This week’s story comes from Peter in Sweden. Peter runs his own painting business and after 46 years he feels like his life has gone full circle.
I felt I was a little different than others. I often wondered how people perceive me and what I say. I wanted it to be true and authentic but it often came out autistic and a little funny, irrelevant, or just different, like my mind was elsewhere. I often struggled with communication and found myself to be a bit tense and when talking to someone I don´t know or an office clerk just realizing I don´t really know what to say and the true meaning of it, just drifting off not being present. I think I tried too hard to be correct but also fear of what they might think. Defensive but not in the general meaning but more Asperger meaning from all the traps it has. Blind mindedness that causes confusion and suspicion leading to a negative down spiral and even holding a grudge. It is exhausting, no wonder I was tired.
When I think back I realise why I just didn’t seem as alert and happy or just stable and calm like many others. And when I was happy I wondered why others aren’t. It wasn’t unusual that I had a fit, was frustrated and aggravated. Anxiety was a result of all the turns. After two relationships failed with me smashing my guitar to pieces I went to a psychologist in 2008. It turned out I have ADD and Asperger and I think maybe OCD as well. But it wasn’t all my fault. The problem is that some people just don’t understand and the people I know understand me, they get the idea and don’t judge me.
After the diagnosis I just wanted to shake it off and ignore it but I couldn’t argue against it, couldn’t free myself and I realise I was still waking up in the morning preparing for social situations and how to cope. Imitation and camouflage making small adjustments to fit in and not zone out except when I was alone. It’s tiring not being able to be yourself socially.
It’s not until now that I realise that I really have Asperger for real. It’s been a long road of trial and error and trying to get around it. The best way is to relax and be present. I’ve learned so many lessons that my life feels kind of normal of course with the AS aspects. When I just thought “to hell with all this” it kind of fell into place.