Each week I will be sharing an old post of mine. This one addresses spiritual issues and autism.
It is pointless to get angry at an article like this
which so inaccurately characterizes my life. My ability to “mentalize” is intact. More than that, my relationship with God is profound and fulfilling. In my life, I talk to God throughout the day. He hears my silent prayers and gives me a place to hope.
I think this study is biased. How many non-verbal autistic people did they interview? My guess is none. I think our answers may be totally different than those of the people they interviewed.
It is my theory that researchers of autism from the University of British Columbia have difficulty “mentalizing” how life is for a non-verbal autistic person, so they make a statement that minimizes our deep and rich inner world and call it a study. The majority of people with non-verbal autism can’t communicate well enough to refute these claims, but their inability to communicate isn’t proof of a lack of “mentalizing”. I know that this is an uphill battle; still we have to keep fighting to tell the truth.
I am religious inside like many people with my condition. Autism creates a sort of really deep spiritual connection to God. I see it in many people I know who have autism. My knowledge of religion is intuitive in some ways. I see so many people grapple with faith but I don’t need to. I feel the presence of God and it gives me hope.
In my silent years I was dialoging internally all the time with God because he was filling my lonely days with hope. I saw early that God wasn’t a wish-fulfiller because however much I prayed inside to be cured I was never out of my Autismland. I was sad in the feeling that God didn’t care and I was feeling even abandoned. I was five or six then.
I started to be able to communicate at seven, and it is always getting better. I see I am not abandoned. Now my insights are more mature, not magical. I see God as a hope-fulfiller, not a wish-fulfiller. He fills me with hope and listens to my dreams and my prayers. I think that is for me the most important thing. I mean, if I didn’t have a place to put my hopes, I would burst.
We in Autismland are socially isolated, and even if we have loving friends and families, it’s not the same as a typical person due to our lonely illness that makes the outside world overwhelming and isolates people from us. Inside we are imagining our words and behavior and outside we are not able to do it the way we want. Frustrating lives. Sort of alone in company.
Alone is not always bad because I am good at thinking and philosophizing. Here I dialogue with God also, so no matter what I have a companion to sit with me. In a way autism creates a spiritual roadmap, insights, and an awareness of a holy entity that I see many typical, non-autistic people missing. The blindness of neuro-typicals is to miss the spiritual too often, and my blindness is in self control. I guess I have to be grateful for this pipeline that autism has given me to a rich relationship in faith and not just empty rote actions. The isolation is like a monk in a Trappist Monastery, silent but thinking. It’s a sort of quiet relationship to have a walk with God. But I do, and I’m grateful.