Don’t just be aware of autism, be aware that mental health issues co-occurring from autism exist too.
Autism is not a disorder because I don’t see mine like that, I don’t see the dysfunction.
I see a neuro-inclusive world as one that accepts and celebrates the different neuro-types in society.
It is a place, space, and setting where I can be myself without the following remarks or commentaries;
“Why can’t you just look me in the eye?”
“You’re being rude when you’re looking away”
“You’re being too autistic, stop being too autistic, just be yourself and you’ll be fine. Why are you trying so hard to be yourself?”
“You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself”
“You just need to get over it”
“You get too emotional”
“Why can’t you just get better?”
“Can’t you think about other people for once?”
“Your self-care is selfish”
“Why can’t you just fit in like everybody else?”
“Don’t you have any friends?”
“You’re only successful if you get a university degree”
“You spend all your time in your room doing nothing”
“You sleep too much”
“The world isn’t going to accommodate you just because you think the lights are too bright”
“You should get a real job; online work isn’t real work”
“You’re OK, you seem fine to me”
Comments like these make it hard to be accepted in a world that’s meant to really accept anybody. It’s commentaries like these that I get nearly every day from a stranger, someone I know, or myself that make it hard to want to be in this world. It is so much easier to be somewhere else instead of being in this physical world where you’re not accepted, you’re not appreciated, and you’re not celebrated or embraced for who you are. It is so much easier to escape and do whatever I have to do in order to get some sanity back into my mind and body instead of being stuck in a cycle of, “oh why can’t I just be normal”.
It’s no wonder it’s true for many autistic and neurodiverse people that using drugs, alcohol, both, or other coping mechanisms seems to be the only way forward. It’s no wonder why time and time again there are so many statistics from research journals that highlight the fact that autistic people are much more likely than non-autistic people to have suicidal ideations and attempt suicide compared to non-autistic people. Some say autistic people are 15% more likely to, and some say 25% but the statistics don’t tell the whole story. Statistics are generalised anyway. What does tell the whole story is people sharing their stories from their hearts and this is my story.
If there is one message I want you to get from this during world autism awareness month is don’t be aware of autism, be aware that mental health issues co-occurring from autism exist. Yet what I would like to truly emphasise is more neuro-affirming mental health services in the near future and fewer judgments from the world. When this is no longer a facet of my wild imagination, and honestly a part of the world, that’s when I can surely say that the world is a little bit more neuro-inclusive, and I can truly be myself in it.