Member Interview: Journey and Aspergers
Today we are talking to our member and Listener, Journey #1389, about living with Aspergers.
How did your aspergers diagnosis come about?
I don't know exactly, since nobody can remember what happened before the age of 4. I learnt about it myself at the age of 11 because my mother told me about it. Didn't have a clue what it was and how I got it in the first place.
I don't remember being in hospital at that age for such a diagnosis, and to me, it seemed a bit prejudiced based on a very small selection of behaviours which I engaged in.
Apparently they were stereotypical, but 3 year old me was far different to 24 year old me and this is leading me down a path of questioning if I actually have it, and if it even exists.
Do you generally share your diagnosis with others that you meet? How do the people that know react to your diagnosis?
Not straight away, but if they get into talking about mental illness, I'll throw it in there sometimes.
What misconceptions do you feel that others may have about Aspergers?
One that was harmful to me was not being allowed independence. I feel my natural development was stifled in the name of a label and I've virtually got no life skills because school treated me like I wasn't intelligent and wouldn't let me develop them.
They always had a metaphorical foam room around me, and they wouldn't let me out. I think the premise of diagnosis is harmful in young children and therefore it should be voluntary for older kids and adults.
If they want to seek a diagnosis, they should be able to. But the misconceptions I bring up are not about everyday people, bun rather the "professionals" and those who care for people with the condition.
There's a view that all Aspies have something in common, which they don't, and that's one reason I question the premise of Aspergers Syndrome itself.
What is the most difficult part about living with aspergers?
That people baby you and prevent you from developing into an adult.
Overparenting is dangerous. Read 3 for more on this one.
What does your recovery process and self-care look like?
Once given a degree of independence, having college over with, I was able to focus on my own projects and develop into the true me which everyone around me prevented me from developing into.
Over time I gained more assertiveness, which made me able to tolerate people better and gain a stronger control of my environment as I focus on long term goals like a laser.
My recovery process is a whole lot of introspection to figure out who I really am and what society stole from me, and that, I'm getting on top of it now after a good 5 years.
What advice do you have for someone who is taking care of, or loves someone, with Aspergers?
I couldn't give any solid advice because I don't know them apart from a very vague label. They could be anyone. I recommend they find methods which work for themselves individually, whatever those are, I don't know.
Thank you for your time. Do you have any words of advice for those that live with aspergers?
Introspection. Figure out who you are truly, and try to figure out how your aspergers or autism diagnosis affects not just you, but the people who interact with you who have knowledge of these labels.
Would it be different if you didn't have the label? How would your parents, your teachers, your bosses etc. treat you if you didn't have an Aspergers diagnosis?
Decide which life is better, and make steps to improve your own standing. Give your life some meaning and set future goals to point yourself in a direction.
For me, it was developing my assertiveness which triggered the rest of changes in my personality, like a domino effect.
Thank you very much for doing this interview, Journey #1389.
Journey is a Listener and a member of House of Misfits mental health Discord.