How Pikachu Helped Me Accept Being Autistic

This may come as a shock (see what I did there?) to anyone who knows me, but I absolutely love Pokemon. I have multiple games for multiple consoles. I go to GameStop (or I did, before their partnership with autism speaks. I’m hoping they listen to me and sever ties. Anyway) for promotions and events. I have the original and Johto pokeraps memorized. I have over a dozen pokemon t-shirts. You see, I love Pokemon and ESPECIALLY Pikachu. So yes, Pokemon is a big and important part of my life.

 

Image is of a brunette female with short hair and red glasses. She is wearing a Pikachu hat, a pink Pikachu t-shirt, and has two stuffed Pikachus in front of her.

Image is of a brunette female with short hair and red glasses. She is wearing a Pikachu hat, a pink Pikachu t-shirt, and has two stuffed Pikachus in front of her.

Pikachu also helped me accept and define being autistic. You see, in the first episode of the first season of the anime, Ash is given a Pokemon by Professor Oak. It isn’t the Pokemon he wanted and was, well, less than desirable. In many ways, this is how parents feel when they have a disabled child. That their child is broken. That their child is less than desirable. That they didn’t get what they signed up for.

But do you know what happened when Ash found the Pokemon that was given to him? He accepted him. He took him as he was. He decided that “This is the Pokemon I was given, and now we’re going to be partners and take on the world.”

Pokemon are supposed to go in their Pokeballs. It’s just how it works. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t write the storyline. But Pikachu is stubborn and Pikachu refused. So Ash finally accepted Pikachu as he was, and he let Pikachu walk by his side. They became friends. And twenty years later, they still are. Despite the fact that Ash still hasn’t caught all the pokemon and STILL isn’t a Pokemon master… but that’s another story, I guess.

A ten year old boy was able to accept his Pikachu that didn’t fit the conventional mold. A ten year old boy realized that Pikachu had very real access needs – he didn’t like being confined to a ball, he was stubborn at times, and he wasn’t always the best behaved Pokemon. But Pikachu did what Pikachu wants.

I am autistic. I also have an alphabet soup of brain cooties. I don’t perceive the world like a neurotypical person does. In a world that was created for people that are, well, quite frankly, not me, I struggle. I struggle to fit in and I struggle to find my groove. I live in a world where I function differently just because of how my brain is wired. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me. Some of my brain cooties are because sucky things that shouldn’t have happened happened, and my brain did what it could to protect itself at the time. Some are because of genetics. And some are just because my brain does what it wants, and not what I necessarily want it to do.

But like Pikachu, I wasn’t anyone’s first choice. Like Pikachu, I was unconventional.  I had my own way of doing things and no matter how hard you tried to force me, I couldn’t do it any other way. But Pikachu taught me that that’s okay. That I can still make a large group of friends. That I can still find someone who will stand at my side. That I can still have people who will be my companions.

And that is why Pokemon isn’t merely a kid’s show. Pikachu helped me accept myself.

Starving for Control

There’s many things in life I cannot control. When I was 17, a lot of things that were out of my control happened. My private Christian school closed down, mere weeks before the start of the new school year. My health wasn’t all that great. I had poor coping skills then, so I lapsed back into cutting and my eating disorder. It started at an even younger age, but it started getting bad then. I wasn’t happy, although I tried my hardest to act like I was. It was terrible.

You’d never guess I was hiding fresh cuts and living with depression..

You’d never know, never guess, never dream that I was suffering from depression. It wasn’t my personality – I was the bright, bubbly girl who laughed a lot, seemed loved and well-adjusted, and seemed to have many friends. But at the same time, I was crippled with depression. I was starving for control, as a way to control my out of control life, out of control emotions, as a way to try and steer the roller coaster we call life. It seemed like a good idea, at the time, to control my weight. To control my eating. To control everything I could within my power, even if it wasn’t beneficial, even if it wasn’t happy. For by sabotaging myself like that, at least wen everything fell apart it was my fault and somehow, it’s easier to swallow the pill of everything sucking if I can blame myself versus being perfectly innocent.

I find myself still in the state these days. To the point where my eating is to the point where I don’t even want to get weighed. It feels like this:

So literally, I start starving for control. Even though it would make more sense to control my eating sensibly,
 it’s not that simple. Body image is a huge problem for me, not eating serves as a form of self injury when I’m in a state where I can’t relapse into cutting, and it’s just one feeble way I could control. I could control my video games. I could control my Sims. I could control my pokemon.

I have a headache. Why are you dragging me into this?

I feel like I’m trapped. That this has become an addiction, and what I was controlling now controls me. What I struggle to hard to keep control of just sends me further into despair, anger, rage, pain, angst. I just feel so helpless at how badly out of control things have gotten, and I just want to reign in control again…