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Wellmeaning neurotypicals

Sometimes people say things, meaning well, but the result is not exactly that. I want to illustrate that with this reel. Of course I don ‘t really think neurotypicals are stupid, it ‘s just a bit fun to make a statement like this. Watch it here —>

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Autistic Burnout

The jeans and the patch in the t-shirt itch. Hair feels electric. My whole being feels like a great itchy discomfort. The humming noise of the bus threatens to burst my eardrums. The air is so stuffy. All scents seem amplified. Damp wool, breaths, rubber, perfume. A wall that pushes me into a corner.

The memory of Friday’s disco goes on endless repeat in my head. The guy I’m in love with who chose another girl and tap danced right in front of my eyes. The lump in the throat. A funny feeling of having been cheated without understanding how and why. The music that rang in the ears and everyone talking around. The body that screamed escape but was forced to stay. How I pretended to be interested in terms like mini, midi and long skirt.

The memory is mixed with all the impressions from this morning. My family’s sounds and smells they give off just by existing. Sounds of sticky feet against plastic mats. Scent of eggs, hairspray and dads aftershave. The heat steam from a curling iron. I hate the feeling inside me, just wanting them all to disappear and leave me alone and in peace.

Once at school, I am greeted by a sea of ​​stares. They feel like laser beams. I have no shield. Even though it should be impossible, since there are so many voices, I still make out nuances, whispers, giggles. It’s like I have an extremely sharp camera in my head that insists on documenting every detail even though all I want to do is curl up in a little ball and scream. (Although that, to be honest, is an after-the-fact construction by the adult who writes this text.) Now and then I can’t think like that, I’m busy with all the impressions.

“You have a real Colgate smile”, Grandma says, “that will get you far.” So I smile. The body tenses like a shield. In the classroom; clearing of throats, sneezing, chairs being moved and people coughing and breathing loudly. Pencils scrape, erasers squeak. I look around. Don’t understand why no one reacts. All sounds are amplified. As if someone turned up the volume.

It’s an English test. I steel myself. Biting my cheek and doing my best to shut out all sounds. Squinting through bright fluorescent lights that make the eyes water and translate the Swedish words into English. The test is corrected there and then on the spot and I I score 100%.

The next day I can’t get out of bed. I feel sick. But I’m not sick. Not physically. No fever. No sore throat. It’s inside me. Like a chafing and an endless fatigue that makes me barely able to move. I just know that if everything doesn’t just go black and quiet soon, something inside is going to explode.

What I don’t understand then, is that everything already had exploded. Several times. All the time. That the explosion was inside me. An implosion. That the fatigue I experienced was a result of everything being too much for too long. That all impressions, demands and my constant attempt to fit in had itś price. That Colgate smile, as grandma called it, together with the unbroken facade made me periodically end up in autistic burnout not understanding why. No one understood. Since no one knew I was autistic.

But that’s how it is. When things are too much for too long, it doesn’t work anymore. Thatś the case for all people, autistic or allistic. But for autistic people, just existing in a neurotypical world is too much to begin with. Itś like you start off with minus fifty points in a game where everyone else starts at zero. Then add the extra layer of navigating and trying to perform with everyday life as well and you get the perfect formula for a burnout.

If you want to hear other autistics experiences of this you find it here where I first posted this text

Thank you for reading.

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You dont ‘t look autistic

Is often one of the first things someone says when I tell them I’m autistic. Surprising and annoying often said with a positive undertone. As if it were a compliment.

I’m used to similar comments. When I first fell in love with a girl when I was eighteen, people often said “But you don’t look gay”. And that undertone of something positive in that statement. As if I could at least take comfort in the fact that I didn’t look gay .

All people use stereotypes to some extent to navigate. It is easier for the brain if certain things can be placed in compartments. Farmers are one way, hipsters another etc. When we do that, prejudices are also automatically formed. There is nothing strange about it. We all have prejudices. For a hipster, it may not do much to stand for certain features because they are not a vulnerable group. On the contrary, they represent high status in society.

This is not the case for autistics or LGBTQ+ people. It is still negative in the eyes of many to belong to any of these groups, not to mention being both autistic and LGBTQ+. When you say “you don’t look autistic or gay” with that underlying positive tone you’re not only undermining who I am. You also make me understand that it is something negative.Maybe you think you’re comforting me, making me feel included. But the result is the opposite. Why wouldn’t I want to look autistic or gay? Like it’s something bad?I

f you’re going to necessarily conflate my appearance with being autistic or queer, then say “congratulations, you really do look autistic/queer”. Like that’s a good thing. Like that’s the best thing in the world. Because it is . For me. Because that’s who I am.

If you want to hear what other autistics have to say about this, you find a lot of comments about that here where I first posted this text

Thank you for reading.