Growing up Autistic in a convent school

Content warning: Religious trauma, ableism, child emotional abuse

“God doesn’t bless you.”

“You must have done something bad, that’s why God punished you (with this disability).”

“Prince charming wouldn’t want you.”

These are just some things teachers have said to me when I was a child.

I was diagnosed with selective mutism as a child. I didn’t speak in school. People thought I was “dumb”. Or that I didn’t speak just to get attention. (When really, I was trying to avoid attention.)

During recess every day, my teacher would send me to the chapel to pray for healing. She gave me a prayer printed on a laminated card and told me to kneel down and pray to the Virgin Mary statue.

I wasn’t catholic. (My family were protestant christians.) But she didn’t care.

I did everything I could to be “good” so that God would heal me. I tried so hard to be a “good christian girl”. But I still wasn’t healed. I thought that meant I was an inherently bad person.

I became an atheist when I was older. But it still took me many years after that to get over the belief that I was “inherently bad”. Religious trauma runs deep.

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