Updated: Aug 24, 2019
Let me introduce myself. I am a woman in my fifties who has spent most of my life feeling different from the rest of the world, like I didn’t belong on this earth. I often told my children that I am an alien from a different planet jokingly although that’s how I really felt inside. Growing up in the 60s, there was no talk about autism or Asperger’s for girls like me. All I knew was I had to go to school and try to blend in and study well. Imitating others was my way of survival in an all-girls school. Starting school at 2 ½ years of age, my life has taken several twists and turns and here I am in my fifties writing this blog. So, what is it all about? Let me tell you how I got started.
A few years ago, when I turned 50, I was volunteering as a teacher in a Sunday school nearby. One day a child was brought into my class with Asperger’s’, a condition I had not heard of until then. Like everything new in my life, this piqued my curiosity to learn more about the subject. I spent the next several hours researching online as to what it was. This has been my way of coping with anything new. Knowledge is power and the more I have of it, the better equipped I feel to deal with the changes in life. As I scrolled down the blog, absorbing every word that was said about Asperger’s, I came to the section on traits in adults. Once I started reading that, I felt my whole life unfolding in front of me and my life finally made sense. It described ME, what I knew all along and what made me different. Knowing that my brain wiring was entirely different from neurotypicals (NT, the term describing those who have ‘normal’ wiring), which accounted for my different perspective of life, gave me a certain solace and began my journey into self-acceptance. That was a turning point in my life.
During my further research with YouTube videos, I came across Dr. Tony Attwood (www.tonyattwood.com.au), a psychologist specializing in Asperger’s’ in girls and women. In his videos he points out how it differs in its manifestation in girls and often remains undiagnosed until their teen or adult years. Sometimes it is also misdiagnosed as other conditions like bipolar, anxiety disorder, anorexia etc. Rudy Simone, an author of Aspergirls, and on the spectrum herself describes the traits in women so accurately. Arming myself with this knowledge, I sought out a therapist who would be able to confirm my suspicion. After a few sessions, she said that although Asperger’s has now been added to the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the DSM 5 criteria, I definitely met the traits described. She was willing to refer me for a formal evaluation if I wanted one, but I decided there was no point at my age as I had already developed coping skills for all my interactions and meltdowns over the years and having a diagnosis is not going to give me anything more. For us Aspies the internet is a boon beyond explanation.
Then I started exploring forums and blogs and became part of a WhatsApp group geared towards parents of autism and some with autism itself. For the first time, I shared my story and some of my experiences with strangers. Some of the mothers in the group reached out to me for advice, to understand their own children who were on the spectrum. I shared my insights as to why their children maybe acting a certain way, how their mind works, and how to perhaps approach them. I also shared nutrition and lifestyle choices that could help pacify some of their extreme symptoms, which have worked for me over the years. One of those mothers, a mother of a teenager on the spectrum, urged me to start a blog to help others like them who have questions. After procrastination (not uncommon among Aspies) for almost a year now, I finally sat down to create this blog site.
There is a lot of awareness nowadays, but the stigma is still there which keeps people in the “closet” if you can call it that. Most allowances are made for children and adults who are on the low functioning end of the spectrum because the behavioral symptoms are obvious. However, when children, teens or adults are on the higher end of the spectrum they are left to fend for themselves and to figure out how to cope in a world that speaks a different language. When I feel confident that I have mastered this NT language, suddenly something changes and it feels like the alphabets have changed and I have to re-learn again. This unpredictability of human interactions is a nonstop roller coaster ride!
I am a mother of 3 adult children, all successful in the worldly sense but my interaction with them is still difficult. I am constantly learning and evolving. I have figured out coping mechanisms with spiritual practices like Yoga, meditation, food habits etc. which I hope to share with the readers. The emotional and mental burden is still real and an everyday struggle. To keep myself motivated to do my work or projects is a challenge but I push myself to do it every day.
I hope this blog will serve others to figure out their own journey on the spectrum or help parents understand their kids better psychologically to support them and accept them for the precious beings they are.
I am not a therapist or counselor but have tremendous knowledge on the subject as well as my own personal experiences to draw from to help those in need. Hence the birth of Aspie Blossom!
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