I, Melissa Fields, an Autistic adult—-yes, we exist, and yes, there are lots and lots and LOTS of us out there if people would just take the time to see, hear, look, listen to us and treat and respect us as the human beings we are—- had to stop driving in April of 2012 for three reasons——-
because i was becoming too afraid of going places—-anywhere—- by myself, because of all of the meltdowns i was having in public whenever i was faced with ableism from people—people who did not get my Autism and sensory issues, who would get angry with me and escalate an often ugly scene with me instead of understanding and learning why i was upset, and why i was asking for certain accomodations—–
because i had just gone through the very ugly and deeply traumatic break up of a friendship with a person who had become like a family member to me, who suddenly turned against me with full on inexplicable fury that year——
and because by that time, i had already developed a huge leg tumor the size of a basketball on my left inside thigh area, which made it hard to get in and out of the driver’s side of ANY vehicle. I began to develop lymphedema in both legs in 2005, due to having to spend years of not being able to sleep anymore in my bed but instead, sleeping sitting up on my already delapitated living room sofa with my legs and feet down.
My life since then has plummeted into a spiral of failing health and isolation and loneliness. All of the bullying i had taken by that time from neighbors all around me where i live, was starting to erode my physical health and strength. Today, i am a hot mess of heart palpitations, anxiety, PTSD, and insomnia, along with my leg issues.
Today, after going through a string of several abusive caregivers, i finally have Connie as a caregiver—and she is a friend and ally to me. She has been my caregiver for almost 3 years now. It was due to her,—-on her days off,—-and a kind beat coordinator officer at my city’s local police department, that i finally got some resolve to many of my issues. Most of the bullying has now stopped, except for when one neighbor who knows my situation and who knows how to best upset me, goes to talk to them and stir them all back up against me again. Those neighbors today are still a bad problem. The street noise is still a huge sensory issue that causes me daily meltdowns. Because people drive my street like it is a raceway/highway—and it is loud. I am “blessed” with tin buildings all around, which further amplifies this noise. Cars with thunder bass systems are the topping on this nice hellish cake.
But now i am at the point where i feel nothing but depression and despair anymore. I am 56 years old and life has literally passed me by. I have never known the joy of having long lasting close warm friendships, nor been able to experience a romantic relationship. I love people, and i am a people person, but i now have a great fear—–i always have—but today it is even greater—of being abandoned—-of having people turn on me and be mean to me—-so i hide——then i latch onto certain things like certain roads, highways, and electronics—- and make them my friends. I sometimes latch onto these things with my all. Because the loneliness hurts that much sometimes.
I am too young to feel like this. I am too young to die. But i feel as if i am living on a sort of death row, because each and every day is the same damn thing, over and over again till i want to scream. I wake up, do the same things every day, and then repeat the next day over and over. I only feel happiness when Connie is here. But iam now way too afraid to venture out and do anything alone—-for fear of being misunderstood, and for fear of people getting angry and saying mean things because they don’t understand and don’t want to understand. For fear of being rejected, shunned, ignored.
I was denied lymphedema care by a home health agency yet again because the physical therapist who came to see me, deemed my Autism as not real. I had a meltdown and screamed at him to leave my house. So i continue to suffer without treatments for my legs.
I don’t know where i’m going with this blog. But i am writing it because i want to educate people to let you all know what it is like when one is left to fall through the cracks and fail, because they got thrown away time and again. Imagine your own family shunning you because you’re Autistic and they don’t get that this is not a behavioral problem, but a disability, a very real disability.