Am I Autistic?
I was always laughed at by my peers in my childhood. I could never quite tell what they were laughing at. I used to hate it. They would liken me to someone with learning difficulties and make those all too familiar mocking noises that would resemble someone that had severe brain trauma. I’m not using those toxic words they would call me for a reason. I hate those words. Those words represent generations of humiliation, misrepresentation and degredation. So no. Not going to.
I hated those people. Their words would cut to the bone. At one point in my life I really did think there was something wrong with me. I didn’t get it. Why did they laugh at me? Yet other kids who should have been laughed at by their own stupidity didn’t. I was an anxious little boy. I would tread carefully where other kids would jump two feet first and not care for the consequences. I remember one kid coming up to me and shooting me with his toy gun. I laughed it off. He told me that his toy gun had a delayed time-warped effect and that I would die from bullet wounds the very next day. And, like a child that had been fed too many ghost stories, with high levels of Anxiety, and a HUGE imagination, I ran into my Mums house screaming.
They loved it. They loved teasing me, and chasing me, and tormenting me because they could get away with it. My Mum had it in her head that I should be out there defending myself so there was no-one to the rescue. Just me. Scared old me and a plethora of local boys that loved to take advantage. I can’t possible explain it. My Anxiety was an extreme barrier to better emotional health as a child.
It didn’t stop there though. I was laughed at on the golf course, and sometimes laughed at at school. People just didn’t get me. And I didn’t get them. I tried to be sociable, I tried to make friends. That I did, but only a small network of them. I didn’t have a massive crew like some of the more popular kids did. I didn’t get it. The only people that seemed to get me were my really close knit group of friends. I’m still in contact with them now. They were, and still are awesome.
I often wonder if it was because it was lack of understanding towards my communication difficulties that groups of kids fell back on the only thing they knew, when something was different. To laugh at. Or perhaps I was just utterly ridiculous. I’ll never know really. It’s a bug bear of mine because I love to introspect. But I’m not in contact with those people anymore. I have no idea where they are or what they do. I can never ask “why”
And then my Son was born. My lovely Alex. He’s like a little Carbon replica of me. I can see his high Anxiety developing and the difficulties he has around communicating with his peers. I also see a great deal of what I experienced in youth in his little life right now. It pains me. He has a diagnosis of Autism. It brought me to asking myself the question: Am I Autistic? Perhaps milder than Alex, but I’m sure that I’m on the scale.
As an adult I’ve learned to control the burning urges to do things that seem completely inexplicable to the average person. I’ve learned to curb my focus and use it only when I need to, rather than let it run rampage and have me mixing up my life priorities entirely. And above all I’ve learned to communicate. On a high level. I think people learn to communicate normally. I had to learn the hard way as an adult. Communication was my biggest downfall as a child. If I couldn’t communicate what I wanted then I’d become silly. Annoying to the onlooker. I would get in trouble when it’s really not what I wanted. Alex does that. I recognise it in him too. I can see it in me. I rarely ask, “am I autistic?” anymore. I feel I am.
I know if it weren’t for Natalie keeping me in a strict routine and setting strict boundaries for me I’d probably lose control altogether. I can see it happening all in slow motion as I gradually lose control. Sometimes I wonder how she does it. But then again I fulfill needs for her of course. So it’s definitely not a one way street.
I’d like to go to the Doctor. I’d like to approach them and ask them what needs to be done to see if I am or not. What tests do I have to take, or screenings? But there’s something deep inside me that avoids the consultation. I know I’m avoiding it. Because if I’m diagnosed it’s yet another label going to be slapped on me and I just want to be normal. Well, considered as a lovely, unique individual and nothing more.
I don’t want to be tarred with some label neatly slotting me into a box, defined by a set of characteristics. I can hear it now. “Oh, don’t worry. Raymond’s Autistic. He’ll not get that” and you know what? Perhaps I wont get it. But if you explain it to me I will. There are SO many labels that define us I don’t want to be part of that bandwagon. I just want to be Raymond. Raymond that likes this. And that. And views the world in a certain way.
What’s your opinion? Have you ever asked yourself: Am I Autistic?