Disclaimer: This post is entirely subjective to my own opinions, and own hallmarks of the spectrum of ASD. I do not claim to be a Doctor or medical professional. Rather, this post is just my opinion, not intended as a guide or advisory. I cannot take responsibility for anything that happens as a result of this post being misconstrueded or misused.
For all of my posts relating to ASD, and my personal observations of my version of Aspergers Sydrome, I’ve tried to strike a positive spin on the issues discussed. I’ve had to, really; I would b a very different indurvidual otherwise. Similarly, I’m in opposition to negative perceptions of ASD; here are a group of often marginalised indurviduals, who have so much potential. Why leave them behind, lost in broken systems?
I was a teenager when diagnosed; I still am. At times I’ve become really frustrated, though; often through lack of understanding, I have sometimes felt sidelined. (This is now the rarity-being open about my social impairment has worked better and in my favour, in educational instutions.)
Back in 2015, it was not a surprise to me to have a diagnosis on paper. I think the main characteristic attributed to me was ‘eccentric’ whilst at secondary school; but really, that was just my Aspergers manifesting itself. But socially, it has had a big impact.
Making friends is really hard for me. The simple reason as to why is that I cannot always identify what you’re trying to tell me by your face; humans are more nuanced than just the basic happy vs sad notion. This is really frustrating; I make mistakes, yet did and still feel lonely at the best of times.
Communication is also a problem. Taking the face facet I just mentioned-that mollifies conversation at times. I can chat easily to people considered ‘adults’-lecturers, parents, editors. But to chat to my classmates easily? I find that really difficult. I’m probably more likely to say something perceived as inappropriate, stammer, apologise, and repeat the same pattern.
People can also be really confusing-are you being sarcastic, genuine? Why did you decide to ignore me? What gave you permission to mock my dress sense? Why do you care so much about popularity? Why are teasing me? Is that supposed to be funny?
See. These I’ll never be able to answer.
I also rarely get to talk about my special interests; it is always boys/cosmetics/hair/homework. With Trump and Brexit, there was a little bit of political discussion-yet with levels of apathy, it seemed a little bit pointless. I want to talk about Jacqueline Kennedy, World War Two history, the prime minister, Feminism, poetry, Rock opera, blogging, etc. This hasn’t happened yet.
If I can control it, that’s fine.
As somebody who wishes to be a Journalist, potentially specialising in music, this is probably a bit of a contradiction; I could sit through a Rock concert, yet become very agitated at something as mundane as cutlery clunking against a china worktop. (Ugh!) Some noise can overwhelm my brain; I’m still working on a way to define it-the sharp, shocking, strange noises that overwhelm me.
This is frustrating in a classroom-all the voices floating around!
But in transit round places; I was called out, told “it’s not that noisy”, when travelling round with other students getting to lessons. (I had my hands clamped to my ears, just wanting to block it all out.) It’s overwhelming to me. To be honest, at times I’ve wanted to cry. I can’t work as well, my speech becomes tangled in my throat, and I stim. (For bullies, this has been a signal, almost a target.)
I love the sound that voices make in musics; whether it’s Phil Collins singing Mamma, Freddie Mercury singing Tear It Up, or Anastacia singing I Dreamed Of You, these voices calm my brain. (Even Carly Simon-All I Want Is You.) They are different to the sudden noises that shock my brain.
How to define stimming?
Whenever under stress-a change in stimuli, environment, etc-it is a movement carried out repeatedly, aiming at being something calming. For me, I slap the outside of my legs. A I can also tap. (Rocking back and forth on the toes seems to be the main one.)
I wish I had a different response to changes in stimuli, environment, etc; I get stared at, people suggesting that what I’m doing is wrong facially.
Stimming is alright to music; I’ve since learnt that any beat seemingly covers it up. It looks like you’re tapping along to the beat. Although I feel that this should not have to be the case.
Here comes the positive spin.
Of all the people I have met with either Autism or Aspergers Sydrome, none of them have been dull or boring. These are the larger-than-life characters that I wish to mirror. They don’t fit into a mold. They are colourful characters intent on being their own indurvidual.
Without Aspergers Sydrome, I highly doubt that I would have been able to achieve any of the things that I have. Prior to the age of eighteen, I’ve seen Queen and Adam Lambert in concert, interviewed Anastacia, built this little blog, scored a column with my local paper, met Brian May, reviewed albums prior to release, seen Lissie live in concert, spoken at Portcullis house, interviewed Jodi Picoult, and met Derren Brown.
It’s a message I wish to include in my novel; I identify as the ‘little proffesor’ that Hans Asperger identified. (Aspergers Sydrome is named after him.) In spite of the frustrations and restrictions, I am determined to overcome. And you’re going to watch me run.