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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Aubin, LCSW

We Were Gold

Autistic therapist online california

There is a true story about a golden Buddha in Burma that was covered up with mud when invaders were coming in the 18th century. The invasion happened and the Buddha wasn’t taken and ultimately, the villagers forgot that the Buddha was golden underneath. Years passed and the buddha was assumed to be brown until one day the mud chipped and a golden Buddha was revealed to be underneath. This is a story used to teach about our Self within, the gold that gets clouded by our thoughts, etc. This story has taken on a deeper meaning since discovering I was autistic.

Discovering that I had been autistic all along is like discovering I was a golden Buddha covered in mud. Learning I was autistic was like rediscovering my golden nature. I was hidden, by myself and being misunderstood by others.

Being gold doesn’t mean being autistic isn’t hard. It is extremely difficult. Anything complicated and sensitive is going to be difficult. But the beauty of complexity and sensitivity is immeasurable. While my brain does expend a lot of energy chewing itself to death, it can also come up with incredible pattern recognition and a web of connections that less sensitive brains could only dream of.

Gold is brilliant. But expensive. An autistic brain and nervous system is expensive. We require high levels of support and care compared to allistics. We need our environments to be just so, sometimes we cannot work or work consistently enough to hold down jobs, we have meltdowns, shutdowns. We can be anxious or ruminate or hyperfixate even if we’d prefer not to. We can get lost and depressed and burnt out. But we can also make beautiful art, have deep hyperconnected understandings of the world, and see what others cannot.

I spend most of my days working with autistic folks in therapy who are struggling. They are stuck in spirals, rumination, self-deprecation, depression… These issues are not uncommon to autistic folks. To have a sensitive and complex brain and nervous system comes with a high price. Much like gold. Yet, we can learn ways to navigate our complex and expensive reality. We can learn to wash away the mud and see ourselves for who and what we are, gold.


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