Reader Benoni left the following questions:
I hope you don’t a mind a very personal question about autism, but could you give some advice about coping with the negative aspects of asperger’s syndrome? I’m a very recent diagnosis, was told by my psychologist two weeks ago. From most of what I’ve read about asperger’s syndrome, aspies in general object to the idea of an “autism cure” because they feel autism is part of what makes them who they are. But I feel like if I had the option of “curing” my autism, I’d go for it.
I’ve had people difficulties my entire life, and I know I feel isolated socially but can’t open new social boundaries because I cope those kinds of situations at all, which utterly ruins my confidence. I feel trapped by it. Now that I have a name for my problems, I feel especially anxious to get rid of them. Is this normal for newly diagnosed aspies? Will I naturally learn to accept it, or is it something I’ll have to work towards? I hope none of this offends you, but I’m kinda desperate for advice.
First of all, I wanted to address the issue of the diagnosis. I believe that the diagnosis only makes sense if you feel that it enhances your life in a positive way. I know several people who were diagnosed with autism but they decided to forget they ever were because they didn’t feel it helped them to refer to their way of being with this term. I support them completely because it’s their business how to refer to their way of being. For me, the diagnosis was a very happy event because it came quite late in life (I was 30) and I’d been convinced for all those years that something was deeply wrong with me and I had to conceal what I was really like from everybody. The realization that there were many people who experienced reality in a similar way, people who I could talk to and share my experiences, and that there was a scientifically recognized term for who I am was an enormous relief.
I’m one of those people who’d never want to be “cured”, but I completely understand those who do. We only have one life, and it’s nobody’s business what we find helpful or unhelpful in that one life. People are different and if you perceive this as something negative, something you want to get rid of, that’s completely normal and there is no reason to beat yourself up about this.
Now, the really good news about Asperger’s is that it gets better with time. When you are in your teens, it’s a curse. When you are in your twenties, it’s a burden. But as you get older, it becomes something that starts to work to your advantage.
The not so good news is that you will have to find a way to manage the negative aspects of Asperger’s and then continue to manage them constantly. This is not as bad as it sounds because once you get into the habit, it gets easier. I suggest making a list of the negative aspects (don’t you dig making lists?) and then look at them and see how you can manage them. Everybody manifests differently, so I won’t try to guess what your negative aspects are. I’ll just provide my own list and how I managed the points on it.
Since this isn’t necessarily of interest to everybody, I will place the rest of the post under the break.
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