so dani shared this post on facebook and i read it and instantly messaged her to FEELS about it. we ended up talking for a bit, and i was like “THIS NEEDS TO BE A POST, CAN THIS CONVERSATION JUST BE A POST” and she agreed. so this is my (our) post of like…what “indistinguishable from peers” and “encouraging positive behaviors” can mean for autistic people…even those who don’t grow up with a diagnosis.
EMMA: oh that piece you shared. its weird to me because i actually did the “split self” thing completely literally until i was like 21? i called emma before medicine “bad emma” and i just told myself that that was why people did bad things to smaller emma, it was because she was “bad emma” and she deserved it.
and so whenever i wasn’t sure i would have medication i would have huge panic attacks because i was convinced that if anyone saw bad emma they wouldn’t like me anymore. also why i wouldn’t let anyone in my room at college.
i also had a thing when i was a kid where i was terrified of singing or dancing around even when i was alone because i thought someone would see me. so i would run around the house and shut all the window shades and lock al the doors and then dance around for like five minutes until i thought i heard a car, and ran around to reopen everything and turn off the music so nobody would be able to tell what i was doing
DANI: I did that too. The dancing thing.
EMMA: okay NOW i’m crying
DANI: My “split self” thing was a little different. I actually have a whole separate character I play when I need to be in Automated Human Simulator mode. I’ve “known” for decades that people like her, not me.
now it turns out some people actually like ME (including Jason), and I still can’t even with that some days. HOW. HOW POSSIBLE.
EMMA: i think mine is just different because social talking wasn’t as big of a problem for me as like, daily living skills/cleanliness/impulsivity.
so like, i literally did ABA on “bad emma” starting when i was like ten,
DANI: whoa. ❤ ❤ ❤
EMMA: like “you forgot to make a lunch? no food for you then. you want to buy pens? no you spend too much money, you are not allowed any pens. you lost your bus pass? tell nobody, you need to learn bad consequences, use your lunch money to pay for the bus for the next month, no lunch for you. you forgot to get pain meds and now you are in bed with cramps? sucks for u, sit in bed and FEEL THE PAIN. you did a thing that people wanted you to do? good emma, you get candy today.”
i also wasn’t “allowed” (by my brain) to go to bed or eat food until i finished my late homework. that did NOT GO WELL in college.
DANI: “you need to learn consequences” omfg my brain still says this shit
EMMA: i told someone about that for the first time, and the person i told is like my gay mom, and she basically cried and was like “that’s horrible” and i was like sitting there completely chill like “but i mean how else will i ever learn? why are you upset?”
DANI: omg that’s the conversation I had with Jason. it literally blew his mind that I do that stuff to myself….
he was like “no, you don’t get it, THAT’S ABUSE”
she was like “that’s like fucking medieval torture what even”
DANI: and I was all “but…it’s teaching?”
I WAS LIKE “NO I AM CONDITIONING MYSELF TO BE A GOOD PERSON.”
and she was like “YOU ARE ALREADY A GOOD PERSON” and i was like “wtf go home ur drunk”
DANI: “if I were good enough I wouldn’t do this stupid shit” is what I said to Jason. “That’s why I need consequences because I keep screwing up”
DANI: I just. THE HELL.
EMMA: obviously if i were a good person, i would care about these things enoug to do them. so since i don’t do them, i must not care, and only terrible people don’t care.
DANI: omg that exactly
also in reference to what we’re talking about now, in case anyone is wondering whether or not this stuff fucks you up physically as well as psychologically YEP IT DOES. IT DOES.