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.