Having Aspergers Syndrome

Many people have asked me whether I regret having Aspergers Syndrome. The answer to that is a complicated one and I will answer it in this blog.

For me and many others with Aspergers Syndrome one of the detrimental impacts of the condition is communication and socialising. We do not do socialising very well. We can be seen as being socially awkward and eccentric. To be frank I was plainly rubbish at making friends when I was younger. I was a loner. People with the condition can be viewed as “different” by people due to how they behave and the lack of socialising. That can result in bullying. I experienced that. I was viewed as different by many of the people in my age group in Fife. They lacked understanding and were ignorant. They viewed difference in a negative way. If you weren’t drinking buckfast (or as some people say “Buckie”), partying, having sex, playing football etc then you were seen as an outcast. I felt that. When I was younger I did not have many friends. All I had were my family, the smallholding, my music, politics and books. I wasn’t a party goer. That sense of being different did make things hard for me. I felt the odd one out. Even today in Fife there’s still that feeling of not belonging in the community where I come from. That sense of loneliness has impacted on my mental health and it can cause problems for many other people on the autism spectrum. The pressure to try and conform to how others behave and the desire to try and be “normal” does cause autistic people like me huge problems. We can become very vulnerable trying to be someone we are not in order to impress people. I’ve been there and got the t-shirt. It ain’t fun. It brings Insecurity and unhappiness. I’ve felt like screaming (in fact I have screamed my head off) at the efforts I have went to to try and be seen to be normal in eyes of people in Fife. That is why I want to move to London by 2017 and be in a place where I can be true to myself and be my most relaxed.

I wish people of all ages can take notice that behind the social awkwardness lie individuals on the spectrum who have a lot of potential and talent to do well. I truly wish people would educate themselves and see autistic people not as loners but as people who can succeed in fields such as science, mathematics, music and sport amongst others.

For me being autistic has brought dark times. There’s been times when I’ve been in tears, when I’ve felt lonely, when I’ve been bullied amongst other things. I do suffer still from anxiety. What has stopped me from going off the rails has been a huge determination and fighting spirit within me to show all these negative people out there that people like me who are autistic can do well. We might be seen as being “geeks” “aliens” etc but I’m bloody determined to show these nasty people that they are wrong. That’s why I do not regret having Aspergers Syndrome. It’s part of who I am and nobody can or will ever change that.

I’m very lucky that over the past few years I have made friends with some of most outstanding and most caring people imaginable. They have helped me adapt a more positive attitude in my life and to be happier with the real me. I don’t have hundreds of friends but the friends that I do have in a Edinburgh, London and elsewhere throughout the UK are the best friends I could ever wish for. Genuine Friends and companions can bring autistic people real pleasure that is for sure.

At the age of 26 I have had my battles with socialising but now I’m now more comfortable networking etc. I’m at an age where I want to put past struggles behind me and move forward. I move forward with the determination to be true to myself and to do want I want to do regardless of what others think. I’m not going to apologise for being a geek, a musician, a stamp collector, a Christian, a Conservative, a small holder, a countryside lover, a train lover amongst other things. These all make me who I am. I will not change these for anyone. I also do not apologise to anyone for being straight (yes, I thought I was gay because I thought no girl would go out with me. That was bad), aspirational and fiercely driven. I would urge everyone on the spectrum to celebrate being different and to be happy with the gifts and talents that they have. Do NOT try and be someone you are not.

I do want to say that one of the huge benefits of having Aspergers Syndrome has been the ability to focus intently on three key interests that I have: music, politics and rural affairs. Music in particular has hugely helped me through the good and bad times. Playing my fiddle/violin has brought me real joy and has allowed me to communicate my real emotions at their rawest. Music is a lifelong companion to me and I will never ever neglect it. Music can be a great tool to those with autism and special needs and I sincerely wish music could be seen in a more positive light by some in society for the the great things that it can do to bring joy to those most vulnerable in society.

I finish by saying that in the question people have put to me about regretting having Aspergers Syndrome then no I do not regret it. Yes, there have been challenges but these have made me stronger and more resolute. Having the condition has also enabled to enjoy some wonderfully joyful moments especially on the musical scene. I may be a loner to some but to me and to my family and friends I’m simply David. Long may that continue.

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Aspergers Syndrome/friendships/Being true to myself

I have spent the past few months reflecting on my life both past and present. I always feel it is good to take stock, reflect and take some decisions before moving forward.

As a young man with Aspergers Syndrome friendships and being myself have been two issues that have haunted me for a long time. I’ve had too many negative experiences and it is time for change. Time for a new, more positive me.

One of the big problems I’ve faced is making friends. When I was younger I was bullied and teased by morons who quite frankly took strong exception to how I acted differently.

As a result of the past I don’t have many friends in Fife and therefore I am socially isolated. Most of my friends are in Edinburgh,Glasgow or London. There have been days when I felt like screaming because I have felt so lonely. In turn that made me feel scared and uncertain. It made me dwell on negative moments from the past. It made me doubt about what I could achieve in the future. Being socially isolated had made me vulnerable. It impacted on my mental health. Luckily, this year has seen me slowly move away from the negativity and adopt a more positive attitude. I have realised that there is no point dwelling on the negative moments that I have faced in the past. I should look to the past and look at the good things that happened. I must look forward, be optimistic and face any challenges in the future with the a smile on my face. I have also learned this year that it is vitally important to be true to myself. For several years I have tried to be someone I’m not in order to fit in with how other people behave. I’m not the only person on the autism spectrum that had faced this problem. I have discovered that if you do try and force yourself to change so that you can fit in then you can become very unhappy and insecure. I doubted who I was as an individual and hence had the tendency to say and do things that were not in keeping with who I was as an individual. I tried to impress so that I could fit in and try and make new friends especially in Scotland. I also questioned my sexuality because I couldn’t find myself a girlfriend. Folk kept on saying I was too ugly to have a girlfriend etc. That destroyed my confidence completely. I then in turn thought I was gay as a result. It was a miserable experience and because of my indecision on this matter I caused a lot of confusion for my friends. I apologise to them now for putting them through the mill in relation to that.

I have now decided that enough is enough.

I will be my own man. I will lead my life the way that I want to and not how others want me to lead it. If there’s one quote that sums up my character then it is this quote from AnnaWintour, Editor in Chief of American Vogue:

“If one comes across as being cold or brusque it’s simply because I’m striving for the best”

I do not apologise for being that way. I’m a serious guy. I’m aspirational. I’m responsible. I’m a hardworker. I’mstudious. I’m a geek. I’m a Conservative. I’m a smallholder. I love the countryside and farming. I’m a musician. I do not apologise for having these values and interests. These make me who I am and I’m not going to change them for anybody. If anyone has a problem with that then they know where the exit is. Indeed I have already moved away from a lot of negative people in my life. I feel better as a result. I do not need fake friends and negative people in my life. Indeed I’m very lucky that over the past few years and even now I have made friends with fabulous people. I cannot thank them enough for all their wonderful support. It’s these friends who will be my friends throughout the rest of my life.

When it comes to my sexuality I say this. I now acknowledge that I’m not an ugly young man at all. I’m not gay. I’m a charming, kind, intelligent, loyal young gentleman. I’ll just need to show patience and there’s no doubt I’ll find my dream lady. A future Mrs. Nicholson is out there somewhere but I’ll keep patient and keep looking.

In conclusion my message to autistic people and other people is that it is fine to be you. It is ok to be different. Do not change yourself in order to please other people. It only brings misery. Be yourself.and celebrate who you are. Let the negative people go and embrace yourself and embrace the positive people! I know I will!