You Make Me Feel Broken

This post is directed at no one in particular, but is a general response to the way autism is portrayed in society and media.

Yesterday I listened to a speaker who talked about handling rejection. He said that people handle rejection at different layers. At the outer layer, we hear the criticism, but don’t feel the need to change ourselves. At the next layer, we take the criticism personally and feel that we are being attacked in some way. And at the innermost layer, we take the criticism to heart and believe we are flawed and hopeless.

Well… after the speaker finished, I went up and talked to him about this. Because the truth is, autism hits me at the innermost layer. When something that I feel is related to autism causes a problem, I feel flawed, broken, and hopeless.

The other day someone misunderstood me and became upset with me for how I handled a situation. For the first time in my life, I admitted that I had autism not because I wanted to but because I felt I had to. And I felt so broken after that. Because it’s not gone. Autism is not cured and it doesn’t disappear. We just learn to seem normal. But when problems come up, autism is still there. And it cuts me to the core to realize that because I can’t change it. I can’t get rid of autism and the world keeps telling me indirectly, or even directly, how much of a problem that is.

And so, I feel broken. Even though no one has told me that I’m broken, I keep feeling it. Every time I see or hear of a parent who is devastated with their child’s diagnosis or I see videos about “the harsh reality of autism” or someone carries on about vaccines causing autism, the idea that I am flawed becomes more and more ingrained in me. And I can’t help but feel broken.

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12 thoughts on “You Make Me Feel Broken

  1. Veronica Wagstaff says:

    Whether we have autism or not we all have something that makes us feel broken. For me it’s my accent. The fact that I’m a second language learner and that once in a while I can’t find the right word at the right time. I try to hide it too. So many people tell me that I do better than other people they know, but it will always be there. For other people is their weight, their lack of education, their bluntness, etc.

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    • Yeah, we all have our insecurities that make us feel broken when they affect our lives. I tend to have a love/ hate relationship with autism. I’m glad that I have autism because it has taught me things that nothing else could and I am a much better person because of it, but it’s hard when I see the negative side of it.
      I guess that’s why we have the Savior, right? So that when our brokenness makes us feel hopeless, He can help us feel hopeful again.

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    • Yeah, we all definitely have our insecurities. I just wish that autism wasn’t perceived to be so negative. Because it’s really not that bad, but a lot of people seem to be convinced that it’s devastating. And because people are convinced it’s a tragedy, it sometimes becomes hard to remind myself that it’s not as bad as it’s portrayed to be.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I do believe that the more these feelings are shared, it will help to change the way autism is viewed and talked about. We need to see there are real people being affected by the hurtful propaganda. Hang in there. It’s not gonna be easy and just as there are negative things out there so too there are legions of people who don’t see you as flawed or broken and who celebrate your worth and value.

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  3. Agreed also.

    But I do feel in my INNERMOST innermost layer that the problem is not with me but with others judging autism. I think the way I got to this was verey much through having an autistic son and KNOWING, in a way that would be very hard otherwise, vis-a-vis my SELF,. that he is PERFECT, exactly as he is, and fighting for others to learn that FACT.

    Perhaps, dear autism thoughts, you might consider getting involved with activism in some way? Even this post, to me, mitigates against the insidiousness of prejudice and discrimination.

    Thanks and love,

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  4. Dani Alexis says:

    *solidarity* I know this feeling so, so well. And even though combating the rhetoric that describes us as “broken” is part of my life’s work, sometimes it crushes me and I have to go hug cats and watch sci fi TV until I feel stronger again.

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