Hello, Dale the Aspie again.
I thought it might be helpful to those dealing with a recent diagnosis of Aspergers, whether it is official, or whether someone in your life has suggested it. So here we go:
You may have found your way on to this page and are dealing with a recent diagnosis, or maybe someone has just sent you this link who suspects you may have it. I’m not going to help you discover whether the diagnosis is right, but I will hopefully help you to feel at peace, and know perhaps the most important truth about Aspergers you’ll ever hear.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU
Some people will try and tell you that you are broken in some way, but you’re not. Your brain is simply wired differently to others. Wonderfully, fantastically different.
You have the amazing privilege of seeing the world around you in a very different way to all the others around you. Do I sound patronising? Because I’m not. I’m telling you a truth I learned from roughly 15 years of living with my diagnosis.
You’ll have your fair share of struggles, sure. But other NTs (neuro-typicals – those without an Autistic condition) struggle in many of the ways you’ll excel. I’m sure Alli won’t mind me giving you an example: I deal with logical, calculable things much better than Alli does. I can handle abstract concepts and mathematical formulas much better than she, I think, whereas she excels in instinct, and common sense. Alli see’s the world in colour, I think. An artwork – a painting. I see it differently. I see mathematical structure, patterns. Some people will say seeing rules and patterns is a horrible way to see things. I say: they haven’t seen it, so they cannot tell.
But not all Aspie’s are the same. You may not excel with that and that’s ok. Each Aspie has his or her own wiring, much the same as we cannot expect all NTs to think and behave the same, not all Aspies are the same either. You may see the world yet differently to me.
Let’s go through a few ways Aspergers will affect your life.
How will I cope socially?
It’s true, many Aspies struggle socially. Heck, I know I certainly do. You may have trouble reading body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. You may confuse different emotions, and maybe even upset some people.
Does that mean I will struggle to make friends?
You may have been bullied at school for being different. Let me reassure you, it’s not always like that. Yes there are nasty people out there, but I have been blessed to know a lot of NT people who are supportive and helpful. Here’s something for the guy Aspies: you will get on better with female friends than male. It’s a well known trait, and it’s believed to be down to that women are much more forgiving of social errors, whereas men make a big deal and make jokes. This is certainly true of the women I’ve been around.
There are lots of people out there that will love you for who you are, that will understand you are different, not ill.
What about a girl/boyfriend?
It took me a long time to find Alli, but she is proof that there are a lot of people out there that will REALLY love you. I know of other Aspies who have someone romantically linked to them, even if they don’t fully know that themselves. At times it may feel to be an uphill struggle, but don’t lose hope. I would strongly suggest online dating.
I have a confession to make. I did online dating.
A lot of my friends don’t know this, but I tried online dating, and even though I met Alli in “real life” outside of online, I don’t regret it at all. I met a number of women on the site, and though I never ended up in a relationship with them, they taught me by “trial and error” how to approach dating, dates and women. If I hadn’t have done online dating, I doubt I would have asked Alli out in a proper fashion, and she may not have agreed to go on that important first date because I stumbled at the starting blocks. I’m sure Alli will disagree with me, but I’m right this time.
Boy am I gonna pay for that when she reads this.
So go ahead with online dating. If you want to date another Aspie, I think there are sites out there that cater for such. Remember: stay safe. Always tell your family and friends where you are going, what you are doing, and set a deadline for when you are home AND STICK TO THAT DEADLINE. If you are going to stay out late, phone or text them. I can’t stress this rule enough
Will I be able to hold down a job?
Yes, yes and double yes. Again, you may have to work harder than some others, but you can get a decent job and keep it. I know Aspies that are great at what they do, some even are excelling in their field. There is no “glass ceiling” for Aspies, and if anyone ever tells you there is, tell them they’re wrong.
What about University?
If you’re student age, I would strongly suggest you consider University if you have the grades. It can be done, and it might even help you to socialise with others and make friends. Join a union, hang out in the bar after your essay (or before, but I wouldn’t recommend it!)
If you don’t have the grades, don’t worry, you can still excel in your career. Find out what makes you unique as an Aspie. Your view of the world. Is it maths? Code? Colour? Sound? Find something with that at its core.
I think I may have mental health problems
It’s quite common for an Aspie to have mental health issues. I myself have a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalised Anxiety, and a self-diagnosis of depressive episodes. There is help available: talk to a Doctor, join a therapy group and you CAN manage it. I struggle sometimes, but it hasn’t beaten me yet.
I think that’s all I can think of for now, so I’ll end on a positive note:
YOU ARE NOT ILL
Asperger’s isn’t an illness. You are just another person, who is gloriously different to the others. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, and is worth celebrating. I’ve spoken a lot about the difficulties you may face, and let’s be realistic – there are difficulties. But there are so many positives. I know what mine are, yours may be different.
Embrace your wiring. It was no accident – you are made with that wiring.
DON’T LET ANYONE PUT YOU DOWN.