A Letter To Neurodivergent Girls: I’m So Sorry You Grew Up Lost And Completely Unsure Of Who You Are

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“To All The Girls Diagnosed With Autism…

To all the girls who have grown up feeling lost and completely unsure of who you are, exhausted from working to be what everyone else needs you to be…I see you.

To all the girls who felt so out of control in their own bodies that you starved yourself while no one was looking; or ate just enough from your plate while they were, only to find the nearest bathroom so your fingers could find your throat and none of what you had to force yourself to eat would be digested… I see you.

To all the girls who felt internal pain so deeply that the only way to soothe the ache was to replace it with physical pain, inflicting scars in places that were easy to cover up until the infliction of pain became so necessary the canvas of your hidden body crept out to areas you simply couldn’t hide it any more… I see you.

To all the girls who were friends with everyone and no one at the same time, walking the halls of high school doing everything you could to avoid real conversations but having enough to say in the smaller conversations you didn’t get flagged for weird or an outsider, where relentless ridicule and judgment could have ended you if it found you… I see you.

To all the girls who could never tell in a conversation if someone was joking, so you learned to laugh when others laughed, and show empathy when others cried, creating muscle memory on how to physically respond on cue when you otherwise didn’t know what to do… I see you.

To all the girls who had that one or two good friends growing up because managing the expectations and needs of multiple friendships was too much… I see you.

To all the girls who were told ‘you can’t say things like that’ long enough that you chose silence over sharing your point of view, never realizing others had an inner voice that told them instinctively the difference between appropriate and inappropriate… I see you.

To all the girls who feel more comfortable on stage performing as someone else in front of audiences in the thousands, than you do as yourself in a group of under-five… I see you.

To all the girls who apologize for everything because you think it’s your fault, and begin your sentences with ‘I’m sorry’ with such frequency it frustrates those who love you… I see you.

To all the girls who have been called dramatic, too much, and extra, because you lacked a no big deal filter, and found it exhausting in situations to be what everyone else needed you to be because all you needed was to feel all the time… I see you.

To all the girls who can’t get out of your own way because you believe something to be true to your core and get fixated on proving its truth to others at all costs… I see you.

To all the girls who studied communication and psychology in higher education, drawn to the topics with a yearning to know what you don’t know, only to find yourself looking at evidence that perhaps you have always known… I see you.

To all the girls who know you are smart but have always struggled to prove it, feeling stupid with a lack of supportive evidence to convince the world of the brilliance you internally know to be true… I see you.

To all the girls who stuff piles and piles of bills into boxes, knowing they are important, but never finding the time to open the letters, let alone pay the invoices… I see you.

To all the girls who research information exhaustedly, so that they can not only become experts on it but understand anything there is to know in order to fully defend your perspective when questioned on the topic… I see you.

To all the girls who have seen the end of a bottle purposely while in, or before joining, a group of others because it’s easier to face the unknowns of a social situation with a buzz than it is sober… I see you.

To all the girls who knew every line of a movie or a TV show because watching it repeatedly brought comfort in solace, particularly due to a character you related to who you could mimic flawlessly… I see you.

To all the girls who could tell a beloved animal and fur-friend anything, eloquently and with great confidence, but shut down during confrontation because you can never find the words until hours after the confrontation is over… I see you.

To all the girls who order the same thing every time at their favorite restaurant and who feel lost in an impossible decision when it’s no longer on the menu… I see you.

To all the girls who know the other side of a binge where regret and shame are all you feel after overindulging on all of the sugar or salt you can find in your cabinets that you ate in order to feel ‘full’ when all you feel is ’empty’ because the emotional void cannot be fixed with something physical… I see you.

To all the girls who have avoided certain smells with ferocity their entire lives, fully aware of the odd nature that a smell could smell so strongly to you but lay insignificantly on other’s senses… I see you.

To all the girls who walk the halls late at night despite dragging through the day, unable to sleep, or afraid to fall asleep and sleepwalk themselves headfirst down a flight of stairs mistaking a left to be the right needed to find the bathroom… I see you.

To all the girls who understand love to be when someone tells you they love you despite that their actions show you every opposition, but you believe them because love is the definition of what makes one worthy… I see you.

To all the girls who have been told you are worthless, despite all the value you have given to the world, but believe another’s opinion to be fact… I see you.

To all the girls who have looked trauma and abuse in the face, not knowing how you found yourself in it, and survived it but believed it to be your fault every time… I see you.

To all the girls who define what it means to be a people pleaser or someone who will do whatever it takes to make everyone else happy, including sacrificing your own well-being and happiness… I see you.

To all the girls who are first to volunteer to help everyone (even someone you barely know) but don’t know how to ask for help for yourself… I see you.

To all the girls who have followed instructions on ending their lives, believing them to be a requirement due to black and white thinking, versus a choice… I see you, but wish I could have told you while there was still time for you to know you were seen.

To all the girls who have grown up to be women who give birth to girls and boys who in this day and age receive a diagnosis that society looks at as a negative, but you realize is a roadmap to understanding how their brain is wired in a way that had someone done that for you as a child, you may have avoided any and all of the dedications listed above this one… I see you.

To all the girls navigating your adult life with a knowledge of neurodiversity and how a spectrum so unique and wide has given you clarity and answers you have searched for quietly and internally your entire life… I see you. You are not alone.

I hope you can find comfort and courage in that knowledge, and a willingness to share your story, so the compilation in all of our truths can change hearts and minds who will evaluate the next generation and have the power to make sure all the girls after us have a greater chance to not live the avoidable truths we know.”

little girl smiling big
Courtesy of Christina Young

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Christina Young. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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‘You need to parent her like she is neurotypical and she’ll act like she is neurotypical.’: Mom shares difficult road to daughter’s autism diagnosis

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