The events which led to where I am now started five years ago this month as I went through TouchPoint Autism Services (now Easter Seals Midwest) parent training program as a consultant. If it weren't for this I don't know if I'd ever have been given the stage or forum to present to people on what it's like being on the autism spectrum and that there is hope. I was thinking about this when I went to bed last night which is probably what developed this awful nightmare I had.
For many nightmares are spawned from the things they fear most; a bad storm, snakes, spiders, the Bogeyman, or any of an endless amount of things that could induce a bad dream. I've had many bad dreams but the one I had last night was the most frustrating dream I think I ever had.
My nightmare began with giving a presentation. This may sound odd, but I do dream about giving presentations, and the presentation I was giving in this dream was like any other but then, in the middle, the entire audience stopped listening. No matter how hard I could not stop the fact that the audience no longer cared.
From that presentation I went to a police presentation and had the same thing. Because of the lack of caring my presentation was shortened to just one minute and from there I went to a school and got the same treatment. No matter where I went or who I spoke to autism was something the world just didn't care about.
This dream was one of the worst dreams I've ever had. For me, it was so vivid, so real, and it played out a world that I fear. I mean, what if the world eventually goes this way? I think we are making huge strides towards awareness and understanding but what if the momentum shifts and there's just this callous feeling towards it?
I woke up in tears (that's how bad it was) and had to go through the process of understanding that it was only a dream. My dreams are usually so realistic that waking up is a process, but this process was leaving cold inside. This got my thinking back to where I was before I went to sleep thinking about where I was five years ago. My only hope before going through the parent training program was to be a race car driver and nothing else ever crossed my mind. A couple days ago I had momentary thoughts of, "What if I had made it in racing? Certainly I'd be better off, right? I'd have been to more places, I'd have more expensive toys, and I'd be a household name." While those lines might be true had I made it to the top who would I be helping? Each time I think of who I could've been I lose sight, momentarily, on what I'm doing now. This dream was a harsh reminder of all this as the venues in my dreams were all places I have presented in the past. If I had made it in racing those venues would not have had my presentation and, perhaps, the reality my dream played out of an uncaring world might have played out. Okay, maybe not to the grim ways my dream played out, but perhaps understanding and awareness wouldn't be at the level it is.
I guess my dream I had was of my biggest fear. I fear the world changing for the worse and becoming cold and uncaring towards the autism spectrum which in turn makes my ability to present worthless. It was a big motivator to keep at it, to not get tired, and to keep spreading the message because the world in my nightmare is a world I want no part of being in.