What it’s Like to Live with Autism

I will not hide it, I have a form of autism. I was diagnosed in 2002. I think it’s a good thing to be open about it because it leads to a better understanding of the spectrum.

You may think, oh, but he’s not like this rainman character, he is a smart guy, he has an university degree with honours, he speaks three languages, but challenges are still there and it’s in some cases very difficult. Unlike the « average » autistic type, I realize how it’s rough and in some things, how I feel handicapped and not a normal being even if many do not realize it.

Why is it difficult? Because I realize that I have limitations, that even with my qualities, there are times when I feel sad, very sad. I have difficulty being comfortable in groups than more than 3 or 4 people and even if I am a very good public speaker (many had said that), I have different (or limited if you like) social skills but I never felt comfortable in any way with people who had my spectrum. But again, things that may seems normal for you (like visual contact) are a massive challenge for me at the workplace and in any social situation. My non-verbal skills are very particular and the hardest part is that I cannot evaluate non-verbal skills. It’s not because I am « shy » or « not interested », I just see things differently. But I am not saying that having a different outlook in life is always a bad thing either. 

I am also worried for my future. At 24, I am very autonomous for some things (I have a good job for now while making a decent salary) while my skills are harsh in other things. I was never good with motor skills and something which is normal for many people (like driving) is impossible for me. I have a lot of insecurity for the future and especially from the fear of not being loved anymore. Even through I have very loving parents who do marvelous things for me, they are getting older and this worries me a lot to the point of giving me anxiety.

Even is this a very common thing nowadays even if few people talk about it, I also must take medication. I take it since April 2002 and this will probably be for all my life. Even if the situation had stabilized since a few years now, I had a few depressions in the past and I had panic crisis even through they are rare now. But my anxiety is still there and it’s still difficult to summarize it with words. I tend to keep some things inside (especially feelings) because I fear of being judged.

Again, my point of writing this is not to put my dirty laundry forward but rather to say one thing. If you know someone in your entourage who have mental health or psychological issues please help him. Just talking to them, take some time with them or giving them support is a good thing you can do. This will helps really much because many people don’t talk about this because they fear of being judged. Even myself, I tend to talk more of my situation with people who I believe may be more receptive, than others would could maybe not understand or judge me even if they are closer to me on paper. 

So, is mental health the last taboo? Probably. Even in very open societies, it’s something still very taboo. Considering the number of people who have challenges related to mental health, very few groups do lobbying or raise awareness as compared to other causes. It’s hypocritical in a way, because even if you have a perfect body, it’s useless without a mind which works well.


Une réflexion sur “What it’s Like to Live with Autism

  1. Mathieu,

    Thank you for your thoughtful candid account of what it is like for you to live with an ASD. I agree with you in wishing that people would talk more openly about mental issues, to foster a better understanding for all of us.

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