I want to address the difference between “in spite of” and “because of”. One of the greatest equalizers that spans across all barriers of humanity is that we individually cannot choose when we are born and when we die. I was born a sensitive and socially honest soul into a superficial and insincere social environment.
If I was born in a world where people constantly strive for self-improvement, valued relationships rather than objects, and looked for acceptance over status, I think I would have been just fine. The kind who prefers the former bullied me to think I’m crazy but I don’t think I am. So if I take this perspective, I did succeed in spite of these kinds of environments.
I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people.
Now that I’m 21, everyone seems to ask my age group what they want to do when they graduate and we hold to high regards young and ambitious individuals who say things like “I want to go to Med school” or I want to start a fortune 500.” I would like financial stability and family in my life but ultimately I want to help people, particularly those with mental health issues. Our passion is where the greatest work comes from. In this sense, I have succeeded BECAUSE of Aspergers because the genuine honesty on how I feel drives my very being and the work I love to do.
Aspergers has caused a fair amount social anxiety, a byproduct of an innate sensitivity I was born with. When I walk in a room full of people, I take in every little detail with equal importance. I can’t filter out what I need to in order to concentrate. Food is another issue. What we eat shouldn’t correlate with emotions but if I eat certain textures, I get angry as well as produce physiological symptoms such as overheating. In general pharmaceuticals can dull these insensitivities.
To me social skills were a set of skills that I had to learn in a mechanical fashion rather than something that came naturally. I can feel people’s emotions in a way I cannot explain but this process is completely different from the process it takes for me to interact with people. When someone is speaking to me, I look at their lips rather than into their eyes so I can more easily filter out all the additional incoming stimuli that may deter me from what they are saying. In addition, I analyze the variance and severity in their tone as well as their body language.
There is this saying “If you meet one person with Aspergers, you met one person with Aspergers.” The essence of this quote is the fact that all kinds of personalities have Aspergers. The cool thing about being on the Autistic spectrum is that everybody on it is different in both their strengths and weaknesses. So while my blog holds true for how I am, that does no necessarily mean every individual with high functioning Autism is like me.
By Alix Generous