Not being a team player or not being an NT team player?

I’m in a situation were I’m strongly reminded of how difficult I find it to work with other people. I had almost forgotten about it and in some way I started to tell myself that now when I know myself so much better, the problems won’t be as big. It turns out I was wrong.

Since a few weeks back I’m trying to do some volunteer work for an NGO. I was asked to do it, based on stuff I’ve written and first I was skeptical since I don’t know if I have the energy. What I didn’t expect was that not only do I lack enough spoons, but the confusion is still there. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that makes it so hard because this time I only from my computer at home, the expectations are fairly clear and that solves two of my biggest issues. But it turns out that one of the biggest problems is still there.

It has something to do with the number of people. I can’t relate to many people at the same time, for some reason. When I’m in a conversation with unknown people I find it very stressful and demanding to put my arguments and thoughts out there, partly because I’m sure people will se the fraud I am (Impostor Syndrome) but that’s not the complete explanations. It’s not only emotional, there’s something else to it that I can’t grasp. It feels like I’m mentally giving birth or running a marathon. I need to push, it’s almost never smooth and easy.

I remember this so much from school and work, and from former experiences from other NGOs. It’s worse than ever now, but it has always been there. I’m not a team player and that feels like a terrible thing to say. I have very strong principles and I don’t want to compromise. I’m confused and all the energy I have to spend on untangling the mess that my brain turns into when there’s a lack of structure is really more energy than I have. Maybe it will be easier if I try to do some kind of volunteer work with other autistic people instead? Maybe this is just one more case of trying to adjust to NT social rules and thinking? Because it’s obvious that my way of thinking is different from what’s expected. I don’t know what to believe.

Does this mean that I should leave the NGO after only a month and spend the little energy I have on my kid and things that don’t make me feel like such a failure? Or is that just my anxiety speaking? Will it get better if I keep on trying? I don’t think it will. I know I should leave but it makes me feel so guilty and like an even bigger failure. I’ll be a quitter, once again.

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Surviving World Autism Awareness Day as an autistic person in the closet

So tomorrow it’s going to be World Autism Awareness Day and I feel worse than I expected. I’ve tried to write and discuss a bit but the fact is that a lot of openly autistic people in my country are supporting this day and claim that we shouldn’t let Autism Speaks ruin it. Some voices are claiming that spreading knowledge is great and I agree with that. However, I don’t see how this day contributes to disseminate knowledge about autism when the strongest voices are spreading prejudices.

I’m not openly autistic. I’m openly neurodivergent but I can’t be clear about being autistic, since it most likely will hurt my child (I know autistic parents who have been very questioned by schools and authorities as parents, sometimes actually having their kids taken away because social workers assume they are bad parents when their autistic kids suffer from unaccessible, abusive schools). I’m also always promoting that the voices of autistic people should be considered more important than the voices of family members and professionals. This means that in order to live up to my own standards I have to listen to the autistic people who claim that this is a good campaign. No matter how much false information it’s spreading, no matter how much it will silence a lot of other autistic people, and no matter how much harm it will do. Officially I’m not autistic and have to stand back and listen to all the horrible things that will be said.

I knew it was going to be hard but I didn’t expect to feel so desperate.