Over the course of five weeks we will be sharing a series of blog posts with you, written by an autistic academic who was diagnosed later in life.
She was assessed for autism as a child, but says she missed out on the diagnosis as little was known back then about the female presentation of autism. Thankfully, she had the chance to be reassessed as an adult.
She prefers to remain anonymous in her writing due to the stigma and discrimination that still exist within her industry, but she is happy for people to get in touch with her with any questions or feedback.
If you would like to get in touch please email us
If you've missed any of the previous blog posts, please find the link at the bottom of this page.
This is part three:
I’m a teenager, and God, does it suck. I suck. I am so incredibly horrible, ugly, disgusting, pathetic, weird. Everyone says so.
Where did other girls learn to do the things that make them fit in? To wear make-up and deodorant, do their hair, fancy boys, share secrets? I live in the library, every break time. When people sit next to me and try to talk, I answer monosyllabically and keep reading, tense with anxiety. I want them to go away.
I get good grades. I’m smart, but I’ve learnt that other people don’t like it when you tell them what you know. You definitely must not know you are intelligent. It’s much safer to act dumb and helpless, silly and sweet. You will be scorned and ridiculed, but you won’t be attacked. People will think you’re stupid and worthless, but they won’t dislike you quite as much.
It seems that the logical rules in my head don’t translate well into making friends. I know that ‘you should always treat people fairly, treat them all the same’. I pool all my pocket money to buy a little present for everyone in the class, including the subtle makers of taunts and ridicule. It turns out that the people who are closer to me than others, including those who have taken me under their wing, are NOT impressed; it seems that actually, you’re not supposed to be fair with friends but to think of a tailored present for each person who is special to you and for each person who believes they are special to you, otherwise they’ll get upset. It is not ‘fair’ according to my logical rules, but teenage girls are terrifyingly unpredictable; alliances change frequently.
I start bleeding, and this is an Awful Thing. If my mum finds out, she will know I am no longer a child and she will stop taking care of me. I don’t know what to do about it, so I pretend it isn’t happening. I walk around frozen with anxiety all day, and throw my knickers away every month. I lie on piles of old clothes at night so the blood won’t get on my sheets, then hide them in my wardrobe. Girls around me start to say that something smells; I keep my mouth shut, terrified. Even beyond that time of the month, something sticks to me, some sense of wrongness. People complain when the teachers tell them to stand next to me in lines.
I start bleeding in other ways, when I cut my arms. It helps. I sit at the kitchen table late at night, staring at the anti-depressants prescribed to me. I cannot see a future.
Click here to read Part One