Fighting the 'Anxiety Monster' to Announce My Autism
I constantly go back and forth between being my true, authentic self and letting others in. I dwell on the fact that life is brief, and each exhale or inhale could be the last. Then on the other hand, I feel myself crawling towards that safe, dark closet of mine that has held the secret for 30 years. There are instances where I feel bold, I feel empowered, then I cower and fall back into the arms of the half-truth that has held me.
Being autistic, I am in a love-hate relationship with the truth. I can be brutally honest, but have I been lying by omission this whole time? I look people in the face daily – some that even work in the field of autism — and it doesn’t feel appropriate to bring it up. Am I being my true self? If it isn’t pertinent to the situation or the opportunity never presents itself, am I still being dishonest? Coming out is a process and can be hard for anyone no matter the shape, or size of the “secret.”
Sometimes I am a fierce advocate, but other times, I am content with my well-built tower of privacy. I ask myself, how long am I going to battle this? What I truly fear is how people take to someone being a parent on the spectrum — although neurotypicals also have autistic children. I fear that my intellectual abilities will be and are underestimated. I also fear that in being completely open, it’ll be wonderful. What if for the first time, who I am is enough? Who I am isn’t worth shoving back into the abyss? This is where the classic combination of autism and anxiety fuse together into forming the almost indestructible, unbeatable barrier. A monster of sorts.
Getty image by Nadia Bormotova.