"How does it feel to be autistic?"
A strange question but one that I have been asked several times. Don’t get me wrong, I would always rather somebody ask rather than make a misjudged assumption, but the truth is I have no idea.
Autism isn’t something that comes and goes. Yes, the intensity of certain elements of the profile can and do change, but you are never not autistic. It isn’t like having a cold and somebody asking how it felt.
Asking how specific situations and environments make me feel is much easier to quantify. There are some situations that I will avoid at all costs, some that I can tolerate at certain times and some that I can frequently manage, either because I don’t find them challenging, or I have a robust strategy to overcome the challenges and or to regulate afterwards.
Asking an autistic person what it feels like to be autistic is like asking “How does it feel to be you?" or, “How does it feel to have blue eyes?" A better question would be “Are there things I can do to make it easier for you to do X”.
Understanding autism is key and celebrating the neurodivergent differences, rather than pathologizing it.