Someone commented on the Huffington Post piece I wrote – (I hesitated printing it here, because I don’t want you to feel “outed” but I also didn’t want to not mention it because you’re reaching out and the Letter to You was in fact to you and anyone else who feels as you do.)
So Genisa, I hope it’s okay to reprint the comment you left on the Huffington Post here in it’s entirety so that others may find you and reach back to you.
“Thank you for the kind words. I didn’t realize anyone can see how you get to a blog by what you type on Google or on the blogs searches. I did type in that phrase a few weeks ago around April 7th. I would feel bad to think I made someone else feel sad by what I was looking for. I was trying to find others that felt the same way or to read something that I could relate to that would help to make me feel like there was hope, beyond the hopelessness I was feeling and still do feel. I feel so alone because of my inability to socialize appropriately, effectively communicate (especially verbally), and how I always say the wrong thing and make everyone angry at me. I’m an adult, I’m a female and I have Aspegers. I’m invisible to much of society. I love volunteering, but for some reason others don’t want me to help out. It really hurts to feel rejected by everyone, even within a group that should understand you because they have children on the autism spectrum themselves. I want so much to see why I am not accepted and to be able to change it, but I can only change so much. We do have feelings and we do have abilities if people would just see past our difficulties.”
I then responded with a very long reply, one I now regret having written as I had to submit it in three parts due to HuffPo’s policy of a 250 word limit on comments. As of this writing they’ve only published the 3rd part, which is a little horrifying as my words will be taken out of context and people may think I am drawing parallels between addiction and eating disorders and autism, which I AM NOT! I’m not sure where the first two parts went, but if you just read the last part of my reply, it won’t make any sense or if it does, my guess is the wrong conclusions will be drawn, so I’m going to try to respond in full again here. I didn’t copy my response first before submitting it, so this response will be slightly different. Please, please refrain from drawing conclusions and judging my response until you’ve read my full reply and even then do keep in mind I am speaking of the feelings which may or may not be shared and not the circumstances. Here goes…
Genisa! I am so glad you reached out and commented. If you haven’t already gone to the Autism Positivity 2012 Flash Blog, do. Because of those words typed into Google, you galvanized and inspired a group of bloggers to create the Autism Positivity Flash Blog. I don’t know how many people have contributed at this moment, but I do know as of yesterday morning over 115 people had written a reply to your words. Those replies are from Autists, Aspies, Parents of Aspergers and Parents of Autists. Over 115 people, Genisa. You are NOT alone. Go to the flash blog read the responses from people, most of them have blogs, go to their blogs and reach out to the ones that speak to you. Many will respond. You have found your people!
When I was in my 20′s I was suicidal. (This is not something I often talk about.) I felt utterly hopeless, I had an eating disorder, was bulimic with anorexic tendencies that I could not contain or control, my life revolved around eating, puking, how much I weighed and where and what I would eat next, all as a way to quell my feelings of self loathing. To someone who’s never had an eating disorder it must sound completely insane. And, in many ways it was. I felt horrible about myself, I hated who I was. And I assumed everyone else felt the same about me as I did. I was unlovable. Of that I was sure. Please know that I am in no way equating my addiction and eating disorder to autism. I am simply describing the feelings of isolation and sadness that can be common in both.
It took a long time for me to get the help I needed in order to stop. But once I found people like myself, (and this is where the similarity in our stories lie) I was able to see, finally, that I was NOT alone. I remember thinking it couldn’t be true. But it was. There were hundreds and hundreds of people, in every city all over the world, some were suffering just as I was, others knew what it was to suffer, but had moved beyond those painful feelings. That was the first step out of my personal hell and into another way of living. A way of living where I could look at myself in the mirror and finally, finally like what I saw staring back at me. Over time, with a great deal of support, I was able to begin behaving in ways that were honest and true to myself. I was able to slowly stop trying to please all those other people that I felt condemned me, saw me as a failure, as a “bad” person. And now, (I’m in my 50′s) my life is better than I ever could have imagined. I have a wonderful husband who knows me and loves me exactly as I am, who loves me even when I’m angry, sad, irritated and feeling grumpy. I have two beautiful, amazing and unique children, one who is considered neurotypical and one who is autistic. And I am a very, very happy human being. But thirty years ago, I was not.
You are beautiful, Genisa. Let us love you until you can love yourself. (Someone said that to me early on in my recovery from bulimia – I had no idea what they were talking about and I didn’t believe them, anyway. But they did no matter what I said or felt they loved me and eventually I was able to too.) Reach out as you have, again and again, find those you feel comfortable talking to, develop a relationship with them. You are not alone, Genisa. You are so not alone. And you ARE beautiful. Please reach out to me anytime. I, like so many others, am here.