Everyone experiences things differently, of that there is no doubt. I’d like to gain other people’s perspectives, to gain other people’s view on the neurotype which we have in common, Autism. Perhaps through sharing, we can gain insight and help each other, or perhaps it might just be cathartic for people to share, in any case:What does your Autism mean to you?
I’ll start by conveying what my Autism means to me:
My Autism means freedom, from expectations of fitting in with the majority of people. My Autism means that I’ve forgiven myself for being different/odd/weird. I am as I am, as long as I kind and caring towards others to the best of my ability then that is good enough for me. I do not need other people’s approval for the way my brain functions.
My Autism means that I’ve finally found where I belong. My diagnosis has opened up a world of other autistic people who ‘get it’, who I can speak with on the same level. It was of course, a world that was always there, I just didn’t realise that I belonged before.
My Autism means I have a unique insight into how my youngest daughter’s mind works (nearly 3, also Autistic, still pre-verbal). It means that I can read her, translate her non-verbal communication (which too be fair she’s pro at) into verbal communication for those that don’t understand her. My Autism means that I can advocate for her, with ‘inside knowledge’ to family, nursery staff, professionals, etc.
My Autism means that I can advocate for other Autistic people. At support groups for parents of Autistic children; When my Autistic friends are struggling to get to appointments or do other tasks.
My Autism means that I‘ve found a purpose building community within the Autistic population. It led me to start my group for other autistic women in my local area. Because members of any tribe are stronger together as opposed to being dotted around on their own. Through this group I also learn about a lot of resources for both autistic adults and children and I signpost people who I meet, whether it is the lonely autistic adult who needs to find a social group or the parent who doesn’t know what to do to help their child. I’d love to be able to take this whole advocacy thing further actually, to be able to make more of a difference to the access to resources for autistic people but this at present is just an idea.....
It's really hard to try and sum up what autism means to me (especially since I'm still working that out for myself), but I'll give it a try :)
For me, autism means I'm not afraid to be unique. I've always known I'm different (even before I realised why that was), so as the years have gone on, I've learnt not to worry what people think about me. As long as I'm a good person with good intentions, it doesn't matter if people think I'm a little bit weird :)
It means I fully commit myself to the things I care about, whether that's my partner, my family, my friends, or my hobbies (especially if they're a special interest!). I'm loyal and have a strong sense of justice. I know how it feels to be an outsider, so I stand up for what's right and do what I can to take care of people. Sometimes, I over-commit and forget to take care of myself, so I'm working on finding that balance.
Autism often means that it's hard for me to function day-to-day. I'm not great at crossing the road, sensory issues make everyday tasks like shopping incredibly tiring, and I often find it hard to achieve the tasks I need to get through. However, despite all this, I keep moving forward and I work hard.
This community has helped me understand myself so much better, and it's incredibly cathartic to share experiences with people who understand. I hope others find it just as helpful :)
I’m glad that you also find that your autism makes it easier to not worry what people think of you and exactly! As long as my actions and words are done and said with the best of intentions then I will not feel bad if someone thinks that I am odd/weird/stupid because if my words/actions.
Oh yes! I know what you mean about fully committing to things. If I am doing something then I am doing it 100% or not at all. Over commitment also resonates with me. Also need to find a balance. Also working on it!
Autism (and a Brain injury) does mean that I struggle with certain things. But realising that I’m autistic has made it ok for me to admit that I need help. That’s not to say that I’ve given up on living my life to the absolute best of my ability, because I haven’t. It just means that I have accepted and am more willing to seek out help to allow me to achieve what I want to achieve rather than struggling on alone with things.
This community is great for sharing experiences with other autistic adults and it’s always so incredibly validating when someone else says ‘yeah, me too!’.
It takes a strong person to ask for help, but it's worth it if it helps you live your life to the fullest
Greetings, Mrs Fantastic-Fox! (Yay!)
I am (briefly) here, so I "like" This Thread. And I (briefly) put a thing on it, 'bout M'self here...
...*Ahem.* In My Own Youth, I was constantly referred to as SHY. Nothing but SHY, SHY, aggressive, SHY, SHY... Yet Then, some Forty Years later, I gained an Autism Diagnosis... and so instead of SHY, I am seen as instead now as an 'Ooh-ugh-what-a-weirdo-wait-what-does-"Autism"-mean-oh-darn-they've-run-away-before-I-could-look-up-the-word-on-my-smartphone'... person.
...At least, that is 'What Autism means to Myself'... (briefly)! Good Fortune with this Thread from Me...!
Autism... it's something that I'm only just fully getting my head around as I've not had my diagnosis long but here's my summary:
Autism is a completely different way of thinking and living. Our brains are hardwired in a completely different way to those without autism. We get to the same conclusions but our methodology is unique;
Autism has given me a way to forgive myself for things that happened years ago. Strange behaviour, difficult times, situations that I handled badly but I had no idea why... now I do. And they're not entirely my fault;
Autism is a constant headache of whirring thoughts and feelings. I'm faced with a problem or decision and instead of being able to properly decide upon which option is the most appropriate and sticking to that, my head explores everything and what consequences each action could have and then I have a meltdown as my head can't cope;
Autism is a constant battle in my mind between what I think I should do and what I feel I want to do in order to stay sane and not end up in tears. Social norms & requirements escape me but I still feel as though I have to confirm and mask my feelings to try and get by. I'm trying to change this with those that I trust the most, but it's hard to break a lifetime habit;
Autism brings not only mental challenges, but physical ones too. Sounds, lights, crowded places... they become physical. It can become painful if I get exposed to certain things too much and then I have an emotional meltdown that I cannot control;
Autism can give us obsessions which are often something to take immense pride in. A lot of knowledge, work and time can go into our hobbies and interests. This isn't praised enough with the community. We have a vast amount of knowledge between us;
Autism can make fundamental parts of life so difficult... for example, change. I absolutely hate it and it sends me into a meltdown, especially if it is a sudden change.
The everyday struggle is real but not everything is bad. We can feel and express everything so strongly... if someone with autism has it in them to express feelings of love, caring, loyalty (and others) to you, those are deep feelings that will not be broken unless something absolutely shatters that apart. And then, you won't want to mess with us as the strength of feelings work both ways haha.
We carry on ️
Similar. It's taking a while to percolate through my psyche but I'm much more forgiving of myself for not being comfortable saying "Yes" to every societal expectation, and I'm no longer feeling guilty for saying "No" and building and enforcing boundaries.
I returned to Twitter recently to engage with the autistic community there, and I think this proves to me that I'm now feeling stronger about being me and being responsible for myself. I feel much more of a "whole" person now and I'm not trying to project any particular persona on Twitter - just me.
I don't know yet - but I found the book 'The electricity of every living thing' quite helpful as a way of reading about someone else coming to a realisation they were autistic and she put into words some of the things I experience but couldn't name. I'm trying to work towards self esteem which has always been very low and now I have this information that I'm not stupid or bad, my brain just works differently to most peoples. It' a work in progress though.
Hiya Kitsune, Like some others, I'm still finding my feet but have a little to offer.I have that freedom from expectation now. The family is still not quite with it yet and still suggest I do things that I never would tackle or will tackle. But I just say no now without feeling I have to give a reason. Interestingly, I've had two incidents of conflict in the last couple of weeks; one at work and one in public. I've not changed- I still can't find words to express myself under pressure and very much suffer from passive aggressive behaviour, but what has changed is how quicker I get over the conflict. Forgiving myself :) I'm aware of support groups in my area but I haven't made any moves towards joining them. Likewise, I'm aware of people at work who are on the spectrum (and some who are probably undiagnosed and definately show traits) but I haven't made any moves. I'm still in a tizzy really and don't want to push myself yet. Same goes with books on the subject. Being in an academic library I have access to a lot of material. I take them out but I don't make headway with them. Just shut down.
Its late and i'm flat on my back so i'll just string a succession of words together.Isolation, Intelligence, Uniqueness, sadness, suffering, Stridency, sense of fairness,independence of thought, LONGING, horrific self criticism and overly critical of other people, empathy but not reciprocity. Kindness, sweetnessSome of that might be depression rather than autism.
Greetings DC :-) and Thank you!
I also used to get labelled shy when I was at school and also occasionally aggressive. I'm sure many people think that I'm a weirdo but my Autism diagnosis has given me permission not to care!
Thanks again :-)