Aspergers who wants to know how anyone could feel good about life on the spectrum.
Thoughtful questions. My non-expert, answery type things: in effect.
Re-posting from last year:
Growing up as a socially awkward spectrum kid, I always felt a kind of kinship with Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. But there’s a problem. His story ends in a way that strikes me as being counter-productive. I think it sends a pretty confusing message to kids.
Getting lost in Seville is like getting lost in a dream. Especially at night.
Drifting by people and stone, steeped in the verbal footfall of echoing voices. Restaurants folded into impossibly small spaces, yet expelling, into the passageways, a rich bundle of sensory clatter: meal-scents, more voices and the ceaseless clinking of glass.
An Odyssey of Social Confusion, Sensory Issues and Paychecks
I lived at home during my college years. I was beginning to struggle with depression…it wasn’t a full thing yet, but I was too spacey and low-energy to both take classes and hold down a job. But by my junior year, it was becoming a challenge to pay for gas, meals, stuff like that, so there was no avoiding it. I had to find work.
So, the employment thing: it started in 1995. I was 20 years old.
These are the jobs I’ve had.