Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Life Without A Label

Maria Gaskin has written Life Without A Label on her tumblr:

30th January 2011- The day my life changed forever, the day I was handed this completely insincere piece of paper that said “Maria has a diagnosis of Aspergers”. The day of relief, upset, worry, happiness, sadness, confusion, knowledge, learning…I could go on?

I had known for at least 2 years that I had Aspergers Syndrome. People often ask me how I knew and my answer is always “I just did”.

I had spent the first 20 years of my life growing up knowing I was different. Feeling out of place, doing things in a very different way to my peers. I came to the conclusion that it was probably just the rest of the world that was weird, and I was actually relatively normal. Oh the things we trick ourselves to believe….

I’d like to say my journey without a diagnosis was an easy one, but I’m not a liar. It was hard. Really really hard. I was just seen as a daydreaming, shy child with messy handwriting who wouldn’t talk to anyone but I could read a good book! A child that would feel her food before eating it and wouldn’t drink anything purple (I still to this day do not know why, but have come to learnt that purple drinks are actually quite nice!)
I can remember the feeling of utter horror every morning before school- Are we going to do Art today? Am I going to get mucky hands? Who is going to talk to me? Is the teacher going to shout? Will she shout at me!? Well why is she going to shout at me?? Oh… I better not do that then.

This was a ritual every morning, it may seem extreme to a normal “neurotypical” person but to me this was something that needed considerable thought each day.

As I’ve grown up in a neurotypical world, I have learnt neurotypical mannerisms, characteristics etc. I have learnt that actually sometimes it’s not nice to be so blunt about a person as it can hurt their feelings. I have learnt what is appropriate and what is not appropriate and when it is appropriate and so on. I have come to be quite a drama queen, and all of my emotions tend to be fairly over exaggerated, I think this is largely because emotions were always a bit of a mystery as a child and the only real experience I had of them was watching TV. Now anybody who watches it will know that everything is worst case scenario on TV therefore the actors play the emotions out as worst case scenario. Well as a child I did not know any different so I began to mirror these. I am nowhere near as bad as I was and I am slowly realizing that actually- every time I have an argument with someone I don’t have to stomp out of the room!!!

Since diagnosis, I have experienced every emotion you can imagine, some over exaggerated, some not.

It’s eternal answers but eternal imprisonment. Once you know you have an ASD, you cannot go back on that. You can’t erase it from your mind. That took a while to get used to.

You also can’t expect everyone to understand what is going through your head, because if you don’t understand it- how is anyone else supposed to?

Having Aspergers isn’t all bad though. There are benefits to be reaped from it but each of them are a personal journey which anyone with an ASD will embark on. My personal journey is my music, from when I was a kid all I’ve ever wanted to be is a rock star. And I don’t intend to stop that journey now.

Thanks for reading.

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