There is nothing here right now, nor will there be for the forseeable future.

In November of 2018 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after several years of debilitating fatigue, exhaustion, and weight gain despite multiple changes in diet, environment, activity, and exercise. In 2019 my entire thyroid was surgically removed. I must now take synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of my life. While medically, the procedure was a success, none of my symptoms have abated. So far, doctors have either not been able to find a root cause, or they don't want to look for one because my “numbers look correct.”

It's more than a little scary to present physically-disabling symptoms to a doctor, have him find cancer due to those symptoms, remove the cancer, and have him no longer care about those symptoms because he performed the recommended course of treatment. Since my thyroidectomy I have been referred to several other doctors who claim my symptoms are something else; they “treat” that thing, the symptoms still don't subside, and they send me off to the next thing it could be with their bills paid and my “numbers” looking correct.

At the same time this was happening, and after several years of research, I was also coming to terms with the discovery that I am on the Autism spectrum. Autism causes a wide range of developmental disabilities of varying outward visibility; mine in particular are focused in the areas of communication, social interaction, and the inability to integrate social behaviors learned in the traditional way. This discovery has had a cascading effect on my understanding of my past. Not knowing I had what is essentially a social learning disability, and being told by friends and enemies alike that there was nothing wrong with me and no reason I couldn't behave “normally,” I tried my best to behave like a “normal” person experiencing an abnormal amount of prejudice, often with disastrous results.

I realized that as I got older, my challenges caused me to appear less socially developed than was expected of me. With no outward, physical signs of disability, most people assumed I could only be behaving that way on purpose, and found it more convenient to assign malice to innocuous words and actions, honest mistakes, and developmentally-stunted behavior. Since it is easier to become enraged on social media or run to an authority figure and exaggerate a misunderstanding than to show empathy and tolerance toward someone who is different, I watched many things I loved taken from me — jobs, hobbies, passions, and friends — with no opportunity provided for redemption, forgiveness, or God forbid, the other party learning to be tolerant of someone different than them.

I realize now I didn’t actually ever have depression or anxiety as standalone things, as I thought for decades. They were side effects of my disability; the result of a lifetime of gaslighting from people who insisted I was perfectly normal and set unrealistic expectations for me based on their own prejudices.

Maybe if I was only dealing with Autism or the physical symptoms I was told were caused by my cancer, I could push forward. But after almost five years of physical symptoms and a lifetime of bullying for my challenges, plus a renewed interest by the internet in destroying anyone and anything that is the slightest bit different from them, I cannot in good conscience continue to be in any sort of public space, using my real name, and put myself and my family at further risk.

If you pray, I hope you'll pray for me. If you forgive, I hope you'll forgive me. And if you now have a loved one with a developmental difference, I hope, in some terribly-inefficient way, I've given you some perspective on their challenges so you can love them that much deeper, and help them fight for a world more tolerant and accepting of people who are different.

Take care.