Hey guys, my name is Matt and I have been diagnosed with AS. When I first started dating my current girlfriend, she suggested that I may have AS. She had pointed to certain behaviors of mine that drove her crazy, and said she would like me to get a professional opinion and, ideally, some help.
I wondered, "Could she be right?" So I got online and did a bit of my own research. Almost immediately, I had the thought, "Hmm, I think I could have it – I've got a lot of those damn traits." So I set up an appointment for an assessment, and sure enough, I met enough of the criteria to receive the diagnosis.
Getting a diagnosis removed the mystery and diminished the shame I carried around for being "a bit weird.” I have begun the process of learning to live more adaptively with an AS brain. I have felt "different" my whole life. Now, I'm hoping to find a community of individuals who get who I am, how I think, and even how I feel. A diagnosis of AS has given me the push I needed to get in touch with support groups and connect with that community.
I've been called "obsessive," but I felt I was just very interested in one incredibly remarkable subject -- automation engineering. I wanted to figure out whether I was right or wrong, and make a good decision about whether to try to expand my interests.
Now that I know I have AS, I don't feel the need to have a wide range of interests just to please other people. I've learned that people with AS typically only have one or two special interests. So, now I understand why I put so much attention on automation engineering.
I figure that if I didn't get the "AS" label, then I would be leaving it to everyone in the community to give me the label of their choice (e.g., odd, self-absorbed, rude, and so on). A diagnosis helps others in my life to understand me and respond differently to my “odd” behavior. It also has provided a framework for labeling, understanding and learning about behavioral and emotional challenges that have been baffling to me up to this point.
It’s never too late to increase self-awareness in order to capitalize on strengths and work around areas of challenge. Knowing about AS gives me an explanation, not an excuse, for why my life has taken the twists and turns that it has.
The bottom line for me is that I am tired of suffering the consequences of being constantly misunderstood. When the people close to me are able to understand that there is a reason for my quirks and difficulties, it's much easier for them to empathize with my situation.
I've pretty much done a life review. I've disclosed to a few family members, friends and co-workers that I have the disorder. Now I understand why certain careers and relationships have - and have not - been successful for me in the past. And I have tried to repair a few relationships that have been negatively affected by my disorder.
If you have AS and don’t know, it affects you anyway. But, if you do know, you can minimize the negative impact and leverage the positive. That's my current mission.