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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

My Autistic Memory Is Not the Same as Others

I used to think there was something wrong with me or my memory when other people would remember the same lived experience differently.

This happened with specific events, such as remembering different details and order of things that happened.

This happened on a sensory level, such as feeling completely different than I did in that moment.

This happened on a broader level, such as having a general impression of a period of time that was vastly different than mine.

As I got older, I began to understand that this is normal. We all take in and remember information differently.

"Memory" Acrylic Painting by Jackie Schuld

Furthermore, we all have our own lived experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and more (often referred to as “schema” in psychology) that we then filter that information through. So something that might feel deeply infuriating to one person does not bother another person at all.

When I learned I am autistic, this added another layer of understanding. My brain takes in more information than a neurotypical person, and I therefor think, feel, and sense differently than most people.

This helped explain why there were a lot of things I noticed growing up that others did not. It also explained why I felt differently or was impacted differently than others.

It used to drive me nuts when others recounted things differently than my own experience because I thought they were invalidating my own. But they weren’t. They were simply having a different experience. I now understand that and accept that.

So here’s the part I struggle with: when others do not accept my lived experience.

In an ideal world, we could all accept that we will have different experiences of the same event. We can see our own as valid and others as valid. We can get curious about others and enjoy the differences.

I deeply desire to be seen, heard, and understood.

To not be asked to contort into a neurotypical way of being.

I’d rather be seen as different than being deemed wrong or invalid.

It’s a basic human need to be seen and accepted.

What I’ve come to accept on this matter is that there will be some humans I can get to this level on (where we mutually accept our different experiences) and some that I will not.

It seems only fair, as I was once someone who also could not get to that level.


Thank you for reading. If you’d like to read more, sign up for my FUNletter. If you would like to explore your autistic identity with an autistic therapist, you can learn more about my therapy services here.


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