In the brief periods when I can overcome reading OCD and anxiety about reading, I am finding snippets of the Neurotribes book to be so amazingly healing and reassuring. It’s a lengthy, overly-complete book with tons and tons of examples (more like a reference book perhaps), yet I’m determined to finish it before starting another book. This one really made me pause and was one of the most comforting, which was a quote from an interview with a psychologist in 1989:
“When I think back upon the kids that I tried to treat back in the 1960s, who were so extremely self-injurious, I think, “Boy, they were tough!” What they were really saying is, “You haven’t taught me right, you haven’t given me the tools whereby I can communicate and control my environment.” So the aggression that these kids show, whether it is directed toward themselves or others, is an expression of society’s ignorance, and in that sense I think of them as noble demonstrators. I have a great deal of respect for them.”NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently
Everything mentioned in that quote are things which I have distinctly thought. Even the last sentence was something which I discussed recently with my local friend. And the general sentiment was something I had to carry with me and remind myself of through childhood and adulthood, whilst dealing with so many misunderstandings and traumas, and so much disparagement. And having carried that self-belief with me for all of that time, to see my biggest struggle so perfectly summed up and understood in that paragraph is so important.
It’s a shame that none of this is accessible to my close family— in the sense that they aren’t capable of understanding nor willing to understand the revelations in things like this book. Even if my parents physically read it, they wouldn’t remember it. Would have no interest in discussing any of it. All of this was demonstrated during my ADHD revelation, where they showed no interest in learning about ADHD and understanding me better. No interest in moving on and putting the past behind, as I was willing to do. And these autism revelations are ten times as profound as those. Take ten times more effort to understand.
I see myself as an orphan child now, and the grief of that has been a huge thing to deal with along with everything else over the last two years. I’m so irrevocably separate from my close family. There’s an uncrossable (and ever-ever-widening) gulf between their perceptions and understanding of the world and mine. 🤷♂️
Although it ended on a depressing tone, it’s definitely a positive post for me! 😄 Not least because I actually managed to read something again, and overcome the reading OCD for a little while.