I’m 29, from Paris.
My biggest accomplishment is that
I am independent. I have a degree and a work I enjoy going to. I kind of love my life and myself.
It is an unexpected result because I dropped off school early (this made my teachers desperate because I was a very good student). Parents were abusive. The father was ignoring me and had gambling issues. The mother was particularly possessive - she needed to control every part of my life – she was depressed, and I was submissive. I was a single child. I thought everything was normal and I was the bad seed. I was smart, but my behavior was too weird for the other children, so I had no friends. Parents forced me to socialize almost every day, because I was a girl and girls are supposed to be social and have loads of friends. However, I was only interested in Astronomy and Biology books at that time. Other parents called me rude because instead of playing with their children I was digging holes in the ground or gifting worms to them. This was my way to make friends. But I guess people don’t like worms as much as I do.
Then teenage years came. Hormones and stuff. I started to rebel. And it went bad. The mother couldn’t handle me being different from her. She was a people person, expected me to be alike.
So, she tried even harder to make me fit in. She was harassing me, and I feared her. She used to sneak into my room when I was absent and rummage through my things. I had nothing
to hide though, but my OCD couldn’t handle someone disrupting the order into my sanctuary.
This is when I started to smoke weed to control my anxiety level. And it was a loophole.
Indeed, when I was a teenager my whole life was gravitating around my computer and my PlayStation. I spent days assembling and disassembling electronical stuff to understand how
it was working. I tried to share this interest, people were bored. I stopped trying.
At 16, I was almost working 24/7. I always had trouble sleeping, because the brain is always at its max capacity, so I was used to sleep from 8PM to midnight. Doing my homework from midnight to 3AM. Then playing games from 3AM to 7AM. At 7AM, shower, breakfast and
school from Tuesdays to Fridays. Or shower, breakfast and work from Saturdays to Mondays.
Coming back home at 6PM. Diner and back to sleep. Oh! I liked this routine so much! I was tired, but at least my brain was always busy. I had no time to complain or think about my
life. So, I thought this was happiness. I kept this rhythm for about 3 years. I needed to gather as much money as I could to be able to leave this family.
And then one day I just stopped sleeping. I couldn’t handle anything anymore. Everything was too hard, and I had absolutely no interest anymore. I spent several months locked in my room,
looking at the wall, waiting for my misery to end. It never came, but I was starving and had no help to reach out for. My mutism settled down. Now I know it was a meltdown.
But at that time, it was just a desire to put an end to this life of stress, loneliness and misunderstanding.
Back then I was struggling to keep friends. But I had this family friend that accepted to host me in secret until I find a “real” job and a place to live. I ran away from the family house and
never came back. From that time, I live alone and in peace (I tried two times to live with boyfriends, but it was a
terrible mistake). I Went back to school when I gathered enough money to pay for it and got a Master’s degree in Computer Science. I finally won my independent
Something I wish neurotypicals (those with not autism others) knew about
autism is that Autism is not a disease. There is nothing to cure.
Autism is unique in every person.
Autism is a spectrum.
Autism is a different way of thinking and experiencing the world. People on the spectrum aren’t second-rate persons.
Autism is not a valid excuse to denigrate our abilities. We just do things differently, but the result is the same, if not better.
Question: What resources worked best for you?
I’ve been diagnosed about 1 year ago after a severe depression.
Psychiatrist wanted me to join a speech therapy, but I declined. I don’t feel this need right now. Internet and blogs were my rescue rafts for a while. Facebooks groups too. Now I try to focus on my needs and fulfil them.
What I want to tell others who are autistic:
Don’t give up on yourself. Never. You’re worth it, your life is worth it.
Give up on people making you feel bad. You don’t need them, but they do need you. Don’t try to change but try to be a better version of yourself. A version you like and respect, not a version other people might like.
Some of the signs that I am autistic:
A friend of mine, I met him online some years ago on World of Warcraft, have been diagnosed right after his son was. He is a male and knows a lot of stuff about Asperger in males. He talked
to me about it and I recognized myself in some points. Then, I read a lot of stuff about “Aspergirls”. It was like reading a biography. Stunning! I would have never suspected it. I always thought my “I hate people” behavior was a consequence from my unhealthy relationship with
my parents. It occurs it was kind of the reason of it.
How did you feel when you receive your diagnosis? It was a relief once I got my diagnosis! OG I’ve never been so happy.
I had a word to put on my difficulties, an entry point to my research. Now I have the knowledge to understand most of the mysteries surrounding my brain
functions. It’s exciting.
Question: did not having the diagnosis for a long time make more things more & how so?
Obviously. IMHO, being on the spectrum enhance the rejection feeling. You’re different from the others, they make you feel different. And with no diagnosis, you just can’t understand why
every time you try to fit in, it fails. After some years of trying, I just gave up. I thought I was broken and useless to this society. Unable to keep a job for more than a year. Always having trouble with the HR services. Always having trouble with my hierarchy. I am straightforward, I don’t lie. I don’t give up when I know I’m right.
Question: what originally made you think you might be autistic?
Absolutely nothing. I had zero knowledge on Autism. Before I was diagnosed, I read a book starring a non-verbal autistic child being the witness of a crime. He drew the portrait of the
murderer with vivid details. I related to him on that point: I love details. Nobody around me loves details. Most people I know are everything but accurate; they speak vaguely and have a bad memory. It’s so frustrating! It’s like they are not taking things seriously and it upsets me.
And then the lies. I hate lies. So, I hate most of – what people call – “jokes”. I like details and I like the Truth. The big Truth, the scientific one. I like solving problems, not just pretending I did and getting praised for it. I don’t need people’s gratitude. Knowledge feeds me.
Question: Why do you think you weren’t diagnosed as a child?
I was a “normal” child. I could speak, I could read, I was a good student. I was autonomous early. I was curious. I was a single child so being solitary was not that weird. People thought I
was shy. I never bothered answering this was not true. And most of all, I understood very early something was different in me. So, I hid everything I
could. I hid my passions, I hid my quirks, I hid my thoughts. I built a social mask very early in
life. Never left it.
Question: what barriers do you face to accessing a diagnosis as an adult/adolescent?
I am a very good chameleon. I smile all the time, look at people in the eyes. I fake small talks thanks to my imitation skills and my very good memory. I keep hidden every personal detail I
can. And I spend most of my free time locked at home, apart from the rest of the world. In fact, nobody really knows me, and I’m ok with it. Sometimes it feels like even I don’t know myself... My real self. Since I’ve been diagnosed, I don’t know how to behave anymore. I’m kind
of stuck into my character.
Maybe one day I’ll open to the world again. But I doubt it. I’m too sensitive. Lights hurt. Noises hurt. People’s bad emotions hurt. I just feel too much and can’t focus because of these distractions. Being in a relationship is not really an option any longer. I was looking for relationships because thought it was the “normal” thing to do. Now, I just don’t care about normal. All the guys I dated were nice, but in hindsight it was a waste of time. I always had to sacrifice my free time, my coping time for them and their multiple friends; I ended up physically and emotionally exhausted, every time. And when I tried to communicate my difficulties, I was called lazy. Right now, my #1 objective is to be super-efficient at work. I kind of like the people there. They don’t know I’m on the spectrum. But they noticed I had a different way of functioning and Accepted it with no questioning. It’s kind of the first-time people accept me as I am. The colleagues appreciate my work. My boss praises my strictness and my accuracy. I guess I’m happy now.
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