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Autism: Not Normal

11 Mar

Just when I start to think that I am doing okay; that I could possibly keep a job without experiencing extreme anxiety; that I might be able to function in the real world; the phone rings. It isn’t even for me, and my heart is racing. The call was anticipated, and even desired, and still it sent my son running to his room to hide, and left me pacing the house.

Just when I want to pass for “normal.” Just when I think I am not so very different from everyone else, and the diagnosis must have been wrong. Just when I am trying to convince myself that I can succeed in their world. Just as I am beginning to think that I can – the phone rings. One sound, and all of these thoughts, all of these theories, all of these desires go flying out the window.

And I am reminded that the only reason I feel okay right now is because I am home. And even home doesn’t keep me safe always.

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We wanted this call, yet we can’t deal with it just the same. The call wasn’t even for me, and I am having a panic attack. It was for my son, and as he says, he can’t. It isn’t that he won’t, or that he doesn’t want to. I know this place he is in, and I feel for him. We need this, and still we can’t.

So he is locked in his room, looking very upset. He knows we need this, but he can’t! And he feels it. But that acknowledgment that we need it, or that he should do this, doesn’t help him to do it. It didn’t help me, either. And to force the issue will bring to him the same traumas that were brought on me whenever I was forced to do these things.

And I wonder why these things, that are supposed to be in place to help people like us, still require us to be able to function in a typical way in order to get the help. It seems unfair, and it reminds me again and again that we are not typical – and it hurts. It does, because I was just beginning to think we were doing okay.

It is always a reminder from the outside that confirms the fact that we do have Aspergers to me. When we are alone, doing our thing, we do okay. But when we are called into their world, and fail to meet their expectations over and over again, it hurts – and that is when I know that I have Aspergers. It isn’t an excuse. It isn’t a pretense. No matter how hard we try, we fail in their world.

Only that acknowledgment then confirms to me how very important this phone call was – because we need that help. We can’t just get up the courage, and find jobs, and continue on in their world. I have been there. I have tried that. I have a string of shame and failures to prove it – but I never succeeded.

The only time I really believe I could succeed in their world, is when I am not required to be in it. So I am reminded of today – and I am praying that they will understand, and will help (my son) despite (our) inability to answer the phone.

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