When People in My Life Have a Hard Time Understanding My Autism

Sometimes it’s frustrating being an autistic person. Sometimes neurotypical friends and family members can have a hard time understanding me. I don’t blame them, they are not in my body, so they can’t feel what it’s like to have ears that are like microphones, and what it’s like to feel sick when I smell a certain scent (mashed potatoes for instance). I keep quiet about being autistic or if I’m feeling bothered by noise. I don’t tell people because I’m afraid that they will be upset.

Once I was in sensory overload and people wanted to help me. I wanted to talk to them, but I couldn’t talk. I was so overwhelmed by noise and anxiety that I lost my words. People in my life who aren’t on the autism spectrum also have a hard time understanding why I need “routine.” Routine is my way of having predictability, which reduces anxiety for me. If there are multiple changes, I get anxious. If there are too many changes, then there is a possibility of having a meltdown.

The best thing for me to do is to be patient with them, even if I am super frustrated or anxious. I have to realize they are not autistic. Some people in my life are starting to understand me. I try to explain what it’s like to be autistic in terms they can understand. Even just turning the volume down on the radio can be helpful for me.

I may not be understood all the time, I may feel frustrated, I may have sensory overload multiple times, and I may have anxiety. But I will keep pressing on. I want to develop my talents and enjoy life, even if life throws me a lot of curveballs.

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