Yo freaks

I was diagnosed with Asperger's around ten years ago, at the age of forty.  Up until then I'd only heard occasional references to it, yet they all matched up with me so well that I felt I needed to find out for sure, so got a referral from my G.P.

And it was a revelation to me, discovering that I'm not just a bundle of random weirdness, but actually a very consistent specimen of the Asperger's species.

Partly why I've joined this forum is a phrase that's kept ringing in my head "Normal people scare me".  For a long time I didn't know what it referred to, and yet, it really struck a chord.  Not that I'm outwardly "scared", but certainly there's an underlying nervousness whenever I have to interact with anyone other than family or very close friends.  And looking the phrase up, yes, I discover it's the name of a documentary film all about the Autistic spectrum.

And partly I'm here to confide in you, my fellow freaks.  Because, underneath my calm, good-natured exterior I'm really quite angry and about the way I've been treated all my life.  Constantly excluded from the normal social world; so often finding myself hated by people despite doing nothing (that I'm aware of) to trigger it; finding it very hard to fit into work environments.  About the latter, it's almost comical the way that some companies preach a very accommodating ethic, yet they can be so unyielding when presented with Asperger's type behaviour.  I work in IT, and a previous large company I worked for had a procedure where new software requirements were discussed round a table with the in-house clients.  I'd just joined this software development team, so I was a newbie to the platform in question.  My two fellow developers had years of experience.  And yet I found myself being reprimanded for not "saying stuff" in the meetings.  Reprimanded!!!  How can that happen???  This newbie, trying his best to understand the requirements, which he hasn't seen until sitting there in the meeting, and trying to digest what the experienced developers are saying about how the requirements can be accommodated into the existing system.  All this uses every modicum of my conscious focus.  And yet I'm expected to say stuff as well???  To make useful remarks???  It even got to the stage where I found myself threatened with disciplinary action over it - which prompted my resignation.  (And that really sucks, considering that my computer programming abilities were second to none).

Anyone might say "Why not just tell them you have Asperger's syndrome?"  Well it's never been as simple as that.  In fact, it's a lose-lose situation.  If I tell them I have Asperger's then, yes, they'll be obliged to make special allowances.  But the payback is that my personality, as seen by others, is lost.  Everything I do will be scrutinised as "is that because he has Asperger's syndrome?"  Going from being seen as just a weird person, I'm instead perceived as disabled ...a cripple.  Little short of a "retard".

And that's also the strange irony with Asperger's... socially I am a "retard" (although not so much now, as I've learnt to adapt).  But other skills I have are significantly superior to the average person's.  I.e. my design skills; my spatial awareness; my ability to conceptualise 3-d structures in my mind, my ability to construct algorithms.  Sorry, I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet, just to convey the fact that although I have deficiencies in some ways, I also have other abilities that more than compensate.

It angers me that I (we) have been forced to operate in a world that doesn't understand us, doesn't appreciate us, and to have to bend ourselves to fit into it.  We shouldn't be seen as misfits.  We should be proud members of our own Asperger's species.  Because that's really what it amounts to - we are different to them, but very consistent among ourselves.

I certainly wouldn't want to be any other way.  To be "normal" would mean being a completely different person, and losing the things about myself which I regards as most precious.  What I'd like is to see Asperger's being more widely recognised and appreciated.  Not as a disability, but instead as a respectable "differentness".

Parents Reply
  • You've come to the place you are in life, with the understanding you have, as a result of so many factors.  But, of course, you're going to take issue with that. 

    What makes you think I’d take issue with that? I couldn’t agree more or have said it any better myself. 

    You don’t have to see being supported by the state as a good thing. You are free to see the fact that somebody is giving you money to live as a bad thing, that’s your choice. I happen to be grateful for it and I don’t see how my gratitude makes other people weak? Other people don’t come into it. I’m grateful, that’s all I’m saying because without that money, my life would be a lot more difficult and it’s difficult as it is, living with autism and ADHD. And if people want to worry about not being able to pay their bills, let them. I learned that whether I worried or not my bills still didn’t get paid so why worry? I’m in a better position to do something about not being able to pay my bills when I’m thinking clear and my mind isn’t full of worry. Worry used to devestate my life in so many ways so I learned how not to do it and now it seems a ridiculous thing to do, to me. 

    The only places of refuge I ever had or have, are a shop doorway, if I’m lucky, and my mind. 

    I come across as someone who has all the answers TO YOU ~ other people will all see me in their own way as well. I can’t control how everybody sees me. If people get tired and irritated by me, I do have a good solution for them ~ don’t communicate or have anything to do with me. Some do some don’t. I like to get on with all people and I love talking to people who have different views from me, how else do I learn? But I can’t control other people who have all these judgements etc going on which says people can only speak and be liked if they say what they want to hear. 

    I’m constantly seeking out people who know more than me, which is everybody, because none of us can know more than we know and if somebody knows something we don’t know then they know more than us and I want to share their knowledge and wisdom etc. Everyone is our teacher, when you know you’re the student. Life to me isn’t a game I win or loose but an experience in which I can learn from everybody, if my mind is open to it and not full of rules and judgements and blaming. I love unconditionally because who am I to not love unconditionally? 

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