Autism is a gift for me, said 49-year-old actor Wentworth Miller to his diagnostic as an adult 4

Autism is a gift for me, said 49-year-old actor Wentworth Miller to his diagnostic as an adult

“Like everyone else, life in quarantine took things from me. But in the quiet/isolation, I found unexpected gifts,” wrote on Sunday on his Instagram, a famous actor from the series Prison Break. Like many others, the 49-year-old Wentworth Miller suspected for a while that he sees the world a “bit differently”. Just as Michael Scofield in the tv series. Always with the same expression – a slight smile and at most slightly frowned brow while seeking inside or using his ability to see details, geometry, where others only see a corridor or logs of an unfinished building… To that, he feels for the others, he is kind, refuses to hurt anyone… Did you think that he plays the “hidden autistic person” very well? Now we know why. Miller is autistic.

 

It was a shock but not a surprise

 

In his status, the actor wrote that he found time and courage to confirm his self-diagnosis thanks to quarantine. “It was a long, flawed process in need of updating. IMO. I’m a middle-aged man. Not a 5-year-old. And (it’s a “both/and”) I recognize access to a diagnosis is a privilege that many do not enjoy. Let’s just say it was a shock. But not a surprise.”

 

It was a shock but not a surprise

 

In his status, the actor wrote that he found time and courage to confirm his self-diagnosis thanks to quarantine. “It was a long, flawed process in need of updating. IMO. I’m a middle-aged man. Not a 5-year-old. And (it’s a “both/and”) I recognize access to a diagnosis is a privilege that many do not enjoy. Let’s just say it was a shock. But not a surprise.”

 

Needless to say, that during the coronavirus year, many celebrities came out. And it is logical. When you cannot work and meet your friends, you have time for yourself. And you may start looking into your suspicion that your brain works differently from other neurotypical people. It takes courage to step outside your comfort zone; that’s why many among the famous keep quiet about their diagnosis. Up until recently, one of these people was the billionaire and founder of Space X Elon Musk.

 

Admit the truth

 

There is a now-familiar cultural narrative (in which I’ve participated) that goes, “Public figure shares A, B and C publicly, dedicates platform to D, E, and F.” Good for them. /srs And (it’s a “both/and”) that’s not necessarily what’s going to be here. I don’t know enough about autism. (There’s a lot to know.) Right now, my work looks like evolving my understanding. Re-examining 5 decades of lived experience thru a new lens. That will take time.” Miller writes. He is sincere. And he is not among the people who wish to use the coming out to present themselves as a part of some minority they do not yet understand. Or he does not want to present himself as a hero for standing up publicly. (As we must admit, Elon Musk did it.) “Meanwhile, I don’t want to run the risk of suddenly being a loud, ill-informed voice in the room. The autistic community (this I know) has historically been talked over. Spoken for. I don’t wish to do additional harm. Only to raise my hand, say “I am here. Have been (w/o realizing it).”

 

Even though Miller does not belong to the known self-advocates, it is important that he wrote this status. People, who know a little about autism, need to know that autistic people can be “normal”, not weird, work with others in this world. Even though many things can be more challenging than others, they may need to be held time to time. That also mentioned Miller in his status: “Oh – I also want to say to many (many) people who consciously or unconsciously gave me extra bit of grace + space over the years, allowed me to move thru the world in a way that made sense to me whether or not it made sense to them.”

 

Autistic people are not weird

 

Autism cannot be seen, which is why it needs to be talked about. Whether it is a celebrity that got to know they are autistic at later age (The oldest is sir Anthony Hopkins who found out in his 70 and publicly announced it in 2017.) or someone’s film misstep (Did you find the courage to watch Sia’s film Music?). it is beautiful to see, that people start to think about other peoples’ comfort. The topic of autism appears more and more in popular film culture (among the best known are The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Community, Walking Dead, IT Crowd, The Bridge, Atypical…), but in so0me it is slightly garbled. Autistic people usually stand here as “cute weirdos”.

 

As a weirdo is known, for example, the genius film director Tim Burton, who has never been formally diagnosed, feels autistic. He found out thanks to his ex-wife Helena Bonham Carter.

 

Another of the Hollywood weirdos is the already mentioned Anthony Hopkins, who has won an Oscar this year for his role in the film The Father. He, however did not accept the statue because he fell asleep during the online ceremony. Even though autistic people worldwide cheer that an autistic person finally won the statue, Hopkins tries not to connect his success to his diagnosis. And he should not. The neurotypical could feel that he did not win the statue for his skill but for being autistic. You know, there are quotes for prices: awarded bust be women, dark-skinned people, immigrants to the USA… Although for a good reason, nobody takes these winners seriously these days. And that is why we are glad that Hopkins was awarded as a good actor and not “the best actor among autistic people”. And there are many! And probably, even more, we do not know about (yet).

 

I am what I am, and I do what I do

 

“My philosophy is: it’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am, and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier,” says Hopkins. In other words, it is not necessary to advocate yourself publicly and spread your ideas to the world. And Wentworth Miller agrees. So why did he feel the need to update his Instagram status?

 

He had another coming out to do. Millions of female fans dream about this man with a mysterious gaze; however, he came out gay in 2013. This statement came out in connection to Russia’s anti-homosexual laws, which made him very angry. Last year he added that he does not want to play heterosexual men anymore. “Michael no more. If you are fans of the series and you hoped for another series, I understand it is a disappointment. I’m sorry. But if you are angry that you fell in love with a fictitious heterosexual, it’s your problem.” In this context, he has mentioned that because of condemning homosexuality as an illness or a bad things he tried to commit suicide several times, for the first time when he was 15. in this light – being on the autistic spectrum – he has gone through misunderstandings thanks to this as well, we may be glad, that he survived the attempts.

Instagram is the best way to mediate your ideas to people and show them what they did not see before. To the public and yourself. As we have already mentioned, Miller himself does not wish to become a self-advocate at the moment. However, he felt that autism is an essential part of who he is. “If anyone’s interested in delving deeper into autism + neurodiversity, I’ll point you toward the numerous individuals sharing thoughtful + inspiring context on Instagram, TikTok… Unpacking terminology. Adding nuance. Fighting stigma. These creators (some quite young) speak to the relevant issues more knowledgeably/fluently than I can. (They’ve been schooling me as well.) That’s the extent of what I’m inclined to share atm.”

 

Personal experience is more than the opinion of a professional

 

From his long status, it is evident that he knows more than the public and maybe even more than the professionals because of the direct experience, even though he has known about autism for about a year. His process of diagnostics is similar to that of the other adults, who have shared their experience with ATYP magazine of “becoming autistic” as adults. It is irony and relief that many adults feel. Nobody told them, nobody diagnosed them, they had to fight through life on their own, without support or understanding, often with insults, that they are evil and weird, useless and not understanding… The actor concludes this with words of thanks to these people, who helped him to orient himself in the neurotypical world and those, who have made different choices towards him, that they have revealed who they truly are.

 

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