Monday, December 20, 2010

What I Want To Say, But Never Have

Much like my entry entitled An Aspie's Dream I could have sat on this piece of writing and saved it for a future book, but I can't sit on something like this as this needs to be shared with the world.

There are so many things I wish I could say but never seem to be able to. I may go about my day without saying it, or without showing it, but I really do appreciate those around me. I don't know how to simply say, "thank you" in a meaningful way so often I say nothing at all. Regardless of what is spoken, or what is shown, I truly am grateful.

There are times that I am happy, times I am anxious, and other times when I am sad. Sometimes the emotions are so great it feels as if I am going to burst into pieces, but sometimes you may not know it because I will not say it. I have heard people say that those on the spectrum don't have emotions and let me tell you that you should never think this. Not even for a second! I experience the whole array of emotions and maybe I experience them more than you, but I don't know how to express it. Sometimes emotions confuse me and I don't know how to state how I feel. This may come across as being emotionless, and when you ask me I may not respond with how I feel, but I wish I could. I wish I could tell you that I am happy, I really do, but often those words go by unspoken.

There are times when people ask me a question because I look troubled and I so badly want to explain how I feel and that I am not troubled, but most times I say nothing. I may sometimes appear annoyed at being asked a question, but this is just my usual knee-jerk reaction to an unsuspected conversation. Afterwards I will realize that the person meant no harm and I wish I could, at that very moment, say thank you and explain how and why the autism spectrum got in the way of what, for others, occurs without thought.

There are times that I can get frustrated and am unable to say what is bothering me. I will sit there slowly building up pressure until I can no longer take it. I may say something rude or in a loud tone, but as annoyed as I am at whatever it was that was irking me I too am frustrated at myself that I simply couldn't say what I needed changed. Because I am aware of the differences I don't want to be a burden and I am afraid to ask for things regardless if it is small or large. I am happy with my differences, and want you to be too and that's why I sometimes am afraid to say, "could you turn the music down?" or, "could we not enter the busy shopping center today as I have had an already stressful day?" I'm afraid if I ask for these small things you may define me by the autism spectrum and while I'm proud to be on the spectrum, and would not wish it away upon myself, I don't want you to see the autism spectrum in me because first and foremost I am me.

There are times I have heard a scary word. I don't know how to react to this word and with each time I hear it I get more and more confused. I should know how to respond, but I get so confused that I simply say nothing at all. This may confuse my family as I usually remain silent when I hear them say, "I love you". This could lead a person to think that I am unable to experience love. Again, please NEVER allow yourself to think this. The emotions are there, oh! how they are there! Emotions like love simply overwhelm my ability to express anything so I say nothing. I don't want to be rude when I do this, but it may come across like it. I so badly want to say just how much those in my life mean to me but often, well, always I seem to say nothing. There is so much to say though because without the support of my family I wouldn't be who I am. Without them believing in me I may never have believed in myself. How do I say this in words each time I hear, "I love you?" I don't know how to therefore I say nothing.

There are so many positives to who I am, but often it seems the only things people remember about me are the things I left unsaid. I want to say something when this happens, but I let it pass. Some may say that I simply don't care, but this could not be farther from the truth. I do care, but I simply don't know how to show it. This is why I want to say all the things I have said in this writing. It is because of this I want, no, need to say the feelings I feel. I may need to, but often I don't state how thankful I am that people care about me. Being on the spectrum can be a gift, but with that gift comes challenges and it takes support from people like teachers, friends, and most of all family to get through it all. I may never be able to say what this all means to me, but trust me when I say I do feel it even if I can't speak it.


  1. This was probably the most eloquent text I have read about the way people on the spectrum experience feelings and the trouble they have expressing them. More than that, you managed to really tell what you feel, in a quite moving way. I really enjoyed it, pal!

  2. This takes practice and I think I am pretty good at this.

    A quick fix of this is- When I don't feel right for some reason, I will always find someone to talk to- either immediately or not when I feel I need to vent (which can be a while later). I also will have a list of people I might go to for this. Sometimes it's whoever I trust who is also available. Sometimes it's the person on the top of my list.

    I learned this the hard way when I was depressed after learning my diagnosis. Sure, my classmates were very loving and caring. But, they also had to be with their own groups of friends, too! To be honest, I was like you during those first few weeks.

    2 years after that point, a former instructor I had (who is a PhD student at the time and still is one today) had a brief chat with me on Facebook. I told her what I went through during the first few weeks of her class. She was IN SHOCK of what I was dealing with at that time when I told her the truth. I put in shock in capitals because she knew I was a quiet student even though I participated in class regularly. However, she had no idea I was grieving and it took a lot of courage for me to be in school.

    Moral of the story- Sometimes nobody knows how miserable you really are until you go to people and seek their support, especially if you have a reputation as an introverted person.