' Melissa's 'Story
Hi, I'm going to write this anonymously . I don't want to say a lot about myself but i know two Aspie people who have committed suicide through AS related depression and i too would like something to happen so if this site helps well great.
I've always known i have Aspergers, or so it seems. I must have been an unusual child , but then what is usual? Me and my sister have always got along fine.
Anyway something must have made alarm bells ring with my mum and dad who are very cool people. Maybe the fact that my cousin has autism and is now living in supported care made them a bit more aware .
I do remember meeting up with other Autistic kids for activities and stuff. We weren't many even though we lived in a big city. School was fine. It was obvious pretty early on that i had strong artistic talent , that went down well with the teachers and the other kids seemed to admire that . I had a few 'encounters' over the years but I just put my head down and blot out people I don't want around.
I pulled out of the AS group when i was about 13. By then i had some on line AS friends and i didn't want to hang about with the little kids and my mum any more.
An Arts degree was a fairly obvious line to take. That was a good move too as , same with work, there's some strange characters[genuine and otherwise] in the Arts world so being seen as a touch eccentric was and is an advantage!
I didn't want the college to know i had an AS diagnosis but my folks snuk in behind my back and informed them. Maybe that was good as they [college]were fairly cool about the times i got stressed through work deadlines and perfection issues.
So here i am, 1st class degree, straight into a job as a graphic designer in a small outfit and living quite independently and happily thank you.
Not sure about these. I think i have had it easy when i look over the people i was talking to on line in my teens. It helps a lot having a strong talent and being employable as i am. Also i don't seem to suffer as much as the guys with the social stuff.I have a good friend from College that i keep in touch with and we support each other. Likewise my sister.
I don't tell other people i have Aspergers. I made the mistake of doing that a few times and got sick of the homilies ..aren't we all on the Autistic spectrum ? and.. I feel like that some days ,what makes you different. ?
Well yes we are all on the autistic spectrum but believe me if you have strong As characteristics you know it.
The way I look at it is most people go into training when they're young kids. Years of playing, pretending, observing and with the occasional slap learning the hard way about how the world works , how being around people works. What to do, how to say it.
It doesn't take too long before its second nature, thoroughly ingrained and you can roll along with others without too much thought.
But how about if... for all the play and teaching you never learned to recognise the social patterns and behaviour. Every day was confusing and every day you seemed to be saying or doing the wrong things. Believe me you too would clam up or get angry and then when you hit teens and no one wants to know you then its easy to become the loner , the wierdo.
That brings its own pain and I can understand depression following on. Believe me there's a deal of pain involved in feeling uncomfortable in social situations , getting stressed about perfection and having to pretend not to mind when people stuff up your routine. Wondering if you have blown it again with something you have blurted out.
I heard a radio programme this year. They were exploring ,through brain scans, the level and source of the pain of social rejection and it was in the same area of the brain as physical pain. Which kinda makes sense because if you are not going to get along in social groups life is going to be pretty isolated and downright dangerous for your health and survival.
This is sounding grim, lets get back to the point
1] Walking ..Although I'm in a fairly large city getting out is easy so i like to head for the hills, often alone, just for the peace and quiet, at weekends.
2] Jazz, my passion and great lots of other people's passion.
I go every week , and more, to local clubs and sessions. There are familiar faces and a few i rate as friends now and the bonus is..you get to sit back and listen to the music and not have to keep on talking.
I've tried festivals but the sheer number of bodies freaks me out so sessions is good.
3] People, Just because you don't always communicate too well or seem to get it wrong doesn't mean that you want to be a loner. I know that's a big part of the pain that can lead to depression. I didn't know the two guys who died too well but from what others said they had become very cut off . One was on the streets and involved with drugs when he died. That's sad, no family backup. My mum and dad have always been there for me.
So i suppose that brings me to drugs and alchohol. Don't go there . I tried it in the first year , mostly to fit in .I just became and felt wierd.It did horrible things to my head. Sometimes i do a slow glass of wine to be sociable but that's it .Its a cheap night ! i turn down the rounds and don't offer to buy them.
4] Partners. i've had two significant ones. One at College, one since.
Even moved in with the last one but now i'm single and aiming to stay that way for a while, well maybe!
I think i've figured out what went wrong .I'm a sponge, given the chance. I might make it look like life's rolling along easy but meeting new people, new situations is all at a price. I can do it but its a strain, i often get stewed up inside. If i can get others to do the talking, the organising, the relating then fine i will just sit back and go along with the ride. I now appreciate that i cann't let the men [or anyone else!]in my life do that . I have to get out there and just meet the challenges. Aspergers is a hidden disability but then lots of other people have areas of weakness and problems. Life's a bitch in many different ways ,As is just another. The only plea i would make is more tolerance for the 'loner'.
5] Find out what suits you.
Work is fine. I like having other people around but, and this was a problem with my partners, after a day of fitting in with other people , i sometimes just cann't wait to get home , shut the door put some music on, cook and shut off from the world.!
That's me written out..no more ideas.
Take care, travel well.