Tag Archives: Autistics & Gaslighting

Being Punished For The Right To Live

It’s getting harder and harder for me, a full-on neuroqueer, neurodivergent Autistic adult, to handle going to in center dialysis anymore because the blowups just keep happening.

Four hours a day tethered to a machine, 3 times every week, I do this just to keep on living.

Even after educating them about autism and meltdowns, what they are and aren’t, they still revert back to calling it “behavior” and want to treat me with traumatizing ABA-style “behaviorism” that simply Does. Not. And. Will. Not. work with autistic people.

One cannot pray or behaviorize our autism away because we are hardwired autistic from birth to our final breath.

Autism is a Developmental Disability. It cannot be fixed and cured.

It is always when my nurse and or tech are hectic-busy with other patients and I happen to need help right smack dab in the middle of it all, that tempers tend to flare on all sides.

No one is being bad, no one’s to blame, only that dialysis clinics are often far too hectic paced in nature, and oftentimes fuses just get short on all sides.

I had a meltdown so bad today because

1) Nurse W was there—right in plain sight of me today,

and

2) my room acoustics were not there for me to sing to and enjoy.

(I love to sing to the tune of the room acoustics and call them my “chestnuts” because of how they resonate in my ears and calm me down to hear them—all rooms have room tones, this is why people like singing in the shower)

They were flattened out due to the computer station being moved, changed them so I could not hear them anymore

—my nurse got impatient with me, and I melted down—

—-and because I melted down, they had to take me off the machine and send me home after just 30 minutes on the machine, because I was hitting my head and hitting my chest area.

This is why I keep writing to educate all of you who do not know, how much we are disabled, not by our autism itself, but by the ignorance and impatience that we still get from non-autistics.

So you all will know what to do and say to keep a meltdown from happening in the first place.

I don’t fault my nurse. I fault the fact that there needs to be four nurses per side instead of two, and even more techs than there are per patient. When a dialysis clinic is short-staffed,. even the best angel can lose their patience.

How about just letting dialysis patients all have private rooms with each of us having a dedicated nurse and tech, instead of just lumping us all in side by side by side??? Like some clinics in Europe do?

But still—I have educated this clinic till I am blue in the face, and I still encounter these blow ups. These same and very preventable blow-ups.

Nurse W was abusive. She was all levels of abusive and gaslighty. But she still works there, so I still have to see her from time to time.

But my current nurse does not seem to have even one mean bone in her body.

She happened to be dealing with a new patient today, and because I had flat room acoustics, my anxiety went sky high, and I kept pushing my call button. She finally lost her patience, and scolded me. This led to me blowing up right into a meltdown, complete with hitting myself—I was mainly shocked that my usually mild-mannered laid back nurse was scolding me, when I know she knows how pervasively deeply that affects me.

Below is the poem I wrote to my social worker and to my nurse and nephrologist:

I am sorry, I apologize

I was not feeling well enough today

To be able to remain calm and controlled

In my dialysis chair

In the past two weeks I have discovered

that my chestnut noises are more resonant

and full-sounding

when the computer station is set a certain way

straight, against the wall

I am sorry I couldn’t wait

I am sorry I kept pushing the call button

when you were all busy

I am sorry

That I cannot get along with you all like I would like to

I do happen to love and care about you all

I am not there to cause any of you hell

I am in hell

because this clinic is not made for autistics like me

I do those chestnut noises all during my treatment

to keep myself from having anxiety and then meltdowns

Please understand that

I was upset because all of you kept pushing the computer away

and when you do that

I lose my noises

I am sorry that is so important to me

I like and wish to God In Heaven

that all of you would all like me

and get me

that is all I ask

That you all will learn to get me, please

Please listen to me,

see me,

hear me

I have to have these treatments

so I can live

So that I do not die

Please stop scolding me when I have a meltdown

I cannot help those

I can promise you

They are not a thing I choose to do

If you scold and judge me during a meltdown

It will escalate it and make it go to me hitting myself

I am trying

to educate you on what autism IS so you know

Because of Today I really want to quit dialysis

Not because it’s self pity

but because I cannot always be what you expect me to be

I have bad days

I have days when I have zero spoons

I am tired of going there

because sometimes you are too busy to give me what I need

Tired of making you all angry at me

for what I cannot help

I just am so tired…………

Dialysis, Part Two

I started writing a post about today’s dialysis, and, well, FB decided to eat it again.

Today’s dialysis went okay, but it was mentally and emotionally draining for me. For me to have to see Mo there again when he frightened me by the way he yelled at me on Tuesday—-only today, to see that he was now all smiles and laughs, going all around saying nice warm friendly “Hi’s” to all of the other patients, and even pulling up a stool to talk to them ALL in a very caring, warm, and friendly manner, but, me, he totally ignored me— I think that is what has me upset the most tonight. Because he totally ignored ME. And talked to everyone else.

My nurse Whitney tells me that the facility admin did talk to him and address what happened on Tuesday, and my nurse Whitney also plans to follow up and talk to Mo the next time she sees him, since he will be there helping out for the next four months. So he and I can work together without anymore trainwrecks.

But this is what upsets me, and when I am upset it doesn’t matter what has upset me, it still goes over and over and over in my mind until I am a literal mess wanting to just roll under my house and die: Is that he totally ignored me and did not make any move to come in to make amends for putting me in a sate of emotional hell on Tuesday. But he made it a special point to warmly greet everyone else, and to sit or stand and talk to them warmly.

I was so afraid to go to dialysis today because of Mo. Because I knew he would be there again. So this morning when I awoke I called the ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) Network 18 line to let them know what happened Tuesday. I had to leave a detailed voice mail and I did. I told them everything, and how shitty it made me feel all over again, just like my father all over again and his rage-filled harsh, punitive disapproval of me as a person.

My ESRD Network 18 caseworker, E, called me back during the second hour of my treatment. She and another dialysis nurse, Jewel, who really impressed me, by the way, **viola!** happens to know a great deal about the issues we autistic adults face with ableism, gaslighting and abuse, who is also against ABA therapy, knew exactly what I was describing, my feelings of feeling isolated from everyone else by Mo, and Othered by how I continue to be treated with insensitivity by the Facility director and some of the other staff members.

She knew just how to make me feel heard and seen, and when she told me how frightening it has to feel for me to have to go there just so I can stay alive, and continually try to educate the staff and still these problems keep happening,, how isolating and yes, terrifying this must feel—-I broke down crying—-because my normal social worker also saw and heard me just like this too.

The feeling I get when people really get why I am the way I am, and can articulate it back to me, makes me feel even more empowered to speak up for myself, and that I am okay after all.

Do people not realize, once and for all, that just treating those of us who are autistic with patience, kindness, and letting us speak and voice what is hurting us, and letting us be who we are in whatever space we are in, is the way to help and be a friend and ally to us, and that it is not helping us when you instead, judge us and make us feel wrong in what we feel, and you yell at us and scold us and treat us like we are merely just “bad behaviors” that are to be fixed and cured? God, it really is that simple, but yet, people just still can’t, or won’t, because to them, just because Autism Speaks and the media says so, we are burdens to be shoved off in the corner, and dismissed as nothings.

The team at ESRD Net 18 are in my corner, and that gives me hope again. They tell me that how the facility director is treating and handling my issues is NOT okay, and are going to help get her, and the staff to finally treat me like the human being I am. So I can start looking forward to going to my dialysis treatments again.