December 9, 2020

Talking is hard today. Nothing unusually stressful happened, just the ordinary weight of teaching over Zoom. But somehow, by the end of my last class, it all added up to more than I could handle. Something had to give, and that something was fluent speech.

In a staff meeting, I used the chat box to ask a question. Someone asked me to clarify what I meant, and I thought I could do it verbally, but the words sputtered out in a cumbersome order.

I needed to make a phone call, but I kept bursting into tears every time I tried to dial. I took a nap, which helped a little, then made the call, but kept it brief.

I decided not to cancel a visit with my boyfriend, but brought along a whiteboard to share my thoughts. He encourages me to do that anytime I find it a little easier than talking – or a lot easier, like today.

This is what it’s like to have fluctuating abilities. My autism diagnosis says that I’m “without verbal impairment,” because that’s true 99% of the time. But once every 100 days or so, I get a day like today.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.