Autism…that word I’ve probably heard more than any other by now…it dominates everything in my life, it always has but it won’t always will…A word I had no understanding of as a teenager, I would grow to hate it and wouldn’t use it for so long…until my acceptance and letting go of my past allowed me to grow, to learn about it and soon enough, learn more about myself as well.
Autism… Aspergers Syndrome…having an understanding of what you have…it’s hard enough to have others be able to understand it but just how much of it do you understand yourself? Do you get why you are how you are? Those feelings when you are in the outside world, interacting with others…do you understand just why even having a conversation with someone else can be quite harder for you than it does for others?
Whether you have Aspergers, mild Autism or High Autism, whatever you want to call it, one of the things that we have in common is that we have Autism in some shape or form, the level of such can be a difference but do you understand what it is that you actually have? I for one have spent so many years trying to get other people to have a bit more understanding of it that I one day wondered how much of it I myself actually knew about it?
Today, I feel like I have a somewhat understanding of how I tick, what I like and what to avoid because I could have a meltdown because of it etc Yet many years ago, I didn’t have a damn clue at all! I was a helpless sheep, all alone and angry with the world for what I had. A lack of understanding about my Aspergers held me back in everything but not just because I didn’t get it, no one else around me did either…my doctors just gave me a book to read and they depressed me because they made me feel like I was 5. No one in my family had a clue about it and I felt like a burden at times because I needed so much attention growing up and had so many tests, only to be told that I was pretty much useless…great for that confidence boost!
For a long time, I would act and quite often do things that I probably be doing, like getting into trouble with other people by doing stupid actions that annoyed others but I wouldn’t always understand that my actions came with consequences and some of those included being isolated from former friends and being mocked for being weird but I just couldn’t get why people were turning against me because I didn’t see anything that I was doing to be wrong! Whether it was purely just because I didn’t get it or because I somewhat didn’t care, this lasted for a good few years and it got me bullied because of my stupidity, to the point that one day…I was able to understand that I wasn’t liked and it was mostly my own fault…I say that because It didn’t start off with me doing stupid stuff, my early childhood was good. I had friends and was always happy, it was around the age of 9 that things went south for me.
Ages 9 and 10 can be around the ages you really begin to question things in life as you slowly head towards being a teenager, you slightly begin to have more responsibilities and stop acting less like a child a little bit and for me, I was about to start Secondary School and those 3 years before High School changed my life…for the worst! I entered an excited child wanting to do his best, only to leave hating life and having no hope in humanity at all! Bit dramatic but that’s what happened, I lost all my friends, people used me because I couldn’t tell if people were being honest or not and had lots of help in lessons when I felt I could do it by myself! Why was I such a mess? For what I had and felt like I couldn’t understand why I was, how I was and it infuriated me to find out the truth but this was a couple of years before I even knew that I was Autistic!
After my diagnosis, I pretended that it didn’t exist, that I didn’t have Autism and I was dragged to see a doctor so she could talk to me about it but I ignored everything that she said to me, my parents weren’t happy about it but I felt embarrassed that I even had Aspergers because people would tell me that my prospects were short and it was no wonder I struggled to make friends! Nothing in my life gave me the confidence to get past my diagnosis and turn things around…I couldn’t get over my anger for many years but when I turned 16…a new start was gifted to me with a place on a college course, doing Media Studies…not what I really wanted to do but I desperately needed to get away from the town I was from or who knows what would have happened to me, I needed to get away and be in control of my own destiny. I needed to get away because I hated being comforted and wrapped in bubble wrap, told that things I wanted to do would be too dangerous!
The next decade saw me grow as a person, my confidence shot through the roof as I finished College, made lifelong friends, met my future wife and even was able to go to University where I would graduate with a degree that I was aiming for. I was proud but still felt like I struggled with dealing with my Aspergers but not all the time like I used to do and I came across this one day in 2014 when I had to be reminded that I had Aspergers in the first place…I had forgotten all about it and I was surprised that I could even forget something like that in the first place. This is for me but if I don’t constantly think about what I have, it doesn’t seem to bother me as much as it once did, when everyone was fussing over it, asking questions and telling me what I wouldn’t be able to accomplish (All which I have now by the way!) If left alone, I can do alright…I know my limits because I was allowed to find out what they were, my likes and dislikes…what makes me odd and what makes people like me…I spent over 10 years learning them all and today, they help me live my life as best as I can and I’m happy!
Everyone is different so Aspergers and Autism will affect everyone differently so I don’t know how much of an understanding you will have of what you have but when I wasn’t so sure, I always felt unhappy because I wanted to be accepted, to not be shunned and mocked all the time…it took a long time to get past it but for me, it was time well spent because I eventually got that grass is greener bit that everyone keeps going on with! Leaving my hometown was the best decision I have ever made and it’s because I was finally allowed to come out of the bubble people placed me in and make mistakes but learn from them so I could better myself, I still do stupid stuff! Yet I learn from those mistakes and grow!
I understand that my Aspergers Syndrome will never go away, it will always be with me and I don’t mind that because it makes me who I am and I like me, I like that I can be a little weird sometimes…I make mistakes…we all do but I feel like I can appreciate the chance to grow and develop more than many others because I’ve been protected from errors for so long, that I was desperate to do something bad…just so I could learn from it…I understand that what I have doesn’t stop me from doing anything at all, if I want to try something then I can and if I do bad, keep trying until you get it right…Aspergers hasn’t stopped me before and it won’t stop me ever…because I won’t allow it to!