Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Autism Awareness Month or How I Learned to Cope and Accept My Asperger's Syndrome

Well, it's April. After we had our fun and laughs with our April Fools' Day pranks, what's next for us? The celebration of spring? The anticipation of warm weather to melt away that snow we're already getting sick of looking at? For me and for a lot of people, it's the start of a new month for a certain celebration. Autism Awareness Month.

It's the time of the month where people become aware of autism or autistic disorders. For me, this is important. Some of you may already know this, but for the ones who don't know I'm going to reveal it right now. I have Asperger's Syndrome. For those who don't know, Asperger's Syndrome is an autistic disorder that deals with a lot of the same symptoms as autism. But the main difference is that a person with Asperger's Syndrome tends to have a huge lack of social skills, completely unaware of facial features, a lack of common sense, limited and unusual hobbies and habits, sensitivity to sound and bright lights, the inability to have eye contact with other people, and awkwardness towards interactions with other people. As a kid, I had suffered greatly due to people constantly teasing me and everyday coming home from school crying. At the time, I wasn't aware of this condition due to my parents never telling me anything, yet I went to an autistic daycare from the ages of 3 to 6, I went through many therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, and taking antidepressants on and off over the years. I started taking Paxil when I was 10 years old so that I would stop crying and I would see a school counselor to bring up my already low self esteem. When I was 15, I heard the diagnosis for the first time and I went through a confusing state over the years. I never connected with people who had severe mental disorders and I never connected with people who were "normal". I felt like an outcast, like someone not from this world. Despite being surrounded by at least hundreds of people in your lifetime, you feel all alone.

There was a time in which I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted a cure to get rid of this condition so that I can be like "normal". I thought that people were born just to be cruel. For every nice person, I found 10 assholes who pushed around people who were not like them. If you weren't like them, you were the scum of the earth. It wasn't easy with me being a teacher's pet, having a weight problem, having hand-me-down clothes, or not liking the majority of the things that they liked, but having this condition, made things 10x harder. Elementary and middle school were difficult times in my life and high school was like stepping into the 7th circle of hell. It seemed that no one understood me.But then as time went on, I went to seminars about self acceptance and autism awareness classes and met with other people who had the same condition that I had. The self awareness classes helped with coping with my inner struggles. Sometimes I do have a few setbacks, but nothing like when I was younger. I had learned over time to let go of my past and look forward to whatever the future holds for me.

Every single shitty experience I went through was a life lesson that helped me grow up and become more aware of life's struggles and helped me mature. I learned about not following the same path that everyone else is going. Everyone is different and I have to set up my own path and my own life. I just have a few more stones to cross over. However, as of recently, my emotions hit me again. I'm not getting any younger and I have the same life that I've always had. I'm almost 27-years-old and I'm still living with my parents, I'm in $2,000 dollars in debt, I have no car, no savings, a temporary job, and many of my former college friends are starting to get careers, spouses, and even children. I've asked myself many times "What's wrong with me?" I've learned that people with Asperger's Syndrome may or may not be independent, depending on how severe the condition is. As of now, I feel like a big loser not capable of going anywhere but where I am now. Sure, my emotions will eventually go away and I'll be fine, but those feelings are still there. My condition is still there. I'm always going to have it. It's never going to go away. 

But there are some moments in which I use my condition to its advantage. I have an IQ of 140, I made a lot of friends online discussing about many topics that most people don't find interesting or even care about, and I'm doing a lot of things that is bettering myself as a person. I've learned to just be me and no one else. I feel that trying to copy other people just to get noticed is very sad and doesn't make you as a standout to the rest of society. Many people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome already know this. Sure it was a tough way to learn it, but we learned it better than anyone else. So remember, everyone. Take a little bit of time to remember the people who go through a type of autistic disorder. You may not know it, but they're all around you. They may seem different, but they're exactly the same.


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