Am I capable of enjoying this world, instead of hanging on at the edges?
CONNER ANDERSON - Sep 4 2018 at 14:35
First of all, I am not suicidal. I have been in the past, but the time of crisis is mostly over. This is not a matter of survival anymore.
I was born severely autistic. I was nonverbal for a time, and very broken for a long time after that. I was self destructive as a child.
At this point, I was just a kid. I was autistic, and I could not have acted differently. This is fairly typical for one with
autism, i suppose. That is the nature part of the story. My parents... tried to help me. They kept me out of the special ed program, despite the fact that I made other kids lives worse by being around them. This is not self pity, because I am not that person anymore. I have not been in a long time. I understand my parents decision to keep me in regular classes, and it most likely helped me enormously. Even if i do not agree with the decision thinking back, it was a decision made with my best interests in mind, and I appreciate that. But me and my parents are not compatible for any length of time. They liked to scream for any reason they could find, and for a child who has little ability to read emotion, It was ingrained in my... soul, that everyone was always angry. That I was always in trouble, always the one in the wrong. Because they knew how I was,
and were firmly in the believe that they knew better, despite the fact that they are not very smart. This is not an insult. Autism is not retardation. It is not lack of computing power.
I have studied humanity. This sounds weird, but in order to improve, I needed to understand you. Humans are born with a set of programming, a place to start. instincts like sexual attraction, the urge to flock, the many different meanings of a casual touch. The fact that there are a hundred different ways to smile, and they all mean something different. Humans are born with many of these instructions. I only had a partial set.
So I studied. I watched thousands of hours of social interaction. I took notes. I paused and went frame by frame to duplicate the exact muscle twitch that meant... something. I tried, and I improved. I was still the kid who sat alone, but if I was asked a question, I could answer well enough. I was far from good, but I had attained proficiency. And that was enough for a long time.
near the end of my eighth grade year, I was sitting in the lunchroom, alone, eating the same exact sandwich I ate every day. For some reason, a girl my age approached me and asked if I would like to meet her friends. This had never happened before, because, even if there are exceptions, most of the time, friendships are rungs to climb the social ladder. And yet, she wanted me, the random kid who always ate alone, to sit with her and her friends. There was no pity in her eyes when she asked my to sit, simply a friendly demeanor. I do not know why I said yes, because I was really only half paying attention to what was going on.
Before everybody starts freaking out, this is not a love story. far from it. I became friends with that group. Friends. I know that this is something that humans naturally do, But i had never needed it before this point. I did not even realize what had happened until I started paying attention a few weeks later. I... needed them. I got a certain level of happiness from talking with them, though I also got a huge amount of discomfort.
Things started to change at home. I had a will of my own beyond throwing a fit. I was experiencing emotions other than anger comfusion and depression for the first time. I made progress.
My parents are not nice people. They did hit me when I was young, but that stopped as soon as I got aware enough to start tattling on them. But they did not stop. The screaming... The yelling and anger and barley concealed hatred and fighting... It hurt me. Badly. I could not escape, because any attempt at discussion was toxic, and I could not get emaciation. This went on for years and years.
I lost my mind. Completely. I was gone.
Everyone was so mad at me, the anger was constant. The only thing that made the screaming stop was anger, to fight fire with a hotter fire. I screamed back, they struck back at what the deemed a loss of control. My computer... it was not just a toy. It was my way of interacting. My window the a world where screaming was not eroding my soul. The one place i could learn about science, psychology. The place I could program while they screamed because a dropped tissue or whatever. It was my one and only escape from the corner I was backed into.
So they took it away. I was so sad and angry and hurting at everything. My grades dropped too because I wanted to exercise control over the one part of my life I could. So I was in permanent detention, so that I could raise my grades. I was grounded. This does not seem like a big deal, but it meant that I lost all contact with my friends.
I did not hurt anyone. No matter how mad I got, I never crossed that line. Not even once. But I had lost everything. I was cornered in a situation where every moment hurt because someone was always yelling at me. There was no escape. I tried to die. I tried so hard, but the one piece of programming that really made its way into my brain if that survival instinct. I could not do it. I tried. So I went insane.
When my parents realized that I would rather lose my life than my soul, they went nuclear. No, they did not bother to hit or scream. They brought backup. One day, three of my dads coworkers escorted me to the car, and drove me to a psychiatric hospital.
Those places... they are supposed to be a place where children get better, where the situation is fixed. Where healing happens. No. It was all a lie.
The "Therapy" was once every two weeks for thirty minutes. The therapist just read a book the whole time. there was no emotional support, there was no healing for anyone. I later learned that their success rate, defined when a patient does not get recommitted within five years, is less than two percent. Those people did not care. When they first arrived, they wold care, but that was gone within two weeks. Thirty heavily medicated children in a small room, without any kind of help of distraction. where if you hurt yourself, the counselor would roll her eyes and get someone to sedate you so they can fix you and then send you back to hell. People died there. I saw a body bag being removed one morning, while the people moving it complained about what a pain in the ass it was. I saw needles that were usually for sedating the patients on the counter, unsecured. Like an idiot, i told a concerns about it so that none wold hurt themselves. I was told to shut up, and the strings were still there the next day. That was not a place of healing, it was a farm. Farming those children destroyed minds for the money. It was all about the money. I needed out, I had to. So i played along. I took the pills that made me gain seventy pounds in four months. I said i was sorry, I gave them everything they wanted. After another two months, the let me out because the insurance finally said that they were not paying anymore. So I went back to my parents, and I played along. For four years. I did what i had to to to escape the unluckiness of the womb lottery. finally, I moved out. I was free. Physically.
But I an hurt. I was shattered, and glued back together by fear and desperation. The danger is gone, but I am still picking up the pieces. I have friends. I pay rent, have a roommate. but that happiness... it is gone. The purpose, the thought that it was going to get better, it is gone. I lost the ability to read emotions. I cannot tell by looking if a person is mad at me, or happy, because whenever i look into anyone eyes, I see anger. I know that it cannot always be true, but I cant tell. So I ask, and that is irritating. So I keep quiet, and have an anxiety attack because if I do not keep track of people's feelings, they can hurt me so badly. I cannot handle touch, which is such a basic part of humanity. The friend who gave me the gift and curse of feelings... She tried to huge me, and I polite excused myself, and cried for two days. Because I cant understand. I do not have the guidebook, and the only way I have to figure it out has been so badly burned and destroyed that I do not think I can ever repair the damage. I want to have friends. I want to feel joy, to laugh without consciously moving my diaphragm just the right way to mimic the others. I want to eventually find someone who I love, and who will love me back. I want to be human.
But I do not know if that is possible anymore.