Beginning Something New

Doing anything new or different can be a huge challenge for those like me. I don’t handle change well. Surprises are even worse. I absolutely hate surprises. Not because they are bad, but because I just don’t know how to handle it. Starting something like a blog is a pretty big step into uncertainty and I have been panicking about ever since I made this decision.

One day is particularly clear in my mind. I had just gotten my domain and it had been freaking me out all day. I am very excited about this, don’t get me wrong, but I am also extremely scared. I guess, for once, I might not be that different from everyone else. That is the strangest thing in the world.

I was always the awkward kid who struggled to fit in. I wasn’t even one of the smart kids either. I didn’t know when I was little, but I am dyslectic. Also, even though I am diagnosed with Asperger’s, which is one of many types of autism spectrum disorder, I didn’t know that when I was little. That definitely did not make growing up any easier than it already is.

As you may already know, I was diagnosed at the age of 30. I knew about it years before, but knowing about it hadn’t made any difference. I realise it was most likely because I didn’t tell anyone and pretended not to know, but still, I thought me knowing might have been enough. I was officially diagnosed, and yeah, life definitely changed after that.

I used to think that, when people are diagnosed with something, those people would be able to get help and get better. Well, that illusion broke almost right away. I did receive some help, I guess, but it kinda wasn’t all that helpful. It doesn’t mean I’m not grateful, but I am still disappointed.

There is a lot of help for kids who have been diagnosed and their parents, but everyone always turned oddly quiet when they realised that I wasn’t asking for help with a child. I needed the help.

I needed help to figure out how to live like me, in this kind of world, a world that isn’t structured for people like me. It frustrated me to no end, that people seemed to think I either needed the same help as a 10 year old or no help at all. But we all grow up. We all become adults. Some of us are diagnosed as adults and we don’t necessarily need the same help a child does.

This blog was created as a consequence of all the disappointment, the helplessness and the loneliness I felt back then. Hell, I still feel it. You see, I lived a life in constant fear and pain for 30 years and had to deal with all those years. Being diagnosed wasn’t a magic cure for a messed up life, it was only the beginning. The beginning of what exactly, I still don’t know, but I hope it’s the beginning of something good.

Anyway, back to that day. When I got my domain, I needed to activate the plan over the phone. I am even more awkward on the phone than in real life, so I freaked out when I saw I had to wait for a call. I walked around in circles and tried to talk myself into a calm state – It didn’t work. Time kept ticking slowly forward, it felt like waiting for an eternity, even though it probably wasn’t that long.

I was, as I often do, criticizing myself and almost convinced myself that someone like me had no right to do what I wanted to do. I started thinking about quitting this before anyone found out, because why would I deserve happiness?

So, I got my phone to call the company, and talk to them before I convinced myself quitting was indeed the right choice. I sat there with my phone in my hand, literally about to call, when it started ringing. I stared in horror at the device in my hand, then swiped and answered the phone reluctantly. A sweet, female voice asked if she could question me about my knew domain and future website.

I am going to call her Lady J., because she was awesome. I doubt she knew how freaked out I was, but I was honestly not sure what to tell her when the phone call began. Then something happened. She asked me to explain what my site was about and, after a brief moment of hesitation, I started talking and I almost couldn’t stop myself.

I don’t know what happened, only that at that moment, I knew this was right. It was right, because this is what I want to do. I want to talk about life on the spectrum, growing up and figuring things out. I don’t ever want to run away again.

Lady J., if you ever read this, I hope you’ll know how much I appreciated our conversation – even though it was short, it meant a lot to me. It meant a lot, because I never talked to anyone about this dream of mine before and only a few moments on the phone made me realise just how real it can  be. I hope I would still have decided to write this blog in spite of being afraid, but we all need a little push sometimes.

Let’s Just Start with Who I Am

Connecting with others is beautiful and amazing, but for some us, it doesn’t come easy at all.

I never understood how to do that. I always wanted to, and I did everything I could think of to connect with someone – anyone – else. No surprise, but true connection doesn’t exist if you are not being yourself. I wasn’t.
I knew I wasn’t like everyone either, so that freaked me out and I struggled all my life. Then, it happened. A year ago, I had my burnout. I had finally succeeded in really breaking myself. It was either the end for me, or I had to get help. Somehow, I ended up getting help.

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, sprinkled with other things like depression, anxiety and OCD. It was less than fun, obviously, and nothing seemed to improve at first.

I had finished my master’s degree, but getting a job is still far from easy. I ended up moving back home, partly because I was broke and partly because everyday life was a worse than ever.

My mother’s house is very secluded in the countryside, which felt good at first.

In time, however, it wasn’t just the house that was secluded. I lost every remnant of my already eroding social network, my anxiety grew as I stayed at home, and my financial situation became worse than ever. All I had was debt, but I had a lot of it. Which really wasn’t too comforting.

Fast-forward to now. This is me and I am not unhappy. Sure, life is hard. I had expected some kind support when I chose to get diagnosed, but oddly enough, there wasn’t much help to get.

It feels an awful lot like everyone forgets that those of us who are born on the spectrum, we don’t stay kids forever like Peter Pan, even if some us would have liked to.

We grow and some us only get diagnosed late life. I was diagnosed at 30, and that doesn’t even feel that late in life for me. I still have a long life ahead of me, and I’m not looking for a miracle cure. I want to learn how live happily in a world that isn’t structured for those of us who are different.

I spent the last year of my life trying to put the broken pieces of myself back together and now I am at a point where I want to live.

Very much so. I do need to figure life out, and that is what this is all about. This blog is me figuring out life, while being on the spectrum. I am probably a bit messed up too and not just because I am on the spectrum.

Also, I have dyslexia, so I understand that writing a blog may not have been the best choice for me to communicate. Writing, however, just makes me feel calm and happy. It’s like all the noise in my head clears away.

This is my life the way I remember it. If you were ever curious about what it’s like to be different, or if you are looking for someone who might understand what it’s like to be different, then this is the right place for you.