Dear Autistic Youth..
Updated: Feb 25
Dear Autistic Youth, . . Life feels hard. Life is hard. Some days, unbearably hard. . You’re great at pretending it isn’t, and that you’re moving through life just as well as your peers. And some days you can’t pretend anymore and just leaving your room feels impossible. . I know. . I was an autistic teen once. . I remember my journal. The things I would write. The depth of my thinking, the intensity of my feeling. It felt messy. All encompassing. Consuming. . My emotional response to life was so deeply painful. . I would be absent from school for weeks on end, nobody knowing because I hid it so well. . I had no idea why. . I longed to be different, better, more like others. . I looked like everyone else. I even fit in really well. . I was funny, smart, musically and academically gifted. . I was kind and vulnerable. I was all the things I wanted others to be. . Yet no matter how many people I was surrounded by, I always felt completely alone. So different. . My family had questions for me around why I felt the way I did, behaved the way I did, lied the way I did, was unmotivated or missed opportunities and I couldn’t possibly give them answers. . I couldn’t imagine others understanding me when I couldn’t even understand myself. . There were some extremely dark years. . A number of years where my first thought on waking was “Will I make it through the day?”. . I was in so much pain, I tried so hard to not be a part of this world anymore, so many times. . Hospitals, psychologists, psychiatrists, 12 step programs, starving, stinging, self rejecting, self hating, self harming, raging underneath. . I was loved. I was encouraged. I was valued. But I couldn’t accept what I didn’t have for myself. . . . Please hang in there. . Your mind, your brain is beautiful. Powerful beyond measure. In fact, your autistic being is immeasurable. Non standard. A-typical. And this is the best gift you could be given. . . . Today.. . . . Life is beautiful. Life is magical. Some days, it’s still really difficult. . I practice working through my challenges, I recognise that feelings aren’t always facts and I am moving through life differently to many of my peers, and sadly, I am surprisingly happier than many of them. . Because I have suffered. Because I have struggled. . I’m an autistic adult. . I no longer have a private journal, I share my life with the people I love. . I love the depth of my thinking; the intensity of my feeling. . My emotional response to life is so very beautiful, it inspires me to help others and to experience the world differently. . BECAUSE of my autism and not despite it. . I look like everyone else. But I don’t strive to fit in. . I am funny, smart and gifted in many areas. I am kind and vulnerable, and I have attracted these very attributes in all the people I surround myself with because others like me, are drawn to kindness and vulnerability. . I know myself. I understand myself. I love, accept and embrace myself. . These are the best years of my life. . My first thought on waking most days is “I am so grateful, so fortunate”. . I am happy. . There are still painful, challenging times; but with acceptance, everything passes. . Friends, family, nature, food, music, laughter, love, support, my children, my passions, self love, self care, alone time, uninterrupted days in my home, creating for hours on end, long and deep conversations. . I am loved. I am encouraged. I am valued. I accept and receive all of it. . . . Please hang in there. . . . My life is enriched because I have children, just like YOU who lead the way. . Through their darkest moments, they teach me about myself. Through their struggles and vulnerability, I become more patient, more kind, more tolerant, more accepting. . . You are a gift. You are a blessing. These dark days will pass. . You are changing the world by leading the way. . You are awakening adults to want to know more, people are longing to understand you, to help you. . The world is changing, slowly, but surely, to understand and to adapt for those of us on the spectrum. . So PLEASE. . Be who you are, unapologetically. . The beautiful, Autistic You. . . . <3 .