I am excited to be able to share some big news! I am Aspergian – AKA an Aspie, or Aspergirl! That is to say I’ve been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)!
Why am I excited about this?
(I did not make this rage comic, but I had to share it!)
Writing as an Aspie
I feel like I can finally write about Asperger’s as someone with Asperger’s. Before I received the diagnosis, I had strong suspicions about having AS, but I didn’t know whether I had it or had something related or had nothing other than a few traits that were similar to AS! I actually wondered if I was just being a bit of a hypochondriac or making things up. Because of this, I didn’t want to write about it publically for fear of misrepresenting it or something. Also, the more I studied it over the last several months, the more I became aware of the fact that many people in the Aspie community have very strong and negative feelings towards people who self-diagnose, and I very much want to avoid bringing that wrath upon myself (I’ve seen other people become the objects of that anger, and that was enough for me).
Now, however, that I have seen a professional who specializes in the sort of diagnostic testing I needed and have gotten a formal diagnosis, I no longer have to question myself, and no one should have to wonder whether or not I truly have Asperger’s. I do. Case closed.
I’m excited, though, because I’ve been dying to write about Asperger’s for many months, now, and I have felt like I needed to wait. It has made it hard to blog at all because I sit down wanting to write but can’t get my mind off this subject. Anyone who reads my blog probably noticed the fact that I have hardly written at all lately, and this is partially why I’ve been so scarce. Partially. What I’ve said before about life being overwhelming and such was all true, as well, but this is the other half of the reason, you might say.
This Explains So Much!
The other reason I’m so excited is that this diagnosis explains so much about me, my life, my experiences, my relationships… It is such a relief to finally have some knowledge as to why things happened the way they did. I’ll give you one big example for now: school. I now understand so much more why I ended up dropping out of school. I’m not saying, “It’s all Asperger’s fault; I couldn’t help what happened!”
What happened, happened. I did the best I knew how to do, and my family did the best they knew how to do. What ended up happening was that, after years and years of hating school but getting good grades and knowing I was smart but having meltdowns just thinking about my schoolwork, I finally couldn’t make myself go any more, and I gave up and left school. I got my GED at 17. And I got huge amounts of grief from my family and friends about having done that. For so many years, all I’ve known is that I had/have depression. This is true. Even my current doctors agree that I have recurrent major depression. But it explained so little. I felt miserable, yes, but there was more to it than being depressed. What I was feeling those evenings before school, those mornings before school, went beyond the misery of depression. I started to wonder last year whether those times of bawling and having trouble breathing and feeling out of control and being only able to think “I can’t” over and over again – I started to wonder if those times were actually panic attacks. But having read about panic attacks, I realized that couldn’t be the explanation. So what were they? They were meltdowns. I had them then (as a teenager), and I’ve had them as an adult as well.
I don’t know if one has to be Aspergian to have a meltdown (I would think that’s not the case, actually), but I do know that they are something Aspies struggle with a lot. They are a big part of life. I think it probably has to do with our propensity to become emotionally or mentally overwhelmed or overstimulated by one (or more) of our senses. I may have to write more about meltdowns at a later date, but the point is I finally know what was going on with me at those times. I finally know I’m not just crazy. I’m not just the one person with depression who can’t seem to handle it and do things anyway. I understand why I couldn’t, at the time, make myself “just do it.”
Just knowing is a relief. It’s kind of a boost to my self-confidence, too. Actually, I’m quite proud of how well I did do in school, given my undiagnosed neurological difference. Seriously.
Asperger’s also explains some positive things. For instance, my logical mind probably comes from having Asperger’s, and it explains why I can spend hours upon hours gleefully researching something that interests me.
It just explains so much. So many parts of my life. It’s like it puts all kinds of seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces together, and my life experience finally makes sense. That’s why I’m excited!
Expect to hear more from me about Asperger’s, now that I finally feel free to write about it. Maybe once I get some of it out of my system I’ll be able to get back to blogging about other things, too. If you’re interested in some more reading, I would recommend the Wikipedia Article and this blog post on The Asperger Café. I’m really hoping maybe the people close to me will take a bit of an interest in this thing that is, as it turns out, a big part of my brain and my life. So yeah! That’s it for now!