Saturday, 6 July 2013

Ableist Concern

I have not changed. I am still the same person. I'm just not pretending to be someone I'm not, anymore.
I've had people say to me, 'But you coped just fine doing xyz.' 'You've gotten worse, not better. You're using your Aspergers as an excuse to behave badly.' 'Aren't you low in something? Better get checked out.'

What those people who do not understand me nor attempt to understand me, do not get, is that those times I appeared to be coping ok was just acting. I can appear to manage things quite well. I can socialise when I need to. I have times I manage quite well. What they do not realise is how incredibly draining and exhausting it is for me. How I feel anxious and on edge most of the time. I appear to be coping just fine outwardly but inwardly I'm a mess and feel like I am barely coping socially. I will come home after an outing and I will literally collapse on the couch and stim. I will not have energy to do much more. I will spend the rest of the day trying to regain spoons in order to continue and cope with all that is expected of me. Which, as a parent is very challenging for me. I would go to these outings because it was the 'Mum' thing to do and then come home exhausted, only to face having to parent my son when all I wanted to do was have solitude to recover.
It takes a HUGE amount of my energy which I am often low in to maintain that level of normal-ness. You know what, I can no longer maintain it, nor do I care to. I'm finally free from all of those ridiculous expectations that are placed onto me by well-meaning misguided people. I choose not to live my life that way. I choose to find my own path and live life how best it suits me and my family.
I am ridiculously tired of being treated like and labelled as being 'difficult.' I'm not actually trying to be difficult. I just desperately need others to open their minds and try to understand how challenging life is for me in this not very Autism friendly world.

For now anyone who doesn't attempt to understand me on my terms is being kept at a distance because I just can't cope with their ableist attitude. It's like 'oh you can indeed do this, I know you can, just try harder and you'll be fine.' 
There's a pic from Karla's ASD Page which illustrates this perfectly. It features a person in a wheelchair with an able-bodied person standing above them telling them to try harder to reach something they clearly can't reach. It's the same for autism. We are different, we do not do things the way the rest of the able-bodied world does and we never will. I wish others would accept this and make an effort to understand us.

Actually I will not be fine if I try harder to be more like how others want me to be, I will get worse. I have already tried being the person others want me to be and I was not happy at all. I finally feel a sense of peace within myself. A feeling of self-love and acceptance and no one is going to take that away from me.

Ableist concern: where able-bodied people show their 'concern' for a disabled or differently abled person and to suggest whatever they like and not listen to the main person involved thus rendering the disabled person invisible. The disabled person is told they don't see things 'correctly' (apparently) so they don't get to have a say in how their own life is run. This 'concern' is extremely hurtful and undermining to the main person involved.