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There’s Another Struggle

Along with being on the Spectrum, there’s something that I have struggled with since childhood. Something that’s common among autistic and neurotypical individuals. Something that can suck the happiness out of those suffering from it. That something is self esteem, along with mental health.

In middle school, I was bigger than the other girls in my class. I was tall, overweight, had cornrows on my head, and wore big glasses. I wore baggy clothes to hide my body. The most painful experience in school was being teased. I was taunted by other kids due to my outer appearance. I was called jelly bean giant and ugly (in middle school that is). The teasing occurred from middle school until I graduated high school. However, I still had friends and made the honor roll multiple times. I mentioned in earlier posts that my social life was active throughout my school years. It made going to school more tolerable for me.

Throughout my 20’s, my mental health was the main concern. I noticed I was trembling, lacked energy to do things I enjoyed, and had suicidal thoughts. I no longer cared about how I looked on the outside. I stopped dressing up, wearing makeup, and stay deserted. In December of 2010, I told my mother about the suicidal thoughts. She immediately took me to the mental hospital. I stayed there for two weeks. In 2011, shortly after New Year’s Day, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), as well as Anxiety. Getting treatment gave me hope that everything was going to be okay. Fortunately, I was able to get a job and finish school. I dressed up again, went shopping, and socialized. However, that sense of dread was still within me.

This sense of dread caused me to snap. I was angry at the world, including my own family. There was a tone in my voice that caused discomfort in others. I took things that did not belong to me. The men I pursued (and vice versa) were not ideal. Why was I angry? Simply because I did not accept myself. The thought that the world would be better off without me was constant. I did not want to live life as an Autie. I felt useless.

This all changed in April of 2019. I came across a motivational speaker named Rachel Hollis. She was discussing her latest book, “Girl Stop Apologizing.” Not long after, I felt a calling from the Holy Ghost saying, “Veronica, I forgive you for your transgressions. I will always love you no matter what. Now, start a blog.” I was like, “Lord, I thank you for your forgiveness. I love you too. But what?”

That calling stayed with me for six months. I tried to forget about it, thinking that it was temporary. I mean, I’ve been journaling since I was in fifth grade. The thought of making them public horrified me. Despite the fear, the thought still overtook my mind. Because of this, I have decided to take a leap of faith!

Fast forward to today; An Unique Mind launched in October of 2019. It’s still young, but it’s amazing to finally do what the good Lord placed on my heart and mind. I realize that I no longer have to hide my traits (due to being an Autie). They are just a part of God’s creation of me 🙂 That feeling of dread has dissolved and I’m currently reconciling with my family. I am working full time as well; something I previously thought was impossible. I always knew doing what God calls us to do causes one blessing after another. But to actually do it; that’s a whole other ball game. No turning back. No turning back.

Females on the Autism Spectrum

My Behavioral Traits

Less prone to act out physically or aggressively

Observes human behavior, learning to mask difficulties

Stimming behaviors, such as hand flapping, rocking, or spinning can appear much milder. They can also be internalized thoughts instead of external behaviors

May apologize and appease when they make a social error

Often more socially aware and driven

My Communication Traits

More aware of the need for social interaction

May have an exceptional vocabulary

Tends to mimic rather than providing natural responses

Seems to struggle with non-verbal aspects of communication, such as body language and tone of voice

May use odd inflection

Appears to have difficulty dealing with unexpected verbal responses

More able to follow social actions through observation

My Social Traits:

Often shows empathy and compassion, but may be confused by non-verbal social signals.

For a woman on the Autism Spectrum, I am very social. I was always surrounded by other kids in school. However, I was the listener in every conversation. I respond the best way I can. Yes I was taunted, but being around those who accepted me made school worth attending.

The Moments I Went Mute

Yep. That’s me 🙂

There were times back in 2017 when something happened that was completely beyond my control. The restaurant business is not only grunt work, but extremely overwhelming for all who work in it. I once worked as a dining room attendant at PDQ in Sanford, Florida. That joint gets packed. I’m talking about the line circling the dining room. I’m talking about cars circling the drive way, waiting to order at the window. It’s that packed. And I was one of the two dining room attendants. Keeping that dining room tidy was a challenging task because so many come in and go.

So here’s the scary part. Due to working in a busy place, something happened. I had sensory meltdown, something beyond my control. My meltdowns lasted up to 5 minutes. And when I say sensory meltdown, I’m not talking about dropping to the floor kicking and screaming. I’m not talking about covering my eyes and ears. I’m talking about my brain going into overdrive, eyes watering up, and going mute. This happened twice. I rushed to the restroom both times to avoid getting noticed. When I hid in the bathroom stall, I attempted to speak. No words came out.

How did I feel? I felt helpless, confused, and terrified. I felt like a computer that has frozen. Overheating of a computer can cause it to freeze. In my case, the busy restaurant was the overheating. My brain was the computer. Going mute was the freezing. Similar to waiting for a computer to unfreeze, I had to hide in the bathroom stall until I was able to talk again.

Unfortunately, meltdowns are unpredictable. We don’t know if or when they will come. However, the autistic individual can feel it coming early on. The first sign for me is being on the verge of tears. Since the two incidents, I began keeping water with me to relax myself. It works wonders! I’m able to get through countless workdays without incident. I’m still in the restaurant business as well 😉 I’m just got offered a job as a server.

Don’t get me wrong, I still get overwhelmed. I mean, who doesn’t? The restaurant business ain’t no joke! All I’m saying is that God would never put us in situations that we cannot handle. Being an autie in the workplace will not be an easy journey, but will be worth the rewards that will be reaped. The reward: besides getting paid, being out there in the world with everyone else.

I know sensory overload will be a lifelong struggle, but I cannot let that deter me. I’m longing to meet new people and visit new places. If meltdowns come along, I’ll just go to a quiet place until I’m calm and go back to where I was. Life is hard, but it can be beautiful.

I Was A Fool

Now that 2020 is here, I want to start off by writing a letter to a former friend. Her name is Kenya, the only person that treated me the way a friend should. I just did not do the same in return. I am sharing this in hopes of finding peace as far as my past is concerned.

Dear Kenya,

I want to apologize to you and Levi (your son). I should have treated you the way you treated me. I should have gave back because you helped me so much. I should have handled my money more responsibly. And lastly, I could have responded more respectively after you decided to end the friendship. Even though it’s been almost 8 years, I still feel guilty for not treating you the way you deserved. You did nothing to deserve it. I was a selfish b••ch. I have no idea why I was the way I was. However, I am writing this for the world to see to show that I actually care. I am so embarrassed and sorry for being the way that I was. From now on, I will treat people the way I want to be treated.

One day after, you actually texted me. I want to explain why I did not respond. I needed room to grow into someone that can be trusted. I needed time to focus on my mental health, self esteem, and the relationships with the people in my family. I hope that you understand. I wish you, Levi, and Debbie (your mother) nothing but the best. I love you all!

Love Veronica

HAPPY 2020!!!!

2020 is here! Happy New Year to all! This year is filled with something that’s beyond our control: THE UNKNOWN. However, with God being in charge of the unknown, 2020 will be filled with extremely fond days. Yes, there will be bad days ahead. It’s life after all. But underneath those bad days is a shining light 💡 that will lead to another good day. May 2020 be a year filled with new lessons, accomplishments, and many blessings! Happy New Year! 🎈🎊