Cara

This is why I write. Why I reach out to others.

“On a sheet of paper I write a few lines. Blog addresses, websites, videos. I push it towards her. This is us.

This is how it starts. One by one, like exhausted swimmers, we pull them to safety. They sit in the boat, confused and scared, afraid to wonder if things might finally get better. And the pilots of the boats signal to one another. I’ve found one more. They’re safe. I’m bringing them home.

Lyssa and Me

Cara sits in the chair to my right. She looks everywhere but at me; at the floor, at my desk, at her hands. I read through the notes from my colleague’s consultation last month, and the letters from various agencies. Now twenty-two, Cara crashed out of university in what is described as a psychotic episode four years ago. Called to the lecturer’s office to discuss an unsatisfactory assignment, she refused to speak and ran from the room. Several staff attempted to restrain her, resulting in frantic head-banging until she was removed by ambulance to the local psychiatric department.

The years since then have been a pattern of admissions after similar episodes. Staff on the ward note that once she recovers she is calm and appropriate, but very scared of some of the more labile patients. She has moved from hostel to hostel, and has no friends, or support system

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10 thoughts on “Cara

  1. Woooow. That was such a powerful post. And I agree. It’s why I have to write and reach out to others too. It’s incredible how validating and healing it is to find the community you belong in. It really is like coming home. Like finding the culture you were supposed to be a part of all along.

  2. I love it, because it’s very true. Suddenly someone out there gets it, even if you’ve only ever met them online

  3. Thanks for linking to this. I read it about three times instead of going to sleep like I was supposed to. It’s powerful, yes. And after my last horrible experience with disclosure it’s just what I needed – there are more persons like me, who have seen then (metaphorical) same strain of horribly informed psychiatrists, there are more like me and I am not alone.

    • You are definitely not alone. The community I have found among autistic bloggers is incredible, and it’s changed my life. I really hope you feel as much at home here as I do. I’m so sorry you had a horrible disclosure experience… it happens far too often, and it’s something I’m fighting to change in my own little way.

      • It’s not been long since I found all this, but I think I do feel at home here.
        It – it being my reading of the bloggers and my commenting and receiving answers – actually even helps me in contact with neurotypical people. I’ve always had the habit of using other people’s expressions to convey what I meant when I couldn’t find my own words – probably a result of training myself to not go nonverbal, which sometimes also went horribly wrong – but when I always use neurotypicalnormative vocabulary (does that word even exist? I thought of “heteronormative” and wanted to convey the same concept for our society but in relation to neurotypicality … well, if the word didn’t exist, now it does), I can’t convey the non-neurotypical thingies and problems … am I making any sense? Well, anyway, seeing other people express their feelings this way helped me to be find ways to explain my own and made contact with for example my sister a bit easier.

        I’m even as far as considering to become an autistic blogger – maybe even in cooperation with my boyfriend. We have our own challenges, being both on the spectrum and living together, and I haven’t seen many adress those yet. Maybe I can help other people, too?

        The disclosure? It was a nightmare. It was my job training school. I had been told off for my tone of voice, and I just ran and tried to talk to my boyfriend on the phone and had three girls come up to me and tell me off for behaviour I didn’t understand and ran again and finally two people tried collecting me and getting into a working conversation but … ignorance, so much ignorance. Of course they don’t HAVE to learn, if I teach them what this is about it’s totally voluntary on their part and we have to do this in our free time (What the hell?) and they all had no idea what autism was about.
        You know this thing when you try to answer a question with as much precision as you can muster and then are told off for “getting off topic?” Well … combine that with four different people asking why you don’t just take medication, have yourself go exceedingly nonverbal, having been made fun of for your way of thinking and told off for telling the truth, and – the worst for me – have them tell you how you just have to make an effort (like I wasn’t doing that every single day! Like everything I had worked for so far was for nothing!), how you should just be yourself (when I just showed a BIT I was ridiculed!)! And then listen to them try to explain away uncomfortable truths with “Well, maybe your friends just didn’t want to argue with you and agreed with you for that reason …” or plainly accuse me of lying.
        And then have someone tell you to your face that no sickness in the world can explain your behaviour and a teacher even commends exactly that person for the way she … sorry, I have trouble finding the right word, the conversation was in german. Maybe “tried to cater to me” would be a viable translation.
        I gotta stop this, or I will start up hyperventilating again and there’s nobody here to calm me down. It’s been more than a month and I’ve had more flashbacks on this darn thing than any other traumatic experience I ever had.
        Sorry for bothering you with all this, but it all just came out … thanks for listening.

        • Please don’t say sorry for talking about what’s on your mind! This is a sorry free space (because a LOT of us are sorry-sayers at the drop of a hat, lol). I’m glad you feel you have found a place where people listen, and incredibly honoured that you’ve chosen my comment space to talk about what’s bothering you. I recognise it all too well, unfortunately!

        • Oh yes, the sorry becomes a reflex after a while, right? And I’m glad you understand. Thank you.

        • Yes, sometimes I feel like a walking minority complex. The sad thing is that I can count the people who ever told me to stop apologizing for who I am on one hand. But I guess we all know that feeling, having to apologize for how we act and do things.
          As I am fairly new to all this, I would love to ask if those epiphanies, this reexamining your past and thinking “That was a meltdown”, “That’s why I always hated wearing Jeans” or “Oh dear, that’s why I t fell for every practical joke my friends played even after I had learned to identify liars who meant harm” – but I guess that’s still a rather individual process, right? It can be quite nauseating, though.

  4. Gah, I forgot a word in my sentence there – if those epiphanies ever stop. You are free to fix the typos, by the way, if they bother you.

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