Today is world mental health day.
I wanted to write a nice and positive blog post about mental health, how important it is, how everyone matters and how harmful is not to take it seriously. But this morning I read a very upsetting article and decided to once again write about autism.
I was also thinking why I rarely see articles about how hard is for autistic people to live in the world that does not want to accommodate our needs, in the world where we are expected to fit into someone else's agenda and most of the time no one even tells us what this agenda is. Be yourself they say. But this "be yourself" also has certain expectations attached. : /
What is even more sad, that very often so called progressive people comply to the same agenda and while claim to be on autistic people's side, still adopt the very same dehumanising tactics.
Do they even think how these articles affect mental health and well being of autistic people? All this made me to think more and more about such remarks towards neurodivergent folks and the bigger impact they have on our lives.
Growing up in neurotypical ableist world from a very young age we are socialised and “trained” to believe that there is only one way of being, only one way of doing things right.
It is not acceptable to cry in public (there are exceptions to this though, like a funeral or tragic news).
It is not acceptable for an adult to carry toys around (unless they are acceptable type of toys).
It is not acceptable to seek sensory comfort in public places.
It is not acceptable to freak out in the crowds.
It is not acceptable to lay on the ground if there are other people around.
It is not acceptable to hit your head into the wall.
It is not acceptable to wait hours for the bus that is not crowded, so others would not touch you by accident.
It is not acceptable to separate your food.
It is not acceptable to touch every object on your way to the bus stop.
The list could go on and on, every day there is a new rule of what is acceptable and what is not. What you are allowed to do and what not. Every rule has dozen exceptions and additional information that depends on the particular situation, environment, people involved and many other factors. You are not only expected to memorise them all, to create scripts for every single possibility, but also to act "naturally" and do not draw any attention to yourself.
It is exhausting. It is very exhausting.
And if even a smallest detail goes wrong, we are reminded that by default it is always our own fault.
I'm not saying that parents mental health is not important. Obviously it is. I am saying that to care about one group's mental health you do not need to harm other group.
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