What is it like to have High Functioning Autism?
I have a condition called High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, which you matey know as Aspergers Syndrome.
Ive had it since birth, but only got a diagnosis when I was 19, after a stay in a psychiatric hospital and living my life up till that point never quite knowing why I was diferrent.
I’m 22 now; and here’s what I have learnt about having Aspergers Syndrome.
I am high functioning, and can do all the things that’s you can do.
I can cook, I can use public transport, and I even managed to get a degree at university.
But its taken practice to be able to do all these things. Learning the ropes from non autistic people and trying to follow societies chronology to get things done. But that doesn’t mean I am able to do things at the same speed as you, as what takes you 1 hour to do, takes me 2, 3 even 4 hours to wrap my head around, process and complete. My Aspergers means I am slower at processing things; but certainly not incapable.
Having a good support network is vital when you have Aspergers. This can range from family members who give you that all important pep talk when you need it, to close friends who you can turn to for a great time. Whoever is in your support network; they matter.
Finding and embracing your niche is so important. For me, I have a number of things I consider to be part of ‘my purpose’. Running is a big one, whether outside doing a 5km, 10km or a quick jog on the treadmill, running helps me activate endorphins and make sense of the world one step at a time. Another big one is writing as being able to let my words out on paper as oppose to verbally can help when I’m having a reflective, quiet day. And finally, creating performances that offer an honest insight into my experiences with Autism, mental health conditions and being non-binary. If I am to ever get anywhere, I’ve learnt that creativity is one way I can be my authentic self.
These niches are not ‘talents’, and it doesn’t mean I’m amazing at these things either. For me, it just means I find enjoyment in them as they become ‘safe’ coping mechanisms to help me work my way through life- and explain to others how I see the world.
So that’s what I’ve learnt about having Aspergers Syndrome.
I’m still discovering more and more each and everyday… and I cant wait to see what comes next and tell you about it!