The Stress of Being Dependent

I’m a nonspeaking autistic teen. Seeing my sister leave for college a few years ago did not feel like a big deal at the time. What I cared about was trying to take over her room. Having more time with my parents was also something of an added bonus.

Cut to spring 2020.

My sister was home, my school was closed, and all I could think about was when all this pandemic was over, would I still like living at home? With so much time together with no where to go, I started wishing that I lived somewhere else.

When my sister moved back to college this fall, envy ate at my body and soul. I felt the gap between me and other eighteen-year-olds widening into an abyss.

The stuff I’ll never do chased around in my brain in loops. Graduate high school? Nope. Go on a date? Nope. Drive a car? Nope. Move into a place with friends and no older adults? Definitely not.

What I imagine in my wildest dreams are things most kids take for granted. So now what should I do?

At this time I just don’t know.

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3 Responses

  1. Trevor, your short piece is full of information and heart! I’m left wondering why you believe you will never do the things you listed. You are clearly intelligent, self-reflective, and motivated! In my opinion, we all need mentors and hope. I see great potential in you to do the things you hope to do. Non-speaking autistics are educating the world about our harmful misconceptions about a connection between speaking and intelligence. I wish you all the best!

  2. Trevor, you sound like a smart guy. Are you sure everything on your “never” list is really out of your reach? Have you checked out alternative ways of finishing high school, for example? Non-speaking autistics (even ones who are not “geniuses” at anything) are having more and more success these days. Many have jobs. Some go to college. Some go on dates and even get married.
    What I’m saying is–don’t give up hope!

  3. To Trevor: it’s really hard to accept that things others take for granted are out of your reach. It sounds like you’re feeling a lot of loss, as you realize that your path through adult milestones is not going to be like your sister’s, or her friends’, or some of your friends’ paths.

    Your writing is great. You obviously have strengths to capitalize on in future efforts toward more autonomy in your life circumstances.

    I hope that when you are ready, you have support around you to do some research and find (or create) the ways to get where you want to go – whether it’s a community, supported housing situation, or attaining a college degree/other training, or earning through writing, or developing more relationships with peers and potential future partners.

    Please don’t let your despair or setbacks shut you down – keep striving for whatever is possible as you grow. Small victories add up. And please keep connecting through your writing. You have a perspective that adds value to the world. Thank you for sharing it.

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