Mental Health Services and Autism

Today is World Mental Health Day. We asked disabled survivors to share their stories about mental health services to raise awareness of the barriers which we face and to highlight the need for more funding to ensure services are inclusive and accessible.

This post was submitted anonymously.

Content note: this blog discusses disbelieved by health professionals. The author also briefly mentions of self-harm.

NHS Mental Health. A much needed, underfunded machine that cannot afford to see the individual and so breaks the sensitive soul with well meaning callousness.

“Six weeks therapy and you should be cured.”

“Take this pill it will make you feel better.”

I was eleven when I entered the system.

In the previous year my family had moved homes, I had changed schools and my parents were getting a divorce.

I had been told that children couldn’t get clinical depression. I was told that I was acting out. I was seeing someone at CHAMs, I don’t remember who. Their whole person ceases to exist in any meaningful sense in my mind.

They thought it was because of my sister, she was so sick, everyone assumed that I was acting out because of a lack of attention. They never listened when I told them that she was the least of my troubles. My saving grace, the reason I took less than the overdose limit. The reason I knew the limit.

You’d think they’d understand that all that change hurt my head. That the world no longer felt real to me. That it never really had. That I hated walking on patterned floors because they melted down. That walking passed tall buildings frightened me because they bowed to the ground. That faces hid in every pattern. That hugs hurt, and lights burned my eyes.

They didn’t ask, so I didn’t tell.

They put me on medication. I told them it didn’t work. They said I must not have been taking it. But I had. Even when it made me sick. When my skin would burn and the time my pupils blew and wouldn’t contracts. I always took them.

But to them I was a liar. A waster and a scoundrel.

I’ve never been in trouble in my life. I don’t have a criminal record and yet I always felt condemned in their eyes. Like I wasn’t trying hard enough. I didn’t want to get better.

50 minutes, every week for months. Then years. Their faces blur. I barely remember names.

There was one Dr who told me that I reminded him of a client he once had. That she struggled too but then her mum had died and her life got better. My mum was in the room.

I had one who liked to sit close.

By now they have all become a faceless entity. A pill dispensery.

Moths of time butting into each other in my mind but never settling.

I’m older now. No longer guilty. Long passed angry.

Why didn’t they help me? Couldn’t they see me?

I think of the lost years. I think of the lingering fears.

I think of the shed tears.

I think of the years I hurt myself just to feel.

Then one person, when I was in my late twenties after years of appointments said to me, “what do you know about autism?”

If you have been affected by this post and would like to speak to someone, please click here for a list of helplines.

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