Sara Gibbs Profile picture
Oct 5, 2018 19 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Here is the reality of a day out for me as an #ActuallyAutistic person (usual caveat, we are all different):
1) even in low light I can barely open my eyes without my sunglasses on. In bright sunlight even my sunglasses don’t help. I cannot ask the sun to disappear.
2) I get on the tube & the environmental noise is so extreme for me that I need noise-cancelling headphones. That’s before we take into account chatting / announcements / other noise sources, plus strong smells, motion sickness & crowds. I can’t make these things go away either.
3) I have OCD as a comorbid condition. As I work down the street I have to step on the same type of pavement with both feet. If there is a patterned floor, I am nearly in tears with stress. I cannot ask people to make even pavements just for me.
4) I get coffee with a friend. It’s bright but the socially accepted thing is to remove my sunglasses. Now I’m in real pain. The background noise is nothing to others but I can’t drown it out. I can’t ask people to stop talking, making coffee, scraping chairs, clattering plates.
5) We are chatting. It is taking a Herculean effort of concentration just to understand the words that are being said to me & to focus on making eye contact. I start to feel a bit like I’m choking. I have no idea what is coming out of my own mouth in response now.
6) After twenty minutes I feel close to tears. I want to be part of things so badly but I am already exhausted. I want to spend time with my friend but I have to go home. But they’ve come out to see me & I don’t want to be rude. So I stay. I’m dizzy & sick but I stay.
7) At the earliest acceptable time, I make an excuse to leave. I don’t want anyone to feel bad, like they’ve made me ill or uncomfortable, so even though it’s incredibly difficult for me to do so, I lie. I invent a more acceptable reason to leave.
8) I walk out onto the pavement and it’s mismatched again. I nearly trip over myself trying to manage where I step. I’m tired and clumsy now. People shove past me. The contact is unbearable.
9) I get to the tube and the stairs are packed. I know there are crowds upon crowds waiting for me down there, along with the movement, the smells, the noise. I can’t ask society to just disperse for me. I am almost certainly crying now. Silently crying behind sunglasses.
10) But I have to get home. I have no choice. Down I go, quietly sobbing the whole way. Train after train arrives so crowded I can’t even contemplate boarding. I sit on the platform, sometimes for an hour or so, until there’s one I can get on. I can’t make everyone leave for me.
11) I get on the tube. There are no seats. I am nauseated & on the verge of a colossal meltdown (which is entirely physical & beyond my control) but there’s nothing physically visibly wrong so I can’t ask for a seat. Elderly people are standing. So I do too.
12) suddenly there’s a problem. The tube is terminating at the next stop. I have to find another way back. But the change of plan is the last straw & I do not have the executive functioning skills to plan a new way home. I sit on the platform and weep. I am stuck and lost.
13) I am lucky. I am blessed financially. I am blessed personally. My husband can collect me, or order me an Uber. I sit in shame, exhaustion, overwhelm, feeling like a child who can’t look after themselves.
14) When I finally get home, I can’t talk. My teeth are chattering. I can’t bear my clothes anymore. I can’t tolerate even a pinprick of light from the TV on standby. My body sobs & stims & I have no control anymore. I am now struggling to exist. I stay inside for a week.
15) my friend texts me: “lovely to see you”
I respond in kind. I never want them to know. I never want to put others out, restrict our choices - ruin everyone’s fun.
16) so when I see someone has made an effort to include me - when I see an autism-friendly event or like last week a producer I worked with came into my office first thing & quietly closed the blinds (angel) I feel nothing but grateful.
17) I can’t, and don’t, ask the world to adapt for me. But god what a kindness it is when they try. So please think about this next time you get on your high horse about safe spaces, snowflakes & people making even a gesture of an effort. It makes the world of difference to us.
*walk... obviously
A quick aspie side note, I’ve said “work” instead of “walk” in an early tweet, so obviously this whole thread is now cancelled

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More from @Sara_Rose_G

Sep 25, 2018
I watched this with tears in my eyes. I am exhausted from today. I hope I don’t need to explain the plethora of antisemitic tropes & conspiracy theories veiled in euphemism here. I don’t even have the energy for anger anymore, I’m just so deeply sad and tired.
The bit that makes my insides go cold is the cheers and applause in the room, the cheers for that horrifyingly antisemitic Al Jazeera “documentary”, the cheers for her attacking the fears of the Jewish community. This is so dangerous.
It’s one thing reading these things written, but it’s another thing to hear the tone of their voice when they speak about us, the rapturous applause & self-satisfied cheering. Reading it I might have rolled my eyes - watching it and hearing it, I feel terrified
Read 5 tweets
Sep 23, 2018
I’m seeing a lot of tweets about ‘calls to arms’ type speeches at the Jewish labour rally to stay in Labour & it all makes perfect sense if what you care about more than anything is the Labour Party & the principle of fighting for the name.
I get the ‘racists wont kick me out of my party’ mentality, but the problem is racists have taken over the party. And there may be an imminent general election. And if they win, Corbyn will be prime minister. So what will they do then? Knock on doors for him?
Every MP who stays a Labour MP next GE is a seat closer to a Corbyn prime minister. Staying & fighting is also fighting for Corbyn in no. 10. By default. It is basically saying ‘all this antisemitism stuff is bad, but it’s not bad enough.’ It normalises what is happening.
Read 10 tweets
Sep 14, 2018
So we are now in a position where antisemitism is endorsed & endemic on the right & the left, where those pointing it out are demonised, dehumanised & accused of being part of some sinister conspiracy, & most ordinary people don’t care. History tells us what happens next.
Being Jewish has always been a background rumble for me. A nice, but not front & centre, part of the mosaic of who I am. I’ve always felt English first & foremost. Now I feel othered in my own country. I have never felt so unwelcome.
Antisemitism is now a self-feeding beast. Every time we decry it, we are ‘debunked’ with an antisemitic trope or conspiracy. An inception of antisemitism. Everything we say is used as ‘evidence’ to reinforce these vile beliefs.
Read 11 tweets
Sep 11, 2018
Over the last few days, some Jewish organisations & activists have responded to the Warsaw Ghetto graffiti in ways I have found troubling 1/
The statements have gone along the lines of (paraphrasing) ‘we get how upset you are about Israel & we agree, but this isn’t the way to go about it’. 2/
My issue with this is (please excuse the poor analogy, I’m not comparing Israel & ISIS but there’s no apt analogy) imagine if someone had graffitied ‘fuck ISIS’ at the site of a massacre of Muslims. 3/
Read 15 tweets
Sep 6, 2018
So many times in my life as an Israeli-born Jew, I’ve wanted to join in protests for Palestinian statehood. But as someone who wants two peaceful states side by side, I have felt there is no place for me in mainstream movements unless I also want Israel wiped off the map. 1/
I am appalled by Netenyahu’s government. I am horror struck that Jewish statehood continues to come at such a devastating cost. But I also recognise that the cry for Jewish statehood arose from hundreds of years of persecution, culminating in mass extinction. 2/
The idea that Jewish refugees fleeing Europe did so in order to ethnically cleanse Palestine is absurd & wrong. We need a mainstream movement that campaigns for dialogue & peace, but does not demand the demonisation of the concept of Jewish statehood. 3/
Read 10 tweets
Aug 29, 2018
Going to do a little thread on what it’s like to be on the autistic spectrum. Will add to it from time to time, mostly myth debunking, stuff you might not know & how to help / interact with autistic people in your life. #ActuallyAutistic
Did you know that a lot of autistic people have problems processing sensory input? Even leaving the house can be totally overwhelming as we are less tolerant of bright lights, strong smells, loud noises (or multiple noise sources), textures, motion etc. #ActuallyAutistic
If you’re meeting an autistic friend, try to meet somewhere quiet & calm. If you can make the effort to travel closer to us, that helps greatly as long journeys can be really difficult. On top of the sensory issues, we can be very anxious about planning. #ActuallyAutistic
Read 88 tweets

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