My name is “Chris.” In 2019, when I was 39 years old, I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level Two, Without Accompanying Intellectual Impairment. I did not develop this affliction at the age of 39. I was born autistic. I have always been aware, my entire life, that something is wrong with me. So have my parents. So has my older brother, who never hesitated to point this out to me.
I have always been an outcast. Picked on in gym class. No athletic ability. Didn’t go on my first date until I was 20, and it was a disaster. Didn’t lose my virginity until I was two weeks away from my 25th birthday. I have never been in a romantic relationship that lasted more than four months. Since last year, I am employed now at a job that is stable, but the idea of moving up in the company feels unrealistic. In high school, I was even rejected by the theatre kids, a group that is usually a safe haven for the outcasts who can’t make it in sports or in the popularity contest that masquerades as “student council.”
When I was 13, my parents were fed up with my constant twitching, so they sent me to a psychiatrist. This East Texas, small-town psychiatrist had no idea that I could be on the spectrum. So he prescribed drugs. Drugs that made me want to sleep all day. Drugs that made me incontinent (imagine going on a day-long retreat with your junior high Sunday School class and shitting your pants in front of everyone). Two of these drugs interacted with one another in a way that caused my muscles to spasm and eventually my jaw to lock up.
In 2013 I was having a drink with a friend and he asked me if I've heard of Asperger's, as my condition was called back then. I looked it up later that night, and suddenly I had the answer to the question, "What is wrong with me?" I had wasted thousands of dollars on psychotherapists, and it was a conversation with a friend who has no professional experience, right outside of a movie theater showing Bellflower, that gave me my solution.
I don’t say all of this to complain, but to illustrate that my condition should have been diagnosed a long time ago. I am sure there are a million children going through the things I went through growing up, as well as adults who struggle every day just trying to function in a world that, simply put, wasn’t designed with them in mind. There is a good chance that these people will live their entire, unhappy lives never understanding why they feel the way they do, why they just can’t be like everyone else. I am writing this blog for them.
I am also writing it for the rest of you. Maybe you all can learn more about how to recognize the signs from the life that I describe. Ultimately, I want to make sure that no one ever has to endure what I have been through, without getting the proper professional help they need. Yes, I aim to educate PhD’s with ten years of college and decades of psychological examination experience. They can learn from me, as well. You may ask, shouldn’t psychiatrists already know about this? Yes, they should. I know of at least one who didn’t when I needed him to.
Ever since I was diagnosed, I have wanted to find every friend I ever had so I could tell them why I did all of those embarrassing things. I will describe to you all of these embarrassing things I did, and I will not spare any detail. When necessary, I will change names to protect the innocent. Even I will use a pseudonym. I would like to keep my job, after all.
I will discuss religion. Maybe even a little bit of politics. Some things I say may be offensive and I will lose some readers. That is a risk I am willing to take. I am trying to explain how my brain works, and it will be necessary to venture into areas that are uncomfortable, even controversial.
Not everyone on the autism spectrum has been through what I have. Some have suffered more than I have. Some have committed suicide. Some have even committed large-scale acts of violence (look it up). And some have lived happy lives, perfectly content with who they are. People in this last category are probably in the minority.
So I don’t speak for everyone with my condition, nor am I trying to. This is an account of one autistic person’s life. I hope you learn something from me. And maybe you’ll laugh too. I have some funny stories and a good sense of humor, according to my friends.
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