In 2013 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at 40 years of age. I wasn’t surprised that I had Asperger’s Syndrome, in fact I already knew before my assessment results were completed, because I always feel different to everyone else in the world. There are times when I feel like an alien to this planet, and always feel out of place and socially awkward.
The reasoning behind my video was a way to shout out to the world that I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I wanted this video to help myself overcome my childhood’s trauma of being bullied at school from both the teachers / lecturers and pupils.
I was always called the lazy one, the day-dreamer, the worrier, the person who doesn’t listen and the person who struggles with math; these are just a few examples. I also felt the need to get my message across to other people with Asperger’s Syndrome and to tell them that everything is alright. Take myself as an example, I am happy and living my life to the full as possible and trying to make a difference in the world.
For many years I felt different to other people. I found that my colleagues at work really irritated me. I have had so many jobs in the past that I’ve lost count of how many jobs that I have had. I’ve been sacked a number of times from telling the managers that they were rubbish. Obviously they were not happy, but I was, telling them where to stick their job felt liberating, only to then worry about getting another job.
I always wanted to shut the world out, it is nosey, confusing, tiring and literally boring. I never can understand people’s jokes neither can I do small talk. How are you? My answer would be…why do you want to know? What benefit would you get if I told you that I was having a bad day? Would you hug me?…Because I wouldn’t be able to feel the love from you. Neither would I think it was a genuine hug, because I can’t feel your empathy. Would you then talk to me about your own mundane problems? I’ve learned just to reply, I’m fine thanks. But am I? I’m not sure? What is fine anyway?
I did some research online about Asperger’s Syndrome and I was surprised that my assessment online scored very high. Reading the questions at the time made me realise that I actually have Asperger’s Syndrome. I made an appointment with my doctor and then I was referred to an Asperger’s specialist.
As soon as I found out that I had Asperger’s Syndrome I felt different. I was confused, scared, worried, happy, excited and re-born all at the same time. What was I feeling? I felt that I lied to myself for 40 years by making up a make believe world, and suddenly my bubble had burst and now I’m in a world that I do not recognise.
I questioned everything about myself, do I feel happy? What does that feel like? Do I recognise people’s facial expressions? No, ok, I thought I could, but actually I can’t. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream to the world that I have Asperger’s Syndrome and then I thought, no keep it quiet. These emotions flooded my brain. I found myself staring at people, and attempting to will myself to understand what were they feeling. But I couldn’t.
My mind felt like it was ready to explode. I started to look at my own body language. Actually, I discovered, I do prefer to sit on my own on the bus, I do like to sit in a quiet area in a coffee shop, I don’t like people standing behind me, loud noises makes me jump and annoyed, my sense of smell is strong, why can I smell something quicker than anyone else? My eyes hurt in bright lights. I feel awkward in social situations, do I hug people? Do I shake their hands? I stare at people to try and pick up on all their cues, but how can I? I don’t recognise people facial expressions, so I just guess and hope for the best, and if I make a mistake, I laugh it off, pretend to be silly or make an excuse that I am tired.
There is another reason why I made a video. After researching online about people’s stories about Asperger’s Syndrome I did feel concerned. I believe that there is a lot of negativity surrounding Asperger’s Syndrome. But in my view it should be a positive one.
People with Asperger’s Syndrome are unique, in some way’s super-human. For example, I can hear someone annoyingly eating a packet of crisps a long way away from me. I personally now feel confident, positive and ready to conquer the world in a good way. To all my Asperger’s friends, please keep positive, live your life the way that you want to live it, and be yourself….LOVE yourself.
By Stevan Eveleigh
After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome.
The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.