Content: This post mentions PTSD, trauma and anxiety but without any details.
I’m re-reading Melanie Yergeau’s Clinically Significant Disturbance: On Theorists Who Theorize Theory of Mind and one of the things that hits me hard is that I’m not wrong when I think that it’s very difficult to get help with anxiety and trauma from a psychologist when you’re autistic. It’s a while ago since I read this essay the last time and I’m not done with re-reading it but as far as I can remember, this isn’t something that Yergeau is literally writing. So what does Yergeau’s essay have to do with this thought?
I have (complex) PTSD and it affects me, some days more than others. I’m not trying to get any help for it and that’s partly because my neurological disease is so bad that it isn’t possible for me to go through therapy without making it even worse. The other reason for not even trying to get professional help is that I’ve been through therapy before and one of the things I’ve learned is that a lot of psychologists and therapists are misinformed about autism and therefore they don’t understand autistic people. No matter how great their intentions are, not understanding autism can lead to harm.
Just a few days ago I wrote about how therapy put me in a situation where the efforts to normalize me meant that I got even less understanding of myself and when I read Yergeau’s essay I get a part of the answer: According to a lot of allistic Autism Professionals, a mind like mine doesn’t exist. By constructing us as something else than humans, the idea that scientists and other autism professionals should pay attention to what autistic people communicate is erased. Why listen to us when we lack the ability to understand what real humans should understand? Obviously, this leads to a lot of misunderstanding of how autistic people are thinking, experiencing and interpreting the world. This misinformation means that among most psychologists and therapists, it’s not even theoretically possible to have a mind like mine. To think and process information like I do. Then they can’t help me.
I hope that what I just wrote isn’t true and that I at some point can find someone who can help me with my PTSD. But at the moment there isn’t any help for me and I’m trying to accept that in order to protect myself from being even more harmed.