Me: Struggles of Growing Up Without My ASD Diagnosis (Part 1)
When I was a kid, I didn’t really fit in with others, the way they acted, the excitement they had, the way they interacted with each other. I’ve always been more of an observer and didn’t act like everyone else. I remember watching my friends playing around and asking myself in my head ‘’why do they look so happy, why are they having fun, I don’t get it’’. Questioning yourself at a very young age increases your self-awareness. You start questioning everything in your head thinking, is everyone questioning and talking to themselves in their heads also? If so, is what I’m seeing the reality or a big act.
I was a very curious kid with a lot of questions. I was fascinated about everything and wanted to know how everything worked: why is the sky blue, why are there 365 days in a year, what is this whole evolution thing etc. Sadly, nobody could give me the answers, or more in-depth answers, that I needed. There was no internet at that time, so information was limited. The excitement that other people had for playing around, I think I had that excitement, but for knowledge. Now with the internet, getting answers is much easier.
Growing up I was not the best communicator. The information moved fast in my head, but could only go out at one speed. I didn’t think about how others were processing what I was saying or if my messages were getting through to them. Explaining myself and telling stories was the hardest, I never knew where to start and finish. I would start in the middle of a story and mix the end and beginning, adding little bits here and there probably making no sense to others, but it was clear in my head. Now I have learned to keep it more simple and structured however, it's still easy to get overwhelmed and go on and on. After so many misinterpretations with others in the past, now I try to make sure everybody understands me.
The conversations I had with people around me were not that stimulating. I needed to talk and learn about science, history, art, and how everything works. While I was fascinated by so much, not seeing others being that passionate about wanting to know everything about everything was confusing to me. I went on trying to fit in when I could, but mostly I would observe.
I spent most of my time alone, I didn’t get invited to all the events and birthdays. I guess I wasn’t that exciting to be around although, I wasn’t very proactive in reaching out as well. Being alone made me spend a lot of time in my own little world: fantasizing and creating stories or scenarios in my head. I started creating characters in my mind so I could have conversations and debates that would stimulate me. If I needed a professor, a physicist or an action hero, I would create who ever I needed, and I would either participate or be an observer in my stories. Most often, I imagined conversations and debates to gain different points of view on anything and everything. From talking one on one to having a whole group talking about all kinds of subjects, this made me realize and discover new little things, different ways of seeing the world, also sharpening my imagination and creative side. Of course, all limited to what I knew at the time, but this process helped me a lot in transferring theory into practice.