ASD, Aspergers, whatever you call it, autism is something that will affect most people throughout their lives. Whether its a friend, family member, colleague or even yourself, autism is prevalent in today’s society…
It is something close to my heart as I was diagnosed when I was 18. This was a life-changing moment for me as I had grown up not knowing why I didn’t fit in with the rest of my peers. Lunchtimes were spent on my own and I would much rather read a book than play “dance routines” on a bench. This didn’t really affect me until I reached secondary school. After year 8 it became obvious that I was not like the rest of my year. Social situations were hard and I seemed to be the target of most of the banter of the year group. I had a few friends who I grew close to and I could just be myself around. However, because of being undiagnosed I was unable to spot the signs that I wasn’t coping with GCSE stress and I began to experience mental health problems and had my first breakdown in the middle of a GCSE examination.
Skip forward a year and I was coming out of a stressful year 12 which involved the mental health problems worsening and having to cope with a complete change of school and environment. It was hell, but still, I had no idea why I was taking forever to settle whereas the other person who transferred with me seemed to gel into the group on the first day. I finally got diagnosed on the 12th December 2014. 5 days after my 18th birthday. I was tested with the children’s test. This was humiliating and I honestly could not wait to get out of there, but hearing those words ” You have ASD ( Aspergers)” made my whole life fall into place. I began to get better and was prescribed different medication and began to flourish.
I still worry about how my Aspergers will affect the rest of my life, especially when it comes to medicine. Will I be good enough for my patients? Will I have a breakdown in the middle of a corridor? I suppose being female, I have picked up coping mechanisms and I can pretty much use them anywhere. However, it will always be that niggle in the back of my mind.
There are plus points though ! I become hyperfocused and I can lose myself in tasks set before me. I pressure myself constantly to learn and better myself and I have the unexpected perk of knowing every Sherlock episode off by heart! In a way, I know having ASD will make me a better student and doctor as I am passionate about medicine and improving others lives. I know I will always be on my game when it comes to my patients. I aspire to become a surgeon and I know having the ability to tune out and zone into the operation will be a skill that I can use daily.
So in the end … I guess whatever you call it, it’s a condition that affects many people and I am proud to be who I am. I may be a bit of a fool sometimes but I wouldn’t change it for the world ;,) #thatwasthesoppiestmushihaveeverwritten