The week that was…

This week has been really rough.

I have been operating beyond my capacity at work for an exceptionally long time. This is due in part to the ridiculous demands placed on me by the current project I am working on. The result is that I am starting most days without any spoons and my ability to behave “normally” is severely impaired. I end a regular working day exhausted; at the moment I am struggling to avoid melting or just shutting down completely during the course of the working day. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by my colleagues and lets just say that it has made things difficult.

My employer has suggested I could make things easier on myself by disclosing the fact that I am autistic to everyone in the company; currently, only a few trusted people and the people I interact with directly know about my diagnosis.

Whilst I am making an effort to protect myself more, my employer is ultimately unlikely, unable or unwilling to rectify the causes of the issues for the foreseeable future. My mask is slipping and people are making unfair judgements of my behaviour based on neurotypical standards.

I realise that I can’t put the genie back in the bottle once it is out. My fear is that once people know, it will be used against me. Look around in the media, people aren’t generally that accepting of neurodiversity.

I need your help guys! Do I disclose to my colleagues, or do I just try and ride it out?

6 thoughts on “The week that was…

  1. This one is hard to answer. If people are noticing your behavior, disclosure gives an explanation but then you get into the people who don’t care what the reasoning is. They will expect you to act “normal” no matter what your circumstances are.

    I disclosed to the people in my department but I haven’t told anyone outside of them. I’m sure that others know now because one of the people from this department transferred and is a gossip so I’m sure she’s shared it with anyone who might care.

    Aside from that, the only repercussions I’ve seen have been a few times when I’ve been asked directly if autism is why I’m doing something specific or why I’m not willing to do something else specific.

    Of course, I’ve found that it helped that I not only disclosed but educated at the same time. I didn’t want people googling and getting AS, so I gave them info specific to me that would explain things they may see me doing.

    The decision is yours but I would make a list of the pros vs the cons of disclosing, as well as a list of anyone you believe would use it against you and then decide if you should disclose. Please let us know what you decide though.

    Hang in there!!!

  2. Thank you for your input, I will be sure to write another post explaining what I have decided. At the moment I am leaning towards disclosing, with a brief explanation of *my* autism and just seeing if it helps.

  3. As somebody who can’t genuinely understand how you feel, my advice would have to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, I think you should bear in mind that I still think of you as pretty normal (if that’s not too insulting), and in that light I think you’ll be better off in the long term being open about it. It’s usually quite disarming when somebody is open and honest with you about something that obviously has the capacity to be harmful to themselves – maybe it puts them on the back foot or something. Anyway, maybe another way to look at is to decide what the worst and the best results could be and assume the actual result will be somewhere inbetween?

    Whatever you do, I get the impression that you have enough people to support you whatever happens.

    And if the shit really hits the fan, you could always come back and work at the farm… 8-)

  4. Jo,
    I’ve followed this blog for quite a while now – it’s been interesting and you write extremely well… perhaps a career at “The Mail” beckons ;)
    I am one of your (not close) colleagues. By the way, it hasn’t gone un-noticed that your previously impeccable attendance has been broken during this stressful week, and you might be surprised if you knew which people have been most worried about you…
    Please allow me to make a few points.
    I’m taking the time to reply not just because I’m worried about your present state of mind but also because I feel you are damaging yourself in the long term by taking comfort in your “diagnosis”. I ought to state right now: my personal view is that Aspergers is a convenient label that allows a lazy society to pigeonhole “awkward” people (and, in the US, create a great new drugs market). In a way, Jo, you have proved this point. You are, intellectually, quite brilliant. You are able to function at a much higher level than most of us and deserve the success you’ve achieved. A previous replier commented that you seem “normal” and I really hope you take note of that, because I think you are.
    Now, I can imagine that right now you’re thinking, “Christ, who is this w*nker?” Well, when I was in my early teens I was YOU, Jo. If Aspergers had been invented back then I guess someone would have labelled me as one. I was socially awkward, shy, a loner, enjoyed my own space, and thought of by my peers and family as aloof and unfriendly. Maybe I could have just given myself a label and been content to live out my life in my cosy little pigeonhole… but instead I took a good hard look at myself and wasn’t too impressed with what I saw. You could say that I reinvented myself, or you could say that I became a chameleon. If this seems over-simplified and clinical, you’re right – it is. No-one just wakes up one day and decides to become someone else. The long, painful process involved a lot of self-hatred, despair and ultimately what nowadays one would call a “mental breakdown”. The point is, the valley of despair does not carry on going down forever – sooner or later you reach the bottom and then you have to decide whether to just sit there or follow the path upwards on the other side… I threw myself into new and unfamiliar situations, just to force myself to “change”. And guess what? Over the years (yes, years) it worked. You’d be surprised how many people you meet along the way that are on the same journey…
    If you’ve carried on reading ’till now, sorry for the lecture. I guess what I’m trying to say is, “No”, you should not tell a wider audience about your “condition”, not because of your previously stated fears, but because seeking shelter behind labels will make you complacent and strip colour from your life. It will be painful, but my honest view, based on experience, is that without experiencing pain one can’t appreciate passion, without challenges one can’t find fulfilment…
    Don’t take the easy route Jo. Take care.

  5. @nige Thanks dude. I realise I am lucky to have the support network around me that I do. I have spoken to few people with experience in these matters and disclosing seems to be suggested route forward. There would need to be some pretty apocalyptic defecation hitting oscillation type action for me to come back to the barn. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to come back for a day, then I imagine having to diagnose/fix an issue in *that* interface again and I realise that I just couldn’t do it. I will come and visit you one day though, if only to try and break my record travel time. ;P

  6. @Janwar My attempts to take solace from the more caring aspects of your comment fail in the face of the ignorance sandwiched within.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *