Imagine you’re on a bus and two or three seats away you see somebody talking to themselves over and over again, your first inclination is to think that they’re crazy. The person could be reciting a poem or organizing their day to come. Regardless, there is something “off” about them. It could very well be that they are mentally ill, and you would have no idea. The fact is that mental illness is not dealt with this country as it should be. Whether you are bipolar or have OCD, it is a MAJOR problem. Most people do not seek out a diagnosis because they do not want to be told they are “different. Doctors believe pills can help, and in some cases it might ,but it does not alleviate it. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 17 or about 6% live with a mental illness.
One of the latest disorders to be discovered is called Asperger’s Syndrome. A brief background on it… in 1944 a man named Hans Asperger discovered children who lacked nonverbal communication skills. They were clumsy, and rarely showed emotion. “Aspies” as they like to be called are creatures of habit and routine. Amongst other things “Aspies” have very poor social and communication skills, especially with the opposite sex. They will do the same thing, the same way every single day..sometimes multiple times a day. There is no known cure at this point. In 1981, the concept of it was modernized. When the early 1990’s came along that’s when it got an official diagnosis from WHO (World Health Organization) Recently, the tragedy in Newtown CT brought it to light that the shooter had Asperger’s.
The reason I am writing this is because I have Asperger’s. I was appalled and angered at the insensitivity that Adam Lanza was portrayed as. Did he kill 26 people? Yes, no doubt it was a vile and heinous crime. People live on a day to day basis with this and unless you have been diagnosed, the average person can’t begin to understand what it’s like. Sure there are positives to it: we are more creative, and have better focus. But there are negatives, such as having very few friends, and not being able to date or have a relationship. Just like the average person, we have our good and bad days. I can tell you for me personally, I have never had a long term relationship.
I was given my diagnosis when I was 31, I’m 37 today. I have tried everything from state mental health services to reading books. The later in life you are given a diagnosis, the more difficult it is to get help. I should also say that men are twice as like to be afflicted by this. Women have been known to get it, however it is rare. Six years later I am still learning things about myself. Hopefully one day in the future, Asperger’s will be talked about as prevalent as other mental illnesses.
If you believe you have Asperger’s or any other mental illness I have a few pieces of advices:
1) Be Yourself- Don’t try and conform to somebody you’re not. Your friends and family are the best support you have.
2) Go to a Doctor- Sitting down and talking to someone DOES help. I am not ashamed to say that I was in therapy for a time.
3) Use Your Creativity- You will surprise yourself on the things you can accomplish. I LOVE movies, so I am taking that and learning how to become a screenwriter. Just DO IT!