Thursday, August 28, 2014

Don't Tell Me...

One of the biggest things that would anger and confuse me, and they do to this day actually, is to be told how I should feel or any sentence that starts with that.

I blogged about it several years ago, but in 1st grade, in music class, the teacher played a song that had deep bass tones and it gave me a pain response and she said, "no it doesn't!" What was I to think about that? I was hurting and I was being told it didn't. I was confused.

To this day I still experience these types of situations and it becomes a highly belittling experience. Take for instance if I need something others don't, or let's use a sensory issue. A month or so back there was loud music playing and I walked quickly passed and a person asked me what was up so I responded that it hurt and they said, "No it doesn't!" and again I felt, I felt, I don't know if you can understand this but this makes me feel less of a person because I;m being told that how I feel is wrong.

The starting chapters of my book Finding Kansas and the relationships I destroyed bothered me for years and again other people would say, "Aaron, it's been years, it shouldn't bother you!" Again, how am I to respond to this. Should I say, "Oh, you know, now that you mention it you're right and I'm now happy." No, it doesn't work this way. When something bothers me it can be there a while and to have these emotions discarded led me to the point that I simply would not discuss anything emotional because I began to fear other people's response.

As the title of this post states, "Don't tell me..." which that sentence can end in many different ways be it, "Don't tell me it doesn't (or does) hurt" or, "Don't tell me I shouldn't be bothered" or even, "Don't tell me I shouldn't be afraid because I am."

It's typically hard for us on the autism spectrum to discuss our feelings, our hopes, and our dreams and when we do, if we are discounted, it can be confusing. My first grade teacher once said, "Aaron, weather is nothing to be afraid of" which meant what I was feeling was wrong because I was afraid therefore that meant I was a weak person. That was the logic my brain had.

Of All things there is nothing worse than to be told that what I have, and the challenges I face, shouldn't be there. This is probably the most ignorant thing a person can say and some people will say things without thought about it. Many situations can arise that have this whether it is asking to hear directions again because I have horrible short-term memory, or wanting the environment to be dimmer or quieter because it's just too much for me to handle. In any of these events please, please, PLEASE, don't tell me to simply "man up" or "get over it" or that it, "isn't too loud." While it might not be any of those for you for me it is much louder, brighter, and more distracting than you can know.

If the world only knew the strength it takes for me to walk out the door each day. It's a struggle. Some people ask if I'm cured and I'm not and there are times that things are too much. When this occurs, now more than in the past, people understand, but there are still those that have no concept of what autism, Asperger's or any of the others words associated with them mean. Even though I know that they are 100% ignorant to these facts I still feel less of a person when I'm told I should be "normal" or be someone that I am not. Deep inside I want to apologize at these times. Imagine that; wanting to apologize for one's existence but that's the shame that can be brought about when told that who I am, what I am, and what I feel is wrong.

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