Letter to the Editor — An Autistic Thanksgiving

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Letter to the Editor — An Autistic Thanksgiving

At
the time of me writing this, it is both Thanksgiving and,
simultaneously, my 29th
birthday. I am at the age where most people settle down, focus on
their career and start a family.

But
that is not the case for those living with mental health conditions.

I
have had a difficult two years, being hospitalized twice for mental
breakdowns, quitting multiple jobs, and failing to fulfill my
personal goal of living independently. This is not an unfamiliar
story for those of us diagnosed with conditions such as autism or
bipolar disorder.

A
lot of us, in an innate and human desire to prove our worth, seek to
lie or hide the nature of these conditions. I have always lived
openly with my conditions, because I don’t think you should hide
who you are to conform to a society that deems you “disabled.”

Letter to the Editor — An Autistic Thanksgiving

Even
worse, sometimes when we express ourselves, we are told not to “play
the victim.” We are expected to be strong when we are actually
weak, and then we are surprised when all of this comes out in one
gigantic explosion of emotions.

I
don’t speak openly about the multiple times I’ve tried to kill
myself, not because I wanted to die, but because I felt my life was a
burden to society.

I
don’t speak openly about the discrimination that I have experienced
in the workforce, or the bullying from my own peers at college.

I
don’t speak openly about the abuse I experienced as a child, or the
two months I spent in jail being mistreated by our fine law
enforcement personnel.

Letter to the Editor — An Autistic Thanksgiving

I
don’t speak about it because I don’t consider myself a victim of
abuse, nor do I blame a system that is inherently flawed for
everyone. I don’t go out, like others in my generation, and
protest capitalism or blame a President who has never even met me.

I
survive, and I hold on to the pain of knowing that everyone thinks of
me a certain way based on behaviors I cannot control, and conditions
of which they are unaware.

Thanksgiving
is about family, and one of the great things about Lee County is that
it is very much a family. And almost everyone in our family has
experiences with mental health issues. It may not be as catastrophic
as my own, but no doubt it exists for everyone.

Letter to the Editor — An Autistic Thanksgiving

As
we move into the Christmas season and the New Year, let us remember
that all of us are a little bit mental, all of us have a past that we
choose to forget, and all of us, every single one of us, is worthy of
love and being loved.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, from one mental case to the rest of you.

Respectfully, Sean David Hartman

Editor’s Note: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the named authors of any editorials on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of 239Style Media Group or CapeStyle Magazine.

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