I’ve been asked a lot about what it’s like having a brother with autism. To be honest, I still don’t really know how to answer this question, it is one of such deep complexity that it is really difficult to know where it starts. In a nutshell, every single day is different, it has well and truly been a constant emotional and physical rollercoaster – from fighting for his diagnosis years ago, to now, where making sure he gets the support he needs at school is a constant battle.
Beyond anything, I know that my brother is my biggest blessing; everything I do is for him. He inspires me every single day and has taught me so much about the essence of life. He’s allowed me to lose all of the preconceived perceptions and judgements we, as human, have of people without even realising. I wrote this piece through his eyes; it is a reflection of things that he has said or experiences that he’s had.
Of course, it is infuriating to know that people can be so hurtful with their words and to see someone you care about going through a pain, which they don’t actually really understand themselves is heart-breaking. You feel helpless. I wanted to raise awareness of these judgements that we have of people as a society and deconstruct the stereotypes that we have subconsciously built. It is so important for me that people understand how hurtful and damaging ‘words’ can be, we collectively need to practise mindfulness in what we are saying, how we are communicating and the message this delivers to future generations.
I really didn’t want to post this video at all – the thought of it, literally terrified me! But after sitting on it for almost a year and having my mum ask me every single day to post it and telling me ‘playing small does not serve the world, there is nothing enlightened about shrinking’, I’ve accepted that, if this can change even one person’s perception of mental health than it far outweighs my fear of putting it out there.
I need the world to know that my brother cannot be defined by any of the labels that society has placed on him – he is a being of light with the purest heart of anyone I have ever known. He is so intelligent and has a deep love for life like nothing I have ever seen before. He will forever be my biggest motivation – this is for you Jeevan…