What if every time someone said hello to you, you were afraid?
What if every time you heard “How are you?” you felt like you were under a hot spotlight?
What if you spent your whole life being told you were an uncouth, selfish and rude person, and had no idea why you were being accused of these things?
What if you spent your whole life being told you had intentions that you didn’t even begin to understand, or that you were “weird”, and had no idea what that meant?
What if people used you, because you wanted to be nice, and then accused you of being unkind when you started to say, “Please don’t”?
What if you were inexplicably assaulted by sounds, lights, smells and physical touch, in paralysing waves?
This is what being non-visibly autistic felt like to me – a battle with ghosts, a hall of mirrors.
Diagnosis and learning about autism went a long way toward understanding these trying aspects of everyday life and relationships, understanding myself and others, and working on being well. Being autistic isn’t good or bad, it just is. But knowing about it makes a huge difference.