Since before the inception of this site, even before I was approached by the Kinney Center in 2011 to start what eventually became The Aspie Epilogue, I have spent almost all of my time trying to shatter the ASD mythos, from which, all negative stereotypes are born.
If you’re a seasoned veteran of The Aspie Dialogues, you’d know that the biggest stereotype that I’ve always tried to shatter as much as I can is the notion that we are disabled. (Incidentally, if you’re a new reader, welcome aboard! I just wish we could’ve met on a lighter subject.)
In the past, I’d always viewed this notion of disability as the notion that there is something wrong with us, that we are broken and need fixing. However, I’ve come to realize something over the past two days:
That’s a fallacy. And you can quote me on that.
I’ve recently realized that my notion of disability was flawed and required re-examination. So, I did.
I’ve come to terms with the idea that disability simply means we have our limits, which we need to be careful how we approach.
Some people may have more limits than others; some people may strive to push their limits further. Others, may not pay attention to what their limits are and, rather unfortunately, they may push beyond those limits, past their comfort zones. This may lead to even less fortunate results.
About this time in 2012, I posted about poor life decisions on The Aspie Epilogue. Yeah… Those kind of results are what I’m talking about, here.
So, what brought all this on, in the first place? What could have possibly happened two days ago that could shake my faith in one of my core philosophies?
This past Friday night, I realized that I had to get a fasting blood test done the next morning. Not knowing if I should take my medications, I had to skip taking them. Twice. Once Friday night, and once Saturday morning.
Only, I had forgotten to take Saturday morning’s meds while there was still enough time left to take them before interfering with the evening dosage.
Needless to say, I could feel a tremendous difference. In fact, I almost had an outburst at the clerk at my local comic book store over a simple mistake. To his credit, he did handle himself very professionally; I was the clear jerk in this situation. I own that. It took everything within me to not have a meltdown and to simply move on without further incident.
That’s when it hit me:
I’m not just at a disadvantage, as I always liked to say on The Aspie Dialogues, I also have a condition that hinders my ability to modulate my emotions. In other words, I’m disabled.
I have limits that neurotypicals don’t have. I have to approach my limitations strategically so that incidents like the situation at the comic book store don’t occur.
So that was Saturday, but what happened Sunday after I’d had two doses of my meds in my system? The abridged version is: I ruined my mom’s good mood for the entire day. I mean, the. Entire. Day.
Once again, my emotions got the best of me and I snapped momentarily. It should have ended there, but once I started trying to dial back, all hell broke loose.
I wanted to talk it out, my mom didn’t, and we butted heads over that. Needless to say it got much worse (verbally) before it could get better. I ended up going to my friend’s house for the remainder of the day, while my mom took the rest of the day to calm down. The incident made her sick to her stomach for much of the day, even after it ended.
Emotions: 2; Jon: 0.
So, where am I, right now?
I’m at home, at the moment, and things seem to be quiet, now. Mom’s asleep, and Dad’s watching TV.
Emotionally, I’m scared out of my mind. I try to put up this facade that, “I’m not disabled; I have a disadvantage.” But let’s be honest and stop sugarcoating this:
I am disabled, and that puts me at a disadvantage. And that scares me. I’m scared for my parents, who have to put up with this from me, right now. I’m scared for my sister and her husband, especially since she just had my first niece last Friday.
Not to mention, I’m scared of what might happen if this happens in front of Vivi.
I have a beautiful, sweet girlfriend, who has never seen this side of me before. I’ve always tried to hide it from her for her sake, but by denying my limitations for so long, is that not the same as denying an inherent piece of who I am?
I honestly don’t know what she sees in me. I’m loud, I’m terribly out-of-shape, and I don’t even have that much hair on my head, anymore. (I’m under 30, by the way.)
When I look into her eyes, I see my whole world. I see everything I’ve ever wanted in a long-lasting relationship. I love her, and I want her to be safe and happy.
But how can I keep her safe and happy if I can’t trust myself to rein in my emotions properly?
Clearly, this is a discussion I plan on having with her in the near future, and I hope she sees this to know just how much she means to me. (And believe me, I love you with all my heart!)
I want our relationship to move closer, but I’m scared of myself after these recent outbursts. How can a relationship built on trust last, if one party can’t even trust himself?
So, what’s the bottom line, here? Am I saying that I want to break up for her sake? No. NO. A thousand times NO.
What I am trying to say is, that I’m scared. I see the possibility of everything I’ve ever wanted in my life slipping away, and I don’t want that to happen.
I want to push through this carefully and meet the next limitation I have to face pertaining to my disability. I want this to bring me closer with my loved ones in the end.
But if I’m going to do that, I have to face a certain very uncomfortable truth:
I am disabled, and that puts me at a disadvantage.
Here’s the catch:
Though I am disabled, and that puts me at a disadvantage, what really matters is how I cope with that disadvantage.
That’s the stage I’m at in all this, right now. I’m trying to sort out my coping method.
I’ve long believed that anger is inevitably temporary. That is, our minds and bodies don’t have the required stamina to keep it up forever. Either we get physically tired of it all, or it drains us mentally and emotionally. Anger exhausts us until we just give up on it. Even so, once that happens, it’s not always so easy to repair the damage anger causes in the end.
These last two days have taught me that.
Until next time…
May we find peace with ourselves, within ourselves.
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