Please read previous post: https://aspergerhuman.wordpress.com/growing-out-of-autism-fact-or-myth/
Most of my experience with “Asperger, the label” is quite recent; before that I was diagnosed as bipolar. Even that diagnosis took decades to “find” – I was 36 years old, and had lived all that time with “mysterious” symptoms that today would most likely be recognized as “a problem” but which would still most likely be misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed. It wasn’t that “mental illnesses” weren’t recognized; they had been for hundreds of years. The problem came down to a social prejudice: No one who looked like me, or “functioned well” in terms of having a career and supporting myself, COULD HAVE PROBLEMS! No one wanted a pretty, talented, hard-working young woman to be anything but perfect; an object; not a living, breathing and vulnerable human being – this was, and is shocking. The attitude among many people, including medical-psychiatric people – was that I was a “bad person” for even claiming that I had problems. The summation was pretty much:
In a way, this was nothing new: the same attitude prevailed when I was growing up, and had severe chronic anxiety and related “school problems” – not that I wasn’t “good at schoolwork” rather, I was “too good” at schoolwork and the target of social bullying. Imagine the complexity for a young girl: being praised for good grades and precocious talents, but then “slammed” for displaying those talents. I was repeatedly told to “hide” my intelligence because it upset other children. (Boys never received this message of self-mutilation) Those little teacher checkmarks next to “socialization markers” (Does not work well with others) erased every praiseworthy quality I had. It was assumed that because I was “smart” EVERYTHING was easy for me: I must be intentionally “socially stupid” – a troublemaker with “character flaws”.
There was a slight nod to “the problem of being a gifted child” in that it was possible that I might develop socially, if forced to, by being ignored, the hope being that somehow “being an acceptable female” would magically happen at puberty.
What no one recognized, and it’s still a “fact” which normal people ignore, is that all those years of social bullying and attacks on a child’s positive attributes as “bad” – if only you’d been born a boy, your intelligence and talent would be acceptable and “good”; just suck it up – being female is a life sentence of servitude to others; it’s all on you to solve YOUR problem, and on and on, further damaged any hope that I would see “being social” as anything but emotional and intellectual suicide. Angry ? You bet!
Things got better in high school; a very large school with AP classes, which I was placed in. Lo and behold! There were girls like me – and for the first time I had peers who were girls – some very social, others not, and I became close friends with several – one or two who were far “brighter” than me, and I could relax – not stand out as a female freak. I gained much confidence in myself and “blossomed” as a female, but in my own style. The pressure was gone to “stuff myself” into prevailing definitions of “girly”.
It is fortunate that my path to developing as “me” took its own course, with the environment supplying the motivation and feedback for my reactions and choices. It was a “rich” experience that was never all bad or all good; really tough and painful at times, even life-threatening, but essential to seeing life as a complex challenge, the ultimate challenge being; How to be an individual in this monstrous mess that is human society?
What I had to grow out of was a monumental socially-imposed definition of people like me as freaks of nature; as mistakes of birth; as an insult to the “word of God” and a social order that declares “being female” a pathology.