I recently heard that somebody was, and I quote, ‘warned about my illness’.
This upset me and sent me into a spiral of hating myself and my Autism for a number of days. Is my Autism an illness?
In the Oxford English Dictionary the noun ‘illness’ means, ‘A disease or period of sickness affecting the body or mind.’.
My Autism will effect my mind and body for the entire period of my life but, I do not think of it as a disease or sickness. To me, disease or sickness indicates something which nobody wishes to experience – maybe this applies to my Autism – but it is also something which can be caught and passed on through germs and bacteria – this is not Autism, Autism can not be spread by a cough or a sneeze. I think of my Autism as a fundamental aspect of my identity, not an illness which cannot be cured.
Does my Autism make me dangerous? Is this why people must be, ‘warned’ about it? Am I a risk to society? Could my Autism cause me to lash out and hurt an individual?
The answer to all of the above is no.
Why would people need warning about my diagnosis? After lots of thought I have come to the following conclusions…
They need warning that my Autism means I am a very reliable individual. They need warning that it makes me organised and efficient. My Autism causes me to think logically. My Autism means I experience emotions very intensely which in turn, makes me considerate and caring towards others. My Autism makes me determined to suceed as it makes life much harder for me. These are just a few of many postive warnings I could list.
I do not let my Autism effect those around me. I work very hard to process the world on my own and mask my struggling when it becomes too much. The only individual who needs warning about my diagnosis should be me as it is only me whom it effects.
I have written this post in hope that people will think and research the condition before they comment; ignorance is not beneficial to anybody. Comments such as the one I have heard said about myself are extremley hurtful. The thought that people judge me differently or think that I am any less of an individual than neurotypicals is heartbreaking for me to hear and believe.
If you wish to learn more about the condition then there are plenty of resources out there. With even a simple understanding of Autism you would be benefitting over 700,000 people in the UK alone. A good place to start your education would be on the National Autistic Society’s website. If you do take the time to read up on the condition then I personally thank you.