Hey everyone, what I want to talk about today is being an adult with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Now a lot of people might be like “there’s nothing special about being an adult with autism?!” but to me there is! There’s this particular feeling you get as an autistic adult that you can’t replicate. It’s the balance of being treated like an 8 year old whilst also being expected to act like everyone else your age.
I wanted to write this more as a “please stop expecting so little and yet so much from us” to the people who know us. (obviously this post is made from my own experiences, but they are ones which I have shared with others my age/older who have said they have also had these experiences/share these thoughts)
I see people my age on social media everyday doing things I could never ever do, and yet they’re things that are almost expected of me. Things like going into town on my own, a common thing to do for a “regular” 25 year old and yet is one of the most terrifying and meltdown-inducing things I could ever think of attempting. Things like going out to bars and clubs, another thing that makes me want to crawl into a hole where no one could ever possibly find me.
But also things that people my age have been doing for most of their lives that still cause panic attacks in me, the main one being brushing and washing my own hair. An everyday, normal thing for most people, yet something that causes me an immeasurable amount of stress everyday. I’m lucky now that my fiancée does my hair for me everyday so that it always looks presentable , but until last year I washed my hair every other day and had a panic attack every. single. time. But now she washes it for me, which still causes stress but so much less than doing it myself. And she brushes and styles it for me so I don’t have to do anything. (i’m very lucky)
However when people find these things out I can see how it goes in their head. The “well she’s 25 but my 6 year old can brush her own hair…maybe I should treat her more like a child.” And to those people I have one thing to say; please stop.
I am not a child. I am an adult who struggles. I am not your six year old. I am 25 with a master’s degree, and yes I might not find it in me to be able to do certain things you expect me to do, but I do not need to be treated like less of a person for it.
Not being able to go places on my own without feeling terrified isn’t fun. Not knowing that i’m meant to respond, or how i’m meant to respond when people talk to me isn’t fun. Not finding it in myself to fight off a panic attack to be able to do my own hair isn’t fun. And neither is being judged for these things.
Sometimes it feels like autism takes a lot away from me as an adult, but sometimes it gives you so much more than it takes.
For example, i’m so good with the girls at rainbows and brownies because I share a lot of their interests. I’m good with animals because it’s easier for me to understand them sometimes than it is other people. I’m honest, and everyone knows that if I say something to them I mean it. And it’s given me an amazing community to be a part of, the asd community i’ve found on instagram (find me @otherkindofnormal) has made this whole entire mess of feeling left out of my own life feel better. It used to feel like I was watching life happening and never knew how to make myself fit in with it, like no matter what I did I was on the outside. Feeling closer to people younger than me but expecting to socialise with people my age who just didn’t get it. But now I have this whole group of people that get it like really truly get what’s happening, and honestly after 20+ years of feeling left out – it feels amazing!
LATEST NEWS, UPDATES AND EVENTS
LATEST NEWS, UPDATES, FUNDRAISING AND EVENTS:
18/3/18 - I am currently selling raffle tickets for the Easter Fundraiser' (information on how to purchase tickets can be found here).
17/3/18 - ALL APPLICATIONS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. DETAILS TO FOLLOW.
3/3/18 - I am currently going through the process of redesigning this blog so that 'Bravery Bottles' is separate from my personal blog; where I post about my illnesses and life updates..this means that sometimes, my blog may be closed from time-to-time, but I’m always available to be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.