Autism & Me

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Autism. Many people have a idea about what it looks like. Seems I am not one of them. When I said I was going to get tested for autism to my therapist she said I may have it but would be extremely high functioning. Yeah I can pass for normal most of the time and can work a full time job with accommodations. But that kind of dismisses the problems I do have and puts pressure on me to be normal all the time. I got my autism diagnosis confirmed by an expert in the field. But sometimes I think I can’t be autistic. I just don’t conform to the normal stereotype the media and others portray as being autistic. I am considered too high functioning.

What does that mean too high functioning? I can drive, hold down a job, and for the most part take care of myself. But what about the fact that I have a hard time living alone so I live at home, have a hard time with personal hygiene, have a hard time fixing meals for myself, have a hard time going public places alone, or have an extremely hard time forming relationships outside my own family. But like I said I am considered to be very high functioning.

Why we have to have functioning labels to begin with is beyond me. I think it hurts everyone who is autistic. It puts unrealistic expectations on some while looking down on the others. I have read posts of other autistics that don’t like the functioning labels as well and it makes sense that they are inherently bad. Though I can see why some would like the “high” functioning label. Mostly to tout as being better than the ones labeled as “low” functioning I would think. But to me I hate being considered “high” functioning to me its like saying you are not autistic so your struggles do not matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ramblings of an Anxious mind Part 1

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I sometimes daydream of a person I want rather be. I create scenarios where I would be happy, have a job I loved, or maybe have a husband and child. But most of all I would not be an anxious person. I would be strong and fearless able to do whatever I wanted or needed to do. This of course for me is fantasy since I have a mind that is constantly anxious. I have been diagnosed with many different anxiety disorders over the years PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety NOS, and Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. I have really stopped caring about the labels since each doctor I see has their own take on which disorder I fit into.

Not to say that I am completely bed ridden by my condition. I went to college and got a degree and currently do have a full time job. So things could defiantly be worse. But there are days the anxiety makes it really hard to function and it really hard to explain this to people. I mean how does this conversation even begin? Hi my name is “insert name” and I have an anxiety disorder. So please forgive my withdrawn/erratic behavior I am not doing well today. Man would I get looks for saying that though I might have to try it someday just for kicks.

Though to be serious how does one explain to someone with no idea how an anxiety disorder works how hard it is to deal with? I certainly don’t have the answer. Though here is a scenario I deal with every week. You need to eat so you have to go to the grocery store. Not a hard concept but the thought causing you a lot of anxiety because you have to drive (a new problem for me), leave the house (did I mention I have agoraphobia), and actually go into a grocery store (crowds and potential to have a panic attack). So now you have to deal with three different fears just to go grocery shopping. Fun right?

To make a point there is always a fear to be dealt with and sometimes it is a matter of which fear you fear the most. I fear starving more than going grocery shopping so I deal with grocery shopping with the help of a family member or my service dog. Fears also have a tendency to come and go depending on the day, week, or even month. They are not always constant in degree either they may be harder to deal with one week and easy to deal with the next. It what makes these disorders so maddening.

The last point I am going to make is that being mad at someone for being scared or telling them they need to get over it DOES NOT HELP. Trust me if I could have gotten over it I would have done that a long time ago.