One of the really, really frustrating things about being autistic

One of the really, really frustrating things about being autistic is that you feel like you spend your life trying to reach some sort of unattainable middle-ground:

- We’re criticised for not making enough conversation, but when we do actually really get in to a conversation we are told we’re ‘too intense’.

- We’re often trained to maintain unbroken eye-contact during conversations, yet in reality too much eye-contact is called ‘staring’ and makes people very, very uncomfortable.

- We’re encouraged to ‘express’ ourselves more, yet our actual, genuine emotional reactions are usually deemed ‘innapropiate’ or ‘unnescessary’.

- We’re told to be friendly and confident when approaching new people, but are then warned that we ‘come off too strong’.

- We are told to try and make interesting conversation, but are also taught that speaking about our interests will only ever annoy other people.

- We’re asked to explain our difficulties and anxieties, only to be told that these explanations ‘make no sense’ or that our worries are unrealistic and invalid.

- We’re expected to force ourselves in to social situations that feel overwhelming and draining yet still somehow remain friendly, good-tempered and pleasantly sociable.

- We are encouraged to develop good self-esteem, while at the exact same time being taught that everything about us is wrong.

I don’t hate having autism - I’ve never hated having autism. But I do hate living with the never-ending pressure to attain this mythical ‘perfect’ level of social interaction that simply doesn’t exist in my case.

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Autism Recovery Network Singapore (in Indonesia)