(I feel really bad because I kind of assumed that someone who was on medications didn't want to be on them. What I ended up saying as a result was really disrespectful. I keep wanting to write them a long email explaining my personal med-context, to explain why I had that reaction, but if I do that it will seem like I'm trying to justify what I said, which I don't want to do because I know it wasn't okay. But after I decided not to write the email, I still wanted to write about my context.)
I was just put on a lot of stuff really fast when I was 15-16 and I was sort of...well, if I understand right I don't know if I got any kind of official diagnosis (I love that you need a diagnosis for accommodations but not for medication) but I guess the psychiatrist told my mom I had depression and hallucinations. (You can ask me if I've ever had either depression or hallucinations. The answer is no.) I was put on antipsychotics and waited to "get better." Instead I felt very physically uncomfortable, so I was put on Parkinson's medication too.
If I understand correctly I was taken to the psychiatrist originally because I was "cycling" which was my family's way of saying that when I was upset or stuck on an idea I would talk very repetitively about it in a way that my family found to be hard to take. It was thought by my family that this might mean I had a mood disorder. (Without comment, can I just say that I was already diagnosed with ASD this whole time.)
A few months later I had been cutting myself for I think pretty standard reasons of not knowing how else to connect/communicate to people, but I wasn't comfortable telling the psychiatrist this because I barely knew him. So he told my mom I was cutting myself for "stimulation" because I couldn't focus, and I was put on Adderall.
It's hard for me to even talk about the Adderall Times because putting a person with ASD on speed is just a horrible, stupid thing to do. The thing is that I knew I shouldn't be on it. But I was just too young to tell the truth. I had such a good time skipping class and hiding in the school library making lists and transcribing songs, so I would lie and say it was helping me with school. Besides, whenever I went off it all I could think about was different ways I could possibly die, so I always found a way to get back on. (Briefly during Christmas break when I was sixteen, I was taken off Adderall and put on Prozac, but I was just so dulled out. For some reason it didn't occur to anyone that maybe I was depressed/obsessed with death because I was on antipsychotics for no reason.)
Eventually the Adderall didn't even make me feel so good anymore and I was taken to a different psychiatrist who put me on Wellbutrin and I felt good again for a little while. This psychiatrist kind of thought I should go off some of this stuff though. And my family ended up deciding I should go off it all, because I had lost so much weight. But I had already done a lot of damage to my grades and my social life because of my complete tweaking out on Adderall all year.
After that, I've always refused to take any medication at all. It's difficult to even convince me to take cold medication. I'd rather spend the day lying down than take painkillers when I have cramps.
Last spring when I was having a lot of anxiety and dissociation problems, my mom really wanted me to go on anti-anxiety meds because apparently Temple Grandin is on them (I know, who could say no to Temple Grandin?). I very much didn't want to go on medication, but I was worried about myself, so I asked if I could see the second psychiatrist I had seen in high school, the one who helped me go off everything. I just remembered that I had really liked him and that he said I seemed like I had ASD (which I appreciated since people were always telling me I obviously didn't).
My mom and I had a lot of conflict driving to and from the appointment because I was saying that I didn't want to be on medication. It's not really worth describing but she basically implied that it was a waste for me to want to go talk to this guy just because I liked him as a psychologist, when I didn't want to be on anything. When I talked to him, he himself was fine with me not wanting to be on meds, but I had to fight tooth and nail with my mom to get her to stop trying to convince me to take meds, and as usual ended up feeling that I was a bad daughter because of my refusal to take them.
Recently, a person with ASD was telling me this funny story about when they were in high school and were on a lot of medications, but didn't want to be on any. The person managed to trick their doctor into taking them off some of their medications, to the chagrin of their parents. The tone in which this story was given and received was very "fuck yeah autism!" and for the next few days I kept thinking of this story, how funny and cute it was. What an awesome kid.
Then something changed and I realized it's not a funny story at all. It's a fucking horrible story. Why should any child have to do that?
I mean, the fact that I thought it was funny is something I like about myself. It is kind of funny and cool when we can resist other people's attempts to assert control over our brains. But also...what the FUCK? A developmental disability is not an automatic reason to be on medication but it seems to work out that way in some people's minds.
And this is why I was a jerk to someone the other day because when they mentioned their medication I was like "you don't have to take that you know! Lots of people have had bad experiences on it," but I didn't realize that this person has had kind of an opposite experience with people saying, "You don't need to be on medication," when the person actually wants to be on it. And I am really really sorry for what I said because I want Autistic people to be able to get what they ask for, and not get what they don't ask for, and that's all.