Imagine you’ve gone to a different country, one where people speak your language but the way they live their lives is completely different to how you do it. Any time you ask someone a question, like what sort of currency they use or what public transport is available, they look at you like you’re crazy and tell you that you should already know. Worse, every so often, others will tease you and point you out to other people as someone who doesn’t get the simplest things. Angry, frustrated and confused, you give up asking questions and try to avoid having to speak to anyone about things you don’t understand. You try to work out what’s going on by watching the other people around you and trying to copy what you see for the duration of your stay.
Now imagine that you are autistic, that that country is your society, and the duration of your stay is the rest of your life. This is the reality for autistic people.
I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask, but…
…how do you deal with “off list” trauma?
I should probably translate that, I tend to make up my own terminology if other people don’t seem to have a term for the thing I’m talking about. it seems like there’s a list of things that everyone understands as traumatic (deaths, serious illnesses, divorces, being the victim of certain crimes, being unemployed etc. are the really big things on the list), then there are other things that aren’t on the list.
I find that when I try to talk about my off list experiences (“trauma” might be too strong), outsiders need me to justify why it hurts and, much worse, sometimes react like I’m blaming them. I’m not, but if they caused or exacerbated the issue then needed justification for my request to stop…
I have a few good, close, queer and neurodiverse friends who really do seem to get it, but the bad experiences mean part of me expects them not to, so sometimes it takes a while.
I will email you about it. :)
And everyone else, you should totally read this person’s blog. It’s amazing.
I love this post! :-)