Okay, so just a little thought experiment to get you clever and creative folks discussing...
Morpheus sits you down and places a small green pill in front of you saying how it will instantly and painlessly 'cure' you of your autism, giving you the neurotypicality you would've had from birth, had things been different.
Do you take the pill?
Hi Evan, you most certainly are not a traitor and any way you feel is valid, many of us have spent a life time of being told we were wrong, so there are no wrong feelings here.
I am too still coming to terms with the diagnosis (I got my diagnosis at the end of October last year, and it was not on the radar prior to my realisation in May 2016). If you look back over the last thread (kindly posted by DC), I said then that I would consider a cure when I’m having a bad day or something.
However, my answer has changed since then. The way I see it now, is that the only time I have a problem with me or my autism, is when I compare myself to nt’s and want to somehow achieve what I perceive them to be achieving, when in actual fact, I almost despise their way of life and the way they think so why on earth would I continue on this self defeating trail of comparing myself against them. It’s like comparing apples and lemons. I realised that I’ve been fencing myself in through my ideas of what their lives are like and the insane idea that I need to somehow be like them.
By coming on here and learning more about myself and autism and by mixing with other autistic people at my weekly group, I am slowly gaining confidence to be myself and live my life my way on my terms. This is a process as I’ve spent most of my life trying to be somebody I didn’t even want to be so I’m allowing myself time to find out who I am. I guess you could say, I’m dating me, getting to know me and integrating some fun into my life. For example, I’m organising a trip out ice skating for those of us who want to go from my group. I’m learning to live my life as me and I have zero tolerance for anything less. I don’t know what my life is going to look like, how could I, this is just the start of my magical journey but I’m starting to listen within and begin to create my life on my terms.
I have not denied my feelings of anger at my diagnosis not getting picked up sooner and all that that entails. I allowed myself to feel those feelings, unconditionally and to sink into them and simply allow them to be, without judgement. By allowing them to be, they passed through me in their own time and in their own way. What we resist, persists. When we let things be, they pass by. Allowing the feelings to be, without judgement, I found that I seemed to process them as well. Not necessarily cognitively, although sometimes I did, but other times I just had a sense of knowing that that anger or whatever has been processed, I’m no longer holding on to it and it’s left me. Often times those feelings of hurt and anger are simply moments of hurt and anger we experienced as children, playing themselves out over and over again. Sometimes we have no idea what they’re about but if we allow them to be, they will pass through us and out of us.
Give yourself time, you can’t rush it.
Blueray: you are wise my friend. I shall keep the pill in my pocket for now, but not swallow it just yet...
And just know, that when the time comes to let go of the pill, it too will be a process. You won’t want to let it go. The ego plays tricks on us. We start to believe that we need to keep the pill, we make rationalisations to keep the pill, and at some point, we come face to face with the question, do I take the pill or don’t I. There are no right or wrong answers, no one way is any better than the other. Whether you take the pill or not, that unchanging life force of who you are, beyond autism or even beyond mankind (because afterall, who made that word up anyways because most of them aren’t kind), remains the same, unchanged, for ever and eternity, whatever that means.
NO my autism is part of who i am and i would be a completely different person without it. also if you think about it if there were more people with autism than none since the start then neuro typical would be consider autistic and we would be normal. hmmmmm interesting right?
I only received my diagnosis about a month ago, so compared with many people on here I'm still learning what that means.
I, like many it appears, have spent my whole life feeling 'different', 'odd', weird' or 'broken' re. how I think, feel and experience the world - especially the people in it and their social interactions.
In addition to that I've had lifelong, random, gastro-intestinal symptoms that have never quite fitted any definite diagnosis or explanation or cure.
I spent most of my life believing I had intermittent anger-management issues but was never able to reconcile the fact that at other times I was often the only person in an aggressive situation that WAS able to calmly and rationally dissipate a situation - was I deliberately choosing to be an ass at other times?
In my teens I was diagnoses with PCOS. I've had lifelong sleep difficulties. I don't have a single 'friend' and this has never bothered me one bit but I still spent my life thinking those two facts combined made me 'wrong'.
Then, due to an inexplicable exhaustion that seems to have taken over my whole being for the past couple of years, I was diagnosed with ME. I never quite felt that diagnosis really 'fitted' (mainly because I could remember shorter periods of time in my younger years where I felt like this) and began to question it last year.
While explaining to my GP why I didn't agree with the ME diagnosis, she concluded I had depression - which I KNEW I did not! I had frustration at the mounting list of things I was being diagnosed with, anger at not being properly listened to, worry that I must be going mad because surely GP's know what they're doing, right? (Hmmm, not so much apparently.) But I knew I was not depressed and seriously doubted I had ME either.
Anyway, cutting a long story short (and skimming over various other quirks etc.) I was diagnosed with HFA in January and I feel REALLY good about it! Finally, ONE answer for ALL of the above that actually DOES tick all of the boxes and doesn't tell me things about myself that don't 'fit' - such as 'You are depressed.".
For me, HFA means I'm not 'broken', 'weird', 'hypochondriac', 'part-time IBS', 'intermittent ME', 'lazy-night-owl', 'part-time anger management issues', or the many other ill-fitting labels I've had over the years. I can welcome this 'label' because it feels like me!
It's like having worn only second-hand shoes my whole life, moulded to fit a stranger but never quite comfortable for me, and now for the first time having a pair that have been custom-made for me! These HFA shoes fit all of my lumps and bumps instead of chaffing against them. They're not perfect, I wouldn't have chosen this colour (ie. the fact that HFA is considered a disability) but once I get used to the colour and buy some clothes to match (learn more about the diagnosis and how to work with it instead of against it) i'm looking forward to walking through the rest of my life much more comfortably (and feeling comfortable with who I am for a change). Also, these are MY HFA shoes, so they / it are what I choose to make them - disability or opportunity.
Sorry if the shoe analogy is weird, I'm more comfortable describing emotions as concrete things - and I like that about myself :) Anyway, I guess the answer to your question IS your question, 'own' it. Find your place on the spectrum and get comfortable there. Not all of the 'signs and symptoms' are meant to fit everybody all of the time. (I hope this ramble contains something useful.)
I love love love your shoe analagogy Endymion and your story of how you got to where you are now. It’s encouraging, inspirational, helpful to me in many ways, a joy to read and you are indeed a bright shinning light in our sometimes dark and confusing world. The depression label gets me as well, I am actually taking a low dose of anti depressant just now and it does seem to be helping me in some way but I would never say I was depressed, but can admit that some of my behaviours, lets say, could indicate depression, but some things are not always what they seem.
Yeah, but I personally have Buddhist sympathies - whereby the focus is very much dealing with the world as it actually is, no matter how crummy. And the stark reality is that NT's dominate the environment, and set the 'norm'. Autistics are very much the minority, and as disheartening as it can be, the current modes of thinking do tend to focus on us as 'wrong' and 'abnormal'.
As such, my current position is that I'd swallow that pill immediately, without water! I'd love to fit into their world, to ease through the social conventions and thrive.
You are all better people than me for making autism work for you, and seeing it in a positive light. But, can anyone explain how you actually get to that stage? How do I come to see it as a 'good' thing, rather than something that has just crippled me from experiencing a fulfilling life?
As a Buddhist sympathiser (whatever that is), you will maybe already know, that there is no such thing as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘normal’, ‘crummy’ etc etc they are simply perceptions that often change from one moment to the next and if a person has come to terms with and accepted their diagnosis, that doesn’t make them a ‘good’ or ‘better’ person, it simply means they’ve come to terms with and accepted their diagnosis.
Why do you want to see your diagnosis as ‘good’, what does that even mean? What is ‘good’ for one person, could be the complete opposite from somebody else.
Budhha was definitely in the minority and I’m sure at times he felt disheartened, we all feel disheartened, crippled, happy, sad, angry, excited, etc etc many many times throughout our lives. We live in a transitory world where everything is in motion, so emotions, thoughts and feelings are bound to come and go, like the clouds, the winds, rain and sunshine, they come and go and come and go again, again and again and again.
Don’t try to make yourself see autism as ‘good’, if it’s not good for you then it’s not good for you, don’t try and change that, you’ll only make things worse and you will never come to any acceptance around anything while you’re fighting against it and while you think it’s bad.
What is it about ‘their’ world that you like? You can be at ease in any situation at any time, by simply being at ease, and that comes from the inside and is not dependent on any outside influences.
I see many many nt’s who are not having the time of their lives either, I’m not sure they would chose the lives they have if they had a choice.
Hi BlueRayand thank you for 'getting' my slightly weird analogy (normally that's when I lose people!). Part (a huge part) of why I feel so good about my diagnosis is actually you, and many of the other regulars on here! (I would name you all but I'm afraid I might forget a name, as I'm apt to do, and inadvertently hurt someone's feelings.)
Every one of the people I've 'met' on here has been a huge help in allowing me to finally recognise myself, that's never happened for me before and it's given me the confidence to express myself more openly than I usually would with other people. Reading the things, serious and funny and everything in-between, you all post has actually made me feel at home among a group of people for probably the first time in my life - so if I sound encouraging or inspirational it's really a reflection of everything you've all given me. Thank you all!
The only time (other than as a teenager) that I experienced real depression was post-natal and so I do know what that feels like and wouldn't wish it on anyone. For me, medication didn't help. I tried it twice out of desperation and ended up basically being left to sort it out myself. Eventually (two years later) I came to the conclusion that if the medication wasn't delivering a dose of 'happy' every day, I'd make a point of taking a dose of home-made 'happy' every day - like a daily challenge to myself. One day it might be a walk in the park, another a cream cake, another a bubble-bath or, one that still brings a smile to my face, going out a walk with my toddler daughter and making a point of jumping into every puddle we could find! (It was ridiculously brilliant fun :) )
Although I've not suffered from depression since then, anytime I feel a bit down or stressed I still 'prescribe' myself that daily dose of 'happy' even if it means rearranging my plans to do so - because it IS important. These days it could be an entire day in pyjamas and telling the family I'm having a day off (ie. if you want to eat sort out your own food), rolling on the floor with my silly dog, eating only junk food for the whole day, or buying myself a new notepad (I know, not everyone's 'happy' but I just love the feeling of a brand new notepad with pristine smooth pages).
Obviously I would never suggest that someone abandon their medication (clearly not safe without a doctor monitoring it) but it certainly doesn't do any harm to add your own home-made medications of whatever things make you happy - every single day as if it really is a prescription! Because, well, why not?
P.s. one of my new 'happy' doses is actually logging on here :)