What Life Is Like for Me as a 25-Year-Old on the Autism Spectrum
Not everyone knows what it’s like living with autism. Thirteen years ago, I found out why I’m different. An estimated one in 68 people around the world are on the autism spectrum, and I can empathize with many autistics facing challenges and obstacles.
At age of 25, my life challenges are increasing because of social pressure in society. Likewise, disability rights are overlooked. People of marginalized and stigmatized backgrounds are continuing to be voiceless and socially isolated.
I grew up with traumatic experiences where I got bullied, insulted and excluded. I have developed language structure problems. Please bear with my grammar in this article because this is the only way I express myself. Every day, people struggle to understand what I mean, what I do, or what I want. That is a typical life of being autistic.
Many times when I’ve tried to express myself, I either offended and scared people away. At this moment, I have no idea what I did wrong. It upsets me a lot when people do these things to me, even my own family and friends. I’ve felt depressed and socially isolated. I’ve felt terrible over people who are not on the autism spectrum who couldn’t try hard enough to express themselves after my own behavior offended and scared them away. It makes me feel like I am doing everything wrong.
I grew up missing out a lot of life opportunities that I always wanted to enjoy, such as having a consistent group of friends, having a job and a relationship. Earlier in my life I missed out on a lot of communication and social skills. Today I am still abused, attacked, bullied and consistently being punished because I am not good at communicating.
I tend to get lost in my mind. At home I sometimes don’t have the energy to find something to do because my mind feels trapped and too focused on the things I really want. Psychologists are there to support people on the spectrum, but it does not improve social awareness and acceptance from the society. So we may continue to isolate ourselves. Consistent unemployment is society’s fault.
People on the autism spectrum often feel voiceless and unheard, and are unintentionally (or intentionally) left out. This pressure causes anxiety and depression in my life.
I really want to empathize with you all. I want to make sure we take actions to improve autistic individuals’ well-being and promote social inclusion and acceptance. I may appear offensive, aggressive or lost, but that does not define me.
Image via Thinkstock.