My Journey with Autism

Getting Diagnosed With Autism 

 11 years old and anxious I was, as I sat outside the doctor’s office, waiting for the truth behind the reason why I could never hold conversation like my friends did. Or why, whenever someone fell and got hurt, despite my eagerness to help, I never knew what to say or do. My friends always seemed to know what was right. 

 It didn’t take long for the answer to my questions to arrive. “Keren has ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder” said the nurse.  

“The shock hit me hard like a meteor, I just fell to pieces.” 

 What should have been a step forward for me, actually caused my life to crumble. I felt ashamed of myself, because I have ASD. Since then life hasn’t been the same. 

 Life In Crisis 

 The next 5 years at home, were so sad. After a bad breakdown whilst at high school, I went into a deep depression. I gained roughly six stone in one year from eating and spent about 9 -12 hours a day on my computer, they were the only things left that gave me ‘comfort.’ 

 My parents are lovely, godly individuals but were among the many people who hadn’t experienced or learned about autism themselves, and their painful misunderstanding caused me to grow terrified of them. Life was horrendous. Sorry. 

 I couldn’t even comprehend leaving the house anymore. I’d go into extreme panic over the idea of leaving. I could hardly talk, and what used to be a wonderful imagination had now turned to hallucination. I felt I had nobody who got the picture, I couldn’t cope. I needed help. 

 A Holy Place 

 At last, a ‘breath of fresh air’ – I got accepted into my dream school! Have you heard the phrase “this is the closest to heaven that I’ve been”? Well, that statement is truly how I felt. I went there for speech therapy and it opened my eyes to the world of disability, and I loved it there. The people were extraordinary, and the Christian setting was perfect for me, I felt happy there. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a room for me to live there too, but with the turmoil going on at home, I still had to live somewhere else. Despite my initial disappointment, I was thrilled to be leaving the troubles of home for good. I’d miss my family, but we all agreed it was for the best. I still really wanted to see them while I was there though. 

 My New Home 

 It’s a lovely building, and I am so grateful for my bedroom. Initially I wasn’t aware of how special the garden was, it took quite some time to realise its beauty. I have built very close relationships with the other young people, we have our differences and sometimes they can forget how sensitive I am, but we still look out for one another. The atmosphere can be rather loud and scary sometimes because I am the only one there who has autism. The other young people are very kind most of the time, sometimes they have their own struggles and I try to be very mindful of that. All in all we are a great team. And the staff? I think because of my autism, there are certain approaches from staff that don’t really suit me. One of the ideas we had, was for me to write my own ‘All About Me’ document. I loved doing this! It has helped others to realise what the best approach to work with me is. This inspired me to write more things, including this article. 

 I think my calling is to help and empathise with people who have mental illnesses or autism, who are suffering alone. I believe that that is what I am meant to do in life through my condition. Life is still anything but easy, but God has blessed me with some loving people in my new home – they give lovely hugs!  

 To anyone out there struggling with their autism, I know how difficult it is to find someone to trust and confide in, but I hope and pray that you find at least one person where you live who understands you and will be a good friend. It is hard to be positive all the time but it’s comforting to think that there are people out there who I can relate to. I love you dearly. 

 Thank you for reading my article. I’ve got some good news by the way, I’m not ashamed of my ASD anymore, it’s only the emotional challenges it brings that are a struggle now. Thank you for your time, I love you so much! I hope you have a blessed day! 

Written by Keren, aged 17

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