Thursday, November 1, 2012

xCoffeezombiex Autistics Speaking Day

@xcoffeezombiex writes Autistics Speaking Day on More Than Disorganised

I genuinely have no idea about what I want to get across on Autistics Speaking Day. This time last year, I felt the same. What I would like to mention is that the messages we are sending today will have an audience made up of both autistic and not-autistic people. Hello to whoever is reading, whether you are autistic or not, by the way.
I would go into how my chronic anxiety impacts the way I do every-day things, like writing this post. However, I don’t have to go into it here. I’m not going to try and describe what it feels like in detail and the theories I use to get through the day. Yes, anxiety can be disabling and so can autism. I have both and I’m definitely not the only one.  
I also am sure I can’t be the only one who feels like they have to justify the words “I’m disabled” every time I need to say them. With the current climate in the UK leading to the need for things like Pat’s Petition to exist, it’s easy to feel like I don’t deserve privacy. You could say I’m taking it too personally and I would agree with you. Only, however, if you would agree not to ask what it’s like to be autistic the next time you find out that someone you know is autistic.
Although I did just say that I don’t want to go into the chronic anxiety, I will point out one aspect of it. I sometimes get anxious when I know I won’t be believed. Because of my autism, I get sensory overload a lot and even walking through a crowded room can be too much to cope with. Having too much sound and noise to deal with at one time can have a lasting impact. I can spend days recovering from one moment of having too much sensory input. That sounds unbelievable but it is true. I understand that I am very different to the majority of people but I know where my limits are from years of experience. When I say I shouldn’t do something, I mean it. When I say I can’t walk across a crowded room because I will then be too overwhelmed to stock up on food later, I mean it. The anxiety that comes from things that are extremely hard for me being accepted as generally very easy is hard to live with.
Disabled people deserve privacy and we deserve to be believed. We are the ones who know most about how we get through life. It’s a big subject and can feel like too much to think about, especially if you’re disabled yourself. It’s always worth taking a step back and realising that being autistic means developing coping mechanisms all the time. Just because those coping mechanisms are not “normal” does not mean they don’t exist, just that they are invisible to most. It took me years of trying to see my own coping mechanisms and, for a long time, I thought I didn’t have any at all. Just because my way of working is “weird”, it doesn’t mean that I can’t get through life. I can, and you can too. It happens every day and it's not, by definition, inspiring. 

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