I’m a middle-aged guy with Asperger’s Syndrome and I’ve started to realise something about my diagnosis. Autism presents in many forms, some of which make life very difficult indeed. It’s irrelevant how impressive my memory is or how ‘high functioning’ I’m considered to be, because my brain doesn’t work in ways that other people take for granted. On the surface, people like me – with Asperger’s – simply don’t ‘look autistic’, which leads others to assume I’m not badly affected and I’m then expect me to be able to fit in.
But my world is black and white, right or wrong.
To the outside world, I might not seem to have any problems when compared to others on the spectrum. I’m able to verbally articulate and communicate with the world, unlike some Autistic people. I have a somewhat socially acceptable NFF (narrow field of focus) in my love of comic books and the related movies and collectibles. So, to all intents and purposes, to the man in the street, I’m just a geeky comic nerd. I have a job that comes with a little responsibility as a front of house manager and I have always managed to sustain employment, unlike many on the spectrum who would kill to have a job of any kind. I’m also happily married to my wife, Mrs Bob. Again, this is something that lots of people on the Autism Spectrum struggle to do. I have a small group of friends, who treat me as a neurotypical person. So, to the outside world, I’m not autistic – I’m just maybe a little different. Eccentric, even.
Yet in reality, I have never felt more alone. I’m not considered ‘autistic looking’ enough for the world to actually give me a break and understand that, despite my appearance, I am really struggling to make sense of lots of things. I often feel very lost and alone in a world that most of you take for granted.
So, what I’m trying to say is: please spare a thought for people like me. Too normal-looking to be accepted by the autistic community, yet too weird to be accepted by the neurotypical world.
Please try to remember that not all disabilities are visible.
Stay Safe X