It’s been a while since I’ve sat down at a computer and actually put genuine effort into writing something. I could blame my “hectic schedule” – though while that is partially true, my motivation works in strange, annoying ways.
A couple months ago, I got a job in fast-food. Obviously it’s not my first choice, but the pandemic has kicked my ass, as I’m sure it has to everyone, and so fast food was the only job I could get. I moved with my partner and my son to a new beach town, a high tourist destination, and I enjoy it here. I work forty hour weeks at a place where the managers abuse and degrade their employees, and it’s bringing out the very worst of my mental illnesses.
It’s a neurotypical’s world, and I’m just living uncomfortably in it. I feel I’ve never fit in with the rest of the general public. I’m awkward, and I stim often and “abnormally”, and I never quite understood how to socialise successfully. Truthfully, I’d rather sit in my dark room in the quiet than do just about anything else. Too much light is over-stimulating. Too much noise is over-stimulating. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always felt so at home at night. Work is the greatest struggle I’ve had in a long time. I’m not understood there. I’m treated badly, and I have to put up with it because I need the money. But I deserve better. Everyone there deserves better.
It seems to me that a lot of adults expect respect from younger people, despite treating them like shit, and doing nothing at all to deserve it. But I don’t respect them. I don’t respect my managers, who go around yelling and bullying workers into submission, and who call us “disrespectful” and “rude” when we’re just standing up for ourselves. That’s not the point. I’ll never be understood there, or anywhere, with my anxiety disorders, my ADHD, my autism. I’ll never be respected, it feels, by people who have no idea what it’s like to be neurodivergent.
The first step, I suppose, is to speak to my doctor about a screening, get myself some different medication. I see my doctor often enough, but I feel I’m never taken seriously. I’m not a woman, but I’m treated as one. If therapy weren’t so expensive, I’d probably still be in it. I could do these things, I know I could, it isn’t a question of competency. It’s a question of motivation. What is it, and how can people find it so easily? I know I seem lazy, and I feel it. Most of the time I’m just trying to force myself to get out of bed and go to work. When I’m not working I’m sleeping. When I’m not sleeping, I’m cooking and cleaning. It seems so repetitive and depressing that that’s all I’m doing with my life. My books don’t bring in any money. I don’t have any other talents in life.
I want to explain to them that I am listening, despite not making eye contact, despite forgetting what you’ve said two minutes later. I want to explain to them that I’m snapping because I’m anxious, and I’m over-stimulated, and I need to go stand in a quiet room for a while to calm down. I wish there was a way to make people understand me, to make them listen, to learn to work with my brain rather than against it, but it all seems so hard. I’m embarrassed by my meltdowns at work, by my horrendous memory and lack of self-suffiency. I’m embarrassed by my processing issues, my uncomfortable stims. I can’t help it. I can’t go a day without hating myself, lately.
A while back, I took my road test, and I failed. I was very upset by this at first, I felt stupid and sad. Not too far back, I realised I probably can never drive at all. Every time I get behind the wheel, no matter how calm or prepared I am, I always forget I exist. Does that make sense? I don’t know if it’s anxiety, or sensory overload, or something else. I really don’t know. The thing is that I disassociate every time I try to drive.
I think sometimes I’m too hard on myself. I think, when I’m having a bad mental health day, I’m too easily disappointed in myself. People associate mental illness with incompetency, or inferiority, and sometimes I think they’re right. I know this assumption isn’t true. I know I’m not any less competent than anyone else. At work, we all have to do things in exactly the same way, and I feel overwhelmed by this, because my routine and comfort is being compromised. It doesn’t matter. The lights are too bright, the background is too noisy, I don’t like the feeling of my shirt on my back, and I’m not allowed to stim. I don’t know. It just feels recently that my mental health will always have to compromised.