Living with Autism

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So I wrote about my recent troubles in my blog post ‘Woah my Head is spinning’ which I will link here: https://ifyame.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/woah-my-head-is-spinning/ and from what I could tell, it got a lot of good responses. I say good, my Mum cried…sorry.

Since then, I have been taking Sertraline to help balance me out, and it is working, and I am feeling better. I am not drinking Caffeineated beverages anymore, so no coffee or coke or red bull. That really does limit my choice of drinks in a bar. Suffice to say, Im getting better, and I am making more of an effort to tackle my anxiety by trying to go out of my comfort zone more often. It is working, but again I have not been on these pills long. In fact, it has not been a month as of yet. On today’s post, I want to discuss my condition in a bit more detail. There are a lot of people who do not get it. Heck, I might not even fully get it, and I have it.

So, I was diagnosed when I was 15, though that’s kind of inaccurate, as I have had tests on and off since I was 3. If you’re going to switch from Primary to Secondary School, then I suggest that either you make sure your records go over with you, if your school is in another borough (this happened to me. Tests since I was 3, and all the results weren’t given over to my new school), or make sure you go to a local school in your borough. But I was diagnosed, and I wear it on my sleeve. Well, I can’t rid of it.

The best way to describe the effect that it has on my life is that it is like being stuck in a hazmat suit. I am able to talk to people, and I am able to interact, but not on the same level as my peers. I make a lot of social faux pas, such as being loud, or how I act in public. I struggle to word things at times. And because of this metaphorical suit getting in my way, I can sometimes appear clumsy or aloof when I am walking. This is due to my Dyspraxia, which is another neurological condition which affects coordination. The most visable way I can show it is if you throw me something to catch. I will mor often than not miss it.

Because I have trouble with communication, this can sometimes lead to misunderstandings between myself and people I know. This is not just my verbal communication, but also my expressions. One occurance was when I was discussing the film Rush with my Dad, and I knew he enjoyed that film. I had mistakenly called it Speed, because I could not recall the name of the film. Speed is also the name of a different film, and when my Dad said he didn’t like that film, I was surprised and I showed that in my facial expression. This deteriorated into an argument between us, when he realised I had the wrong name, and he got annoyed with me because of my facial expressions. As far as I was concerned, I got the names wrong, and I felt that my Dad was having an argument with me and attacking me because I made a mistake.

It is those perceptions of how I feel people act around me that lead to some confusing situations for me. What I might percieve as an attack, because someone is using a certain tone of voice or certain language might be something different, and my reaction may be seen as out of place. I do not condone my mistaken perceptions, and I am certinaly not using my condition as an excuse for it, merely an explanation. Sometimes I can easily overcome the initial confusion, with a more thorough explanation of what I am trying to explain. But sometimes, I do get into trouble because someone misunderstands it. Not to the point where I have been attacked…yet.

The problem with having Autism is that it isn’t easy to understand how people like myself feel. For me, everything feels amplified, and I use my metaphorical suit to protect me. If I leave my suit, my comfort zone, I feel uncomfortable. And when all your emotions and feelings feel like they’re turned to 11, it can lead to problems… namely my anxiety, which I have talked about.

If I could say one thing about my condition to someone whose doesn’t have it, nor knows no one who has it, is that because it is a spectrum, there are different forms of Autism. It isn’t one condition, it is umberella term. And one of the things that really annoys me with people is when they say ‘you don’t look Autistic’, or they say ‘well, you’re not a retard’ (Both statements I have heard a lot). There is no look for an Autistic person. And there are a number of conditions, and not everyone has the same condition. Some people are far more serious than I. For example, Katie Price’s son Harvey has Autism. But others like Daniel Radcliffe are a lot more mild. Radcliffe, like me, has Dyspraxia, and he is a multi millionaire and one of the biggest actors of our time. It is an Autistic Spectrum, and all the conditions under that umberella vary in severity. Do I agree with them all being labelled as one? I don’t, but that is the fault of doctors.

So in short, Autism. Its like interacting with someone through a safety suit, and if I get out of it, then I won’t feel so good. Luckily, the pills are making me get used to the atmosphere around me, and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to do that.

 

 

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About the author

Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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