My Journey. My Story. My Life.
Today, I’m ready to share my story with you all.
Over the last few months, I’ve gone through quite an emotional rollercoaster. Lots of ups and lots of downs. I have a tendency to put too much pressure and expectation on myself and I forget the one person to take care of the most — Me.
In the moments where I add all of the pressure and expectation on myself, I retreat and will hide my emotions. Unfortunately this means I don’t talk about it, and therefore creating a ripple effect that grows over time.
Recently there was a huge turning point, and it’s been nothing but positive and supportive across all areas.
I knew in my mind I was not performing to the best of my ability that I set myself to do. For a while I expected myself to be the best, but I knew I was also still learning. I created a fictitious story in my mind that I knew wasn’t true, and would always think of worst-case scenarios first before anything else. A part of me leading up to it thought it was Imposter Syndrome going into overdrive. However, I’ve now realised this was a combination of self imposed pressure and expectation along with gaining a greater understanding of my condition.
The first group of people I communicated with was my work colleagues, and since then it has been a whirlwind of emotions for all of us. Everything has been within a positive light, and at the same time it has also been filled with love and support.
I am a Woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s when I was 3 years old.
If you may not know what Asperger’s Syndrome (now Autism) is, that is okay. Let me explain a little.
Asperger’s Syndrome (AD) is a developmental disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.
While Aspergers cannot be cured, and is a lifelong condition, there is therapy. Part of my own personal therapy is talking about it, which in the past is something I chose not to do until now. Only my family, select long term friends & community network have been aware of this. I feel part of that was because I’d expect 2 things would happen:
1. I was scared that people would see me in a different way
2. I was scared to be seen as a giant label displaying what I am
Those 2 things terrify me the most, and in a (small) way, it still does.
However after reading articles, watching various Ted talks, listening to podcasts, loads of support and lots of coffee chats, I’m understanding more and more that there really is nothing to be scared about. That this is not a negative but a major positive in my life.
A mental health diagnosis can be seismic for the person concerned. In a positive way it can bring recognition, relief, treatment and recovery, and in a negative way it can bring judgement, prejudice, discrimination and isolation. Because a diagnosis in mental health is above all, intensely personal. It can feel aimed at the very centre of you and your identity.
Since disclaiming, I have received nothing but love and support from the people that mean the world to me. Each of us are different in one way or many, and it’s what makes each of us unique and inspirational to the person we sit next to or from afar.
Was it easy talking about my health to begin with? Of course not.
Does it get easy talking about it as time goes by? Slowly, and I am definitely getting there.
I hope this helps explain a little more of my journey, and I truly appreciate the support.