Out of the shadows

Out of the shadows

Three years ago this October I learned something about myself that profoundly changed my life.  It came as a complete surprise, although looking back now I suppose it shouldn’t have.

I received a call from my daughters teacher, she told me that she’d like to set up a meeting with the school psychologist to evaluate my daughter for Asperger Syndrome.  I had heard of it before but I never associated my daughter with anything like that.  Sure, she’s quirky and sensitive and a bit shy and uncoordinated.  She got those traits from me and I don’t have Asperger’s…..?

A question was planted in my brain.   If I am interested in something I will learn everything I can about it, as fast as I can.  I have been accused of doing something until I exhaust it to death.  This new bit of information had me reading up a storm, the more I read the more it became obvious. My daughter was definitely going to be diagnosed with Asperger’s, I knew that for sure because by then I knew we both are soaking in it.

This left me with mixed feelings, as a mother, it’s hard to hear  someone tell you that your child isn’t perfect and it’s doubly hard on my heart to know that my daughter now knew that the school thought something was wrong with her.

The other part of me, the one that belongs solely to me was elated with relief and joy.  I cannot describe fully how I felt.   All my life I had lived in the shadows, trying to blend in with the crowd; into the background.  I couldn’t let anyone know my secret.  That I was different  from everyone.  So misunderstood.  Everyone seemed to know what to say, how to act, what to do.  I never knew what to say to anyone.

As child I liked to pretend that in reality I was an alien and that “my people” would be returning for me soon. I am blessed with a rich imagination and that helped somewhat but no matter where I went,  I was alone, even in a room full of people, I was alone.   The more people, the more isolated I felt.

I carried this around for many years.  It effected my entire life.  I was crippled inside, I believed my imperfections were weakness and entirely my fault.   I hated myself and many times I wanted to die.  I called myself “lame” and I believed it.  I got into drugs and alcohol, my life hit a downward spiral.  This continued for years….

Fate lent me a hand in giving me my two wonderful children.  They literally saved my life.  I had a reason to live, they needed me and they needed me to be strong for them.  I began the uphill climb.

I kept pushing myself out of my comfort zone, past my boundaries.  It hurts to grow and sometimes I would fall.  But I always got back up. Slowly and surely I became more.  It wasn’t enough though.  No matter how normal I looked on the outside. No matter how together I looked, I was still as alone as ever.

As silly as this sounds; a part of me was afraid that they’d say she wasn’t Aspergers after all, but they confirmed our suspicions.  My daughter was officially diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and  began to receive help.

 This last July I stumbled upon a website.  It is a forum for people with Aspergers to communicate with others who understand.

That is where Strawberryindigo was born.

I obsessed myself with that website and the other people there.  It was tonic for the soul to know others, many others felt the same or similar to me.  I finally felt understood by  those  who were misunderstood themselves. And I found that  sort can be the most understanding and accepting of all. I feel that people on the spectrum have unique talents and abilities.  I believe we Aspies are a special breed with a lot to share with the world, we just need a few of us to speak up for the rest.

This peer therapy was truly was shot in the arm.  My family started to notice a change happening in me.  I became happier, almost cheerful.  I poured out my heart to these strangers.  The more I did this the better I felt.  I began to use the blog feature there.  It’s very simple compared to this one but it is there I learned my salvation…

..Writing. I found that it brings out the best in me.  All my life I have kept all this in, I have kept myself hidden in the shadows.  My dream has always been to be a writer but I had this fear of others reading what I wrote and judging for it and maybe even hating me.  I have always felt that I had something to say but I’ve been afraid of saying it.  I’ve been afraid of everything!

Now, Here I am. I little shaken but intact and improving and getting stronger everyday.  I owe it to that website and those people.  I really believe that peer therapy works.  I also believe in the cause to help others with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger Syndrome.

Thanks for listening—Strawberryindigo.

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25 thoughts on “Out of the shadows

  1. Beautifully written and powerful. Your words could have been my own in places. Though your words are far more eloquently strung together than mine. It seems that we’ve walked a similar path in places. Love your work. So glad that you responded to my tweet. Cheers Mae

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  2. I have to echo what others before me have said: this is a very moving piece and a forthcoming one. Reading through this I have learned things that I didn’t know, and I am grateful that you have shared this…and above all, I really love your writing–the flow, the tone, and the content. It has such a natural rhythm I never would have thought that you had this. Again, many thanks for this insight.

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  3. being 12 years older than you had played such a big role in our relationship as sisters, first I played Mommy to you then I was a teenager where my world consisted of me, myself, and I and my issues. I left home and moved away…and not knowing how to communicated to each other the don’t talk and dont feel rules, well we all grew up with that disfunction..

    I didn’t know where to begin or how too. and I never had realized all the things you kept inside … and I am so amazed with your courage to put your self out there, what a wonderful journey . to heal and grow, thank you for teaching me, by your example of strength.and tenderness. I love you with all my heart and soul my dear sister. and your greatest gift to your daughter is the one you are doing now. to talk, getting your feelings all out on the table. just takes the power away. heals the heart. for her to know you understand xxo

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    • Hi Connie! I regret not being closer years ago, but I don’t think I was capable of that back then. I don’t have to tell you that I’m quite a different person now.
      I felt I needed to “out myself” so to speak, at this point in my journey. I am at a crossroads at this point, I’m throwing my fate to the winds to see what may be.
      The world is a scary place, but I am much stronger.
      Thank you for being the stable caring one in the family, which is not easy given what we were given. I’m lucky to have a sister such as you and twice as lucky to count you as friend too. LOVE, Nancy

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My sister found herself in a similar situation. Her son was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was about 12, about three years ago. She realised, like you, that she also has Aspergers. She understood her social awkwardness and has become more confident and her social skills have improved. Some years earlier she realised that her oldest daughter was dyslexic. Her husband is dyslexic but has earned a PhD. He is a great role model. But her daughter writes and reads well because my sister spent hours and hours and hours with her daughter engaging her in the joy of storytelling. Labels can be harmful, but identifying reasons for behaviours can be empowering.
    Congratulations on your strength! An inspiring story.

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  5. I am impressed by your courage and your willingness to share your personal journey. And, like the butterfly that you have pictured with your blog, I hope you will continue to spread your writing wings and blossom into beautiful color. Peace…:)

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  6. My first reaction was to tell you that Marshall University has a terrific program for Aspies…so if and when your kids ever consider college, this is a system that can take their quirks and help them succeed. Secondly, I also had to push myself beyond my comfort limits with my kids in order for them to have experiences I wish I had had as a kid….something as mundane as getting on a roller coaster (which I hate!) or walking into a small shop because something caught our attention in the window (this was the hardest!)….so consider that aspect pretty normal for a good parent!

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  7. Tender Nancy…you’re “one of my people,” as my wife says of her Asperger’s and autistic patients (children and their parents alike)…one of my people…. My little one and my older son, too…they are in step with everything you just described of yourself…and they have the same sparkling diagnosis. Relax…be You…you’re among family. 🙂

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  8. I am not the most observant person, yet I would never have guessed this; your writing is so fluid and conveys so many things I have floating around in my head. You are truly talented at expressing yourself in words. I just love reading your blog! I hope your daughter also manages to come to terms with this syndrome and is able to express herself through writing or art, like her mother. Thank you for sharing this with us. And keep writing! 🙂

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  9. Pingback: Strawberryindigo: The beginning | My Life In Color

  10. Pingback: Life shadows | Sektorx

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