It's not that we 'won't do certain things to be difficult':
it's that we 'cannot do certain things because we're having difficulties'.
I am Kim, a 40-year-old, single demigirl, living in The Netherlands. I love smooth and predictable things: stroking my soft straight hair, biking on flat asphalt, skating on untouched ice… And I love very tight hugs. I once did some online test that said I would get married at 42, so who knows…!
I’ve watched 330+ Japanese animation series and movies, because I couldn’t spend much time in unpredictable circumstances (i.e. in the company of other people) without getting exhausted and sweaty. The genre I mostly watched was ‘slice of life’: ordinary things happening in high school settings with a touch of humour and romance. My life after lectures and work consisted of watching these anime series.
I work as an administrative clerk, but my dream is to one day open a sensory room and indoor playground for stressed office workers. I want to help them, because I know what it is to be constantly stressed out and tired. And because I want to feel useful on this planet.
From the age I could reason I knew I was different and I thought a lot about quitting life. I was constantly ruminating and told my mother several times that thinking about suicide was comforting for me at my worst moments. She thought I was just lazy, slow, stubborn and an exaggerating, arrogant little professor, an evil person even. She said that she hated my father and that I behaved just like him… (they got divorced in 2008). Both of my parents hit me and disrespected me mentally and emotionally. On top of this I was bullied all through elementary school. The only place I felt safe at was in the local library building. I am absolutely certain I have c-PTSD and am doing EMDR therapy for that right now after having been bullied in several jobs too.
Actual suicide plans and preparations I only made at the age of 22 when I was a college student and later again at 37 in 2016. My boss at that time made sure I was committed to a closed ward. After just three days I was released. Initially they thought I was depressed and had some personality disorder, but, after a year-long diagnostic trajectory, they diagnosed me with ASD in 2017. This Dx was an enormous relief: I appeared to actually be a morally good person, just like I always kept believing I was. But there was intense sadness as well, that it had to take years of therapy for depression and bulima before the underlying, core reason for my feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and loneliness was finally found: autism. Oh, how furious I was as well!
Now I realise that having autistic wiring is the cause of our more elaborate, filter-less and slower, one-track, literal way of information processing and the subsequent problems this gives in an incompatible, intense world that is too loud and too fast for us. Constant emotional and thought loops plus the lack of a stimuli filter cause exhaustion. There’s far too much going on in our heads at any time of the day. This is the reason why we are rigid instead of flexible. This is the reason why we desperately need clarity, order, silence, repetition and predictability. We need these things for our self-preservation, for survival.
The massive issue is that most standard people aren't able to really feel, understand or believe that we have a lot of trouble navigating this world with this particular kind of operating system. Additionally, most people are taking things personally that we never intended to be offensive. It's not that we 'won't do certain things to be irritating or difficult': it's that we 'cannot do certain things because we have irritations or difficulties'. I think everyone should know this about us autistic people.
My mother, who is 72, understands this now and is very sorry for the way she treated me. Hopefully I can start building a mother-daughter bond with her after the EMDR sessions. It is said that forming a secure attachment with your mother can mean considerable improvement of all of your other (kinds of) relationships. We’ll see...
I studied clinical psychology, because I wanted to know the reason why people treated me horribly. I’ve got a BSc degree now, but I can only guess that ‘hurt people hurt people’.