Monday, August 8, 2016

I came out as an Aspie on a newspaper article

Yes, I did.

If for some reason you're unable to see the article below, or you don't prefer reading it from a weird looking box, you can read it live from their website here

I use the phrase "came out" with caution here. Because when I went to get an official diagnosis, I did it purely for my own curiosity. I did not tell anybody. And I mean anybody

I made a call to National Autism Society of Malaysia, and made an appointment for diagnosis. After only 2 months, I received a date for the screening so I got in a cab, and subjected myself to a minimum of five hours of psychoanalyzing. Yes, I'm wild like that. 

After receiving the diagnosis, I thought I'd feel relief or even happiness. I'd had read that many people on the spectrum with late diagnoses feeling ecstatic that all the puzzle pieces were finally falling into place. But it was not the case for me. 

Receiving the official diagnosis felt like a death sentence.

You see, even though I was undiagnosed, I've always been hyper-aware of my deficits, especially regarding social interactions. I've always known that I'm not the best company and part of it had a lot to do with my disposition; the way that I'm wired.

But because I was undiagnosed, I've had this silly glimmer of hope that one morning I'm going to wake up and I'd be "normal". That I'm going to be able to make great first impressions rather than being an acquired taste of some sort.

And there was something about the way she had written that I "meet the Autism Spectrum Disorder cut off" on actual paper that made me go into panic mode. All hopes of waking up "normal" went down the drain and it hit me like a train that this was definitely going to affect my career (I'm in a journalism program) if people were to find out about my diagnosis.

And so I spent the following months in depression and anxiety. I couldn't concentrate much in classes either because I was always, always, always thinking,; "am I acting like a normal person?". "Can they tell I have a disorder?". "Why is that lady wearing a neon t-shirt?" and "would it be out of place if I told her to take it off?"

It was exhausting. I was so terrified. I felt like an alien going undercover, trying to blend in with the human race. And the thing with Asperger's is that once you start obsessing over a thought, you don't really stop thinking about it. 

Everything became so overwhelming that on 2nd April, I woke up late at night and thought to myself, "Oh, suck it. I'm going to tell everyone!"

So I wrote that article at 3 AM and sent it out. I told you, I'm wild. And the responses I received were unbelievable. People were incredibly accepting and compassionate, which was not what I had expected at all.

And even if they weren't accepting, I'd be okay with that anyway. Because I have finally accepted the fact that I'm wired differently, and that's okay.

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