Asperger's,Autism Spectrum Disorder

Don’t Forget to Stand Up for Yourself

I forget to stand up for myself all the time. It’s not that I don’t think I’m worth it or that I am afraid to do so, it’s that I always tend to believe what people tell me. I don’t know if someone lies or not, I can’t even tell if someone is joking about something or not unless I know their personality really, really well.

I have a friend I’ve known for more than 10 years now and when he is being sarcastic or joking about something, I don’t always know – most of the time, I have no clue. Some people enjoy that about me and make fun of me because of it, but I don’t even realise it half the time. I only know when others tell me or ask me why I accept being treated badly.

It’s something I can’t change. I was born this way. I don’t know to read facial expressions; I don’t really notice differences in tone of voice, and I don’t really understand social cues. My brain is just different. It’s not that I haven’t tried to learn all these things, I just don’t see it. It’s like listening for sound if you have no hearing at all – at least that’s how it feels most of the time.

My point is, with all this against me, why am I not more sceptical of others? Why do I never learn not to believe other people’s words when I am tricked so often?

Because, if I were to only believe half of what people tell me, how can I tell what half to believe? I can’t tell the difference between what might not be true and what might true.

Another thing is, I don’t lie. I absolutely hate lying. I hate when people lie to me as well. If someone asks me something, I will give the best answer I can or say that I cannot or don’t really want to answer. I would never lie.

It’s not that I never lied before, because I do remember a few occasions when I lied, but to this day I cannot forget or stop feeling guilty about it. It doesn’t feel natural for me to lie, so obviously I never think people lie to me either. I mean, sure, I know that people lie, it’s just not something I think about in my daily life when I interact with others. It often comes as a surprise when I find out someone lied to me.

About a year ago I wanted to get new glasses. I had wanted new glasses for a while, because my old glasses didn’t feel right anymore. Now, I have bought my glasses and my contact lenses in the same chain since I was a teenager. I do things like this, because even if other shops have better offers, I generally prefer what I already know. I never really questioned whether or not they were trying to help, because why would they not? It’s in their interest to help me so that I stay with them, right?

Anyway, I went and talked to them a lot and decided to get new glasses and a pair of prescription sunglasses as well, because then I wouldn’t need to wear contacts all the time when it was sunny.  It sounded like a great deal to me.

The staff wanted to check my sight again to make sure nothing had changed, but when they checked, they told me they thought I should change the strength. Not a lot, they said, but it would be better for my eyes in the long run if I did. At first I was reluctant, but in the end I was convinced (probably too easily) to change according to their recommendation.

I got my sunglasses first and was quite surprised when I tried them on. They made me feel dizzy and I told the staff in the shop. They told me it was normal and that I would get used to it. A few days later and it had only gotten worse. After two weeks I was feeling sick all the time and I went back to talk to the staff in the shop. They told me that the changes they had made could not possibly make me sick and that it had to be something else. They were quite rude to me, acting like I was trying to make trouble for them without any reason and honestly, I still feel a little sad today just thinking about how that lady made me feel.

When I got my new glasses it got even worse. I felt absolutely horrible and decided to go back to my old glasses, but by then it was too late. The old glasses made me feel even more sick.

Eventually it did get a little better. I still couldn’t read or focus on reading, because it made me dizzy and the words were constantly fuzzy. It was really frustrating and I had several check-ups in the shop. They insisted it couldn’t be the changes they had made, because it was impossible for people to notice. Then they asked about whether or not I had gotten any new medication and coincidentally, I was on a new asthma medication. They asked me to go talk to my doctor and I did.

My doctor couldn’t find anything and sent me to get further check-ups, but they couldn’t find anything wrong either. I tried to change my medication, because my medication had been giving me trouble and I wanted to change it anyways, but my doctor didn’t want to change it – don’t ask me why, she never explained anything.

All this time, about 8 months, I couldn’t read properly, had headaches and often felt dizzy. The shop made me try many different types of contact lenses and convinced me to buy 6 months of contact lenses so that I could figure out if I could get used to it.

They also, during this time, convinced me to get reading glasses because it would supposedly help and all I had to do was wear the reading glasses with my contacts and I would be fine.

I wasn’t fine.

I was only getting worse and getting used to feeling sick all the time.

This summer I had had enough. I didn’t want any more contact lenses before I had tried my new asthma medication for a while and when I called the shop and explained my situation, they agreed to pause my contact lens subscription until after I had been on my medication for 2 months.

They paused it one month and that was not the agreement at all. I talked to them about this and they told me that no, it didn’t make sense, but it was clearly written that I had agreed to pause my subscription one month only. Their staff member had noted that down, so obviously I had agreed to that.

Now, I know I didn’t, because the whole point was to test my new medication out, so why would I go back to my subscription when I hadn’t done that? The point was also that they would have to make changes, we just didn’t know what changes yet, because I didn’t want the contact lenses they were selling me. I had no use for them. I still have more than half of the 6 months of contact lenses they had sold me because I couldn’t use them without getting headaches.

I knew that I would never have agreed to what they said, and yet, they made it seem like I was just changing my mind suddenly and they were, again, very rude about it. It was like I was trying to trick them, but I would never do that. All I wanted was help.

I still can’t read with my glasses or my contact lenses on. They said it was very normal that people took off their glasses when they had to read, because I am near-sighted and everyone like that would take their glasses off when they want to read.

That’s simply not true. I have had my glasses on when I read ever since I got glasses as a child. I knew that I hadn’t agreed to what they said and yet, they still wanted me to pay for more contact lenses that they knew I couldn’t use. Again, it’s not that I never take my glasses off to read, but it can’t possibly be the only way for me to be able to read.

They just kept giving me check-ups and making up new reasons for me to feel uncomfortable and spend money in their shop.

It was a year before I had had enough, but now I won’t accept behaviour like that again. I want to sit down and cry sometimes because reading or wearing contacts gives me headaches and makes me dizzy, I want to cry when I can’t read sings on the road or on a bus or something because every thing is fuzzy. Why am I even wearing glasses when I can’t see the world around me even remotely clearly?

So, I went into shop and, even though I was having a panic attack on the inside, I cancelled everything and left the shop forever. I won’t go back and be treated like I am nothing, I won’t accept people being so rude to me or making me constantly spend money and I will not listen to people if they claim to know what’s best for me when I think they are wrong. If someone tries to force me like this again, I will stand up for myself and walk away. I deserve better and you know what? You deserve better. Never forget to stand up for yourself. Protect yourself like you would protect your best friend. We all deserve to treat ourselves that way.

Kai

I graduated my masters in 2017 with a major in Japanese studies and a minor in international relations. Since my graduation I have focused on figuring out who I am, because I was diagnosed with Asperger's (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and it made me rethink my life and allowed me to understand myself better. Because I have always been passionate about writing, I decided to blog about my life in the hope that it can increase autism awareness.

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