This post is not meant to garner pity…..this post is being written as an educational post so that people can better understand what we, as Autistics, go through when those in the Neurotypical world don’t understand and get us.
I used to headbang when i was a child. I used to also love to run around our round dining room table with my chin against it, so that my chin would feel pain and get a sore on it, because for some strange reason, those kinds of pain felt good to me. These things took away my hurt and frustration.
Yes, i used to have all sorts of stims, and coping mechanisms as a child. I used to also love to sit on the floor in the corner at the end of our hallway and cry for hours on end when i was a child—till there were no more tears left to cry.
I did all of these things, because as a child, i was teased, taunted and made fun of so much, that i often hurt deep inside and was never allowed to articulate it….nor did i KNOW how to articulate my feelings. So, i would do these other things instead.
To be honest, i do not feel like i even had a childhood. Whenever i see pictures of myself as a child, and i go back to all those old feelings of the non-person that i felt i was back then….all of that hurt i felt, comes rushing back to me in waves that threaten to drown me out again. Whenever things would happen, if i would try to talk about them, i was told i had to still mind my teachers and elders, or told to turn the other cheek, and don’t fight back….oh no, never ever fight back. Worse yet, i was told i was either imagining things, or that “Oh, they are just teasing you. It’s okay.”
My father was a harsh stern disciplinarian who yelled at me constantly, who would shake me, pull me by my ears and hair, hit and pinch and beat me…and would even punish me for looking at and playing with my hair, so i could see the different colored shine prisms that i saw in my hair. My sisters would yell at me too for wanting to touch their hair so i could look at the shines in their hair. I grew up being so badly frightened of my father…and was frightened of him till the day he died in February of 2000. I grew up frightened of lots of things….and lots of people.
But from the Spring of my 6th grade on through my 20’s, actually until i was about 32, i began to work really hard to hide my true unique and different self, because of growing up in a family who was sadly, and i hate to use such blunt language to describe them, but they were narrow-minded, bigoted, and racist. And they did not accept my being different. It took alot out of me—-took so much energy—–for me to maintain a normal persona, when i was naturally neurodivergent from birth on. And still am.
I did all i could to make my family, and others, like me. Because i have always hated it when people don’t like me. I even developed such a silly side, so that i could get my family and others to laugh “with” me and not “at” me anymore.
In my Sophomore year of high school though, things got so bad, both at school and at home….i began to run away. I was having nothing but deeply painful times at school and at home both. At school, i would hide in my shell so that the other kids wouldn’t know i was different, but then at home, i began to have a bad temper where my favorite thing became slamming doors and drawers, kicking and punching holes in walls and doors, and breaking brooms and furniture. At school, i had very few friends, and i never had any boyfriends either. I never got to go to parties, and when i did go to dances, i was the wallflower who nobody wanted to dance with.
So, i developed the temper.
Because it is really super hard when you feel like you are all wrong and damaged, even by your own family. It is really fucking hard. I developed huge trust issues and PTSD from an early age, that have not gone away today.
I learned early on that if people behave a certain way, they were suddenly considered bad, and that it was perfectly just and fair to punish them by turning your back on them and making them out to be a villain.
Even so….i still grew up wanting to believe in the good in people…..and then when that good would suddenly turn different, i would close up on that person and run and hide from them. Without hearing them out and working to resolve things between us.
I am still, to this day, a person who is easily frightened off and discouraged. I need a great deal of reassurance and patience, because today, so many things have now become sensory issues and triggers for me that didn’t used to be.
I was doing well for awhile. I did drive from 1990, until April of 2012, when, due to the combination of my leg condition getting worse, (I have chronic lymphedema on both legs) and me losing one of my friends who i had thought was a real ally to me, i stopped driving and sold my little white two door Toyota Tercel…..and i haven’t driven since then.
To this day, i still have a terrible time being able to see both sides of a story when people things happen. I instead build up walls that get really tall now, and i will run and hide far and wide when i think ppl are turning against me.
And then when i moved here to this neighborhood in 1991, one year later, in 1992, my neighbors who lived right next door to me, suddenly turned on me and began to bully me so badly, i regressed and began to have the same type of meltdowns i had as a child. These nieghbors, two girls in their early 20’s, would shriek and laugh at me right outside of my living room where i was watching TV or listening to my music, lay on their horns, blast their music as loudly as it would go, and call me mean names. To escape, i would take long drives and stay away until i was sure my mean girl neighbors were in bed for the night, and then i would sneak into my house, so they wouldn’t hear me and pick on me some more.
I went through years of therapy, and tried living in two apartments and got kicked out of both of those apartments ending up back here at Mean Bully Monster Street each time because the apartment complex noises would badly upset and send me into even more meltdowns. So, i still live here, and i still have neighbors who bully me in a warehouse and an auto shop that are both located across from me.
Today, i am a physical and emotional wreck both, with chronic lymphedema on both of my legs…..and a huge rock hard lymphedema leg tumor the size of a basketball on my left inner thigh due to all of the stress i’ve been through. I also have frequent sessions of heart palpitations, frequent panic attacks, and almost every time i sleep, i have extremely bad and frightening nightmares. In addition, i also suffer long bouts of deep depression where it is even harder for me to walk and move around. I live in a constant state of “fight-Or-Flight” mode, and fear and worry that i will be abandoned and left alone. I am still to this day, deathly afraid of certain noises, of being hated, and of the pitch black dark. I have to sleep with lights on, and i get most of my sleep in the mornings and early afternoons.
Between 1992 and now, i went though agency after agency for help
——-and got only shut doors and the answer NO——
During this time, i also made friends with several people who would be nice to me for awhile but who would then turn on me because they felt i wasn’t “trying hard enough”…..when i knew i **was** trying my best….with the tools i had available to me.
In 2012, i lost one friend, who turned so mean that i was deeply affected for a whole year after that. I began to have horribly frightening nightmares about him. And then, at that same time, my physical health began to decline to where i began to need caregivers, i went through alot more extreme traumatic times of mental, emotional, and financial abuse with those caregivers. These were all huge setbacks for me. One on top of the other, on top of the other.
Some coping mechanisms have helped me to survive all this time, yes, but i have now actually lost the ability to:
And now drive
and lots of other stuff
and i have regressed in lots of other ways.
If i am upset, especially if i feel i am being attacked by others, bullied, or rejected, or ppl are angry at me, or someone taunts and makes fun of me, or does stuff to antagonize me, i will now react by hitting my head repeatedly with my hands, and i will scratch and bite my arms, and hit my chest area with my fists. In November of 2012, i went into my bathroom and gave myself a full-on scalp job on my beloved red hair, after one of my caregivers got really super mean with me. Yes, i chopped all of my shiny dark red hair off…..out of the deep well of hurt i was feeling in my soul that night.
Other things can set me off into these meltdowns too—-especially if my stress level is already up. I have no choice but to do all i can to try to insulate myself from the things, and places where i know i will face sensory issues and triggers, because sometimes my meltdowns can be so severe it is like i am dying, and that really terrifies me. I had a meltdown so severe three nights ago, i was shaking violently, sobbing, and i could not eat or drink anything, because of the nausea i had.
I have had so many a bad people experience that i end up driving even the nice people away from me. I am glad i have Connie back in my life though, and that even though Angel can’t come to help me at this time, i still have her as a friend. I am also glad i have my Facebook Community friends who get me. I also have my mom, and two of my sisters who are kind to me. I also have my faith. This is enough to keep me going. And i do keep going. I still manage to love, to give, to care, and to be…..because i don’t want to give up all hope. I don’t like it when i hurt people either. It is never my intention to hurt anyone. I am working on doing better at working to resolve any issues that come up between me and others. I just hope that next time i don’t end up hurting anyone and driving them away.
I have nothing but love and peace…and righteous anger at all that is unjust and unfair and cruel…..in me.