I’m neurodivergent, some people pick up on it and sometimes I pass. When people do pick up on it they make up stories to explain my behavior. I’ve been accused of being on drugs, I’ve been called crazy, I’ve been called retarded, the labels change but intent is the same. To single me out as someone who is different and make sure I know it and feel uncomfortable because of it. It’s emotionally taxing at times because I just want to exist in the world without being bothered. I just want to work, live, and walk down the street in peace.

Peoplel used to try to gaslight me by telling me its not happening. Are you on your meds? You’re probably being paranoid. Fact check your thoughts they would say. Fill out a cbt thought checking worksheets and find ways to delude yourself into thinking you’re wrong. But none of these people live my life. Nobody is there when I’m called these names. When I receive the smirks.

Sometimes I want to cry. Sometimes I want to punch someone or yell at them. But mostly I just take it. I keep my head down and power through the days, weeks, and months. I pretend not to hear. I pretend nothing is going on. Ignore the smirks. Ignore the derisive remarks. But I can’t always control my reactions. I shy away from anger and my anxiety takes over. People see they can trigger me and keep trying to do it. When they can’t trigger me they try to.

So I live for the quiet moments when I’m alone, when all is quiet, and I can escape the world. I isolate myself. I escape into nature, sit in parks and chain smoke while drinking a coffee. I walk until my body is calm and I forget everything that happened that day. Usually I walk about seven miles, mostly to get my 10,000 steps a day in, I have a desk job and sometimes I’m too lazy for a real cardio workout.

I’m not sure what I should do about it. Should I be more assertive? Should I become a recluse? Should I fight. I don’t feel like I have any fight left. Although I do fight in my own way. I keep living, I keep pushing, i don’t give up, I don’t feel sorry for myself, and I think that is a different kind of fight, I think that takes courage and strength of character.

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