As a child with undiagnosed Aspergers I was pretty stereotypical. My accent would randomly flit between British and American (picked up from TV), I was obsessed with following ‘rules’, believed that everything I was told was the truth, had regular meltdowns (especially if my routine was changed) and had an unhealthy attachment to Thomas the Tank Engine. But in my mind I was normal, in my mind everybody else were the odd ones out. But to everyone else I was odd, I didn’t fit the norm and nobody really knew why or tried to figure it out.
As is the case with most Asperger girls I was encouraged to conform, to learn how to merge in to a neurotypical world and to follow their norms not my own. Having close friends who taught me the ‘neurotypical way’, that it wasn’t acceptable to show no emotion (or worse the wrong emotion) on my face and that my sheer abruptness needed to be softened down for others to understand me, helped me to survive the child and teen years. But as skilled as I became at playing a neurotypical role it still was and always will be just that, a performed role for the benefit of others. Learning to facilitate better social interactions with neurotypical people has simply meant holding in my traits and meltdowns until I’m behind closed doors, where I often either have a long overdue meltdown or am so exhausted I can’t function.
Like a lot of undiagnosed autistic/Asperger girls who have spent years not understanding themselves and trying to taylor who they are to fit in, seventeen year old me ended up in a Psychiatrist’s office with deteriorating mental health. I was expecting to be told that I had OCD based on my rigid ways, outburts over change and obsession with rule following; instead I was diagnosed with ‘high functioning autism’ (the phasing out of ‘Asperger’ diagnoses had begun, otherwise that would have been the official diagnosis).
After a long adjustment period and many meltdowns, I eventually came to terms with my Asperger’s, I finally understood who I was as well as the behaviours I had spent years trying to understand. After being told too many times that I was simply ‘a little bit Aspergers’ or hearing ‘but you seem ok’ my interest in specifically females diagnosed with Asperger’s/autism peaked. It has been a relief to find that I am not alone, that I am in fact not ‘a little bit Asperger’s’ (which I don’t believe is possible) but that there simply isn’t enough understanding of us Asperger females.
It was then I decided I wanted to help raise awareness, through guest lecturing, researching and now finally blogging. The purpose of my blog is to help others understand females with Aspergers and to improve my own understanding of myself and also of the neurotypical world. In my day to day life I’m a postgraduate Psychology student researching abstract autism interventions. Outside of Psychology my interests lie in reading, writing, gaming and obsessing over Bon Jovi and/or Star Wars. To the people who have helped me explain my situation, and to the people reading my blog thank you for giving me the platform to help improve understanding.