Choose your color scheme:
Current navigation tree: JEBHP 12 >> Mental Health Department >> A Letter To My Past

Version Twelve

30 April 2022
To Authorities From My Past,

Some of you receiving this letter may not remember me; some may remember me very well. For all of you, you were an authority figure at some point in my life: a teacher, a coach, a work supervisor. I apologize in advance if I used an inappropriate method (e.g., a professional e-mail) to contact you, but I did the best I could with what I had to work with.

Earlier this month, I learned that I have autism. I had about seven months of preparation for learning that, from the time I started to explore it until the time I got a diagnosis, and I've spent quite some time thinking about what I would do if I learned this. One thing I decided quickly is that I would not be closeted about this; on the contrary, I really wanted people to know. Part of that was coming up with a list of people who I specifically wanted to tell, for one reason or another. This is a result of one of those lists.

In a way, I guess, this is a sort of apology. I think all of you reading this ran into situations with me that I didn't understand, and had experiences where I did or didn't do something that didn't fit your expectations. This is part of why. It's not an excuse; it's a reason. I'm not asking any of you to have retrospectively treated me differently, nor am I trying to say that anything I did wrong wasn't wrong. What I do know, and what I want you to know, is that I see things differently (and always have), and in ways I didn't know were different for, oh, about 45 years.

I know I've disappointed some, possibly all, of you at some points. Sometimes I didn't know how or why; sometimes I did but couldn't seem to fix it. I decided to blast this information like this because I don't want you to think that I was intentionally incompetent, or obstinate, or apathetic, or whatever it looked like to a neurotypical observer. I thought I was neurotypical for 45 years; learning I am not is an adjustment, and this is part of the adjusting.

If you want to disregard everything I've said here, that's fine. I don't want to force any of you to say or do anything. I wanted to give you the opportunity to know this about me, and possibly to think differently. If you wish to share this information with someone else I may have missed, feel free to do so; as I said before, I don't want to be closeted about this, because not knowing or understanding this about myself has certainly never helped me, and I don't imagine it has ever helped anyone else, either.


Jason Elliot Benda

Thank you for reading that. If you would like to read more about what I've been writing about my journey here, you should probably start here.