In recognition of #AutismAcceptanceMonth, each Friday we will post a perspective from one of our friends in the autism community in an effort to share their insights about autism. Though you may agree or disagree with their feelings, please remember this is meant to share perspectives and your thoughts and perspectives may differ.
From Miranda, 23, one of our long-time Monthly Meetup attendees:
My awareness of my social and intrapersonal shortcomings has bred within me a nasty anxiety disorder. I always knew I was different from seemingly everyone else in one way that no one else was, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I didn’t discover that my autism was what made it so difficult for me to relate to my peers until I asked my mother why I felt as if I could never acquire that natural sense of belonging everyone else seemed to have. To me, however, autism was but a label for my inferior ability to read my surroundings and the people within them or sufficiently organize my thoughts. I felt that everyone who knew of my weaknesses shunned me for them. I longed for the ability to make and keep friends and to maintain focus in an average classroom environment, but I felt that because I needed coping skills or accommodations, any ability to socialize and fend off distractions would never be natural, thus making me still less than my peers. I increasingly felt more isolated and hopeless and developed a thick shell.
It took years of therapy and personal experience to crack through this shell to reveal and restore the humanity that I clung to with hope that someone would accept me, despite the flaws that came with my disability. As it turned out, I have met many people whom I’ve told about my experiences with autism and being different who unconditionally accepted me.