People suck. That is the simple determination everyone in society realizes. The concept of good and bad or fair and unfair is dictated by humanity. The issue with this suckage is drawing the line between people and disability. A person with mental health and developmental disabilities will react differently to stress. Trust is hard to give or trust too freely given. For me, I have a bit of both. At times, I will trust too fast and later learn the people are bad. Sometimes, I am hesitant to trust those that are good. The problem is there is no way to know the difference. Sometime we have to accept the good and the bad while remember we are not the issue. You, him, her, they,they are not the issue.
It may be an oversimplification, but everyone sucks in different ways and no one is immune. What I learned is my disability makes me a target, but not vulnerable because I accept that people are mean, ruthless, violent, kind, helpful, nice, lovely, empathetic, pathetic, hateful, caring and resilient to pain.
My disabilities do not prevent me, but act as a magnifier of peoples bad and good attributes. Why? because I have survived the bad of people, I have been abused and broken, but I am still here. Which means people suck a little less each day when you accept the fact. Everyone sucks equally.
What do you do when you think you’re sick? You go to the doctor. However, when you have mental health diagnosis it can be difficult to go to that type of doctor. Distinguishing fact from mental health is difficult and once the doctor sees your list of “issues” bias kicks in.
Right now, I am attempting to decide if I want to open the struggle of keeping help for my mental health. There are environmental factors with friends and work that are triggering my difficulties. But does that mean I have new mental health problems?
No. It could be the triggers making me think I am worse. What is the reality of the situation?
Well, I may have had this mental health condition my entire life. I was never evaluated for this particular condition and the symptoms fit. So now I can accept reality, go to the doctor and do my best to avoid toxic people….or I can avoid the inevitable. Neither choice is preferred, but when you have disabilities sometimes your choices are made before you can weigh in on the decision.
Trauma stays with you. Last week, a group unintentionally triggered me. In the circumstance, I froze. My anxiety rose and my survival instincts kicked in. I was asked to do something in a room with dominant people. I didn’t process the request but obeyed. Everything would have been fine until I was told to do something. I wasn’t comfortable, I was paraded in a room and felt humiliated. This is what happens when trauma and developmental disabilities mix. People will say “you felt uncomfortable with the request, so say no.” The issue is the fight, flight or freeze of trauma instincts and autism.
I did not understand the request. The environment was hectic and I felt overpowered. So, I survive. I obey, I do and then suffer the aftermath. This circumstance stems from lack of awareness of the group and may need to process slower than average.
How to move forward?
I don’t know. It took me two days to narrow down why it impacted me so terribly. I left the situation as quickly as possible to avoid making rash decisions. Ultimately, I have to communicate my disability symptoms and hope they understand. I have a significant disability which means, I present “normal” but I can be momentarily victimized. When this occurs no matter how unintentional the event was, I suffer.
It is difficult to explain mental health to people that never experience its struggle. How would I describe mental health struggles? It’s like living in your own personal hell. Your mind captures you and locks you away. Than a doppelganger takes your place.
It is hard when you can’t trust your mind. Everything you say and do us questioned for validity. Family and friends are never sure if what you say happened or your mind invented it. To be honest, even you may not trust your mind. Grasping reality is a daily obstacle. It is emotionally and physically draining to maintain sanity.
How do you make people understand what they can’t see?
You can’t. Education breeds awareness, but awareness is a choice. You can be vulnerable to the world, but you can’t make them accept you. Seminars and speeches don’t solve ignorance. Ignorance is a choice.
All you can do as a person with a mental health disability is keep moving forward and wait for the world to realize ignorance isn’t bliss.
People will never live up to your expectations. The problem with expectations is people expect them. When someone fails you after you depend on them for support, what is left? Nothing but failed expectations. I always expect people to treat me how I treat them. I try my best and I expect the same, yet that is always too much for people. My disability impacts my ability to communicate, comprehend and maintain relationships. But I have come to realize that I am not always the problem. Sure, once you have mental health and a developmental diagnosis people assume you are overreacting. But what happens when you have no emotional stability and you force yourself to emotionally support another person? What happened when you give everything you can despite the discomfort and despite the pain it causes you, and they still screw you over? Failed expectations. Here is my problem, I don’t care about most people and what happens to them is inconsequential. This jaded outlook is due to years of trauma and the individuals I trust failing my expectations.
What do I expect? Honest, equal support or at least try to match the support that I give you, communicate issues or discomfort and most of all be reliable. Don’t go back on your word and leave me in dirt. Stand up for what is right and don’t leave me to bare the cross. Why is that such a difficult task? People are never who they seem to be. They put on the mask and lure you into a false sense of security, and then they fail you, abuse you or just simply leave you.
On the other side, I put on a mask and people expect it to stay on. To maintain in life, to work and to function in society I cannot be me. I am a broken doll that was glued back together, and the pieces keep falling off. The problem is when my pieces fall off, I must quickly stuff them in my pocket, so no one can see them. But sometimes a piece falls out of my pocket onto the ground and then they notice. What happens? They want me to pick up their pieces but cannot be bothered to pick up mine. That is when I turn from “friend” and emotional support to burden. Ultimately, I am only worth your time when you want me around. I am only worth your time when I wear my mask and fake it. I am only worth your time if I can help you.
That is the reason I am alone. I am broken and no one else bothers to see my pieces, but always expect me to see theirs. I am broken because people saw me as nothing, crushed my porcelain and threw me away. And I am glued back together because I picked myself up piece by piece and tried to fix me. A broken doll doesn’t have a place, so I sit on a shelf and wait for the next person to drop their pieces. Then I get up and help them. Then I glue their pieces back and watch mine continue to fall. But guess what…I still hide my pieces. But sooner or later the doll falls off the shelf and breaks…what then?
I need to routine an structure to thrive. My autism seeks stability in scheduling. I am productive because I have a plan. Without a plan, nothing is accomplished. Also, routine helps my comprehension improve. When I am rushed, I do not function and will not be successful. Recently, I adopted a 24 hours scheduling system. This system allows me to optimize functioning, reduce anxiety and be productive.
There are 24 hours in a day. Once you realize how to balance your time things are less stressful. A person needs 8 hours of sleep a night. Full-time work is 8.50 to 9 hours per day. Those are the two big commitments in a week. Let’s break it down:
5 am to 7:30 am getting ready for work
Travel time 30mins
Work 8 am to 5 pm
Travel time 30mins
On average your home at 6 pm.
To sleep 8hours you go to bed at 9 pm. Which leaves 3 hours of “free time”.
Really, scheduling and time management is simple. Learn your schedule and add tasks in a 24 hour period. It is amazing to see how much time is wasted. If you avoid procrastination and review your day, you will be surprised what can be accomplished. Anxiety is reduced when you have a plan and know your commitments. Life is about flexibility and compromise. A 24hour schedule has helped me improve my abilities to get stuff done and still have fun too!
It is important to understand the difficulty of having a disability. Yes, it is a challenge. However, in reality it is a daily struggle to function and “conform” to societies expectations. The problem with society views opposite as bad and same is good. If you like the same football team, you are amazing! If you like the wrong football you are trash. Society is never satisfied with who you are. In the workplace, having a disabilities that impacts your cognitive functions is difficult to navigate. Last week, a co worker approached me to compliment my work style. My organization and efficiency were impressive to this individual. Nonetheless, the person has a misconception of how I operate. Yes, I am efficient and organized. However, that is the only way I can function and ensure my job duties are completed. I repeat the same routine and steps consistently to make sure I do a good job. It is confusing for people to accept my disability and realize how much work it takes me to be successful. I work 40 hours a week with people that don’t understand disability or me. They form a glorified ideal of me and my skills. They think that working with a disability makes you super human.
What they don’t see is my going home at the end of day. Swollen joints, pain, emotionally exhausted from dealing with people and trying my best to understand instructions from people that don’t understand me. My anxiety is off the roof and I worry I made mistakes on big projects. I get home, change my clothes and do not leave the bed until the next morning. I have nightmares and if my PTSD has been triggered I have night terrors. My cognitive delay means you tell me something and 10mins later I understand. Sometimes, I never understand. But I have steps in place to get it done. My PTSD means I am stressed and anxious at work. Someone walks up behind me and startles me… I become physically ill. I see the faces of those that abused me throughout my life in every man and woman at work and on the street. Sometimes I want to go home because I am afraid to be outside the confines of my apartment. But I keep going, I go to work and repeat the cycle. My Borderline Personality Disorder causes me to disassociate. I will stare into space for minutes or hours at a time on auto pilot. I don’t always remember what I accomplished in a day, so I have everything written down. I black out at my desk and people have spoke to me and given me tasks. I don’t’ remember. My Bipolar makes me sad and depressed. I will cry for no reason. I have insomnia and won’t sleep for days or weeks.
My Borderline Personality Disorder causes me to disassociate. I will stare into space for minutes or hours at a time on auto pilot. I don’t always remember what I accomplished in a day, so I have everything written down. I black out at my desk and people have spoke to me and given me tasks. I don’t’ remember. My Bipolar makes me sad and depressed. I will cry for no reason. I have insomnia and won’t sleep for days or weeks.
But people do not get to see me after the show. After I put on a play of intrigue and comedy. I exit the stage and the real me is there. You see, people will say they want to know you. But in reality, they only want to know the pieces of you they WANT to know. I often think, if people knew me, they would hate me. That is irrational. Sooner or later, people will see who I am. I am a complex entity that struggles and keeps going. They want conformity that makes THEM feel more comfortable.
I persevere and continue to be alive even though it is hard and exhausting. The one thing I wish people would realize it: I am a good person, I work hard, I do my job, I do University fulltime and I am determined to succeed. BUT it is not easy and I am not amazing. I am just person with struggles that never gives up…I am just like everybody else.