What It's Like Living With Asperger's
The Struggles I Face
I feel like a lot of people misunderstand Asperger's Syndrome. Well, I'm here to tell you what it's like being an Aspie.
The Mayo Clinic defines Asperger's as "A developmental disorder affecting ability to effectively socialize and communicate.
Asperger syndrome is a condition on the autism spectrum, with generally higher functioning.
People with this condition may be socially awkward and have an all-absorbing interest in specific topics.
Communication training and behavioral therapy can help people with the syndrome learn to socialize more successfully. "
But what is it like in human terms?
For me, Asperger's is marked by an increased sensitivity to everything. And I do mean everything. As a kid, I refused to eat vegetables because they literally made me sick. I once threw up just by smelling broccoli. My eyes are more sensitive to the headlights of cars at night, and I can't stand people talking loudly (or what I perceive as loudly). I absolutely hate the sounds of humming and gum chewing. With a passion.
Things drive me nuts that would only be a nuisance to other people. My biggest peeve is people being allowed to break the rules while I'm still expected to follow them. It greatly erodes my mental health and sends me toward a breakdown.
Another catastrophic characteristic of Asperger's is my inability to develop a thick skin. Every hostile encounter with someone is a traumatic event for me that I can never get used to. If someone attacks me on social media, I'll be agonizing over it for an hour. I have to delete the comment or get away from it in order to recover.
Let's talk about my love life. I'm super awkward on first dates and that's a real turn-off for the lucky lady. I sit there, fumbling for something to say. I don't know what to do with my hands. I struggle to create chemistry. That might be true for a lot of people, but I feel it's especially true for someone on the autistic spectrum.
I've also lived my life with really bad OCD. It was especially damaging in junior high when I let my faith become an obsession. I was all about praising God all the time, even in the middle of class. I would spend an hour in prayer each night. It ruled me. Thankfully, I managed to overcome it, but I still have OCD.
I also have bizarre thoughts neurotypical people don't have. I've thought a lot about walking. "Human locomotion is strange." Weird, right? I know it's not true but my brain latches onto things normal brains wouldn't think twice about.
I have repeatedly struggled to hold down a job. I get overwhelmed by extreme anxiety and can't function in the workplace. I just shut down.
I've faced hostility from my own family for my past inability to hold down a job. My uncle straight-up told me my autism wasn't real. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest when I tell you this brought me to the brink of suicide. I actually made a half-assed attempt to kill myself by jabbing my car key into my wrist.
So yeah, that's a brief overview of life with Asperger's for me. However, I should stress that the disorder affects people very differently. Some Aspies can function better than others and have less severe symptoms, while others have been hit hard by it and have to be on disability. If you suffer from this, never let people tell you it's no big deal.
About the author
I'm a science fiction and fantasy author living with Asperger's. I've published 10 novels and a few short stories thus far. I decided to join Vocal in order to share stories that are fiction and non-fiction.