Hello, hello, welcome to my blog again.
In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I may write a bit about my experiences with Aspergers, and I’ve decided that this is the time to do it. (It’s nothing to do with me procrastinating during revision for my exams I can assure you…wink wink.)
On the subject of exams, WHY DO THEY WANT TO TORTURE ME. I have a total of 6 exams this term, and they are spread out over a 4 week period. I’m so sick of work, I actually don’t care what grades I get now, I just want it to be over. In preparation for my russian exam I crammed about 800 useless words the night before, only to find out that the exam paper was exactly the same as last year’s and that if I had been a little less lazy, I would have done a few past papers in preparation – including that exact one. I would have passed with flying colours…how depressing.
ANYWAY. Lets get to it.
I’m not really sure where to start, I’ll just see what my brain comes up with.
So, I am a girl with diagnosed aspergers. 20 years of age. Born 3 months prematurely (not sure if that’s got anything to do with it).
Because aspergers presents itself so differently in females than in males, my parents had absolutely no idea that I was ‘different’ until fairly recently, and to be honest they were probably a little ignorant in that area.
As a baby I was very quiet and smiley – a miracle to my parents compared to the noise and tantrum explosion of my older sister. I lived abroad from the ages of 1-6, and although I seemed to be very contempt with family and friends, I would also be known in preschool as the ‘crybaby’. Every time a new activity or game was suggested, I would burst into tears as the idea of not knowing what to do was very stressful for me. I do not think my parents ever thought much of it.
On moving back to England and settling into year one, school was an even more tumultuous occasion for me, as I would often get very homesick and suffer from too much attachment to my mother. I did, however, make friends and engage with others at play time.
When I was 9, I moved house and transferred to a different school. I particularly remember the time when I went on a visit day there and was shown around by some quite b*tchy girls. (Yes, these girls were b*tchy at the age of 9.) They obviously wanted to discuss some stupid friendship group thing together and asked me for a moment’s privacy. I, instead of stepping to one side like any normal person, wandered off around the vast school grounds and they had to send a search party to look for me.
From the ages of 9 to 12, I was very happy at this school, although often described as reserved and shy. What stressed me out the most was compulsory school activities, such as swimming galas and sports days. Although I was very sporty and quite talented at many of these things, the idea of competing in such a high pressure environment scared me immensely and my parents had to bribe me with chocolate bars to prevent me from pulling out.
Troubling times struck me at the age of 13, when I moved to the higher end of the school (only for 13 – 18 year olds). Although all my friends moved with me, I found that over the summer holidays everyone had matured and changed personality, no longer taking much interest in me. I began to notice that I wasn’t very skilled at social interactions and this made me an easy target to ignore and leave out, often without realising. It is now obvious to me that a lot of my peers found me irritating, as I would freak out on everyone if we were slightly late to class or if I did not now what was going on. With the status of being invisible also came social anxiety and low mood. Compulsory school activities once again took its toll, this time in the form of army camp which my parents forced me to attend even after days of begging and crying. There, my anxiety sky rocketed as I was continually shouted at for what appeared to be no reason, and was given no warning or timetable as to when we would start and end the long days or where we would be going. I was in constant confusion and a frightened state, and got injured when someone accidentally knocked me in the head with their rifle. My unhappy texts to my mother still provide her with much amusement at dinner parties when she acts out how ‘over dramatic’ I was sounding. Even now when she is aware of my diagnosis, its obvious that neither parent is understanding of the difficulties that I have faced and the difficulties that I am facing presently.
I’ve always disliked trying on new clothes, as they never feel tight enough or just ‘right’. Even as a 15/16 year old I would still kick off tantrums if I was out shopping with my mum. The same used to happen, and (still causes extreme discomfort/anger) when getting my hair cut or trying on new glasses. The benefit is that even though I desperately want to buy new trendy clothes and look less like a hobo, the discomfort prevents me from spending excessive money on shopping.
Having become so excluded by my friends, I asked to move schools after my GCSE’s. This was a very brave thing for me to do and I coped very well, creating the appearance of confident self in this new setting. I began to take long journeys of public transport by myself, something which I had never needed or had the confidence to do, and became less anxious when approaching people who I didn’t know. Walking into the common room was still excruciatingly difficult at first, as there were very few new people in the sixth form and everyone seemed to hang out in separate cliques. However within the first 4 weeks I had found 6 more ‘nerdy’ girls who were more welcoming and accepting and I finally felt like I had found true friends. Although they all did maths and science based subjects, (compared to my languages and social sciences), we still had a lot in common in terms of our personality and I once again felt that I could be myself without having to try to fit in with the norm.
Last year I took a gap year as I was uncertain about what to study at university or even if I wanted to go. In the end I wish that I had never taken one, as this was the year in which numerous psychological and family problems arose, making my life a living nightmare. That’s another story though..
Now finishing my first year of university, I would say that my aspergers is hardly noticeable – to other people and to myself. As I find more situations tricky due to my mental health, aspergers seems to be the least of my concerns. It doesn’t stop me from going out to noisy and busy places, I have no aversion to change, and I am extremely good at small talk. I can sometimes appear slightly socially awkward if one of my friends says something specific to herself and I am not sure quite how to react, but on telling her my diagnosis, she was extremely surprised.
I was diagnosed in October 2016 following a meeting with a psychiatrist. At first I was very uncomfortable with this label. I didn’t think it applied to me and I still don’t really to this day. But now I look back at my life and I notice that things were a struggle at times, and that I have just learnt how to cope and how to mask things to the extent to which I no longer notice that I am doing so.
When I tell people that I have aspergers, which is extremely rare for me to do, I am worried that they will create this image in their head that is so different to who I actually am: like an emotionless robot who has no understanding of social situations or people. I am not a female version of Sheldon Cooper. I am a normal looking, normal behaving young adult who is sociable and creative and just as capable, perhaps more, than the average person.
Aspergers is not a disability to me, as, like I said, I don’t find many things difficult that other aspies would find difficult.
It more proves as a tool and a benefit, as it has given me good musical talent and a way of thinking which is unique from neurotypical ways.
There it is! A quick summary of my aspie life. Well done if you made it through. I personally don’t see how reading about someone else’s average life could be interesting to you, but it was nice to write about anyway.
If you have any questions or want me to write about anything else related or non related, do feel free to comment!