Growth & Resilience
7 min readFeb 5, 2024

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Central Auditory Processing Disorder

It’s not that I have a listening issue. It’s more so an auditory processing difficulty. I cannot retain certain bouts of information and it takes me ample amounts of time (sometimes weeks to months) to retain certain parts of information. I used to blame myself and I would get frustrated, and call myself stupid. Through years of therapy, counselling, and self reflection, I have learned that I am not stupid but rather different — I process and view the world very differently than your average person. This is called neurodivergence and I intend to share my own experiences with you guys to hopefully help another autistic out. I can only try!!

From a very young age, I’ve struggled to adapt with the basics of life such as learning how to talk and walk. There were a ton of words that I could not pronounce or spell correctly. Admittingly, there are still words that I cannot pronounce but I replace these words with words that I can pronounce and then nobody really knows. I think I’ve mastered the ‘art of high masking’ all of my life that I’ve begun to take the mask off in real life. You can also thank one of my autistic friends for encouraging and inspiring me to do so. I think it is really important to be transparent and own who we are. For years, I used to feel ashamed about being different — I used to hate myself for not being able to pronounce certain words and for having a lisp. There’s still a bunch of words I cannot say and I just laugh at myself because we need humor in this life sometimes. I used to get made fun of for having a lisp, which did not help my self-esteem. These days, I own who I am and not many people make fun of me anymore as it’s about owning who you are such as acceptance — It’s about communicating those feelings that are bothering you and telling the bullies how inappropriate and disrespectful their behavior can be.

I went through years of speech therapy as a result of having a speech impediment. Even at 29 years old, there are still words that I cannot pronounce and I do stutter at times especially when I am very anxious. Sometimes to avoid the stuttering, I do try to drink water and this does help sometimes. I’ve learned recently that when I don’t sleep as much, then I can’t really pronounce certain words; it’s a constant battle and there are a lot of internalized struggled not talked about but I’m learning to talk more about this if anything.

I was at work today on Friday, February 2nd, and I felt so unusually tired from the constant eye contact and draining conversations — I could barely get my words out and I had to force my words with a lot of struggle. I am not too sure if my colleagues noticed this though. There’s no more shame in this though because I know that we are all different in our own, unique way and we each process the world differently.

Growing up, I had many tutors who attempted to help me but I apparently gave them a difficult time through my own complex behaviors. I remember my piano teacher who relentously contacted my mother because of my refusal to listen. I was not one of those well-behaved children, and to think about it, I only acted out because I was frustrated. I was frustrated because I wanted to do more, but my auditory processing and delayed development prevented me from doing so.

As a result of being a frustrated child, I can remember the many meltdowns that resulted such as the many time outs like being stuck in the corner for hours. I remember my mother telling me to sit on the steps (behind our basement door) and I would not be allowed to have the lights on. I would sit there with tears in my eyes as my Mom held the basement door shut for about an hour until I ‘attempted’ to calm down. I never really calmed down though; this only made matters worse. As I grew up and emerged towards my teenage years, I began to shut down and I became quite rebellious. I basically had a mind of my own and my listening skills were not the greatest. I still had the occasional meltdowns but it was more so internalized — I remember having a meltdown in grade ten where I had a full on breakdown in the washroom and then a bunch of bullies walked into the washroom — They knew it was me crying and tried to get me to leave the washroom and I refused to do that. I ended up staying in the washroom until the end of the school day and those girls did not leave. I was so embarrassed. Nobody came to check up on me, but my name was announced repeatedly on the intercom. My high school years consisted of about two to three friends. I would go home to nothing because my mother was seeing a new guy which didn’t help with my own attachment and this only made those wounds a lot worse.

I used to be able to go to my mother for anything such as with my school work. In high school, I was not able to ask my Mom for that type of support, and I had to learn everything on my own. I barely talk about this but it’s needed especially as I navigate my own healing journey this year.

My meltdowns into adulthood are largely internalized because I’ve learned to high mask how I feel and to mimic other people’s body languages and even what they say.

When I was a child, I did not have many healthy coping mechanisms and I’m still learning these coping mechanisms as an adult today. This type of stuff takes time. I’ve had to learn how to regulate myself and on my own for many years. Whenever I made attempts to try to express my needs and wants to my mother, I was unable to express my needs and wants and literal gibberish just came out of my mouth. I’ve always been that child with the desire to want to communicate but nothing comes out but a stutter of jumbled words, and then people look at me in awe and wonder what she’s trying to say.

You see, I come across as rather normal, whatever normal is to you guys. Growing up around neurotypical people and being the only black sheep and different person in my family — It was incredibly difficult. I have always sensed that something was off about me. I remember showering once in my high school years and I was wondering why I was ‘doing this’ and ‘doing that’ while your average neurotypical would pick up the bar of soap or wash themselves the ‘normal’ way (again, I am not too sure what normal is because this is definitely not me). I cannot begin to explain properly that particular situation as I’m probably not making sense. I remember showering one day at sixteen years old and I would make odd/weird movements that did not appear to be normal.

It’s the struggles and challenges that are unseen that people do not see.

Never judge a book by its cover and I have been judged by past people whom I have encountered who have stated, “you are faking being autistic” when these people have proven to not know who I am and the struggles I go through daily.

The majority of folks in the autistic community self diagnose and high mask their autistic traits due to the fear of being judged, shamed, and looked at differently from other neurotypicals.

I used to do this. I may high mask still but everyone at my workplace(s) and my close friends (including my mother) know about my autistic traits. I own this part of myself as the traits play a prevalent part in my life over the ridiculous and petty Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis; I refuse to look at this diagnosis though as it is irrelevant.

In my personal opinion, psychiatrists’ must do thorough assessments and research upon diagnosing and labeling someone with a personality disorder. Upon living with myself and through shared examples, it is quite obvious that I am autistic which does not necessarily need to be proven to anyone when I know myself more than anyone else.

When I asked one of my friends in real life (now, my favorite person) if I was neurotypical, her response was, “you are definitely not neurotypical. You are neurodivergent.” My favorite person asked me why I asked this. I responded that I was not too sure why and how I’ve always noticed myself being different from others — It’s the way I speak, do things, and observe the world — I’m my own person especially on my team amongst the four of us. I know this for a fact that my team can sense some type of neurodivergence, and I’ve already shared this with them. Sharing my own autistic traits has made my own work environment(s) easier and more accommodating.

There was a girl I worked with about a year and a half ago. I’ll nickname her M. But she asked me once if I was autistic and I didn’t respond but I was actively researching it. I’ve been actively researching Central Auditory Processing Disorder all of my life and I know I do have it, diagnosis or not.

A diagnosis does not form a person. If you know you are autistic, you are likely autistic. There’s no questioning this otherwise, and nobody really knows our internal battles and struggles more than ourselves.

Upon sharing this for my own personal reasons, I’ve felt better as if there is a huge weight off my shoulders and I am able to obtain the necessary accommodations as needed to excel in my job. Going forward, I will be disclosing my autism and disability status to future employers because it is needed.

Transparency and vulnerability is beautiful. Why should I have to hide who I am?

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Growth & Resilience

If life were easy, we would not be living life correctly. Life is about constant growth & overcoming challenges and obstacles along the way.