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On Being Autistic: The Loneliness of Being Misunderstood

Many autistics find themselves constantly solving life’s puzzles and mysteries only to find that our solutions or insights are not even understood by those around us. We have a pot of rich, amazing gold and yet neuronormative society has no idea of its value. This is a real issue with being neurodivergent in a neuronormative world, we are misunderstood and undervalued much of the time by those closest to us. Here we are with our hyperactive prefrontal cortex and amygdala, constantly evaluating situations, analyzing everything, and coming to complex well thought out (perhaps even obsessed about) solutions only to find we have no one to tell.

This is partly why the autistic and neurodivergent community is literally lifesaving for many people. It helps us connect with each other and realize we are not alone. It also can help to set realistic expectations of what to expect from our friends and family when it comes to our well-thought-out conclusions and special interest topics. For many of us, our friends and family simply do not think like us and never will. Sometimes this can be a hard pill to swallow. To be understood is to be seen and for many autistics, it is hard to feel seen when never truly understood.

Being autistic involves both embracing our loneliness while also finding ways to connect with others that brings us some sense of community, belonging and understanding. In many ways, we need to carve out our own path of being autistic in a neuronormative world that feels good to us and meets our needs. This path will look different for each individual person. Learning what feels good and meets our needs may take time, especially for high-masking autistics. High masking autistics usually have spent a lifetime downplaying or suppressing our needs and it may take a long time to learn how to tune into our bodies and discover who we are, what we like, and what feels good.


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