All I know of you is that you found my blog by googling the words “why do I hate myself autism” on your Nintendo 3DS.
You could be my son. You could be my daughter.
Or you could be me.
Because I know a lot about hating one’s self.
When I was 13 my father died. Everyone says that there couldn’t possibly be a worse time for a parent to die than when you are thirteen. I imagine it’s pretty horrific anytime, but I do concede that at 13 I was probably the most fragile I have ever been.
I was a small child, painfully small. I weighed 80 lbs in the 8th grade. My son is 6 and weighs 75 just to put it in perspective. I was also insecure and shy and scared of everything. It was not a great time for my dad to die.
In all honestly, my affair with self-loathing had started before all of this. I have found diaries from before his death where the sole entry was, “I hate myself and I want to die!” or some variant posted again and again for weeks at a time.
I gained some weight over the summer between 8th and 9th grade. When I started high school I was possibly 5 – 10 lbs overweight and kids, as they do, bullied me for being the “fat” girl. I developed an eating disorder and became very sick and then they bullied me for being the anorexic girl.
I’ve always been different. I’ve always been the cerebral, impulsive, perfectionistic, not even a little bit “on trend” girl who tried way too hard to make everyone happy – and invariably failed.
Because of this I was a prime target for bullies, exploiters, narcissists, and those who hated themselves so much that they only recourse they felt they had was to abuse – me.
The very worst bully of all, however, was one I have fought to distance myself from for 20 years.
The person who abused me and hated me the most – was me.
I don’t know what it is like to live with Autism. I am very aware of the struggles my child experiences, every minute of the day, to acclimate to this strange world that doesn’t make any sense.
I know that it’s a million times harder for him – for you – to navigate this sometimes cruel and isolating social maze.
I wouldn’t dare pretend that I know how it feels to live your life.
But I can assure you that my level of self-hatred has been – throughout my life – fairly critical at times.
I have experience enough to know where you are right now.
If you hear anything, hear this: “Do not waste your one and only life!”
Stop. Just stop right now. Write down 5 things that you like about yourself, or ask a friend to do it, or your parents, or a teacher. Even if all you can come up with is that you are really good at “New Super Mario Bros. 2″ – own it. Celebrate it.
Surround yourself with people who value you. Maybe that means you only have one friend for a while. Maybe it means you have no friends for a while. It will be okay. Do things you like to do. You’ll meet new people. If they value you, if they build you up – then they are friends.
Most importantly. You must ask for help. I know it’s not easy. But I promise you that it is worth it. Life is worth it.
Because you have the right to live the life that you want, and the power to do it.
You are not alone. It will be okay. You will be okay.
If you feel like life isn’t worth it – at any point – you must reach out.
If you don’t want to talk to your parents, or another trusted adult, then call 1-800-442-4673 (1-800-442-HOPE). This support line is completely anonymous. More information is available at http://www.hopeline.com/gethelpnow.html (there are international resources on this site).