What The World Doesn’t See

Clouds at sunset - Autism South Africa

People look at me and my life and think I’m not trying hard enough. They think I’m just a drama queen, lazy or stupid.

They don’t see the struggles I face to try and make it through each and every day. Not just as an autistic person, but as someone living with mental health issues as well.

They don’t see the extent to which I’m my own worse enemy. That there’s nothing bad they can say or believe about me that I don’t already say or believe myself.

My self esteem and sense of self never got the chance to develop. Trying to survive my childhood and the adolescent years, and to fit into a world that has never made sense to me, took up all my time and energy. I’m slowly figuring myself out though and learning to have more self-compassion.

At the moment I don’t have a job. I have my own freelance business, but due to a lack of structure, support, and finances, I’m really struggling to make it work. What makes it even harder is that my executive functioning isn’t too great. Working for yourself might seem glamorous, but there are plenty of challenges that only those who have experienced it for themselves will understand. People ask me why I don’t just get a “real” job. I’ve tried. I’m trying. I’ve already realized a long time ago that I can’t cope with a full time job, and half day jobs are extremely hard to come by, especially in this country.

I’ve had a few full time jobs but they never lasted long. I would end up crashing and burning within the first couple of months. Having to go to a place every day where I was forced to interact with people, be in noisy and disruptive environments, and try to get work done at the same time, proved too much. Too overwhelming. My brain and sensory system would get overloaded quickly and seem to just shut down. Where even the most basic tasks seemed impossible. When I got fired (or quit), my dad would be furious. Saying that I didn’t try hard enough. That everyone hates their jobs, but they do it anyway. But he didn’t understand. He didn’t see. What’s hard for some people, is excruciatingly hard for me. It’s not that I’m lazy and don’t want to work.

It’s so easy for others to judge us. To see our outward behaviour and decisions and come to their own conclusions about who we are and what’s happening. No matter how far off the mark they may be. And we’re all guilty of this. It’s human nature I guess.

We’re all unique, and have sides of ourselves that the world doesn’t get to see. No one can truly know and understand our experiences. I try to keep this in mind now when I feel someone has labeled me unfairly or incorrectly. Sometimes all it takes is explaining what things feel like to me and how I see the world. But I also know that I don’t have to explain or prove myself to anyone. That it’s okay to ignore their comments and judgments and just walk away. Not everyone will understand us, or even want to. And that’s okay too.

(4) Comments

  1. I feel for you Angie.. that line where you say “No one can truly know and understand our experiences” really hit me hard.

    There’s a saying that came into my mind – how it doesn’t matter what others think of you, it matters more what you think (of yourself).

    Self-compassion and kindness go a long way. 🙂 Love and hugs <3

    1. Angie says:

      Indeed, self-compassion and kindness goes a long way. 🙂

  2. Hey Angie, how are you holding up these days? For some reason, I’ve been concerned about you every now and then lately… I’m sorry if I wrote something inappropriate in a comment here or there.

    Anyways, just wanted to check-in with you, hope you’re ok.. hugs as always <3

    1. Hi lovely! Thanks for checking in. I realized that I hadn’t replied to one of your previous comments, which I was sure I had, lol. I’ve been going through a bit of a hard time lately, but am okay. Will be writing a post soon, just been really busy. Hugs! <3

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