Perpetual Innocence: Too Much Faith

On the Spectrum
A column written by a Diversely Spiritual Autistic bisexual person

I naturally “walk by faith, not by sight.”  As a small child, I learned I was autistic, which was termed a “birth defect.” At the same time, I was learning about “original sin” in church. At age six, I concluded I had more original sin than other people, because I was defective. I believed that autism meant I was more evil than others, so I deserved anything bad that happened to me. In my literal-mindedness, it was also extremely easy for me to learn how to take everything on faith. After all, since I was defective, I could not trust my own perceptions, right? My autistic tendencies were reinforced further when my overreliance on others was seen as being “spiritual” and “good” by the adults at church. The mores I learned were also decades out of date, although I didn’t know it then. Thanks to autism, I looked and acted younger than my chronological age. My youthful aspect, plus my extreme naivety, persisted into adulthood.

In my twenties, I entered a series of truly bizarre relationships with friends and intimate partners because I did not question what the other parties did, said, or believed. I assumed that everything the other people did was for some good reason or was normal, no matter what. In short, I was a past master at normalizing the abnormal. I even believed that questioning others was bad and would get me into trouble. I suffered because I didn’t know – or bother to research – what constituted a healthy friendship or relationship. I thought as long as I trusted and obeyed that everything would somehow work out. I also thought that I should be completely spiritual and not trouble myself about my physical well-being. Fortunately, I did not get into as much trouble as I could have, because I was lucky enough not to run into any sociopaths, cult leaders, or criminals.

This continued until last year, when a friend explained to me I was being emotionally abused. I literally had no idea until she pointed it out. With her help, I extricated myself from the situations in question and she became my partner. Last week, my partner ran a fever and had a severe headache for a week, plus nausea, severe weakness and confusion, and loss of appetite. I thought she was experiencing influenza and tried to home treat her with aspirin, anti-nausea medicine, and, at one point, energy work. It did no good.

She went on Peapod to order our monthly groceries. I thought it was strange that she was ordering $200 worth of soda and lemonade. I asked her what was going on, and she said something about it being the thing she wanted when she got better. I thought “she has her reasons” and did not question her further, since she always did the shopping. The next day, I had to call 911 and have her taken to the hospital. Once admitted, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and hyponatremia (too little sodium in the blood). She had been literally delirious when she had placed the order. I should have questioned her more and asked what was going on. Because I normalized the abnormal and did not use my reason, her treatment was delayed. Luckily, the Gods were merciful and she came home after three days. She is now recovering and is getting stronger by the day. As for the grocery order, I went on Peapod a couple days later and now we have food.







Over 40, Bisexual, Autistic and part of the OTO, this contributor is the creator of “on the Spectrum” column

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