Just starting out on this journey of Autism admission and awareness. Watching videos, listening to the stories of others, and pouring myself into research, as I am so wont to do.
The latest video I’ve watched by Aspergers from the Inside, “Are You Undiagnosed Autistic? How To Tell If You’re On The Autism Spectrum,” has me reflecting on a good deal. Wanted to share a fraction of those reflections.
It is important to gauge both internal and external factors.
In retrospect, sometimes my masking was on point and other times, when I thought I was “acting normal,” I was anything but.
I have had coworkers that have tried, in very passive-aggressive, subversive ways, to get me to admit to Autism and, on different occasions, Schizophrenia. Based on my own internal happenings, I was incapable of seeing what they saw, experiencing that oh-so-familiar frustration of being ostracised for reasons I didn’t understand. “Is there something so wrong with me that people think I’m disabled and mentally ill?” I would ask myself, “Or worse, a lying, lazy, impartial asshole?”
Yes, all of humanity, at one point or another, battles with ableist thinking. Regardless of what we ourselves may be afflicted with, it is so temptingly automatic to point the finger at someone else’s weirdness.
I once had an elderly lady with no nose single me out for something about my physical appearance she didn’t like. While this is a rather innocent example of someone projecting onto someone else the prejudice that has been projected onto them—rather than using their own experience of suffering to send out compassion to break that pattern of prejudice—far worse atrocities continue to propel through society, driving a wedge into the heart of humanity where there should be, could be, mending.
“Actually, it’s always been inside; you’ve just been repressing it the whole time. So, if you are that friends and family, it’s important to recognise that the person is trusting you, with showing you a side of themselves they’ve been hiding for most of their life.”Paul Micallef, Aspergers from the Inside
Becoming aware of our ignorance is the first step to dissolving our ignorance.
If you suspect someone might be Autistic, please don’t be like my aforementioned coworkers. Do your research and feel free to share your findings with others, but put compassion first. The person you suspect to have some condition is already feeling the world against them. That does not need to be magnified.
Just love and accept people for who they are, knowing you have no idea what their internal landscape is like. Extend compassion and understanding to everyone, and accept that all you need to know is that other people are beautiful and unique in ways you may never see. All you need to know is other people are worthy of kindness and respect.
To summon the Vulcan motto I repeat so often, “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.”
We have reached a point in our collective consciousness where we have the capability to make this world liveable and loveable for everyone.
In the immortal words of Captain Picard, let’s “make it so.”
May you Live Long and Prospurr.