For as long as I can remember, my life has been filled with anxiety, social stress, sensory overload and severe battles with depression. I am 45 years old, a woman and I am realising that I may possibly have Asperger Syndrome.
I am extremely intelligent. This is a fact, not a boast.
I routinely test as belonging in the top 5% of the population. Yet, my work history is characterized by lower than capacity level jobs, and peppered with embarrassing ‘blow ups’ or ‘break-downs’ in the workplace or bouts of stress-related/stress-worsened illness.
I have heard previous work colleagues and employers describe me with words such as “She was great, always so smart, always so hard-working, but then things seemed to go bad, and she just couldn’t cope anymore.”
Right now I feel like such a failure. I can’t get a job. I have half a PhD (about as useful in an employment market as a lead weight to a drowning man). Despite this, I look quite good on paper. I usually get invited to interview, but there is always something that makes the other candidate the preferred option.
Apparently, I am too over-qualified (I think this means that they don’t think I will stay or they fear I will take over the place). I am also “not quite the fit” that they are looking for (usually when I have lost focus and said something socially inappropriate at interview or got too excited or off track or got a bit obsessive about some topic). I am despairing that I will never work again!
A link posted via an online group led me to Tania Marshall’s blog. She details a list of early traits in young girls. I recognised all 17.
I was an ‘awkward child’ and so anxious to belong. I was obsessed with copying the behaviour of my older sisters. I remember on my first day at kindergarten demanding to be allowed to draw a picture book called “If I were magic” which had won so much praise for my sister from my parents.
They said it was so lovely that she had seen just the right things that would make everyone in the family so happy and written a page and drawn a picture for each one of us. It had become a treasured family document, and I’ll bet my 80 year old mother still has it. (On my page my sister wished for me to have eyes that could see properly. At the earliest age I was characterised by deficit and I knew it!).
The kindy teacher assured me that I would produce many lovely things of my own while at the school. She didn’t get it. I had seen that producing this series of words and pictures was how to ‘get it right’ and be ‘a good girl’. I remained hugely, bitterly, disappointed that none of the teachers ever let me make such a book all through primary school. They always wanted their own projects done, none of which had quite the same positive effect on my parents.
I was such a gifted early reader that academic work was a breeze. In fact I used to upset the other kids because I would be promoted to advanced level readers while they were forced to struggle through each volume. Yet, I was very socially and physically deficient. I couldn’t tie my shoe laces and struggled with incontinence way past any of my peer group.