I’d be lying to myself if I said I always feel glad to be different, usually after a meltdown alls I can think is how much trouble the condition causes me; whether it’s miscommunication with someone or sensory overload the truth is that it isn’t always ‘easy’. There is no doubt that autism has been tied to almost every social and emotional problem I’ve faced. However, for me it’s clear that problems occur when people around me are unwilling to be understanding or treat me negatively due to my difference. When I’m around supportive people I realise just how much I love being autistic. Autism for me means having a different outlook on life, it doesn’t mean being inferior, but that doesn’t mean it’s superior either, just different.
The Top 4 Things I love about being on the spectrum:
1. The overall unique perspective
Growing up I had no idea I was the one who differed, I knew I saw things in a different way from everyone else and that things bothered me more and in different ways, but I’d always assumed everyone else was different and I was typical. When I realised I was the one who differed, I didn’t initially see it as a positive but now I find it quite fascinating. Knowing that many people don’t perceive things my way makes me appreciate the differences that I have because they make me who I am and give me a unique skill set.
2. Analytical Mindset
A friend of mine once helped me with clothes shopping, which is often difficult because I am extremely picky on what I will and won’t buy, she pointed out a dress and I counteracted the suggestion due to a smaller pattern in the design that I just didn’t like. My reasoning made her laugh, she was shocked that I focused on such a small detail rather than the overall item. For me that is common nature, I can see whole items of course, but I tend to get distracted by intricate details which I’m more drawn to. This has always led me to have an analytical mind, even when I’m doing something creative I have to structure it in a very analytical way. Whilst that won’t sound positive to everyone, it is necessary for the career I am pursuing and something I have always really liked about my cognition.
3. Honesty and loyalty
I don’t keep all of my formed friendships, I struggle to cope with anything that isn’t 100% honest, when someone tells a lie towards me I feel like that terminates the friendship. But when I do form a friendship with someone I feel I can trust I am extremely loyal to that person. In addition to that, due to the fact that I struggle with grey areas, I am an extremely honest person. That doesn’t always go down too well, when my abruptness comes off as offensive due to the fact it isn’t often included in typical social skills my honesty can cause me problems. However, it means that people can trust me to always be honest with them and that’s a skill I’m proud to have.
4. Special interests
I usually have two or three special interests, and sometimes a few lesser interests at a time. Although it isn’t always great for the people around me when alls I’ll talk about is the same topic over and over (a lot of people that knew me in 2011 – 2014 grew to dislike Bon Jovi because I rarely spoke about anything else), it’s something that I get a lot of benefit out of. When I’m interested in a topic I learn as much detail as I can, the topic usually takes over a very large portion of my life. When I was younger that wasn’t always productive, but when I started studying Psychology it made my studies a lot easier because I would just allow myself to become obsessively interested in the specific topic I was studying so most of the time it felt more like a hobby than a task. There is also the fact that my past obsessions tend to become safe places for me, when I’m under extreme stress or uncertainty I can retreat back to them at any time for comfort like a self-help therapy.