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The Trauma of Being Misdiagnosed and Medicated as an Autistic Child

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Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

I started taking various psych pills when I was 8 years old. My behavior was not great thanks to a combo of undiagnosed autism and abusive parents. They started pumping pills in me as soon as they could to control what I now know were autistic meltdowns, but at the time were diagnosed as bipolar or defiance episodes. I made it clear that I did not want to take these pills, but I was told I had no choice. I managed to hide my daily pills for the first few months and got into huge trouble when I was discovered.

After that, I was monitored to make sure I took them.

I hated the way the pills would make me feel. Whenever a new pill was added or substituted in my daily cocktail, which was often, I would feel sick for weeks. The pills also took a toll on my body. I was either dangerously skinny or very overweight because of the pill side effects, depending on what meds they had me on at the moment. I also had to do things like get my blood taken every month to make sure my body wasn’t being damaged too badly.

There was also emotional trauma related to the pills. I felt that nobody ever wanted to be around the real me. That the real me was so messed up, that it was necessary to be drugged for people to manage to live or interact with me. I had to learn that in reality, my brain was just missing chemicals that other people produce naturally and there was nothing wrong with needing some help.

To this day, I still have to take these meds. Thanks to being a medical marijuana patient, I’ve been able to cut my pill dosage in half, but I most likely will never be able to get off of them. The thing is, I know that the pills help me. There was always an incredibly likely chance I would have ended up taking psych meds no matter what. My brain just lacks certain chemicals. I am very happy with the meds I have right now. I have had the same pills prescribed for years and they do a good job of helping with my depression and anxiety. I just wish I wasn’t forced into taking medication as a child. My body and mind have been damaged by the multiple years of taking pills. I go into withdrawal if I even miss one dose.

My body shakes and I get cold and hot flashes. I even have liver masses from one of the medications, because I took it for so long. I wish I was allowed a say in something that will follow me for the rest of my life, especially knowing that some love and acceptance would have been better for me than sedation.

Getty image by Fizkes.

Originally published: July 14, 2021
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