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.