Asperger’s (an Autism Spectrum Condition) particularly in females can be incredibly deceptive. What you see on the outside is rarely a reflection of the inside and can have detrimental and debilitating effects on one’s life experience if not recognised early.
While I’m not one for labeling or putting people into boxes, identifying with Asperger’s can be extremely beneficial to the person concerned as well as their family and close friends. In fact it can be life changing!
A diagnosis should not be about separation but rather inclusion, providing long-term relief, self-acceptance and enabling the appropriate understanding and support to help individuals reach their full potential. What if, given the environment sensitive to your needs, you could complete that college course, further your studies and slowly work towards becoming self-employed or employed?
Sadly, opening up as an individual on the spectrum can lead some people to be judgemental, often based on a misunderstanding of how this complex, neurodiverse challenge presents itself (especially in females). I urge individuals and families to try not to worry about peoples misconceptions and to keep moving forward to meet with kind, caring and accepting people.
Recognition of this often invisible (more so in females) life long challenge can even save lives. All too often females are misdiagnosed or left feeling misunderstood which can lead to devastating effects on their mental health and in some extreme cases suicide or suicide attempts. I consider myself incredibly lucky to still be here after several attempts to end my life, followed by spending time in psychiatric units and day care centres for severe mental health problems. With continued support and encouragement from close family, friends and complementary therapists, we have managed to slowly piece my life back together.
If Asperger’s is something you connect with, I would love the opportunity to help you if I can. My passion is to inspire individuals on the spectrum (or otherwise) to be healthy, nurture self-esteem and confidence, encourage dreams, strengths and gifts so that you have a positive vehicle with which to navigate this often confusing world.
A healing journey may be difficult and uncomfortable at times but with a gentle and supportive ‘little steps’ approach, life can improve. It is in continually trying that doors begin to open and opportunities unfold.
The above thoughts are based on my experiences in brief. I am very grateful for a late-in-life formal diagnosis of AS (at the age of 37, now 41), which has put in to perspective my younger years of lip reading, Tourette’s syndrome, sensory overload etc. to mid-life difficulties such as addictions, eating disorders, stress sensitivity and mental health challenges.
Whether you have a diagnosis of Asperger’s or suspect it in yourself or someone else, your enquiries and comments are welcome. It might be that you are simply looking for a recommended pre-diagnostic assessment by an autism professional and a formal diagnosis by a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist (with empathetic qualities), which is something I can point you in the direction of.
For further reading these are some of my recommendations:
- Aspienwomen: Moving towards an adult female profile of Autism/Asperger Syndrome by Tania A. Marshall
- The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) by Tony Attwood
- Very Late Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) by Philip Wylie