Answering Questions: Life experiences with Aspergers

Question from a reader on Facebook: How did you cope when 1st finding out?  How are you coping/experiencing life better? How do you not let it affect you? 

It took me awhile to cope when first finding out. My mom gave me articles to read on Asperger’s Syndrome in 2004 when I began self-diagnosing myself.  I was feeling very shocked, but relieved.  I coped by just pushing myself because its important to feel positive and my mother encouraged me.  My mom tried to help me find groups for people with Asperger’s Syndrome to help connect more to other people.

The first group she found was the GRASP (Greater Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership) manhattan group in January 2005.  I immediately subscribed to join GRASP, but was too nervous to go to a meeting until early February 2005.  My life began transforming since my very first GRASP manhattan meeting.  I met every one there and didn’t realize how much I related to a lot of those people who went to the meeting too.  I remember talking to Michael John Carley after the first meeting as he shook my hand telling me inspirational words of wisdom.  The meeting was a success and so I kept on going back to the meetings as much as I could until they had to move the meetings further downtown in manhattan which made it harder for me to go. GRASP really helped me realize what NEURODIVERSITY means and helped me establish who I am and why I am here to live my life.  It happened at the right time in my life when I needed it.

I finally got officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome by Dr. Richard Perry in 2005 and really appreciate all the help he gives to me too.  By 2006, GRASP really had not had any meetings for me to go to and I needed a place to connect with and feel a part of community. Dr. Perry and a couple of people I met from GRASP earlier, told me about the Adaptations program at the JCC in Manhattan.   I remember trying to call the Adaptations program as soon as I could, but no body responded to me at first.  I was feeling very uneasy and even started my first job in May 2006 doing Ultrasound.  I really needed a place to go to find friendships which is very important for any one’s life.  I was encouraged to try calling the Adaptations program again later that year.  I finally called again and joined the program. After that, I really haven’t been to GRASP anymore which saddened me, but I knew the Adaptations program somehow needed me to connect.  I would like to go to another GRASP meeting in the future just to see those folks again.

Anyway, at first I wasn’t really doing much with Adaptations and my mom had to really push me like she always does. It wasn’t until 2007 that I really became an active member of the program. I was working at my job so I could not go as much as the others who were not working, but like I am always told work comes first! I have met so many people since 2005 who seemed to grow on me and help transform my life that I almost look back for a split second to see how I felt before.  I never had a real true friend pre-2004 and I have grown so much.  By the end of 2007, I met a person who I became friends with at Adaptations and I felt we could help each other.  Although we’ve had our ups and downs, I sense it has made us grow more as human beings.  I helped him break out of his shell and in a lot of ways helped so many others too.

My mother’s influence seemed to have latched on to me, in order to spread her word to help heal other people like I was helped.  Does it make me a integral part of the program? or Does it just mean I am able to inspire others to work harder and feel better about themselves? The Adaptations program which tries to influence members there to be more adaptive and flexible building community will always be there for any one no matter what for support.  Hopefully the idea of Adaptations’ goal of training to be adaptive and flexible spreads throughout all the members and beyond. I hope one day my dream comes true and the program expands worldwide for any one to enjoy. Every one deserves a place for an interactive community of enjoyment, learning, and respect for each other.  Isn’t that what life is all about?

I am currently in the realms of starting my own Autistic Self-Advocacy Network social support group in Rockland County, NY as well to spread Neurodiversity. This will help others learn to be self-advocates too even express themselves and learn to feel inspired to do well.  The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network has been an inspiration to me and I hope I can be a part of them always. I love their saying “Nothing about us, without Us” because it really is a true statement.  The President of ASAN, Ari Ne’eman has been working with me on creating this group.

I also would like to plan starting my own International outing/Conference to help a Neurodiverse crowd especially people on the autism spectrum to meet a date, learn new skills, experience the world differently, and just enjoy life to gather every one from around the world!! I have recently been working on my ideas and planning it out in my sketches and journal. I want to start this outing/conference to see all the fishes in the sea and not feel limited by just a few.

By the way, when I was growing up I used to make up stories of working on outings/conferences, groups like these when I was downstairs in the basement where the family computer was.  I could spend endless hours in my basement doing this, making up characters, and situations by myself.  I used to even have a pretend company called BGAS (Boys, Girls, Adult, Senior citizen) club corporation.

I also am still working on my book about having surgery and being on autism spectrum. And as always I am very spiritual and always feel the connections with the other side with all my angels by my side.

I am coping with it now by trying to be proud of who I am and what I can contribute to this world. I have come a long way and know I have a way forward more to go.

At first I did let it affect me, but with all the support I have gotten I don’t need to be affected by it anymore. It is a part of me, but not everything about me. I am Autistic/Aspie, but I am also a person first!!

Can Asperger’s be misdiagnosed as Depression?

Absolutely!! There are so many different ways Asperger’s has been misread as other conditions.

Did you get diagnosed straight away accurately?

No, I was not diagnosed accurately for most of my life.  I was misdiagnosed with any thing and everything because other psychiatrists and doctors didn’t understand the autism spectrum. Now I hope all of these professionals who misdiagnosed me are finally educated.  If they are not educated by now, they are not humble.

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Just a question for all of you from me: Who would you want to date? Another aspie/autie? or a Neurotypical? or no one?

I hope you liked it and read on,

OUT, J

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3 thoughts on “Answering Questions: Life experiences with Aspergers

  1. Pingback: Blog Carnival: Adults Gone Missing? « Blind but Now I'm Learning to See

  2. Rayn

    Some great answers to some important questions, Jason! I really enjoyed learning about your personal experiences in being diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome! If I were you, I’d be sure to count your mother among your angels! 🙂 It’s awesome that you are working with Ari on starting your own ASAN chapter in your area! You will most definitely make a fine leader and organizer for the self-advocacy movement! I applaud your latest efforts, as I’m certain they will help to improve the lives of many more individuals on the spectrum in due time!

  3. Patricia

    Dear J.
    It looks like you ‘re truly inspired to write these days !! I loved your new posts and I’m cheering that your own Autistic Self-Advocacy Network social support group starts asap. Imagine how many people you will reach and help ??!!! It’s gonna be hard work but I’m sure you’ll succeed, ’cause your intentions are genuines and nobles.
    Good luck is always what I wish U.
    Your friend,
    Paty