Issues of Life

The Spotlight: Am I Really Autistic?


Hi guys…  It’s been quiet here for a few weeks, but I hope you are reading and enjoying the posts I have been sharing with you on The Spotlight.  I enjoy sharing them with you, and addressing these critical and sensitive topics.  Last week, I shared a post about Challenging Feminism.  If you missed it, please click the link to have a read.

Today, we are delving into the realm of mental health.  I studied mental health and actually did THREE placements on it, in my degree course on Social Work.  One of them was with children.  So, I know quite a bit about it, but I still find it to be one of those touchy subjects, that you really have to be careful what you say and how you critique it.

The post I am sharing today drew my attention, because there was something about it (even the title) that connected with my feelings about life generally.  The self-doubt.  The question of labeling, and if you really fit the label you have been given (or even chosen).

The Authour is a young (sounds so) lady, who goes by the name Anna, and blogs at www.anonymouslyautisic.net.  You can guess what she mostly blogs about.  She has Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), which is “a developmental disorder related to autism and characterized by awkwardness in social interaction, pedantry in speech, and preoccupation with very narrow interests” (Google).  Google also defines Autism as “a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.

In her post, she addressed how there are days when she thinks the label doesn’t quite fit, because she is coping so well…  And then there are days when she realises that having the diagnosis and connecting with those who share her experience and diagnosis is important for coping.  Well, someone like me, who grew up in Nigeria, where Autism is not really recognised and rarely diagnosed would probably have missed any chance at a diagnosis at a young age.

I have felt socially awkward since forever, but not in a way that I haven’t been able to cope.  However, I do wonder if all of my quirks simply fit with being an introverted person…and not an undiagnosed AS.  I am not begging for a label, but sometimes I do wonder – “Am I Autistic?”  Am I the only one who feels this way?

Well, before I say too much, do go over and read the post: AUTISTIC CONFESSIONS – AM I REALLY AUTISTIC?  Here’s an excerpt.  As always, please like, share and comment as you are led, and come back over here and let’s talk it over some more.

A conversation among my readers brings up an interesting common feeling among Aspies. Many of us remember reading the definition of Autism or Asperger’s before we were diagnosed. A lot of us read those words and thought – “Oh, no this is definitely not me!”

Still something doesn’t let the thoughts settle so we do a bit more digging. For me it was finding other Autistic writers in books and online. Before hearing their voices I had always felt like some creature other than human. I assumed I was a broken human, defective, odd, strange.

It started with YouTube videos, then I found blogs, and invisible disability websites. Finally after a lifetime in the dark I found my tribe. Hearing and reading voices that echoed my own gave me confidence. Before I felt broken but with the Aspies I was just another one of the group – a real life “Ugly Duckling” story…  Read more

I don’t know, maybe you can relate with me on this, or maybe you relate with the Authour on her feelings and experiences or perhaps you have some unique perspective.  It’s hard to talk about mental health in Nigeria (well, even in England, because of fear of institutionalization or misdiagnosis), because much of it is confused for spiritual oppression or just plain stupidity.  It is also hard for people to admit that they get depressed, and many people suffer in silence until it is too late.  It is particularly concerning at this time, with the increased rate of suicides and attempted suicides in my country.

Sometimes, people just need a free space to say “I’m not okay”, to share their troubles and be heard, without worrying about if they will be mocked, locked up or even judged.  When we can express ourselves freely, then we can connect deeply, and heal…when we realise that we are not alone in our experiences/challenges.  So, let’s talk.

Photo credit: vilesactionsblogspot.com

If you like this post, you might like THE SPOTLIGHT: ON WHEN LIFE DOESN’T GO AS PLANNED

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