“What does it feel like to have Aspergers?”
It’s a question that I’ve been asked previously, and one that I’ve struggled to respond to. To have Aspergers is completely subjective, as it’s a condition that’s on a Spectrum; so what I may write in this post may differ from the experience of other people.
It feels isolating.
The amount of times just trying to talk to someone, but they have laughed at me, or made me feel uncomfortable, because of my lack of eye contact, flat voice, etc is something that I have lost count of. For years I did try to ‘fit in’ to whatever clique was dominating whatever school I was at; here’s a spoiler for you. It doesn’t work. I was the one who wanted to talk about politics, or to discuss Cold War history. That’s not what counts as ‘usual’ for a teenager, is it?
It can feel lonely.
It seems like being in your own world at times, locked away, unable to communicate at the best of times. I don’t want to just sit, talking about boys, hair or make up. There has got to be more to life than this!
It feels as if I am winning, because of a special interest.
Special interests can be subjective to everyone; mine usually revolved around History and people. But it helped with what I would study, because there were so many links that I could make with what I already knew, meaning that I could get to grips with the subject more easily. And that is a good feeling, because I would otherwise struggle with a lot of subjects.
It feels like an unfair fight.
Because so many people do not understand. And I don’t understand so many things, because of the idea that I should inhabit a neurotypical world, rather than my own. It’s not helpful, and I’ve had to deal with this a lot.
It feels like something gained, not something lost.
To be diagnosed with Aspergers was an end to a very long game; it was just so obvious to me that I was different from my classmates, therefore logically I thought of myself as being ‘on spectrum’. But knowledge gained is something good; I haven’t lost anything, and there’s nothing to loose.
It feels as if I am NOT broken.
Because anyone with Aspergers or Autism does not need to be repaired. They are not broken, or at fault. Be supportive in this sense; to be autistic or on spectrum is NOT a travesty, or something to be mocked.
It can feel scary.
Could we look at being on the spectrum as being something positive, just for once? Yes, it can be scary, because of places with a lot of people, unfiltered noise, etc. But there’s something powerful in it; we can specialise in a given topic, remember a lot of things, and create what we wish. This is something that is a strength, and maybe not something that somebody neurotypical has. Use it to your advantage. Hans Asperger described people on spectrum as being ‘Little professors’. And there should be no shame in that.
Thank you for listening,
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