“Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering (Yoda 1999).”
“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die (Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing in La Vegas 1998).” When you think a group of people that including yourself as different then everyone else; it can have a strange effect on someone’s life. For people like me, it is the constant demand and fear of social exceptions that had me crawling at walls. That whenever I fail at meeting any given social exceptions I often become angry at myself. This would often lead to me hating myself for having Autism because I led myself to believe it was the cause of all my pain. That my autism was blocking my ability to get social expectations right, which kept other people from liking me. This way of thinking always had me reaching point where I would make myself go through a great deal of unnecessary suffering and hide away from the world in my room. I always blamed my Autism it was never my fault, I suffered, I know now this is a victim’s mentally. I always looked for hero to save me, but trick here I had to choose to think differently about myself. There is no set time or age to grow up, it happens when you truly want to make something out of your life. “There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning” (Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998).
As a child I kicked holes in walls and screamed in my room until my lungs gave out because I could not express what was going on in my life or how I felt about it. Throughout my years in school, I always felt alone or like I was always on the run from someone. My teachers and parents gave me these things called social exceptions and that when I plugged them into the right equation then I would get people to like me. “But our trip was different. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country-but only for those with true grit. And we were chock full of that (Hunter S.Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998).” As an adult, I learned to use my words and to take the time to understand why I felt something.
For a long time I did not understand things like sarcasm, which often gave me the wrong perception of a lot of people who were actually joking with me. This lead to people like my mom who would have talks with the other individuals about why they can’t be sarcastic with me. When in reality, I should have been learning to advocate this need for myself. This understanding of sarcasm and similar ways of expression did not happen until college; when I started taking psychology classes, in order, to get a logical way to understand human behavior. “The possibility of physical and mental collapse is now very real. No sympathy for the Devil, keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride” (Hunter Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). In other words, my constant worry about how to behave around other people often was the ticket to a lot of unnecessary suffering. How can I break this cycle of behavior?
How did I make my escape from this constant state of fear and loathing? “And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .(Hunter Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).” Basically, what happen was that I took responsibly for my role in all of the misfortunes that happen in my past, stopped blaming my autism, and I let things go. That if I just put forth an hour of work towards myself every night so that I could start to be a bit happier than the day before that is a victory. The day that I stopped trying figure who was right and who was wrong was when I was able to truly move forward in my life. It was when I stopped letting other people make choices for me that I actually able to do this. I started to live more in the moment rather try plan out my whole life based only past social experiences and rules life thus things became more beautiful and happy.
“Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. A normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop heart. Make the bastard chase you. He will follow. But he won't know what to make of your blinker signal that says you are about to turn right. This is to let him know you're pulling off for a proper place to talk. It will take him a moment to realize that he's about to make a 180 degree turn at speed, but you will be ready for it. Brace for the g's, and fast heel-toe work” ( Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing 1998).
The highway traffic cop of Autism is the fear and self-loathing that we put upon ourselves. Once I cut out the outside world’s influence and the contempt I had for myself I became free. This contempt held me back from moving forward with my life and making any kind of true progression with it. Basically, what I had to start doing was leaving this kind of thinking behind me if I was going get where I wanted to go with my life. Once I started to actively try enjoy my life with my family is when I truly started roaring down the highway with a big crooked smile on my face. The way to beat this traffic cop is to find ways to love your autism because of how it allows you to love yourself. For me, I loved how my autism gives me the ability to be super focused on something I am passionate about and I love how it is my greatest teaching tool to others on the spectrum. Once you realize your own role in causing such unneeded anxiety is when you truly leave that crap in your dust!
“The right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back” ( Hunter Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). I started trusting the way I saw the world and making decisions for myself. So many people on the Autism spectrum are often delayed in our social maturity, as adults because we often still do not trust our decision making and self-advocating abilities. What am I doing about it now? I am finding new roles in life to fill like being a family man, which included: being a husband, being a father, and being a breadwinner. My point here is that creating and assigning new roles to your life is the way out of the fear and self-loathing funk that seems to follow not just myself, but many people on the Autism spectrum. “The desperate assumption that somebody... or at least some force - is tending the light at the end of the tunnel” (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998). You got yourself into this mess, thus it must be you to get yourself out of it by accepting your role in life. When I started to love myself is when I finally broke through all my fear and loathing and gained a new perspective on myself.
For all my brothers and sisters still in the chains of thought that make them think that Autism makes them less human then other people I am here offer a way out. First, you must realize that everyone else is going through what you are going through in their own way. Social cues and the stress they place on the individual hit people from all walks of life. Whether you meet them or not, the key thing to realize is that they have their limits! Second even if you meet all social expectations not everyone is going like you because everyone’s social expectations are different no matter where you go. It is when we try to meet or exceed these limits that social expectations place on us is when the fear and loathing start. People on spectrum have to be taught what these limits like a history lesson while neurotypical people pick them up through experiences. So if you are on spectrum and you want change this pattern go out there and have many kinds of good and bad experiences. Stop waiting for some teacher, TA, and parent to explain it or you will always be dependent on them to ease your fear and loathing of social expectations. You can start by starting each day by counting all these things you are grateful for and you will be surprised with results! Basically, start your day with positive and independent thoughts because it will put a pep in your step every time. Third and Lastly, I want you to be the one to make all of your decisions because each one of them are a small victories towards happiness. “As long as I’m learning something, I figure I’m ok – it’s a decent day” (Hunter S. Thompson).