Would you want to be ‘cured’?

I watched a documentary today about a man with autism, who works on the TV show Springwatch. In the documentary he talks about autism and his life. He also goes to America and meets people who want to find a ‘cure’ for autism. When I watched this part I found it uncomfortable and difficult to watch. Children with autism were being forced to change their behaviours to try to make them ‘normal’.

Personally if someone asked me if I wanted to be ‘cured’ I would say no. On difficult days I might think yes because I would want it all to stop, but if I didn’t have autism and Selective Mutism I think I might be a completely different person. There are definitely difficult things I have to deal with but then there are some positives. I don’t think I would be as compassionate or intelligent without having had some of the experiences I’ve had. I’ve learned to listen, be kind, and make my own decisions. I am not the same as everyone else and I like it that way. I think it would be boring if everyone was the same. I’m still a person just like everyone else. I’m not an animal to be tested on or tamed.

I can understand people with high functioning autism to maybe want a cure, but everyone should be allowed a choice.

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First ever blog

Hello everyone. My name is Christina and this is my first ever blog. I’ve always liked writing so I thought I would give this a try. I’m 21 years old and I suffer from Selective Mutism and Atypical Autism. I will be talking about Selective Mutism quite a bit as it is something that impacts my life very significantly. 

Selective Mutism (SM for short) is a communication disorder caused by high levels of anxiety. People who suffer from SM find it extremely difficult to speak to others in social situations such as schools, colleges, work places, parties, etc. For many, the only place we feel comfortable and safe is at home with close family. Although in some cases it can be hard for some of us to even feel able to speak then.

Imagine you were in a crowded room. There was lots of noise, people laughing and chatting to each other. You are stood in a corner of the room, watching and listening to everyone, trying to take it all in. You feel extremely anxious, even though you are only standing there and watching. You want to stay invisible and you hope no one approaches you. Someone walks over to you. Your anxiety levels get even higher. You feel frozen. You are thinking ‘oh no, not again’. The person approaches you and tries to talk to you. 

“Hi. What is your name?” they ask you.

You have the word in your head. Just one word. Your name. You try to open your mouth but nothing comes out. It feels like something is keeping your voice trapped. You can’t make the word come out. You want it to come so desperately, but it just won’t. Your hands are shaking. You are sweating, and your heartbeat is racing. You are struggling to catch your breath. You are fighting this battle inside you. No one else can see it.

The person looks at you, waiting expectantly. When nothing comes, the atmosphere feels awkward. They eventually give up and move away. They think you’re rude, or just really shy. They don’t attempt to come back and try to talk to you. You are alone in a crowd again. 

You feel sad. You failed again. You ask yourself ‘why do I have to be like this?’ You need to get out of that room. You need to escape. You don’t want to be there. You quietly slip out the door.

This is what it’s like to live with Selective Mutism.