Whilst waiting for the train to get to my final Law Class, I was in a reflective mood. (It was cold, snowy, and my train was over half an hour late.) Anyway, I was in a whimsical mood: what is the ‘hard truth’ about having Aspergers? And what would I say to people newly aware that they are on spectrum?
A label does not mean a lot will change, because the issues are still there.
You will not suddenly wake up as neurotypical, the so called “normal”. (This is what I dreamt for a very long time; I’d wake up in a horrible black mood.) The issues/problems etc you have are still there; you just have a name for them now.
But it does mean that you can claim some academic support.
But that’s a completely different matter.
People will think you are deaf.
This may sound odd; let me explain. As soon as I said that I had Aspergers, a few people would raise their voice, and make their tone slow, making every letter crystal clear. “Helllooo , it is nice to meet you”. Funnily enough, I am not deaf; and I’m guessing you aren’t either. It’s patronising, so I tend to play them at their own game.
Once you have a diagnosis, it shows who your ‘real friends’ are.
Some people I knew really took issue with my diagnosis; apparently it was some big scary change that had utterly changed me! (When, no, I am still the same person.) Your real friends are the people who value you for everything you are. (Ugghh, how cringey!)
There are stereotypes along the way.
Blog post about this coming soon.
..And comments that are not worth the while.
There will be some people who make silly, occasionally bitchy, comments. But they aren’t worth your time.
From the bad things, the best things are made.
I had a bad time throughout education; this was largely due to my Aspergers manifesting itself, therefore not being understood. However, I think this was how some of the best things I have achieved happened; I got to set up a magazine, start a blog, attend an NCTJ course..
People like to ask questions.
There are a lot of questions along the way; being on spectrum is almost occasionally seen as a novelty. (My favourites were: “I’ve never met a female with Aspergers!” and “I didn’t know until you told me!”) There are a lot of questions along the way; answer with grace, and you’re pretty much alright.
By being yourself, you are smashing it. And you are doing so well.
It is hard to be someone on spectrum. But by just being, you are an doing so well.
You have to take care of yourself.
There are times when you have to say “enough is enough”-whether it’s a problem with misunderstandings, or you’re maybe being made fun of.
At the end of the day, the spectrum gives us so many useful skills-but that has yet to be fully realised.
Being on spectrum gives you some skills that make you stand out; utilise them to the best of your ability. They will allow you to achieve more than you may realise.