A Little to the Left of Normal – A Short Note on Acceptance

So I have been convinced (publically at least) that I was on the spectrum for a year now and formally diagnosed since 16th December 2016.

Four months of formal diagnosis and I have to say that while on the most part people have been accepting and understanding (I have rarely heard the “but you don’t LOOK autistic” type comments – perhaps as I identify as an “Aspie” rather than using the term Autistic or ASD…? Who knows) I have found the most surprising lack of acceptance to come from the people I never expected NOT to accept me as I am. The very people who were vocally supportive of me in my short but firm self-diagnosed phase in the run up to my assessment.

Don’t get me wrong, verbally they are first to declare my state as an Aspie when in a social situation, even before I might do so myself, but there is little thought given to my processing needs or difficulties that they might find less than convenient. Is that really acceptance? 

“Why can’t you just… {insert NT norm here}?!”

And let’s be honest here, I USED to do some of the things that I now don’t. But they used to freaking wreck me. I was an anxiety ridden, inconsolable mess behind closed doors. After I was formally diagnosed I gave up the mask I had been wearing in favour of the calm that not pretending any more produced. As a result I am now, though still prone to anxiety, a much calmer, more confident person.

I mean… don’t get me wrong, I still flat out “deer in headlights” panic about social stuff and things I am not prepared for, or things I don’t have a set process, rule, formula or script for – that’s just who I am and that will always be with me, but I am generally calmer and that in itself helps me to cope with the other stuff without being in constant meltdown mode.

Thing is… because certain things are inconvenient they are grudgingly tolerated (if tolerated at all) and are frequently brought up in arguments as negative slights which is not only hurtful, but it is utterly wrong.

If that isn’t bad enough (and I am sure other folk on the spectrum will agree with me here) after such an argument when that person forgets and walks away clean headed, I dwell on those comments for weeks, perhaps months. The tone used, the hand gesture, the verbal inflection, facial expression, what was in my hands at the time, what the surrounding noise was (kids in a park, the tv, radio, supermarket environment noise – whatever it happened to be) and how that added to my discomfort, how I was unable to adequately respond as per usual and the guilt and anger toward myself as a result and MANY things besides. It is slow and constant torture. And no… we can’t “just ignore it” or forget. It doesn’t work like that. I bloody wish it did though!

I guess what I am trying to say here is that if you are close to someone who is on the spectrum, no matter where on the spectrum they are (though particularly in the case of high functioning autistics) do not profess to be supportive and accepting while giving that “acceptance” grudgingly and only in part. That is NOT acceptance of the person and their needs – it is acceptance of their label only. And if I am being perfectly honest it is far more hurtful than someone who is ignorant or unaccepting.

Anyway that concludes my midnight musings.

Cheerie-bye the-noo!


This entry was posted in A Little to the Left of Normal, ASD, Aspergers, Introspection, Ramblings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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