Friday, December 30, 2016

The Dangers of ABA: A Survivor's Story, Pt. 2

Image description: a road sign that reads "Hope".  The background is a partly cloudy sky with the sun shining in the upper right hand corner.

CW/TW: dissociation, suicidal thoughts and attempts, internalized shame, low self-esteem, religion, depression and anxiety

This second part is really hard to talk about because I'm just coming out of the wilderness, but I'll discuss it anyway.

After I graduated high school, I didn't go to college or get a job because I was still recovering from the trauma I received in school. I lost a couple of friends because of the way I acted in high school, and because I vented about my problems too much on Facebook.  I was really devastated because I was really close with those people.  I started to feel suicidal again.

I also started going through nightly rages where I would scream, curse, throw things, etc.  It really scared my family, but I just couldn't control it.  I felt like I was under attack, and I was.  More on that later.

Plus, I had to be hospitalized several times in this period of my life.  I've actually been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons nine times in my life ever since my sophomore year of high school.  

I first attempted suicide at 21 years old.  I won't go into any details because I don't want anyone to copy what I did, but I was just feeling so bad for being autistic and queer that I just couldn't live with myself anymore.

When I was about 24, I started to dissociate from femininity because I was bullied and pressured to be that way for so long.  I still liked girly things, but it was just too traumatic for me to associate my identity with them, so I started rejecting more and more feminine things.  I started identifying as transgender because I wanted nothing to do with being a girl anymore.

On February 24, 2016 when I was 25, I attempted suicide again.  Again, I won't get into details, but I did have to be hospitalized for the umpteenth time.  I have never felt so horrible in my life.

I coped with my hospitalization by reading devotionals from televangelist Joyce Meyer, and when I got out of the hospital, I was a new prescription for medication.  I felt this wonderful sense of joy that I never felt before.   Most of my internalized ableism about being autistic went away.

But then a few months later I lost a couple more friends after they found out that I attempted suicide, my anxiety starting increasing, and just a couple of weeks ago, I was in the hospital again for suicidal ideation, this time because I was ashamed of being queer.

After I got out of the hospital, I just asked God to take over my life, I surrendered my life to Him and now I realized who I am in Christ: a Christian, autistic, bipolar, Black, futch (butch + femme) lesbian woman.  God loves me just the way I am, and I try to remind myself that.

There are days that things are still hard.  I still get told things that I'm going to hell, and it's hard not to listen to them.  Also, I get excluded from many Christian groups online and in real life, so I have to have reminders that God loves me just as I am.  I am his child, and nothing can separate me from His love.


  1. Hi Kristy.
    I'm very thankful that you are sharing your stories.
    I'm autistic & queer, too. I didn't get put through ABA, but I have suffered greatly from allistic social expectations (and the various social punishments that peers will act out when not conforming).

    I'm glad you're still here, I'm glad you're sharing your words.

  2. I was lucky to be homeschooled by neurodivergent parents, but I still suffered from a lot of their expectations that I "look normal" as well as queer erasure and lack of support for depression and anxiety. I too have developed CPTSD.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  3. Thank you for writing about your experiences. I'm autistic and queer too (I'm bisexual) and I think it's important to talk about how they overlap. The shame and pressure to be normal that we get from ableism and from homophobia are similar, I think, which makes it very difficult to deal with both of them at the same time. I hope you find a Christian community that accepts you, there may not be a lot of them but they are out there.

    Would it be ok if I share a link to this post on Tumblr? I have a blog there about dealing with shame and internalized ableism. I can send you more information about it if you want, but I think if I put a link in this comment it'll get sent to the spam folder.