OK, my name is Beth, I'm 23 (24 next month) and I live in UK with my 1 year old son, who I know for a fact is my biggest accomplishment.
I didn't get diagnosed until I was fifteen, but all my life there were signs, the big one being the speech therapy my mum took me to when I was 2 or 3 (I don't remember it, but obviously it worked because now I never shut up) but there were other things, like how kids sometimes looked at me when I said something or did something, hyper-focusing in my lessons (not on the actual lesson, you understand, but on the paper I was doodling on when the teacher was talking. One time I looked up and saw a very pissed off teacher standing there who apparently had said my name three times already. But in my defense, it was a really good book I was reading!)
So, I always knew I was different, but it wasn't until my year 10 class, where we got assigned The Curious Incident Of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon that I knew what Asperger's was. I knew what autism was because of my brother (he's autistic) but it wasn't until I started reading that book that I started to notice how much the Asperger character-Christopher-and I had in common. To be honest, I wasn't even surprised when my mum sat me down and told me that she wanted to get me tested. Actually, I cracked up laughing! Don't ask why.
Anyway, after I got diagnosed, life became harder for me. I'd always believed I was normal, but now I knew that I wasn't and no-one I knew could understand. I mean, my mum tried, but then we would be talking to people and I would accidentally say something rude or inappropriate and she would say to them "she doesn't Understand!" Capital U. Then again it does take some getting used to and she doesn't do it anymore.
For a long time I was in a dark place with my Asperger s, I hated myself and how I was, and sometimes I still do, though I like to think I'm overcoming that now, which brings me to my greatest accomplishment as a person and an aspie. My son.
When I first got pregnant I was scared, SHITLESS! Not just the regular fears of motherhood but also because I was terrified of how being Aspergers would effect my raising of him. At one point, I actually looked up whether or not an aspie could love their child. Looking back now, two years later, it actually makes me chuckle cuz I neednt have worried! My son is my heart and soul and there is nothing that I wouldn't do for him. He's actually the reason I decided to seek out sites like this, because how can I teach my son to love himself no matter what if I can't do the same thing? And I think I'm getting there, a bit at a time.
So, my advice to anyone whose been recently diagnosed? Don't let anyone put you in a box. If anyone tries to re-brand you because you're autistic or aspie or whatever, don't listen to them, let them know that what they're doing is wrong, because you're still the same person you've always been. All they did was give your personality a fancy name!
And to the neurotypicals with friends or loved ones that have been recently diagnosed, yes its a surprise, but get over it, your friend/loved one needs your support.
I've found life as an aspie to be hard, but as my life's gone on I've learned how to exist and I can safely say that I'm proud of the life I'm living. And I'm proud to be an Aspie.