Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Not Really Autistic

Trigger Warning: LOTS AND LOTS OF GASLIGHTING. No, really. The whole thing is basically one long litany of my spouting back gaslighty things about my own life, the things people who don't believe I'm really Autistic think and say and tell me.

I melt down. But I can't call it that. I'm just being bad. Even though I don't do anything "worse" than cry, rock, maybe find myself unable to speak, I'm just being bad because I'm Not Really Autistic,

I shut down. It is just laziness. It is not the quiet relative of a meltdown, and I can't call it that because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I look at a mess and can't figure out where to start. I freeze. Executive functioning skills have nothing to do with it. I'm just lazy. If I really wanted to clean my room, I could because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I walk into a wall. It's the same stretch of wall I already walked into three times this week. I'm just not paying attention. I can't be dyspraxic because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I jump at the bell. Everyone else stopped within the week, this is my senior year. Seven years, and I'm still jumping, because I'm a big baby. I'm a wimp, that's all. I don't have sensory issues because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I stop talking because I don't want to talk. Ignore that I know exactly what I want to say and can't, forget the times that it's made my life harder. I'm just being rude and selfish. I don't have language issues of any kind because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I don't like scrambled eggs. The texture doesn't make me gag or anything, I just don't like them. It's not a sensory issue, I don't have any because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I try to do lunges, it's for sports. I can't get them right, I must not be trying very hard. Ignore the years I've spent trying, forget that I have gotten better and it's just not enough. I'm not trying. That must be it, I can't have motor issues because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I have social anxiety. It's all in my head. Ignore the bullying for the way I move, forget that you joined in. I wasn't bullied for moving like an Autistic because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I don't recognize your face. I don't care. I'm not faceblind, it's not a cognitive issue, because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I make eye contact. Ignore the fact that it's really your nose or forehead, forget that I don't know your eye color after knowing you for years. I make eye contact because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I have trouble when plans change. It's just because I don't like change. I'm not panicking, my heart isn't racing, I just don't like it. I'm OK with there never having been a plan, so it can't be an Autistic thing. Besides, I'm Not Really Autistic.

I remind you about the rules. Tell me no one cares. I don't care either, not really. My difficulty with the concept has nothing to do with autism because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I hate the phone. It's not a combination of auditory processing issues and social expectations I can't meet. I never compared it to losing two words in three of a foreign language and still being expected to get the meaning. Social cues aren't a foreign language, because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I don't get my hours in on time. It's because I don't care about the money. Executive functioning issues have nothing to do with it. They can't, because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I have social issues. I don't really feel like a foreigner in my own country, though. I never claimed immunity to culture shock because it didn't matter if I was a foreigner here or there. People make sense to me because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I hit my head on the same bit of ceiling every day in third grade. I was just careless. Maybe I was trying to be funny? I don't have trouble figuring out where I am in space because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I didn't just lose speech. I just switched to AAC for effect. I couldn't have predicted that going through this list would stress me enough and prepared a line to explain. I don't have selective mutism, after all, because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I flinch at the camera flash. Like with the school bell, I am just a wimp, just a baby. It's not another sensory issue that I don't have because I'm Not Really Autistic.

I just can't let it go, sometimes. I'm not perseverating, I'm Not Really Autistic.

I don't like tights. They don't really make me miserable. I'm just quirky. Maybe it's a feminist thing. No, it's not a sensory issue, because I'm Not Really Autistic.

Leggings don't itch. Putting on socks that are still wet doesn't hurt (couldn't be, I can leave them on if they get wet, after all!) Flashing lights aren't disorienting. Switching activities isn't hard. Powdered gloves don't make my skin crawl when they get wet. The sonicator shrieking against the glass doesn't bring tears to my eyes. The scent of the mint chips didn't drive me across the room when I opened the wrong cookies. The dentists mint-scented gloves didn't trigger a meltdown. Mint is totally fine. I never watched one gear spin for nearly an hour. I don't repeat nouns. I'm not echolalic. I'm not dyspraxic. I don't have sensory issues. I'm not hyperlexic. I don't manage to be both dysgraphic and hypergraphic. I'm Not Really Autistic.


  1. This reads like my internal dialogue.

    I don't need anyone to tell me that my problems are in my head and I make stuff up to be lazy anymore. I do it by myself now.

  2. Thank you for posting this. While I do not have Autism, my 3 y/o does. He is why I read and research everything I can. He is why I advocate and try to educate people when they say things like that to me, to him.
    Thank you for posting your honest perspective here. I very much appreciate it!

  3. So true, and so sad that it continues to be this way for SO many of us.

  4. Wow. I could read this TEN TIMES. Thank you for writing it. It's very important, actually.

  5. Wow. You have some of the same problems I do. Mint makes me positively nauseated but it's not a smell I can avoid. And I find scrambled eggs to be revolting too. And being forced to talk on the phone all day makes me want to shut down and not speak for hours, but that's just not an option. But it's so exhausting. Work and everything that comes with it is making me so sick with stomach pains and headaches I need to do SOMETHING about it.

  6. Some minor details might be different for me, but you spoke my reality. My whole damned life has been a gaslight. No, it's not noisy,too cold, he's not a bully, you're just weird. You're unmotivated, you forgot because you didn't care. No, you're not autistic, Mom, you just didn't try hard enough. I'm sorry you triggered.

  7. I don't really have any problems with showing my emotions on my face. Me having a blank face is simply the easiest way to piss you off. I'm doing it on purpose because I know it annoys you, and my apparent confusion when you get annoyed works even better in getting a reaction out of you. Because I'm Not Autistic.

    Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. It's sparked off so many things in my head.

  8. Yes, all of this. And what people think of parents: it's just you over-protecting your child. Or it's just you spoiling your kid. Thank you for putting it so well, Alyssa.

  9. My handwriting is so horrible even I can't read it. I don't spend hours recopying my assignments for school in hopes one will be legible because I'm lazy - and besides, writing neatly is not that hard anyway. I'm just making excuses when I say it is. The real issue is that I don't care about whether my schoolwork is neat enough. I have no fine motor issues because I'm Not Really Autistic.

  10. The first thing my MIL said to me when I told her I and my son and daughter are autistic was "that's nonsense". Now I know a new word for what she does: gaslighting. Thank you.

  11. "You're not really autistic, because I can make contact with you", that's what my psychiatrist said. "What do you mean by contact? I'm only talking to you." I replied. Blank stare. Answer: "It's not that we think there's nothing wrong with you [thank you], but if you really have Asperger's, we can't help you. So we'd like to concentrate on what we can fix".

  12. I know that my husband is likely to do this to me when I tell him I'm sure I'm autistic, so I haven't told him yet. When I referred to our youngest daughter as autistic, he said "she isn't!", meaning "there's nothing wrong with her". (No, there's nothing wrong with her, but she *is*

    1. Ugh. My dad did the "nothing wrong with you" (and therefore not autistic) when I told him :/ Solidarity/empathy.


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