Rates are higher for autistic people than they are for non-autistic people. Non-autistic, primarily neurotypical, scientists and professionals point to autism as the cause.
Autism is not the cause of high suicide rates in autistic people. It’s not even the cause for depression and loneliness.
The reason autistic people are killing themselves is because they are surviving in a world that was not built with them in mind. This world is constantly reminding me, and people like me, that we don’t belong here.
As soon as we tell anyone about how we feel, everyone wants to fix us to make us not feel this way anymore. Non-autistic people cannot empathize with autistic people properly due to the double empathy problem, but they have too much pride to admit they could be the problem.
Autistic people experience the world entirely differently
We feel more.
Autistic people have unique sensory needs that, when ignored, have major consequences — including autism meltdowns. Yet, allistic people focus more on how these annoying needs make us “special”, when their own needs include eye contact to feel loved, seen, heard and validated.
We see more.
Autistic people might not fully comprehend all allistic body language, but we learn enough throughout our life that helps us differentiate between your disapproval and resentment.
We hear more.
You talk about us to each other like we’re not even in the room or capable of comprehending, remembering, and realizing. We know the whispered tones, sometimes hearing even the smallest of details.
Did you know electricity makes noise and that charging ports operate at different frequencies? I can literally hear my earbuds charging in their self-charging case, even when it’s not plugged into an outlet.
We do more.
Non-autistic people can give less than a hundred percent of themselves on bad days, and it’s fine. Autistic people are expected to hide their autism, which is known as masking, to be accepted. This means that being 100 percent themselves is out of the question — so they are forced to give 200 percent effort or face repercussions.
We are more.
The more I learn about neurotypical behavior, the more I realize neurodivergent individuals are superior in neurotype. This isn’t a superiority complex. It’s simply that neurodivergent individuals are heading towards being the anomaly, considering 30-40 percent of the world population is currently thought to be neurodivergent. Will that percentage be closer to 50-60 percent by 2030?
We are not neurotypical.
We say what we mean and mean what we say, and allistics act like there’s something wrong with us that we speak literally instead of in code — while they literally end relationships with long-term partners who don’t automatically know what they’re insinuating. Archaic information about autism is still used by many psychologists, therapists, parents and harmful organizations to encourage parents and caregivers to seek ways to diminish autism traits rather than embrace them — usually through the form of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which is rooted in gay conversion therapy and abusive no matter what you call it.
The entire concept of ABA relies heavily on the concept of building a person, as described by its founder, Ole Ivar Lovaas:
“You see, you start pretty much from scratch when you work with an autistic child. You have a person in the physical sense — they have hair, a nose and a mouth — but they are not people in the psychological sense. One way to look at the job of helping autistic kids is to see it as a matter of constructing a person. You have the raw materials, but you have to build the person.”
Every form of “autism treatment” seeks to reduce autism symptoms, which only teaches autistic people how to ignore their needs and hide every aspect of who they are in order to receive love.
It teaches us to mask, which is a direct cause of autism burnout. The so-called “success” you see with ABA is not progress — it’s masking.
Autistic people are severely misunderstood.
If you’re going to use the words severe and autism in the same sentence, the only accurate one would be this one. Autistic people are severely misunderstood by their non-autistic counterparts, typically neurotypical ones.
Imagine growing up in a world where you’re constantly reminded how your natural instincts and behaviors are wrong.
Imagine constantly hearing that you need to stop fidgeting/dancing/rocking/bouncing because you’re annoying other people.
Imagine realizing, at a young age, that your family only seems to love you when you’re pretending like you’re someone else.
Now imagine that you let those feelings slip one day.
I feel like all I do is annoy people.
What are you saying? That’s crazy. We love you! Now, stop twirling; you know I can’t concentrate when you do that.
So many autistic adults have grown up around adults who sought to cure us, control us, and manage us so we were less of an inconvenience to people around us. They had to constantly remind themselves that we were people, so they used person-first language (“person with autism”).
Autistic people were taught that the responsibility of other people’s comfort, needs and feelings fall on autistic people. Stimming annoys people, makes them stare at us, and causes discomfort in non-autistic people, so autistic people are expected to ignore their own needs, accommodations and feelings to cater to everyone else’s.
You cannot ask an autistic person to meet you halfway without insulting them with your privilege. You may be at 100% as a non-autistic person, but the route was never balanced to begin with. Autistic people who give anything below 200% ever are perceived as problematic individuals who should be institutionalized.
Internalized ableism in the autistic community perpetuates loneliness.
Autistic people are not entirely in the clear themselves, in regard to how autistic people treat each other.
I’ve been immersed in the autistic community since around 2012 or 2013. It’s been a long time and I’ve come a long way. I joined a lot of sub-communities in hopes of connecting with people who had similar experiences to me. Mostly forums. Most of what I found was not inviting or welcoming, focusing heavily on superiority complexes within the autistic community.
There are a lot of autistic people who, despite their own needs, view themselves as superior to other autistic people because they’re “not that autistic”. They scoff at the autistic individuals who struggle more than themselves, who don’t understand everything and sometimes need a lot of things explained to them like they’re five.
Presumptions of if you tried hard enough and no excuses! you either can, or you don’t care enough! run rampant on the ableist basis of if I can do it as an autistic person, then every autistic person can, too! in some neurodivergent communities where the autistic people perpetuating this do not experience safe food phases, fully comprehend autistic masking, and have yet to experience autistic burnout.
I can’t fathom how long they’ll be able to keep it up until the battery runs out.
Autism does not increase risk of suicide.
It’s 2022. Stop the studies about how you think autism is an inherent cause of increased suicide risk. Stop trying to find links to other psychiatric conditions to make up for your own failures, inadequacies and — again — the double empathy problem.
I’m no scientist or licensed medical professional.
I’m an autistic adult who has a history of suicidal thoughts, ideation and attempts.
I’ve read and watched many stories by autistic people who felt suicidal, talking about why they attempted it or wanted to. The reason is always some variation of the following:
This world doesn’t want me.
I’m constantly reminded that I don’t fit in, constantly told I need to “just be myself” but also punished for being autistic. I can’t be both…you don’t even want ME.
Literally no one offline EVER understands me.
Allistics are more interested in fixing me to be like them than spending time to get to know ME and actually teaching me how to do anything.
Still confused as to why autistic people would commit suicide?
Look in the mirror.
There is a point where it stops being internal mental health and starts being an issue with society.
Stop trying to cover the fault of non-autistic people/yourself by medicating those of different neurotypes who struggle because of stigma, hatred, and constant reminders that you wish we were the same as you.
This is why I need autism acceptance.
If you loved this post, please share or buy me a pretzel: