My next guest post in this series comes from Elizabeth of Book Yabber. Elizabeth is going to be sharing her personal experiences with Autism. Tomorrow’s post will also be related to Autism, so keep an eye out for that one as well 🙂 Thanks for guest posting, Elizabeth!
From the beginning, I could tell I was different. Why am I being reprimanded for walking down the hall again because my steps landed on an odd number, or because I’m color-sorting the rice in the rice table, or when I scream, crouch, and cover my ears because the harsh blare from the car horn is literally hurting me?
I was diagnosed with a mix of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and On the Spectrum. My mom always told me I was OCD, which meant nothing to me at the time. To me “OCD” was a synonym for different. Later in life I would learn that I got three Autism diagnosis’ and only one OCD, but my mother was ashamed and told me OCD. Somehow OCD was more manageable for her.
My entire school career was not easy. Preschool was very distracting for me. The aforementioned rice table, caused significant problems for me. I could not focus on anything else when I was at that school. All the different colored rice pieces, thrown together in a tub with absolutely no form of unity or organization. I couldn’t focus on anything else. They ended up removing the table from the classroom. The other children despised me. Walking down the hall to lunch or where ever, I always count my steps. I hate when they land on odd numbers, so I will often go back to the starting point and do it until I come to an even count.
Fast forward to high school, I had a very hard time in classes. The teachers would deliver their lessons verbally and I thought I was hearing and comprehending what they were saying. I would learn what I thought I had heard, but I was understanding them wrong every time, therefore learning the wrong information. I had anxiety every time I was administered a test, and almost always failed because of it. It was very difficult for me to stay afloat.
Adult life is much of the same. I’m high functioning, living on my own with my husband. At the moment, we unfortunately live in a city, which is not easy for me at all. Cities are loud and my hearing is sensitive. When we walk the streets, I wear ear plugs that muffle the sound and help a lot. Sometimes I disrupt the flow of walking traffic because I have to go back and reset my steps. When I’m communicating with others, I often have to repeat back what I thought they said, so I understand better.
Being on the spectrum is emotionally difficult for me at times. I observe people being able to walk without counting their steps, an airplane could fly right over top of them and they don’t cringe and scream, they can be in rooms with a large amount of people and be fine, ETC!! I am different. It’s not a bad thing, it’s challenging for me at times, but everyone’s brain is different. I believe most people need this gentle reminder so when you see someone reacting differently to a situation than how you yourself would react, it’s not weird or wrong, it’s just what they need to do to feel comfortable.
Please keep in mind that everyone experiences their mental illness and/or mental health struggles in different ways. One person’s experiences may be different from someone else coping with the same diagnosis.
The views, opinions and positions expressed in guest posts are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, and positions of Book Stacks Amber. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them.