Sometimes it feels like Nice is a Dirty Word.

Being polite is this really tricky thing for me.

On one hand, I know that I struggle with being polite, even when I mean to be. There’s lots of little things that even after ages of studying, I miss. And those little things end up having big consequences as to how I’m taken. I miss a signal to stop, I’m “over bearing;” I miss that I’m supposed to say something/contribute, and I’m “Unfriendly.”

As a kid, I would try (when brave enough) to mimic the “playful” teasing I observed between my peers, and miss that it had slipped over that vague line of playful. I was shocked and hurt to hear my mother mention my on occasion “bullying” kids who were trying to be my friends. But the rest of the time, I was too “shy,” too “drawn into my own world.” It seemed as though there was no way to reach a happy medium in between, the one where other kids would presumably like me.

I’ve gotten, I think, a little closer to a manageable compromise. I’ve decided against listening constantly and desperately to the coaching and pleading, and generally try to be nice, opting to withdraw rather than risk it.

There are exceptions, of course. I tend to have a highly developed sense of right and wrong, and sometimes there’s just a little too much *wrong* in the world. Then I seem to slip up.

Let me give you an example. Recently, I was visiting my Aunt in NYC. She married a guy who has done pretty well in contracting, and so yes, there’s a good bit of a class difference. In any case, we were having  conversation with my sister and step aunt, nd she started going on and on about how great “The Secret” was. She was recommending it to my sister.  After a while, I couldn’t handle it any more.

I stated that actually, a lot of people who are facing various oppression (Like classism, racism, or ableism around Mental Health Issues) find the culture around subscribing to The Secret to be very hurtful. Too often, people whose issues face against more than the white middle class abled “mainstream” are said to have not worked hard enough at it for the “Laws of Attraction” to have worked. The Secret in too many circles is used to both deny privilege and to blame oppressed peoples for their continued struggles.

That’s not to say that there aren’t people for whom it works and is mega helpful. But to hear it go un-critiqued when recommended to my sister- who like me comes from a different economic class and who has her own disabilities- was not something I could handle. I Had to say something.

I later found out that she thought I hated her, in part from this and in part because of not interacting otherwise as she expected. Which isn’t true- I love my aunt very much, I just get frustrated by what I see as obvious class differences and how they effect how we see the world.

In any case, I end up feeling as though I’m too mean.

Online, it’s a little bit different. Somehow, I feel as though I’m a little too nice compared to some of my friends and fellow advocates. Maybe it’s who I spend time with. I often feel like there’s so much of my conditioning from childhood of trying to fit in, to dodge some of the less than wonderful experiences of “treatment” that makes me try to be nice all the time. To educate instead of protecting my boundaries.

Most of the people I know in Social Justice circles know that it’s not an oppressed person’s duty or reason for being to educate those who hold privilege over them. It isn’t, for example, an Autistic’s (or other person with disabilities’) job to live as a “self narrating zoo exhibit” as Jim Sinclair would say. It is the oppressor’s duty to get educated, not the oppressed’s to educate.

But I cannot bring myself to not educate. Trying to establish boundaries like some of my friends have is something that leaves me feeling torn.  And I know that it is okay for me to educate people, but sometimes I worry it makes me seem too *nice* when compared to some of my friends. And I don’t mean nice in a kind person way. I mean nice in a too compliant way.

Nice in a way that would make people I love and respect look down on me as feeding into my own oppression. Or, perhaps, in a way that belies how deeply ableism has infiltrated my thinking. There’s a lot of things I keep stumbling across when I go to examine my thoughts that remind me how much of life as someone who- in my case- is an Autistic and has MH issues ends up being about compliance in order to survive.

How much of my desire to be kind is based on my beliefs, and how much is based on the feelings that I need to be “nice” in order to be worthy of surviving, of getting the supports I need?

I’m not going to stop being kind, or educating people.  I will admit I can get s little sharp- for me- on my tumblr, but that’s tumblr and a lot of it is reblogging other, sharper people’s comments. But I’m not going to deny that drawing the line between being kind and being compliant is difficult.

But then again, undoing the things we have internalized is never easy.

_____

Sorry if this isn’t at my usual standards. I just needed, for myself, to write this.

This has been republished at Shift Journal.

Why I’m not Blue.

I see a lot of “light it up blue” stuff being posted around the net today. It makes me sad, really. See, The light it up blue campaign is a project of Autism Speaks. Their name is Ironic, considering they do not have any Autistics on their board, and one Autistic on ONE advisory committee.

I am an Autistic Adult. I have an Asperger’s Dx. But any time I say this, people say things like “Oh, but you can’t be, you talk!” or “But you have so much to say!” This is particularly a prevalent response online, where I do communicate better. I sometimes hear it from people whose only experience around me is hearing me give a talk, not cognizant that there’s a huge difference between public speaking and reciprocal communication.

If they stay around long enough, though, and they know what Autism actually *is,* they get it.

Thing is it’s pretty rare for people to actually get what it is. They are given imagery and little information. Puzzle pieces, Statistics, and fuzzy photos of kids looking anywhere but the camera. They are told that being Autistic is somehow worse than life threatening diseases- which, to be honest, is bad on multiple levels- I wonder what my one friend who is both Autistic and HIV+ thinks when the advertising compares one part of her life to another?

Recently I posted a video on tumblr that Rethinking Autism did called “Autism Support Group.” It had all the usual things we hear said about us- How it seems like we aren’t there, that we don’t display affection in typical ways, That we just “don’t get” school. Throughout, an Autistic adult responds to these comments, only to be ignored and unheard by parents. Thing is, these are comments we hear about ourselves, and about children who were like we were as kids, all the time. The comments could have been lifted from so many parent support groups around the nation- possibly around the world.

Another thing is that it’s always children that are mentioned. The majority of the leaflets and flyers that do feature Autistics (or models) instead of a puzzle piece feature children. “These children,” “Help a child,” or “1 in 100 children” is mentioned. Thing is, it’s NOT just children. There’s no follow through on the notation that Autism is a life-long thing, just a margin in the notes.

The exception is the speculation. “She will never get married and have kids.” “He will never hold a steady job.” “My kid will never go to college.” While these things might be true for some Autistics, saying it’s true of all of us- or rather, all the 1 in 100 or 110 or 160, whatever number you recognize- is just an outright lie and speculation. The same speculation that had my IEP team pressure my mom, saying “She’ll never go to college. She’ll probably never graduate high school. Stop filling her head with the idea that she should pursue advanced classes.” My mom pulled me out to put me in first cyber school then Christian school, and never bought into what they told her about me.

I eventually went back to public school, and I graduated high school in 2006. In 11th and 12th grades, I even took Advanced Placement English classes, and got a perfect score on the AP English exam. (They thankfully didn’t have a spelling section.) In fact, had I not had a nervous break down- inconveniently after the school had pulled my support services- my senior year, I would have been ranked and recognized as such at graduation.

This didn’t come to pass because of an obsession with curing me. It happened because my mother supported me unconditionally. (Her second and now ex husband is a different story for another time.) She knew I was anxious and distracted in school, and that they refused to let me pursue my potential. So she arranged it that I could, and in an environment that suited my changing needs. She encouraged me to get up in front of people and start advocating. She didn’t ever show me doubts about my being able to accomplish things.

A year or two ago, my mother was approached by a parent. The parent was talking about how “of course, you know, you grieve your kid when you find out they have special needs.” This made my mother angry. She responded that no, actually, she didn’t grieve me. I was right there. The extra work was stressful, that is undeniable, but she never lost me so there’s nothing to grieve. She has me, just the way I am- Autistic, Queer, and living with Chronic Pain.

My mother was there when I would melt down and flail wildly- sometimes so much so that she was worried at times about her own safety. She had to deal with people telling her that maybe she should put me in residential placement. She experienced the fear when as a small child I would wander off, one notable time in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. She heard the comments of “Why isn’t your daughter smiling?,” the “cheer up honey, it isn’t all that bad” and my response of “I’m happy, I don’t need to cheer up.”

Maybe she didn’t see what her second husband put me through, or notice the extra time I took in the bathroom, practicing facial expressions in the mirror so that the cheer ups would just stop. But she never stopped believing in me.

So, you know that Autism exists- but do you know what it means to be autistic?

When Your Own Problems Take Over

I haven’t been updating this lately. Last time I did, it was to share charities in the wake of the Haiti Earthquake. There are some simple and not so simple reasons for this, so I shall summarize.

I had a back slide in my own issues. I’m a fairly proud individual, so admitting that is a big deal for me. Lots of personal issues emerged at once, and with little to no recovery time in between. The stress had me backsliding in a lot of areas. But that backsliding has allowed me to admit just how much help I do need.

Some of you will not be surprised to know that my executive functioning and daily living skills are not the best. This isn’t something I am entirely comfortable with- even though I know that they re linked to my disability, admitting that they are a problem  makes my pride twinge. I was, like many of us,  brought up in ableist environment. Asking for help was something that I have feared doing. And learning to do so- and to begin shedding my own ableism- takes a lot of work.

In April, I finally admitted to what people had been telling me for a long time. I wasn’t ready to live on my own. Since then, I have been preparing to move in with a family friend, who will be able to provide the type of supported housing that I need.

Many supported housing programs will house you with other individuals with certain types of disabilities, depending on your service system. I am familiar with my county’s system, and I was scared that I would be placed with someone with conflicting issues. In addition, they  tend more towards a group approach. It is hard to tell professionals that that is not what you need.

So I am moving in with Janet M. and her family. Janet used to take in hard to place foster kids- also known as those with special needs. She adopted her son Steven- my age, and non-verbal- when he was 10. He recently moved into a group home that supposedly is helping him. She has the background to know what she is dealing with. She also is renting a room to an elderly man with Schizophrenia, and he has shown improvement since moving in.

Here’s the positives involved with this new situation:

Janet is strict about keeping the house clean. There will be a chore chart. I will most likely be given the bath room cleaning and laundry (since that is what I asked for). The Chore chart is a weekly schedule, and one that she is strict about.

I will be required to wake up at a reasonable time, and to not spend the entire day in my room. She doesn’t mind if I am online, but I need to be somewhere where there is a chance for human interaction. I will also be expected to go into Franklin at least once a week. Eventually I hope to get up to more than once a week, but that is something I will have to work on- being scared of going out in public is an issue for me, particularly if I don’t have a distinct destination.

She will make sure I make it to all my appointments, learn to schedule things properly, and make sure she pushes me when I need it. Her tendency towards schedules and charts should help me- I function better on a schedule, even if I have a hard time establishing them on my own. We will also be working on independent living skills beyond that- learning how to drive, becoming more capable at using the phone, budgeting, etc.

I will still be paying for my own food and personal supplies. She is providing housing, utilities included, and guidance.  I will be asked to pay rent.

The whole thing is scary, but I have hit the point where on my own I am endangering my health and wellness. I have to admit to the need for change, even though it is terrifying. This isn’t the first time I’ve admitted I can’t live on my own- I had someone move in with me in Erie in part because of that- but it is harder this time.

Psych Meds and Me

Today, I received a phone call from the office of my Primary Care Physician (some might prefer “general Practitioner”). They asked me if I had an appointment with my psych doctor- yes- and then unleashed some horrific news on me. My insurance- Medicaid/the PA Access card- was turning down paying for my Cymbalta and they thought I should talk to the psych doctor about another medication.

For another person, this might just be poor news. For me, this is horrifying news. Earth shattering, maybe I should just kill myself now and get it over with news. You see, there’s a reason why It’s hard to get me to take certain medications. I was part of the generation of over medicated, pre-teen guinea pigs.

The earliest I remember taking Psych meds Was 4th grade, but it’s possible that I was put on them before that and I don’t remember because we did a lot of herbal medicine (Echinacea, St. John’s Wort, Tea Tree Oil, etc.) when I was younger. (My mom still does herbalism- and Comphrey Salve is amazing.) From then until I turned 14, it was nearly a new med every 2 or 3 months.

On one med they put me on when I was 12, I gained 60lbs in three months. Around the same age, I started having random pain for no reason which I thought was from the weight gain alone. After all, my mother’s second husband was always telling me how horrible being whatever I was was, and that if I hurt that was the reason. Now, over 10 years later, the pain that I brushed aside as being my fault because of my weight has been identified as Fibro myalgia. I have tics that I don’t remember having before those days, though I never mentioned them to anyone and my mother thought they must be voluntary. I was in placements that gave kids Seroquel in order to make putting a ward of emotionally distressed kids to bed easier. I was subjected to any number of medications whose use in minors had not been tested, or at least had not been published.
(I should post another time about the effect of yelling at someone and telling them they are faking does to someone long term. I’ve had it result in not getting even medical treatment until the last minute. Only so many times when you are called a malingerer before you start to believe it.)
When I was 14, I quit taking my medication, and did fairly well- my mother had left her second husband, I had a supportive psychiatrist, and a mom who was into lifestyle management. For several years, I struggled and faught so that I wouldn’t have to be put back on them. I was successful until I had a mental breakdown when I was 18 (My first adult hospitalization; there were 3 in total), when I was on something for a couple of months, again when a year later I was housebound, and again for brief periods during another two hospitalizations. Each time, despite my pleas that it was my anxiety that was the issue, not my depression, I was put on medication designed to treat depression or Mania. Each time, they were failures.
When I lost my insurance, I went a while without medication, and things were bad. I was too anxious to do much of anything by myself. Finally, this fall, I got Medicaid and my mother suggested Fibromyalgia and anxiety to my PCP, and they sent me home with a sample of Cymbalta. While I was anxious about being back on medication, This new medication was different. The parts of myself that I love weren’t blunted, but my General, non-triggered anxiety and the near constant nerve pain was gone. It really was like a magic pill, or the end of a long, hard journey. And one of my worse fears became that they would tell me that I had to stop taking the first thing that had actually worked.
So when the administrative employees at the office that was bought out when my PCP (who I’d had since 4th grade) moved to teach at Duke called, I freaked. I tried to explain that this was it, there was nothing else for me to do, and I was NOT going back through the Hell that had destroyed me as a child. That there had to be something. . . But the employee was horrible, unsympathetic, and insistent that I would have to do the guessing game again. I hung up on her.
At first I tried calling my best friend, but his phone was off. *peers archly in his direction* I tried my mother, but only got her answering machine- where I left a surely unintelligible message between sobs. I turned on glee and tried to watch it, but I barely remember it. One of my cats- Tribble Magoo- came over to me, leaned against me, and started purring at me in an effeort to calm me.
Eventually I called Ms. Janet, my neighbor. Explaining who exactly Janet is is a long story, but she’s in short a family friend with experience with disability issues. Between fits of sobbing, I explained what had happened. She was FURIOUS. you see, in cases like mine where other options have been exhausted, Cymbalta will e paid for as a medical necessity under Medicaid- but only when the doctor does their due diligence.
Now, the new people at the office have lost sight of folks as people, and the new owner really does treat people like case numbers (they also lost my whole family’s medical records dating back to 1996) and a hassle. There’s only one person there who actually listened to me but the amount of power he holds in that practice is limited. In short, that they have become like this is both horrifying and makes the failure to fight for my needs almost expected.
Tomorrow, Janet and I will be finding me a new doctor, and I will be writing a letter to my old practice informing them EXACTLY why I am leaving.
Sadly, there are people who don’t have family and friends to fight for them. Even though I have a lot of change that I am scared of, and lots of tears to go yet, at least I have supportive friends and family.

News and Numbers

First, some Personal News: I’m the new Assistant Director for AWA-Pa Alongside the wonderful AspieTeach, our Director for PA. Please check out the site and let me or her know If you have news or resources for women on spectrum in PA!

Also in the Positive, The Rethinking Autism “Autistics Speak” video (My post is here) Is getting a lot of response. My biological father and I talked today, And he’s been showing it to people at work, friends, and Even his Therapist. They even used it as a way to prompt discussion is session.

In a broader sense, Rethinking Autism has been getting some community Media Exposire. AWA Radio had Dana on, and she’s scheduled for Mad as A Hatter (air date might vary, V’s been ill). If you have a media outlit, please consider asking Dana on! I’ve had several people tell me they’d love to see Rethinking Autism’s latest video have a broader Audience, and I know Dana would love that as well! After all, our message is meant for everyone, not just the Autistic community.

And now, Numbers games:

a couple of articles are out about statistics in the Autism Community. One news Study claims we are at 1 in 91 US kids on the spectrum. This, of course, is including the entire spectrum. What is interesting about these new studies is that previously, we had claimed to have a lower prevalence (1 in 150) than other countries (UK claims 1 in 100).

Another Study Claims the numbers are at 1 in 110 and which has been covered by Left Brain/Right Brain. It should be noted that this was based on parent reports of behavior received via Phone surveys- not the most scientific way of collecting data. It’s imprecise, but it certainly gives us a lot of leads for future studies that will hopefully involve more reliable data collection. Also, some of the parents claimed that their children are no longer on spectrum, which raises further questions. I reccomend the above linked article for a good analysis of this study. (USA Today also covered this story.)

Speaking of all these numbers, left Brain/Right Brain have a good question- Do We Need an Epidemic for People to Take Autism Seriously? This post is a well written and detailed look at the numbers and epidemic centered tactics used by various groups, and comes away with an answer- No, and Epidemic language might even defeat the purpose. Definitely recommend this one.

Healthcare Reform, pt 1: A Personal Story.

This week, I’m going to be posting about Health care Reform. Later in the week*, I’ll post some other sorts of information- including some info from various MSM resources, some data about some of the misinformation out there, etc.

Today’s post isn’t about the financial, political, or practical points that matter to politicians though. Today’s post is about what it means to us as human beings, and about the personal stories that don’t get factored in when it comes time for a politician to vote. (Well. Sometimes they do. Sometimes.)

My opinion, to be up front, is pro-Health care Reform, and pro-Public Option. I think it’s the only ethically sound thing to do. But I know that while I’m not the only one that thinks so, there are plenty of people who think differently- and are equally or more so passionate about that opinion.

They have their stories about health care and Insurance. I, on the other hand, have mine. It’s a bit long, and very embarrassing at parts, but I think it’s important to share these things faults and all. I encourage you to share your experiences in the comments, or to link me to your experiences, whatever your opinion is.

My Story

When I lost my insurance- or rather, when the insurance company realized they didn’t have to cover me anymore- was when I was pursuing psych treatment. To be blunt, I was having suicidal Ideations but was too depressed to actually go through with any of them, sure that if I tried I would screw it up. My General Practitioner heard this and asked if I would go to the hospital if he referred me. After some debate, I agreed.

In the ER (which is where we had to go for psych intake) we sat in the little room for hours. The time had little to do with doubts about my need, and everything to do with insurance. Up until that point, I had been under my biological father’s insurance as per what had been worked out in the custody agreement years before. I had been going to school up until 10 months before, and so was at that point still covered- or so we thought.

My father’s insurance wouldn’t accept the local hospital’s psych ward, despite having accepted it two years previously. They wanted me at first to go to C___ Psych, which I refused on the basis of having received poor and inappropriate treatment there in the past and because my sister had as well. Not to mention the untold number of other people who have chimed in that they received poor treatment there as well (That’s a story for another time).

Next they wanted me to go to Mercer, over an hour away- and I would have to be transported by Ambulance, which they would not cover, and I wouldn’t be allowed to have my mother with me to help me explain to strangers what was going on when words failed me. I was uncomfortable with this, and someone started the paperwork and asking some questions about transport. I was fairly insistent that I wanted the ward in the local hospital as that had been the arrangement I had made with my GP, but my mother spent a while trying to get me adjusted in case they really did have to send me to Mercer- an hour away.

After a while an attendant came in. She was very nice, but the news she had to tell us was not. It seems that after having insisted on a different site for treatment, the insurance company had suddenly realized that I was outside of the time span they needed to cover me under as I had not attended classes in the last 6 (or was it 9? I get them confused a lot when it’s an image in my head- which it usually is if it’s from paper work!) months.

Mid intake, I had gone through fighting with an insurance company over the site of treatment to not having insurance at all. I went into the ward associated with the local hospital not knowing how I was going to be able to pay for the treatment I was receiving, and not wanting to sign over Power of Attorney to the hospital in order to receive hospital funding.

(PoA was a big issue at the time for me- my step-grandmother had lost everything fairly recently due to her PoA of her would-be common-law husband being voided when she went into an involuntary commitment after seeking medical treatment. Again, a story for another time, and one that raises a lot of concerns about Elder Care and Mental Health.)

Honestly, My preoccupation with how to deal with it influenced my treatment a lot- I had something to focus on, and was demanding my rights, which means I was no longer suicidal. The doctor ignored what my condition had been on intake because by he time he saw me the next day, I was anxious about how my treatment would be managed instead of wanting to die. While it’s good that I didn’t want to die anymore, it means that my treatment wasn’t for what I went in there for, and the underlying issues were not dealt with.

After I got out, it wasn’t long before I was getting phone calls and letters about how I needed a way to pay for my treatment. At one point I shut down completely during a phone call with the financial people and started sobbing and shrieking. (Embarrassing. Memorable, but Embarrassing.) My mother grabbed the phone and told the woman on the other end that I was obviously still mentally ill and not in a position to take care of that right then.

I’ve also been reluctant to seek treatment due to this experience- even for medical issues rather than psych ones. It took me until I had a large ulcer on my skin from a bacterial infection this spring to go in, and it ended up being pretty horrible. I now have to be careful about my health because of that situation.

I still am trying to pay this off, and while I generally don’t do the sobbing any more, I have a script I have to use to get through those phone calls. Some days I won’t pick up the phone if the number doesn’t have a name associated with it in my cell because I don’t have answers for them. I’ve put money towards it when I’ve had money, but I lost my job in February. I charged off my bank account by letting it continue paying towards it and another debt rather than saving for food. Anxiety about not knowing how to pay off not dying is a near daily occurrence for me.

Thankfully, I have a happy ending of sorts in that I qualify for health care since I’m unemployed and in the process of applying for disability. It won’t take care of my past debts, but it does mean I can now get medical care, and in fact am obligated to do so because of the Disability status. I don’t know what will happen if my Disability case gets denied- I’ll probably plunge back into the world of being unable to go to the doctor.

For many Americans, though, this isn’t the case. Especially those with disabilities- especially those who wish to work and are able to. A woman on an E-mail list shared this thought, and I think it sums up the current system quite well:

The current system demands that either people be very highly functional so they can gain employment somewhere that provides medical insurance that covers pre-existing conditions, or live in poverty, in order to get medical coverage.

There is no middle ground.**

*I’m using the definition of week creatively to mean “the next 7 days” rather than “The set of time observed in western culture as Sunday through Saturday.”
** Has been edited to remove personal info and structure. To the woman that said this: let me know if you’d like me to credit you openly.

Goodness, a personal post? REALLY?(aka, father-daughter conflict)

[NOTE: I have removed some things from the Entry below after my father found this and expressed his discomfort with some of the way I took some things. I appologize.]

I am visiting my father this week. My biological father. A man who ideologically I have nothing in common with. A man who gave me a good portion of my genetics, for better or for worse.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my father, and his wife Rose. Their actions and ideology is suited to their position in their culture and among their peers. They care about me, even if their way of showing it irritates me, and my way of demonstrating affection towards them is not as they expect. (Apparently Rose was for years under the impression that I disliked her as I didn’t demonstrate affection in a way she expected- until my Dad reminded me when her birthday was and I sent her a picture of a muffin. She cried to know I cared, and I was shocked to know she didn’t know.)

My father is terribly of a conservative mind. Don’t get me wrong, he’s okay with homosexuality and he’s pro-decriminalization of Marijuana. But is personal ideology is inherently conservative. It is based on the idea that it is weak and wrong to rely on society or any one other than one’s self for anything- that in fact it is a foolish move to do anything that does not benefit yourself.

Under the umbrella of his ideology is a complete and utter rejection of the social model of disability. For those unfamiliar with the social model (and are too lazy to click the link),

“The social model of disability proposes that systemic barriers, negative attitudes and exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently) are the ultimate factors defining who is disabled and who is not in a particular society.”

The first time I heard my father reject this thought was not in a disability context in particular. I was listening to music and mentioned that I loved the message of the song. His response was to ask if is was “one of those songs that blames society for problems” and that he thought that such a message was idiotic. It wasn’t, but then on I have heard him say further things in the past 7 or 8 years since.

In a more general sense, it’s rough for me. I’m a liberal, I suppose, though perhaps progressive is more acurate. While I recognize that there are a lot of parts of my ideal world that aren’t possible due to human nature, I still think it’s worth fighting for. And I am an advocate for “invisible” disabilities- many of whom are primarily disabled under the social rather than medical models.

While the individual has the responsibility to do what they can to get into a position that they are capable of and comfortable with, that does not exculpate society. And it doesn’t mean that conformity is ideal, particularly in a disability context. There are members of the disability community that would like to conform. For them, they have an entire system designed to suit that need. But that doesn’t mean that that is the only right answer, or that it is even a posibility for everyone desirable or not.

More particular to my situation of the moment has a more immediate effect that a worry about political issues and having to creep about when discussing work as though the topic is a mine field. My father does not accept Diagnosis. At all.

This has been a thing that has been consistent most of my life. My mother has always sought various services for me, even before she left my father. [content has been exized for privacy reasons.]

[Content about my father’s reaction to my sister’s TBI has been exized for privacy reasons.]

Fast forward to within the past 6 months. I was discussing a (now) ex-boyfriend and mentioned his OCD. My father went off about how OCD was made up to stigmatize people and several other things that I decline to repeat as they degraded into offensiveness.

I came out as on Spectrum last year. Most people I know know. My sister recently accepted it after a year of being convinced that you had to be non-verbal- She met some more people on spectrum and learned a few things. I’ve been living my life fairly openly- stimming in my own home and able to speak about what it is like publically.

I’m still not out to my father. I had him pick me up from Autreat last year, and I conveiniently left out that I was there as a person on spectrum. He knows I work with and advocate for us, but to tell him that I am a part of that us seems impossible.

While I have been up here, I have been unable to engage in activities that had become routine. I’m not talking about in public, I’m talking about around the house. I’m not allowed to be upset here by sudden changes in plans, and when I don’t respond as expected there are issues and a number of misunderstandings. And I can’t give a reason why.

It’s harder than coming out as bisexual was, by far.

A moment of Zen: The Imagine video.