Diagnosis Story 14: Autism? Me?! Never!

This week’s story is another anonymous contribution:
“I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to stay anonymous due to the fact that my workplace isn’t ready to find out. And I think they’d better never find out.”

PicsArt_05-08-06.34.17.jpg
I enjoy nature, arts and literature. I also like butterflies (see my painting above). They are like some Aspies, very sensitive and unstable, but soft and pretty in disguise.

Anonymous Diagnosis Story: From Larva to Beautiful Butterfly

“I knew you were different when you read 52 words at the age of 4″, my dad, after I told him about my suspicion.

To begin with, I was a very sensitive being. Always. In early childhood, during school, during university. Whenever too many people in the same room talked, or the sun was shining or the temperature rose or dropped, or I had to attend any family celebration, my mood went down hill. From nervous to anxious to overstrained to bored to excited to overjoyed in less than half an hour. Life felt like a roller coaster. Nobody ever told me why I couldn’t hold friendships very long, why I laughed at inappropriate times, why I didn’t stop acting childish, but at the same time taking so much time for my special interests. Why I loved smells, and sounds so much. Why I giggled about a squirrel passing by, leaving everybody around me embarrassed. Why I read books for hours, without taking any breaks at all (“you need to drink some water, or at least go outside for just 5 minutes”, my mum, after finding me studying the whole day). My thoughts and questions about the world annoyed the people around me. I didn’t bother me too much. But the feeling of being completely different from those beloved around me made me feel excluded. Only in my interests I found shelter and joy. It seemed like nobody ever listened closely to my words, at times I stopped explaining myself as it led to more misunderstandings. I was told “your different, your special, now stop acting, get along with it”. And I did. 21 years I tried.

It was just a month ago, after the birth of my first child and a broken relationship that I found out I might have Aspergers. After some serious depression, a few meltdowns of my childhood coming to memory, comparing my old photos to my child, I realized there might be something I needed to know. It was a feeling in my gut telling me to search for the truth.

Autism videos have been suggested in my YouTube channel for years, but I never closely looked at them. Two diagnosed colleagues have already told me to see a psychologist, as they saw similarities, I had refused. “Autism? Me?! Never!” Was my response. I thought “I’m not that intelligent or THAT odd”. How wrong I was. I was truly in denial.
My opinion changed as I saw a video of Aspergers from the Inside in my YouTube suggestions.

I didn’t know the term “Aspergers” so I sat down and started watching videos, reading books and reflecting the new gained wisdom. In fact I only clicked on the video because I liked the sound of the word “aspergers” and Paul seemed pleasant.

My prejudices about autism vanished quickly. My picture of a boy banging his head against a wall crying uncontrollably (a serious case of autism) was replaced by a stunning view on the complexity of the spectrum. That’s why they call it “spectrum”, because no one of us is like the other.

I highly recommend reading experience reports of other Aspies to get a closer look at how people experience their differences. Finding stories of women feeling like me gave me the bravery to claim myself “an Aspie”. My story isn’t over yet. But the progress is coming its way.

Please let nobody ever tell you that you’re stupid, odd, a weirdo, clumsy, over-sensitive or too complicated. You’re wonderful as you are! You were born this way. You are a living shining gem, reflecting it’s light even in the shadows of life. You make the world richer, more colourful. You have the power to transform your struggles into strengths.

Thanks to Paul, for this blog and his work, and thanks to all parents, friends and Aspies themselves. You are doing hard work, you are wonderful!

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