Do you ever send a version of yourself back in time? Just to give your past self these pep talks, little reminders, things that’ll get you through many yesterdays ago?
In my own mind, I feel I’ve gone back plenty.
To tell myself this thing then.
To hear my future self telling me now.
“Learn to fight alone.”
There are those helpful refrains that many others enjoy.
“We’re all in this together.”
“People know what you’re going through.”
“We’ve got your back.”
In The Life Autistic, not so much.
If you’ve ever seen Inside Out, the takeaway is that Sadness is key. It pushes the empathetic response in others.
And yeah, that makes sense for normal humans.
“Oh wow, that interview went that bad, huh? I know the feeling; did you wanna go get a coffee or something?” (or at least that’s the best I can imagine here).
But it just ain’t the same for us.
When even the simplest routines go awry.
When something in the day is out of place.
When meltdowns happen.
When you’re the robot malfunctioning in a room of humans.
When you’re angry for reasons that neurotypical people can’t relate to.
Good luck finding the empathy.
When things go bad, they are lonely fights. Few who understand. Fewer who’d relate.
Not only is it a self-struggle keeping ourselves in check, our expressions, reactions – there’s everyone else around who—even if they try to get it—will have a hard time getting it.
So this is where I return to pasts long passed from futures yet foreseen:
You’re right. No one seems to understand. It’s hard to find people who care. It’s tough when no one else gets it. To them, it’s just a spilled bowl of cereal, or whatever.
Somehow, it’s OK.
Anyone who does get it, that’s a bonus.
Because your help is an uplifting surprise.
When someone well and truly cares, it’s rare and wonderful.
You may not always heal by yourself.
But learn to fight alone.