What Getting Hit by a Car Made Me Realize About My Autism

This fall has been one of the most challenging times in my life.

Along with a break up with my girlfriend, which I shared on The Mighty, I’ve gone through an array of ailments: insomnia, a panic attack, tonsillitis, mononucleosis, a broken tooth that needed a crown and an ear infection that lasted three weeks. A few weeks ago I thought things were beginning to turn around.

I had a great weekend planned to go to New York City with a few friends. We hit up a few bars in the area, and after a night of dancing to a ton of 80’s classics (lots of Journey and Foreigner) I was ready to call it a night. We rushed back to the subway. That’s when it all started to go bad…

While jaywalking to cross the street, a town car was backing up out of a parking space. Next thing I know, I’m smacked with the car’s bumper, losing my footing and rolling all my weight onto my ankle. I was in immediate pain but tried to hide it. The driver of the town car stopped to see if I was OK. Since I was only a few blocks away from the subway and I knew I was at fault as much as him, I just brushed it off and continued to catch the train. The after effects once I got home were jarring. I woke up the next morning with severe pain in my hip and ankle. Yet another weekend with a doctor visit — this time for x-rays.

I’ve grown up with severe sensory integration issues due to my autism. When I was younger, I would have never been able to mentally remain unscathed from getting hit by a car. My parents began to stress when I told them the next morning what happened — they gave me what seemed like pounds of ice for my ankle. All the while, I just thought to myself how far I’ve come since my original diagnosis. Going from a kid who couldn’t even be touched to an adult able to go back to work three days after a traumatic event seemed almost unimaginable.

That’s when I became even more thankful for the people in my life who have sacrificed so much to help me get to where I am today. My friends, my family, my doctors, my therapists, people at my job, everyone became so much more significant in my mind.

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I also feel blessed. I feel blessed that the town car wasn’t backing up any faster. Blessed I left that incident with only a bone bruise in my ankle and a doctor’s order to use a cane for two weeks. Blessed more than anything that I was alive and could still do everything I do today.

I’m glad I’m still here. I’m glad for people like the ones in The Mighty’s community. I have a lot to be thankful for going into the holidays and into a new year. I’ve been given a second chance to live and a second chance to make things right with the people in my life. Sometimes in life you don’t get that second chance, but even as this year has had a lot of low moments, the high of knowing I can still go to a job I enjoy, hang with my friends, be with my family, speak at events as an autism advocate, write books on my experience on the autism spectrum and so much more makes me feel extremely lucky…

It’s beyond words.

This is why I’m thankful, and I’ll never be as grateful for what I have in my life as I am right now.

For all of November, The Mighty is celebrating the people we don’t thank enough. If you’d like to participate, please submit a thank you note along with a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected].

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