By Anita Lesko, BSN, RN, MS, CRNA
Imagine going the first fifty years of your life with an invisible disorder that you don’t know you have. It affects every move you make, every word you speak, and simply everything you do. You realize you are different than other people and never fit in, only you don’t understand why. As a child, other children run away from you. You try and make friends only no one wants to be your friend. You have all kinds of sensory issues that others don’t seem to have. Your sense of taste, smell, touch, hearing, and vision are amplified as if you live in IMAX 24/7, 365 days a year. Every social interaction seems to end up as a negative one. When you attempt to join in on conversations at work, everyone ignores you as if you are invisible. You are a target of bullying and harassment, not only throughout your school years, but at your workplace as well. You spend fifty years feeling like you are on the outside of life looking in. As if there’s a glass shield keeping you away from joining in with others. You see people together out in restaurants, in malls, everywhere you go, you see them laughing, talking, having fun. Yet there you are, alone. You try and get used to it, but deep inside you long for even just one friend. The feeling of loneliness at times totally consumes you. Holidays are the worst, as you are aware that others are gathering for big celebrations, as you are home alone yet again. Sadly, this is all common to individuals on the autism spectrum.