Time to Break Taboo
For years prior to my own diagnosis of Asperger’s in 2008, l was given the rough shod prod of the medical profession. In their enthused eagerness to reach a firm conclusion over my particular form of mental health problems, l was moved from one Doctor to another and basically shifted from pillar to post and back again.
I have to be brutally honest and say that at 45 years of age to be finally awarded with the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome was received with both relief and confusion. I would be selling myself emotionally short if l simply stated in a clinical fashion that the experience was an ‘eye opener’ and handled it like ‘one would’ a dirty tissue!
Recognition of the disorder was brought to my unknowing attention months before the officialdom was granted by friends who genuinely thought l knew and were quite shocked to discover just how clueless l really was!
“Autism?” I remember asking of them ‘What has that got to do with me? What is Asperger’s?” Fair questions if you think on it. If you are NOT aware of these issues in the first place, why would your natural course be to think of them?
Admittedly Autism’ was not my way of thinking, Hans Asperger to me was no different a persona than Hans Christian Andersen? I would not easily have found the correlation between any of my symptoms to those that l thought l knew were part and parcel of Autism.
For as many years as l could remember since a young age, to early teens, early adulthood, adulthood itself – my life was filled to the brim with a bustling and darkened kaleidoscope of trouble. Mental health and l walked so closely hand in hand that many a time l thought that we were joined at the hip!
Serious stress and anxiety, morbid thoughts and failed suicide attempts, horrific self-harm, constantly feeling worthless, an unknowing to who l was and why did l feel alien to the society in which l lived? Having to learn to accept humiliations from those who said they cared, and having to deal with the real time ostracising from my own family, never mind trying to ignore, the jeers and jibes from bullies and name callers!
The ‘professionals’ ever eager to impress and outdo each other bandied around label’s like it was a fad or a trend – OCD, depression, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, paranoia, psychosis and even schizophrenia made an appearance. Anything that could be thrown into the equation of blame was attributed towards my behaviour.
Drinking, drug taking and living alone were suggested as to the cause, irrelevant to how many times l told them, l did not drink myself into oblivion as l didn’t drink, l wasn’t into taking drugs and the occasional joint was not paramount to a major addiction but a relaxant only and living alone had never bothered me as l never got lonely!!
The whole affair that was otherwise known as my life, was fast becoming a stigma in my own family, l was the ‘taboo’ subject that no-one truly wanted to ever really discuss. It was something that was best swept under the carpet or hidden in the room like an elephant. My Aspergers diagnosis as a subject in the early days was dismissed as a fad by my Mother and my Father – well what he thought of it, l will not display as it was insulting.
Autism as a subject is STILL despite awareness treated with contempt and steeped in controversy by a society that needs to learn ACCEPTANCE and not just for the spectrum, but for many other topics concerning mental health. We need to stop stigmatizing those who suffer, and break open the taboos that govern the thinking’s.
There is no dishonour in reaching a breaking point; mankind has shaped the actuality of that – it is unavoidable – show me a part of the world and l will show you serious stress and anxiety and the darkest of dark depressions. People are NOT robots; they are not designed to continually take the burdens on board. Our coping mechanisms can only handle a certain amount of pressure. Eventually however strains have a way of breaking through the exteriors that we put on to the world.
Our Masks drop, fall away and off and we break.
But we need support and understanding and yes awareness is welcomed always but acceptance is the absolute requirement to achieving recovery. If a society’s people cannot accept reality then we are doomed anyway.
It matters not if it is autism or disability, or physical illness or mental health – when you are broken or just different, you don’t need to be jeered and jibed, and taunted and bullied – you need to feel loved, wanted and above everything – not treated as an inconvenience, or one of the forbidden, or off limits, or a stigma and most assuredly not treated as Taboo!
It was these reasons that this design came into being, l wanted to be able to express to a society that there should be no taboos and as such all topics governed by this should be free of stigma, stomped on, punched away and above everything, freely talked about.
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.