Spirituality Won’t Cure the Autism

A gorgeous, God-provided Friday sunset in Tanzania, photo taken by me

Ever since my childhood I’ve been obsessed with the supernatural. Spirituality, religion, astrology, magic—if it was difficult to explain or measure, I was geeked. With that interest, it was only natural that when it felt like my life was falling apart (as well as when my life was actually falling apart) I would turn to a Higher Power to help me get some control back.

Despite all my of previous religious leanings, plus my current spiritual leanings, nothing seems to make the effects of this new-found autism self-diagnosis go away. While I only recently, meaning yesterday, found out that there’s a 99.9999% probability that I’m on the autism spectrum, I didn’t just get on the spectrum. I’ve been on it my whole life.

Because I have the ability to look back on said life and see all the ways not knowing about this autism likely fucked me over in multiple ways, I can see how all of the prayers, the meditations, the retreats, the new moon salt baths, the ayahuasca ceremonies, the shroom trips, etc. did absolutely nothing to help me overcome the existential dread, social anxiety, random bouts of depression, communication blow-ups, etc.

I’m not saying that spirituality and religion don’t have a place in a neurodivergent’s life, because I love me some God. What I am saying is that, instead of approaching spirituality from a place of, “ oh my god, there’s something wrong with me, please help me fix me 😩,” I can now approach it from a different vantage point.

I have no idea what that vantage point is right now, but I think it’s probably somewhere along the lines of accepting this self-diagnosis, educating myself about myself and everything that seems to stem from the autism, e.g. masking, isolating when overwhelmed, emotional outbursts, lack of boundaries, etc., educating those around me, advocating for myself and others like me (to the best of my abilities), and using spirituality to give me the courage and confidence to stand firmly in my truth and the truth about who I am.

Another important piece is, now that I know the why of the reason I am the way I am, I can better manage and cope with the uncontrollable stressors of life, and have an unmovable rock to lean on through the storms that this world can stir up.

All in all, the gist of this post is this: spirituality is amazing. My relationship with those in the other realms is unmatched, and no I cannot see dead people. That would nice though. I do not, however, believe that it can cure autism. To be honest, I feel like autism is a gift in a way. It’s made me extremely resilient, open to other ways of thinking and being, curious, and able to self-soothe if need be. I’ve been able to explore so many different avenues to better understand myself, that I can understand others better, too.

This journey is about to get interesting, friends!

♾ Aminah Jamil

Today I Discovered I’m Most Likely on the Autism Spectrum

Taken by me, today, the day of the self-diagnosis. I call it, “The doors of truth open for you.”

I preface this post with “most likely,” because it was a self-diagnosis, I probably won’t be able to get in front of a psychologist for a while because I’m currently living in Africa, and because many of the traits listed are me to a T.

The discovery was by sheer happenstance. An email came through, I was about to unsubscribe because the author had been sending daily, near back-to-back emails, and I was tired of receiving them. Luckily, it was that email that was the final straw, because otherwise, I would’ve just sent it to the trash.

If you haven’t gathered just yet, I am extremely excited about this self-diagnosis. It explains so much that I always thought was just me being weird. Feeling like I don’t fit in anywhere, uncontrollably saying inappropriate things at inappropriate times, being able to communicate my truth best through writing vs verbally, the social anxiety, and so much more.

Some of the traits can be traced back to my childhood, the number one being that my preschool teachers asking my mom if I was autistic because I never said a word, but that was long gone by kindergarten because I’d begun to start working on my mask. Other traits I presented included self-soothing by rubbing the satin edges of my favorite blanket against my face, rubbing my earlobes, and sleeping under the cot so my face could feel the cold floor in preschool (I remember that to this day. I’m still confused as to why the teachers never put me back on the cot 🤔)

Prior to this, I’d been mucking around in Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) territory, which, by the way, likely goes hand in hand. My theory is that, because of being on the spectrum, CEN happens more often to those children simply because they don’t act like “normal” children. They may be harder to discipline, or may cause trouble more than other “normal” children. Which would absolutely be my case on 💯. You can ask my mom.

So what does one do after an Autism spectrum diagnosis? Read more on the topic of women on the spectrum (because many women on the spectrum never receive a diagnosis simply because more research and information about it is directed at males on the spectrum—females present much differently, and have often been successful at creating masks to fit into normal social situations), find out more traits to look out for, search for any resources to assist someone on the spectrum, and find a tele-psychologist who might test me at a distance.

I mostly wanted to come and say this, in case any of my followers also foot the woman-on-autism-spectrum bill. We shall see what comes of this!

– Aminah Jamil ♾