Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on March 22, 2022. The video’s public release will be June 1, 2022.
Thumbnail image is of Lyric, a pale skinned nonbinary human, with short green, yellow, and orange hair, with shaved sides. They are sitting in an RV with dark wood panel walls, holding a pink glittery ball. In front of them the words Autistic Challenges in pale green and teal blue text.
All right. All right. Welcome back, Lyric here, and this week, I’m gonna be talking about some of the harder things. As an Autistic Person, I think it is very important that we talk about Autistic people in a balanced way. Currently, most people, when they hear “autism”, they only think of all of the hard parts.
So I spend a lot of time talking about the, not so hard things, and the lighter side of the Autistic experience, but I want to make sure that I am still being balanced, because Autistic People, yes, we are more than just our weaknesses, but we also are our weaknesses.
We are a combination of both our strengths and our weaknesses, just like every other human being on the planet is. We are all a combination of our strengths and our weaknesses, and there is nothing wrong with having weaknesses, and appreciating our strengths.
In fact, I think it is the standard for most people in the world to be successful. However, with Autistic People, some things in life, especially in the world today, as it is currently set up, can be hard. This week I’m gonna talk about that. If you are curious, please do stay tuned.
As we jump in deeper, I am going to start with a bit of a disclaimer that I am leading from my experience as an Autistic Person, and will be sharing a lot of things that are difficult for me.
If you are an Autistic Person, and you have a different experience, or you have a similar experience, I do invite you to drop your experience and comments in the comments section below.
I love to see comments of Autistic People who have experiences that are different from my own, because we are a vast spectrum, and no two Autistic People will have the same experience. However, hopefully some of what I have to share about my experience as an Autistic Person, and things that I have found to be difficult, living in this NeuroTypical world, we are stuck in, for me.
I hope that will be helpful to some of you who are listening. One of my biggest struggles in this world is being misunderstood, being misinterpreted, misinterpreting, and misunderstanding other people.
I tend to take what people say very literally. Up until recently I didn’t even realize how much I take people at face value.
I am bad at detecting when people are lying to me. This has left me very, where miscommunication and misunderstanding, and misinterpreting people’s intentions can be dangerous for me. Having people misinterpret my intentions, and misunderstand me, is often a very painful experience.
A lot of this happens because people tend to assume that everyone thinks, communicates, and experiences the world the way they do.
I thought everyone experienced the world and communicated the same way for many years. That’s why I thought I was inferior, because I didn’t understand that some of us are better in written communication.
Some of us experience the world differently. Some of us don’t speak with our mouths and some of us do. Some of us are visual thinkers. Some of us are not.
All of that I didn’t understand, and I didn’t understand how different each and every single human being’s perception of the world, and their experience was. So, when I struggled to do things people around me didn’t struggle with, I, I took that to heart, and felt as if I was a failure.
Before I was diagnosed Autistic, at 29, it never occurred to me to read people’s facial expressions or body language. I was literally the kid who would walk up and start invo dumping about one of my random favorite topics, dogs, or something that people around me likely had no interest in and I had no idea.
Later, as I even grew older into my teens, I would have no idea if people were pretending to be interested in me, because they were just trying to be nice, or because they had some kind of ulterior motive, and wanted something from, from me. I couldn’t pick up on the subtext. I couldn’t pick up on what people weren’t saying. I struggled a lot, and it got me into a lot of trouble.
I didn’t have social anxiety when I was young, but I developed social anxiety. I went from never assuming people wouldn’t have good intentions and, assuming by default everyone liked me, because everyone was nice… to realizing that a lot of people have bad intentions, I can’t always figure out what those intentions are, knowing how vulnerable I am, and I often, now, assume by default, that I annoy people, and most people probably couldn’t possibly like me; because of all of times when I was young, and would engage with people that actually didn’t like me, and were just being nice, instead of just telling me I was annoying them.
Learning I’m Autistic has helped with some things, and made them easier. I am studying facial expressions and body language, to learn what some of that stuff means. I’m learning it in a very unnatural way, and I hear some people picked up on that naturally in life, which is hard for me to fathom… but I’m learning it.
I’m capable of understanding these things, it’s just like learning a foreign language to me. Some things, however, haven’t gotten any easier, because some things might be more difficult for some of us.
For example, I have learned that I struggle with back and forth conversations. I don’t know when it’s my turn to talk.
I feel like there’s been a pause and a conversation, and to me, it seems like it’s been a longer pause than it seems to have been for everyone else, because when I think it’s been a pause and it’s my turn, I am always told I have interrupted, and I am not aware of that being what I’ve done.
I’ve also become very aware that I tend to dominate conversations, and don’t give people a chance to jump in. I don’t realize I’m doing this either, and it’s not something I know how to control.
I’ve been trying to get this part under control for the last five and a half years, and other than sitting quiet, and not saying much, and keeping my thoughts to myself, I don’t have a solution for this. It’s difficult, because a lot of times, I don’t know how to share my thoughts with other people, or to share what is on my mind, because if I can find the correct opportunity and figure out what that correct opportunity is to engage and share, I then, if someone else is like right in front of me, if they interrupt me, or ask questions, or stop me, I get lost, I get confused, I get off my path, and it makes it harder for me to share.
That’s why I do a lot of writing, and I do these videos, because I can just share all of my thoughts and nobody can stop me, interrupt me, and I don’t have to worry about if it’s someone else’s turn. It’s not conversational. It’s, literally, me doing an Autistic info dump into the internet, because I don’t know how to share with people, in the way that other people expect me to.
So it makes me a bit lonely sometimes, if people don’t understand this about me, and people misinterpret me as not caring, what other people think, or intentionally being rude, or not wanting to hear what someone else has to say.
The other thing is, sometimes I’ll jump in, and get over excited, and spontaneously interrupt a conversation, because I got really excited, and I’m also ADHD, in addition to being Autistic, so that probably ties into it… But then also there is this fear that, and I know, because my working memory is a tricky little monster, if I don’t get out, what’s on my mind right now, and I wait, I’m gonna forget what it was I wanna share… or I know the conversation’s gonna move in a totally different direction, and then I’ll have no opportunity to share at all. Which happens a lot.
I’m always walking the tight rope between completely oversharing, or not sharing at all, because I don’t know what the correct balance is, and I cannot, for the life of me seem to figure it out, even, all these years later, after my diagnosis.
All of these communication differences impact my relationships with other people.
Another thing that impacts my relationships with other people is how intensely fixated. I can get on things. My hyper focus, my greatest skill, my passion, my drive, my ability to be so obsessed with one topic, I can become an expert in it.
My ability to become so obsessed, in one little small thing, that the rest of the world often seems so far away and small and distant. I become so focused on my interests and my passions and my hobbies. That, a lot of times, the people who actually care about me, feel as if I care more about my hobbies and passions, than I care about the people in my life; and that’s not true at all. I just find comfort and peace in my hobbies and passions.
That’s something I don’t find a lot in the world, for a lot of reasons. One of those being sensory issues, which I’ll talk about more in a minute.
When I’m engaging in my passions, time almost doesn’t even exist. I can be engaging in a focused interest for hours and not even realize it’s been hours. It feels like it’s just been a matter of minutes. I can go for months without seeing someone, and when I think about the last time we saw each other, it feels like it was just yesterday.
There’s a strange time space continuum in my head, and the hyper focus, that I get drawn into very regularly, daily, weekly, monthly, all of the time I’m constantly being sucked into this hyper focus, where I am obsessed over things. Sometimes this is a good obsession, sometimes the obsessions are not so good.
It impacts my relationships, and it can leave me alone and isolated, and alienated, because people don’t always understand how distant I can be, and think it means I don’t like them.
Another really big obstacle, for me personally, are sensory issues. Certain types of lighting will give me migraines, seizures, vertigo. Certain sounds and smells will literally send me running out of a room.
When I get sensory overload, it is as if somebody has created static in my brain. If my brain was a television, it would be all of a sudden there was a picture playing and it is working, and then you put two magnets on the side, and the screen scramble, and static goes everywhere.
The dog’s barking, and I’m in mid thought: static, my brain overload, all of a sudden, no more thoughts. It’s just scrambled in there. Constantly, multiple times a day, I am scrambled by things in the environment.
I am an incredibly reclusive person, and I spend most of my time alone in this RV, or out walking in nature; because nature is one of the few places where I don’t have overload, unless it’s cold and it rains on me.
I can’t go to the grocery store, and be comfortable for very long. The lights, and the sounds, and sometimes the smells, really drain on me. They exhaust me. It is a hostile sensory environment.
I cannot focus when there’s noise, and a lot of busyness and, and, just stuff happening in an office at work.
I’m also ADHD, so in addition to the sensory issues, I cannot tune things out. This impacts my access to public spaces, and the types of job ops and careers I can take it. Limits things a lot, unless employers are willing to let me work from home, or have a lot of control over my environment.
Also driving is difficult because of all of this, not impossible, but difficult, and it’s best if I don’t do it very often.
Another thing, that I think a lot of Autistic People might relate to, is having the way our bodies move be used against us.
For example, when I was a young person, in elementary school, one of the nicknames that the other kids had for me was “Twitchy Witchy” because of the way I moved.
I also got in trouble in school, because I’ve always had a need to move. So I would jump outta my seat, and walk around the classroom, and bounce around.
When I’m happy I flap my arms, and I jump up and down, and I verbally stim, and I have echolalia, even now as an adult. So I will hear a sound, or a phrase, or a word, or something someone says, and I will automatically repeat it, a lot of times without even realizing I’ve done it, until after I hear the thing coming outta my mouth.
All of these things are things that can be misinterpreted by other people. People have asked me if I was on drugs. People have asked me what’s wrong with me. People look at you funny. People think if you repeats them, and you echo them, using the exact tonality of their voice, and you obviously are mimicking them like a parrot, that you must be making fun of them.
All of this misunderstanding can have painful, and even dangerous, consequences.
Another really big struggle for me, personally, is dealing with change, dealing with surprises. I have a routine, I do the same things every morning. I do the same thing every Monday. I do the same thing every Tuesday and Thursday. I do the same thing every Wednesday. I do the same thing every Friday. I repeat my schedule every week. It is basically the same. This sameness gives me comfort.
When I am going out to do something, I lay it out in my head in advance. In my head I have this trajectory, and this plan, of what the thing I’m about to do is gonna go like. Then, if all of a sudden there is a change, it is like that etch a sketch of my brain is being shaken around, and now, because you’ve thrown a change at last minute, I am in a panic, because I don’t know what’s coming next anymore. I don’t know what I need to do, because I didn’t plan for the change.
Sometimes when I am planning for my day, I will visualize all the multiple outcomes of a situation that I’m gonna go into. Then if there is an outcome that I hadn’t predicted, or didn’t take into account, that is gonna fill me with a source of internal panic, and dread, and fear, and I may even have a meltdown.
I had so many meltdowns when I worked in corporate America, especially when I didn’t know I was Autistic, when I worked in a company where people would have last minute meetings, and throwing last minute things into my schedule, and I would have to drop everything to do whatever was thrown at me. So I was constant running to the bathroom, crying to have a meltdown alone by myself, because I was struggling to deal with those changes, and those surprises.
Changes, and last minute surprises, and things like that, where it just chuffs off my routine, are some of my biggest personal meltdown triggers. I know we all have different meltdown triggers, but for me, change is a big thing I struggle with, and change is everywhere.
I- it happens, just life. Life is full of change. You change jobs, you change your, uh, you know, you cha you move.
Change is inevitable, but when I deal with other people, change is more likely. Some people, that are gonna constantly demand me drop everything and, and change my plans for them, I cannot have in my life, because that is just too stressful for me. I need more predictability in my life.
That’s something that is, actually, really difficult for me, is struggling to deal with change. Because that is hard, whether or not I am involving myself with other people.
All right, everyone. Thank you so much for hanging out with me this week. If you found this video helpful, useful, educational, entertaining, whatever, hit the thumbs up, and let me know that you liked it, so that I know what videos are decent, and what videos are bad… so that I can know what I can do better and what doesn’t really catch anyone’s interest.
I don’t do these videos for myself. I do them for you.
I hope they will be helpful, and bring some sort of value to your life.
Of course, if you relate to anything I said in this video, I’d love to hear your experiences. If you don’t relate, as I said, please share those experiences as well.
Autistic people, are not a monolith. We are a spectrum. It is more like a ball, versus a linear line. Within this, there’s a lot of room for each and everyone of us to sit within a different point, and have a very different view, and vantage point, and experience of what Autistic life is: what our difficulties are, what our strengths are, what our weaknesses are. So I’d love to hear from you.
Special thanks to everyone who shares their experience, who comments, who shares the videos. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for sharing. That is like the most awesome thing you can do to help this channel is share my videos and share my content.
A huge thank you to everyone who shares your experience, and who comments, and shares your feedback.
Also, before I go: thanks to the Patreon subscribers, Facebook supporters, and YouTube channel members. These videos wouldn’t be possible without the monetary subscription that you do. You make the website hosting at NeuroDivergent Rebel dot com possible. You make the transcriptioning software, and the closed captioning possible.
All of those resources are available on my website, because I’m unfortunately, on social media, sometimes I cannot add my S RT files… but I have those captions on my website, and the transcripts of every one of these long format videos I make, because of the Patreon and other monetary supporters. You make this possible. Thank you so much for that. I couldn’t do it without you.
I will see you all next week. Bye!
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