For as long as I remember, I have felt lonely and alone. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, I never felt like I fit in anywhere, that I belonged. I’ve always been on the outside, looking in. After a while, I gave up trying to find others on my wavelength.
Recently, in the last few years, I made renewed effort in finding others I could connect with. I found a welcoming bunch over at Your Eatopia, a forum for those trying to recover from eating disorders. But although there were a few others more in the ARFID camp, I did feel in the minority compared to those with more ‘traditional’ eating disorders. So, a good start, and I did connect with some incredible people, but it wasn’t enough. They ‘got’ some of my issues, and lots of times I was able to proclaim ‘me too!’ but I still felt like a bit of an intruder.
When I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I joined a few support groups and forums, such as the one connected to Irish EDS & HMS. Some of these folk had similar eating issues to me, but they also shared so much other stuff, all the pain, exhaustion and body weirdness stuff. Again, I was welcomed with open arms and connected with some amazing people. It felt incredible that there were others who had almost identical experiences growing up to ones I had. Lots of ‘aha’ moments and cries of ‘me too!’.
And then I discovered the autistic community. A lot of the people there have co-morbid eating disorders, and/or co-morbid EDS. So I connected with those instantly. But there was also so much more. Never have I come across so many people who have had almost identical experiences growing up, in school, at work, in relationships. Hyperlexia, thought processes, executive functioning issues…. so many similarities I can’t list them. And every single day contains a string of ‘aha’ moments, of ‘me too’. I am continually blown away by the similarities. For the first time in my life, I feel a sense of belonging. And even though, obviously, I don’t always agree with every single autistic person I encounter, for the first time in my life I feel that those I ‘get’ outnumber those I don’t.
And so, I wish to thank all my newly-discovered neurosiblings for being so welcoming and supportive. For just being yourselves. For being unapologeticly autistic. And I can join you and shout out loud ‘Me too!’
[image of a blue background, containing a white thought bubble, inside of which are the words ‘Me too!’ in purple.]