This blog post is not photography related directly, but it reflects how I see the world through my eyes, a bit like my photos, so I am going to post it here anyway.
At age 33 I have just found out I have Asperger’s - an invisible form of autism on the spectrum where there is no impairment to language or development. My perspective on life has completely changed now I know what the ‘bigger picture’ is. I guess life was designed to test us, and that sometimes everything happens for a reason.
Without going into too much detail I have always struggled quite a bit and it stemmed from my difficulty in understanding and being around others. I masked it using some coping strategies which in the long term are not helpful, so it was difficult to get picked up on by others. I didn’t actually realize I was doing it. I didn’t understand myself what was wrong with me which made it very difficult to communicate to others how I felt, so I didn’t for a very long time. A mask always eventually slips, and once I hit my thirties, I started turning into a bitter and frustrated person wallowing in self-pity and blaming others. I just couldn’t understand why no one understood what I was saying. I didn’t understand them, and they didn’t understand me. I now know that is because my brain works a bit differently to most others, and that it’s not my fault, nor theirs.
Judgement achieves nothing, and I cannot express this sentiment any better than the following video:
When I first watched this video, I was in the anger and self-pity phase that Asperger’s had not been picked up earlier and I did not see the bigger picture. I was just thinking about me, because my brain is all I have ever known, and how let down I felt that various people over the years had not picked up on all the clues which in hindsight, were so clearly there.
Once the bigger picture was pointed out to me, my perspective on the message in the video completely changed. I had felt judged and misunderstood, but by feeling this did not realise that I was doing exactly the same thing to these people. I was judging others who through no fault of their own, have not been given training or exposure to the female presentation of Asperger's, because its awareness barely exists.
I have always focused on attention to detail and completely missed the bigger picture and full message being conveyed. I had noticed the word on the front of the magazine, amongst other things, but missed the overall message of the video. In the context I am talking about, it had to be pointed out to me. I am applying that word on the magazine to help me move forwards and I hope help others too in an attempt to ‘change’ the current knowledge gap in the female presentation of Asperger’s.
My half cookie offer is an apology for the person I became in the lead up to finding out I have Asperger’s. There is nothing I can do to change the past, but my apology is in the form of changed behavior to move forward and hopefully help others in the future. I would like to do this by raising awareness of Asperger’s in females.
If you can accept my offer and are willing to share your half of the cookie with me, please spare 30 minutes of your time and watch the following video. There are so many others out there undiagnosed. You may recognise some of the symptoms in others you know, or maybe even yourself. I recently met a man who had been officially diagnosed with ‘the female presentation of Asperger’s’, so it’s not even limited to females.
Asperger's has been referred to as a 'lighter shade of blue'. It is not my intention to make this post just about me, it's more about asking society as a whole (which includes me) to simply treat others how you would like to be treated. Basically I'm trying to say that any label in any context is actually irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Carl Sagan sums it up better than I can: