30 Things I’ve learned since learning that I ‘have’ Asperger’s / autism

(To be clear, when I write words like “I ‘have'” and “people ‘with'”, I’m not trying to advocate or emphasize a person-first viewpoint.  Truthfully, I’m very much a proponent of identity-first language; I simply title my posts the way I do (and occasionally use those phrases in the text of the post) to make this blog and its posts more search-engine-friendly, in order to reach–and hopefully help–more people, because they’ll likely use person-first search strings.  OK, with that said, moving forward…)

The last seven-plus months have been a complete game-changer for me (and at least a few others that I know of).  The learning curve has been steep at times, but all the neat positive and encouraging resources, authors, blogs, social media accounts, social media groups, and internet forums out there have all lubricated the uphill climb for me, making for a much easier ascent through the learning process.

The learning process is forever-ongoing–or at least, I think it should be; hardly anything is finite and while it may be tempting for me to say “OK, that’s cool, I think I know enough now”, it’s important to resist the temptation to shut my brain off or even slow it down, because the world and its knowledge base will indeed keep moving, and if I’m not engaged, this continued movement would occur without me.  I would have paused myself in motion, falling behind.

Earlier this week, I sat back and took stock, with a wide-angle view.  I looked back at how my life has done a complete plot-twist, and the interesting effects that have come about as a result.  The newness of it all is in transition-limbo between a shell-shock from the newness, and a comfortable familiarity, gradually progressing in a forward motion from the former to the latter.

As I reflected upon this, I jotted down a few miscellaneous thoughts (because I like making lists and stuff 😉 )…

  1. I am stronger than I thought.
  2. I am weaker than I thought.
  3. I’m not defective.
  4. I’m not anal-retentive.
  5. I’m not unreasonable.
  6. There’s a whole new culture and lexicon to be explored.  Ableism, identity, invisible disability, neurodiversity, identity-first, accessibility, support systems, different-not-less, etc…
  7. I’m not alone; there are indeed people out there like me.  There are lots of us!
  8. I’m not weird, just different.  And it’s OK.
  9. I don’t need fixing–but I could always use support.
  10. The world is not built for me.  Their yardstick is not my yardstick.
  11. Permission to give myself permission.
  12. Social exhaustion/fatigue is a Thing.  It’s not simply “me being a wuss”.  It’s real.  And it’s OK, too.
  13. I’m indeed a spoonie.  It took me a long time to realize this.
  14. I might be new to the game, but I have a surprising amount to say.  Heh 🙂
  15. I fit the “male phenotype” of Asperger’s/autism.
  16. Freedom/liberation for the first time.
  17. Explanation–a real one–for the first time.
  18. Reframing my life, through a new lens, one that makes everything much clearer.
  19. Not judging myself, having self-compassion.  Healing and recovery from past pain.
  20. Invisible disability.
  21. I’m more–and less–special and unique than I thought.  And that’s OK, too.
  22. Life has been crueler to me than I previously realized.  So it wasn’t “just me” after all…
  23. Eye contact is not necessary, not a requirement in order to be honest.
  24. The rest of the world is sociopathic and screwed up.  Driven by emotion, lacking in logic.
  25. The rest of the world makes little sense to me.
  26. Autism isn’t anything NEAR what I thought it was.  I had been looking from the “outside”-in (or so I thought…)
  27. It’s OK that I need to be alone.  I’ll “people” (used as a verb) again when I’m ready.  (#27.5 – turns out I’m not the only one who uses “people” as a verb, and within the same context as I do!)
  28. My need to recharge is legit.
  29. I don’t like most people.  But I actually like a lot more people now that I’ve connected with others on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum!!
  30. The “mental jukebox” is a Thing!!  This week’s internal/mental “playlist” consisted of Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”, Abakus’s “A Whole New Way of Looking At The Day”, Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”, REM’s “Diminished”, and a few others. 🙂

Cheers and love ❤

***

(Image Credit: Cyril Rolando)

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20 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on …i am my own experience… and commented:
    After a cognitively exhausting two weeks, coming across this has been a relief. I am “my own worst enemy” and even though many people around me say that I need to not be so hard on myself, I recognise that I really need to work on the “being kinder to myself” bit and the “explaining myself in a Spoonie context” bit. 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, reframing is definitely an ongoing process for me. Some things I could never understand now make sense. And a lot of things look a lot different now that my lens has been corrected.

    And in particular, your first two items on the list are so important. I realize I’ve been incredibly strong, resilient, and resourceful just to get through life. At the same time, though, I’ve not accurately seen the full scope of my weaknesses. I’ve been harmed often because I’m really, really, really “gullible”. My only real defense today is that I’ve learned to rely on others to tell me the truth about someone’s motives. And I distrust every encounter if I don’t have someone with me to do that discernment. I’ve glossed over and hidden all the times people have taken advantage of me. And while I knew I relied on my wife a lot, I was not aware just how much I lean on her to keep my environment stable, to manage stressful situations, and to do the things that are really, really hard for me to do. So yes, I’m both stronger and weaker than I thought I was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you! Your ability to develop a thought in writing really impresses me 😊❤️💜

      Like

  3. Wow. So relatable! I was a late diagnosed Aspie. Only diagnosed last year (aged 46!) I’m now 47 and still trying to come to terms with the “new me” . it’s odd, I feel both the same as I always have AND totally different SIMULTANEOUSLY ! I’m a walking mental paradox. I’m loving reading your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG cool!! So nice to meet you! Yep, we’re so similar–I’m just shy of 40, self-diagnosed March 2016, formally diagnosed in November 😊💞. I’m so happy you’re enjoying the blog! 😁🤗💕. Please feel free to make yourself at home 😉. I’m totally digging yours, too!! 🙌🏼🌟🌟

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on The Aging Aspie and commented:
    Found this on a fellow aspie’s blog. Much more eloquent than I could have put it so am reblogging it here. Please go check out her blog as it’s a goldmine of information !

    Liked by 1 person

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