I hung out with people today at our apartment complex as we had an outdoor party. (I am currently rather tipsy and drinking water, so please forgive me) I let it slip that I was autistic and these two guys didn’t believe me. I was like, you’re not my psychiatrist and tried to leave it there.
I ended up going out drinking with them and a friend, who was our Designated Driver and had my back. One of them really liked me, apparently, and literally said if I wasn’t moving in a week he would want to date me, even though I’m “autistic or whatever.” I get he was drunk and not at all sober, but it really hurt.
Why do people feel the need to question me being autistic? I don’t see autism as a bad thing, so isn’t them questioning the validity of my diagnosis just them seeing it as a negative thing? I mean, of course being disabled is no fun, but it’s not exactly inherently negative IMO. Its not like they specialize in autism. They haven’t seen my diagnostic results or seen how long it takes to get that damn diagnosis.
I think it frustrates me more than maybe it should? I’m not sure. It’s super frustrating and happens pretty often. What I want to hear is just “thank you for telling me.” But no.
It was really courageous of you to share this, even though you frequently experience inappropriate reactions. Honestly, I think this is nothing but ignorance and I doubt whether the people you hung out with really know what autism is about. At most they might have a vague idea, but they most probably won’t know anything about what it entails.
Maybe they just didn’t get the impression at all that you’re on the spectrum. It could also be a sign that they either have a stereotype image of someone who is autistic or they don’t have any idea at all.
It isn’t and it’s great that you see it this way.
I can imagine and understand that this is so frustrating. It is neither your responsibility to educate others nor to justify your diagnosis or explain it to anyone who comes across as ignorant.
I know from my experience with mental illness that comments like “just don’t do it” are the best “advice” people will have. That doesn’t really make you feel understood or supported, but not taken seriously.
Do you have a strategy who to tell what and if you even want to bring it up at all? I think it would also be totally fair to tell someone what you value as a reaction, such as “thank you for telling me”, as you write. Maybe some really don’t know how to react and what is appropriate, especially when they haven’t come across the topic in their life so far. Considering the prevalence rates of autism that’ll be the vast majority of people you’ll meet.
I’m sure you’ll find a healthy way to cope with this and this will become second nature over time. I hope you are well supported by your loved ones and have places to talk about your frustration. You’re loved no matter what people say or how they react.
What you said resonates a lot with me. People try to assure you that it’s not a bad thing, but why can’t they just treat you like a normal human being without a diagnosis? If it’s really no big deal, why bring it up?
I’ve had similar experiences, but I don’t have an official diagnosis. When I got into my mid 20s, people in my life started throwing around that “oh of course you’re on the spectrum, we always knew that.” Well it was news to me. Most frustrating though, is when my wife says things like “I love you, neurodivergence and all,” or “I think I was always meant to wind up with a neurodivergent person.” Um, why is it not enough that I’m me? It makes me feel like a pity project. Also, let me reemphasize, I’ve never been formally diagnosed with anything, so the “supportive” people in my life are speaking from projection and conjecture, not fact.
What you’re describing is really frustrating. Maybe in the grand scheme of life it’s not that big a deal, but you have every right to be frustrated by it. Why isn’t it enough that you’re sakurasangel? Why do you have to be sakurasangel the autistic person to them? Is it so much to ask that people treat you normally?
I guess my advice is to let them think what they want, don’t preoccupy yourself with what they think about your diagnosis, and be who you feel like you are. You are not your autism. I wish I had more wisdom about how to handle the comments better, but if you try your best to go through life as yourself and not “the autistic person,” then you will see yourself and be yourself, and you’ll find where you belong eventually.
I’m so sorry that you felt hurt by this person’s words.
Buttt… since there was drinking involved… let me play devil’s advocate for a second.
Suppose in his already drunk state he said “autistic or whatever” as a way to cover his own drunk butt in case he had misheard you?
Suppose he was interested in you genuinely, but not 100% sure that you said autism, and not something else with which he was not familiar?
Drunk people’s attention may not be the best at times, and maybe he was trying to NOT be offensive in case he had misheard?
I don’t know the guy, but it was the first thought that came to mind when I heard that he may already have been a bit tipsy himself. Maybe it wasn’t meant in a bad way at all.
Fair point. The first time he was completely sober and when he brought it up drunk he said autistic or whatever. so that could be what he meant!
Maybe I should email or see if I can call my therapist and ask her about it. It is something that seriously frustrates me, and I think having a plan of how to deal with negative/uninformed reactions would really help me. Rates of diagnosis are increasing- I believe it’s 1 in 49 people now. I’m telling myself they’re uninformed, as I am currently in a rural area. It makes me happy I’m moving to New England; there are more resources there.
Would it be too much to try and call my therapist? I genuinely don’t know. Maybe I will email her first. I know the main office worker would also be helpful to talk with. Its easiest for me to talk things out when I need to think things through and, unfortunately, this is one of those things my mom or sister can’t really help me with.
It’s a great idea to discuss this with your therapist. I think this is totally okay and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, especially since it is frustrating. It is also so hurtful when you don’t feel understood or accepted by others. It is definitely not too much. You never have to justify or feel bad for struggling with something that affects you. Reaching out for support is a great step and your awareness that it helps you to talk things through is amazing.
I’m glad to hear that you’ll have more resources available to you after you’ll have moved. Maybe there’s even a small community (or maybe you found this already online). It can be so helpful and relieving to hear that others make similar experiences and to learn how they deal with these kinds of situations.
There’s never anything wrong with how you feel.
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