The hardest thing I have trouble with when I think about being autistic is the idea of being disabled. Of needing help.
I’m so afraid of asking people for help because they might say no (and because it usually requires talking to them) and then that would BE THE END OF THE WORLD (a bit of catastrophizing
, there), so usually I will just muddle through my problems and confusion and noise and hopefully make it all work out even if it makes it 300% more difficult for me than it would otherwise. (And almost always people have said SURE and done a tiny little thing and made my life so much easier the few times it got so bad I needed to ask for it, but I still can barely ever, ever, ever bring myself to ask).
I don't like the idea of accommodations. Especially noticeable accommodations. There were probably things hat would have shelled me in school. Extended deadlines would have been nice ( but really, wouldn't hey be nice for everyone? Most people I know could have done better if they didn't have ten billion things due at once). (And probably maybe should have asked for help the semester I wanted to die but I couldn't come up with a reason for asking. I wasn't sure that I can't handle life would help.)
Because all I've ever been good at is school and reading and being smart. I've never been good at sports or talking or socializing or any of those other things that people are good at. But I've been good at school. And I managed to hang on to being BEST at school through high school.
(Fun semi-related Fact: My mom once tried to use "Popular" from Wicked as a self-help book to try and teach me to make friends.)
(Here it is if you haven't heard it before).
But then when you go to college where 50% where in the top 2% of the class and 90% were in the top 10%, you realize you aren't alone at being smart.
And then you don't have an identity.
And you cling to it as strong as you can. And there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY you are going to ask for help because that would be ADMITTING that you are not good at school if you need help.
I have horrible handwriting and often illegible notes. (But luckily I've always had friends with wonderful handwriting in my classes who are willing to share when I can't read. And that "asking for help")
And my family guards secrets so fiercely and closely. I haven't caught all the nuances of what things to share and what to hide, so my default is everything is a secret. Especially weaknesses.
I've been able to get by ok with myself. With things I can't do I have usually been able to get by by not doing or by having family or friends doing it for me.
Maybe there would be things that would be easier.
But being different is already hard enough.
What would have been nice would have been if I had known to go to office hours. If I hadn't been so afraid of people that I never went to office hours. Never asked for help.
I think I would be so afraid of needing help that I would have never asked for it.
AND IT'S OK TO ASK FOR HELP! It's ok to slightly inconvenience people.
If its a professor, IT'S PART OF THEIR JOB.
But I've been so afraid that if I need help, then its proof that I'm different, and DIFFERENT IS BAD. And different is dangerous. And different is lonely.
And I've been hanging onto this for so long before hitting publish, because even admitting to the anonymous internet that sometimes I might need help maybe, is hard.
Things that made me think about this:
I Need Help!-Why it's sometimes hard for people on the spectrum to ask for assistance
And from autisticook's comments on Feminaspie's post here
! (And some responses that followed).
“You’re asking people to do something for you. It’s an imposition, even if it’s a small one. The world doesn’t give a f--- about us.”
This in response to me asking why this person was taking meds to help with anxiety and concentration span instead of asking for accommodations at work. I’m not saying one or the other is preferable, the answer was telling though.
Labels: asking for help, autism, fitting in, me