Getting Through the Days When Having Autism Is Just Too Hard
Having autism is a challenge. It’s a huge challenge for me. It’s a hard-fought battle and it can feel like a war. My sister once asked me and continues to ask me, “What’s it like having autism?” I don’t know where to begin or how to answer that. In fact, there could be more than one answer. I remember her telling me she can’t even imagine what I go through every day of my life. What’s so hard about having autism? Not one, not two, not three, but these four words: more than you know.
People sometimes react with tears when I say having autism is just too hard. I know I’ve overcome a lot, and I’ve done very well for myself, but there are days I wish I didn’t have it. Some days it’s due to me being single. I remember watching a documentary on autism and dating; it made me cry numerous times. I think if I didn’t have autism it’d be a tad bit easier to get a girlfriend. I know that’s not easy to begin with, but it’s often one of the toughest things an individual with autism has to go through. You have no idea what I’ve been through in the dating world, even though it’s gotten better. Every time I don’t get a second date, I get discouraged and I think my time for marriage will never come and I’m hopeless. I should enjoy and get used to single life forever. My confidence has increased, but I still struggle with meeting people. My time will come, but on the days I say having autism is too hard, I don’t think positive. Who does at those times?
I think if I didn’t have autism I’d like going to bars better. That bothers me every now and then as well. I imagine what it’d be like drinking shots with my friends while I’m young. But I don’t have many friends. At least none who like to drink, and that’s a struggle. Some days it’s due to my weight and eating habits. I love all kinds of food, but some days I just want to eat junk and don’t care what it’s doing to my body. I hate exercising sometimes. Some days it’s due to not being able to go to a university and make friends. I know there are individuals with autism who go to a four-year college but unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them. That bothered me a lot. I sit back a lot and wonder, why can’t that be me?
Some days it’s due to what jobs I’m capable of working. Some days I wish I was working full time instead of part time. I was so discouraged when I failed at two attempts to work full time. I thought I was going to be unemployed forever if I didn’t work full time. Even though I have a job and other supports to make ends meet, it’s still one of the hardest things I have to go through related to having autism.
Living on your own can be difficult or even impossible for someone with autism. I’m lucky I’m able to do it, but it’s hard. Some days I feel like I’m not going to make it on my own due to finances, eating habits, and taking care of my apartment so it stays shining clean.
I’m very lucky that I can do a lot and I have a lot. I know my future is bright and I’m very proud. I have a supportive family; they love me and are proud of me. But there are some days I wonder how it would feel to live without autism, even if it’s just for a day. I’m even writing a book on what my life would have been like if I didn’t have autism. But I remember a time in college when I took a class with other college students with a disability. The instructor said “you have to make the best of it.” I have autism. I didn’t ask to have it and I didn’t want to have it. But I have it and I have to make the best of it. I am blessed because my life could be worse. Shania Twain said I was fine and seemed to accept me when I was on stage with her, despite my having autism. Not everyone with autism meets their favorite singer, so I need to be proud of that as well.
Some days having autism is just too hard. But tomorrow is a new day, and I still expect to have a good life. Life isn’t fair, having autism isn’t fair, but this is who I am and what I have. It’s what makes me Louis Scarantino.
Getty image by Chalabala.