Read a piece by this author’s mother on the topic of independence/interdepence.
I am a 25 year old woman on the autism spectrum. I was officially diagnosed with Asperger’s when I was 17 years old. Being diagnosed explained a lot and helped me to better understand myself and how I see the world. I felt like I understood my feelings and emotions a bit better, as well as why I saw things the way I did. My diagnosis also gave me a sense of understanding of why I am the way I am. I feel that knowing that I’m autistic has helped the people closest to me understand my mindset better also. I may be 25, but my interests and thoughts sometimes feel more like that of a teenager. An example of that would be that at a family function, I was talking to some girls who were in their teens. I got along with them so well that they were surprised to learn that I was in my 20’s. Before my diagnosis, I would question my behavior. Why do I think the way that I do? Why do I like things that other people see as childish? For example, I enjoy video games in the JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) genre. My father would call them “cutesy anime games” and buy me games that he felt were what I should be playing. Eventually, I came to realize that I can like what I want and that if Rune Factory and Fire Emblem make me happy, I should play them and not worry about what other people think. Everyone matures at their own pace and I think time is how I will become more mature and independent. I am who I am and I shouldn’t compare myself to other people. Sometimes I wonder how to solve my everyday problems though.
Even though I am still learning about myself and the world, I feel that I have learned a lot. The process is a never ending journey because I am forever changing. The most important thing I have realized about my struggles is that I’m never alone. Sometimes you need to ask for help, as hard as that may be. For example, I recently bought some software and couldn’t get it to run on my computer. I asked my mom for help. She showed me how to install my game and found a web page with directions on how to do it, so I could look back at it later. This week, I decided to install another expansion pack and wanted to do it on my own. I consulted the bookmarked page and was able to install my expansion without help. Seeing my Sims game run and knowing that I did that by myself made me feel proud and more confident. Truth be told, I am still learning that accepting help is not a sign of weakness. What helps me is having patient support and the tools to solve my own problems. In conclusion, sometimes being independent is asking for help when it is needed.
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