Autism/Asperger’s Awareness in Women – A Teenagers Perspective – Written by Marnie

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“I wrote this for an all-girls group I am part of and thought that maybe I should share it and see what others have to say. Be nice ok. It took a lot for me to be able to talk about this.”

Autism and Asperger’s displays itself very differently in woman than it does in men.

Most Autistic traits in males are very obvious, they don’t hide them and it’s very clear.

With women, we actually subconsciously try to hide it, it’s in the female nature to fit in; you may find you mimic your female friends in different ways.

For example, you might copy certain phrases they use, figures of speech, accents, physical stances and behavioural habits.

I, for one, used to copy my friends self-harming and it wasn’t to get attention, it was because I assumed this was normal behaviour for other girls.

When I was in primary school I tried to fit in by soaking up every bit of knowledge about makeup and hair that I could because at the age of 7 years old I thought  this would stop girls from picking on me.

It didn’t work; it made them hate me because I knew more than they did.

Go figure.

I ended up hanging out with all the boys, playing rugby, play fighting and developing a very masculine attitude towards sports.

I LOVED running, I ADORED horse riding and even at a young age I felt that the ache that you get after a long trek on horseback, was the best thing in the world.

Even at the age of 11 I had this attitude, hell I even secretly loved the smell of sweat.

I also loved the smells at my friend’s farm because it smelt right.

I was still trying to fit in with the girls though, so I started wearing a bra to get noticed and saying that I had developed a crush on the boys, even though I hadn’t.

To me, boys were just there to be jumped on and knocked around and generally enjoy a good old rough n tumble with.

When my only female friend and best friend moved down to England I changed.

I wouldn’t speak to anyone because I felt as though someone had wrenched something out of my chest.

The girls who picked on me realized that I was extremely vulnerable so they took me under their wings and then threw me in the dirt for fun.

So I turned to books and the Harry Potter books saved my life.

I would sit and read ALL the time, hell I learned to walk while reading, write and kick a ball all at once.

I had a talent for reading and literature at school and was a total bookworm but I couldn’t do maths if my life depended on it. This made school very difficult for me.

In primary school I had a very nasty, abusive teacher and this together with the fact that I lost all my grandparents in the space of 5 months, meant that I fell behind in my school work.

I was moved to the Secondary School in the next village because of how horrendous the bullying of me had become.

The school there was filled with kids who were mostly brought up out in the middle of nowhere, on farms, so I got on amazingly with them!

Unfortunately at this point I had stopped horse riding due to my parents using it against me to get me to do simple things like cleaning.

I got bullied for a while during my first year there but I soon learned to stick up for myself, realizing the teachers here would actually do something (the head in primary school ‘solved’ bullying with a group hug and when physical contact scares the shit out of you anyway, it does not help) and the teachers didn’t look down at you.

In second year I had a fantastic English teacher who figured out I wouldn’t do homework but if she gave me clear instructions during class and made it interesting, I could get it done in 30 minutes flat.

She was, and still is, my favorite teacher. She was feared by most students but I adored her, she understood me.

I still struggled with maths and it caused me many issues.

I adored art, I wasn’t good at it but I loved it, especially my friends artwork because it was beautiful and I liked to just sit and look at the seniors artwork because it never failed to amuse me in one way or another.

I didn’t do well in P.E. because it meant someone was telling me how to do sport and that someone would be watching my every move, but I was exceedingly good at skiing, badminton and running.

If a teacher suddenly changed what we were going to be doing, it often ended in a full-scale meltdown because it made me uncomfortable.

By this time, my parents had noticed that I was becoming withdrawn, depressed and generally not my usual self.

So, I was being looked at for depression but I had too many happy moments to be ‘properly depressed’. Then I was being looked at for Bipolar disorder and this is when things got really interesting.

The woman seeing me about this was puzzled, I showed all the right symptoms but in her eyes something didn’t match, there was something missing.

Sure, I had insane mood swings but I also had social anxiety issues, if I got stressed I became physically ill (usually cystitis).

I was exceedingly intelligent but the knowledge was there in dribs and drabs, it never encompassed the whole of anything, rather it was filled by all of the  peculiar facts I clung to simply because I liked them.

I acted like a sponge for knowledge, though remembering that knowledge was a huge issue.

I showed signs of dyspraxia (Sp) and dyscalculia (sp) but not enough to make a definite diagnosis.

Then my little brother got diagnosed with Autism and they asked about me, mum said she had a light bulb moment and it all made sense.

Never getting over losing my one good friend, being easily distracted, not being able to handle large social groups, loud noises sending me into over drive and causing catastrophic melt downs, too much noise leaving me seemingly deaf, being scared of touch unless it’s invited by me, loving soft fluffy things, being overly sensitive to smells but not minding natural smells like body odour and farm smells, finding comfort in the company of animals more than people.

Well, the list goes on but it’s scarily hard to describe to a stranger what you are like when it takes 17 years before your problems are even noticed.

And Why?

Simple, males with autism have very prominent signs because the ‘hierarchy’ within men isn’t so severe.

Us women will do almost anything to fit in and to try to seem normal, so the girls with autism or Asperger’s strive to be like the others, to be ‘normal’, so it masks the majority of the signs.

They used to think Autism was less common in women but recently they’ve realized that the problem actually is that girls get misdiagnosed.

They get accused of being Bipolar/Manic Depressive or having attention deficit disorders or of just being plain weird.

You are NOT weird if you have an Autism Spectrum Disorder/Condition, you are different, you see the world differently and you have an AMAZING eye for truth.

You take things literally a lot, can’t tell the difference between sarcasm or being bullied at times, sure but you know what?

All you want is the truth; you strive for people to be honest, you NEED control, perfection and order or it stresses you out.

Nothing wrong with that.

It makes you YOU.

There are many other ‘disorders’ that pile on after you find out you have this, please don’t worry, its part and parcel of this amazing gift you have.

You may be ‘weird’ and you may feel like you don’t excel in the things you want to excel in but do you know why? It’s because people like us, have a tendency to be truly talented at something amazing.

You get autistic people who struggled with literature and creativity but are amazing at science, maths and things really involving raw intelligence.

Then there are autistic kids (like myself) that struggle with raw intelligence but adore literature, writing and using your creativity in art or music.

I still haven’t accepted myself for who I am because when I got diagnosed, I lost all of my friends.

I found out the hard way that they were judgmental and easily lead by a bully.

You may feel weird but I promise you, you are an amazing person.

You have such a unique way of seeing the world around you; you don’t need to fit in with that crowd of popular kids because they are false.

You like the truth, you need it.

I know this seems like a ramble but it’s how my mind works. Due to having Asperger’s I don’t really answer questions straight up, I ‘waffle on’, as one of my other English teachers was fond of saying to me.

But please, never be ashamed of having Asperger’s or Autism or of being on the spectrum at all.

If you have family members who are on the spectrum, please respect them; be honest with them because all they want is the truth.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep, if you break a promise to someone on the spectrum, it’s kind of like you broke the law.

Respect that we can be very edgy about our ‘personal bubbles’ at times while at others you might end up with us scrambling onto your lap for a cuddle simply because we are cold and you happen to be warm and squishy.

Respect that we don’t like loud noises, we can’t concentrate on more than one sound like most people can and it will confuse us.

Respect that we may have habits like, rocking, spinning, jumping, dancing, humming, snapping fingers and making silly noises.

We don’t mean to be annoying but when we get excited or depressed these things calm us down or express our need to show you we are excited.

Respect that if you have something colourful and pretty we might take it from you or stare at it because we have become entranced by its beauty.

Respect that if you take us outside where there are flowers we will insist on running through them, touching them and we will get upset if you take us away.

Respect that if you smell good we might sit and sniff your hair or we might stare at our food simply because it smells amazing.

Respect that we might not eat something because it looks ‘funny’ or its texture is ‘squelchy’ or just plain wrong.

Sure we can be as weird as all get out, but I can promise you this, we will have you in stitches laughing at our oddities and tendency to turn around and whisper rather loudly “look at that woman’s make up! She looks like a walking talking orange!” or “You smell funny” and then walk off like nothing happened.

Don’t be offended, we don’t mean to be nasty; we are just honest and a little strange.

I hope this adds a little insight.

I hope you all read this and find it helpful or that it at least puts a smile on your face.
Marnie”

“DISCLAIMER: This is written from my point of view as a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome If you are a teenage girl please DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE all of a sudden based on this information, please. It’s the worst thing you can do; having issues doesn’t make you cool.”

You can view Marnie’s original post and more of her amazing writing at: http://vampirefreaks.com/journal_comment.php?entry=8355153&fb_source=message http://www.wattpad.com/28148017-autism-apergers-awareness-for-woman

 

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16 thoughts on “Autism/Asperger’s Awareness in Women – A Teenagers Perspective – Written by Marnie

  1. Thank you, Marnie. Lots in here to chew over, but the bit that really struck me relates to my husband. He’s aspergers and we do struggle. One of the areas is that he says his “love language” is touch, but can be so prickly when touched and really doesn’t go up and hug people. (I on the other hand just hug all the time!!). I have argued with him and been quite rude to him about how can his love language be touch when he doesn’t touch people and in fact can shy away from it. Your one sentence has opened up a whole world of understanding for me now.
    Thank you. And thank you for your honesty XX

  2. Hi, I’m also a female with Asperger’s.
    Since my friend met me, she’s looked at stuff about it and she sent me the link to this.
    I’m almost 22 and I’m not ashamed of who I am and I don’t care if people think I’m weird, because I am and I don’t care. But when I was younger I got picked on a lot. I also wasn’t officially diagnosed until I was 16. I did the whole mimicking thing two, sometimes it worked in disguising my weirdness, but sometimes it came out wrong and made me appear weirder. A lot of people don’t seem to get us female sufferers. I have a friend with Asperger’s and we have differences and similarities, but most of all people don’t realise we’re on the spectrum at all. So many times when I’ve told people I have it, they say that they never would have realised, but just thought I was a little unique and sometimes they don’t believe me, because they compare me to a male with really obvious characteristics. I explain that it’s less obvious in females, because we copy others to hide it. I’ve found that the ones who don’t research it or understand it are the ones who judge the most and it’s out of ignorance. I have some friends who have resesrched Asperger’s to understand me better and they realise I do have it (if they didn’t fully believe me) and they become more tolerant and patient with me. I also have some other friends who don’t care what I have and don’t need to know about it, because they love me for who I am. I am lucky to have found the friends that I have and I’m lucky I’m not still trying to fight who I am. My boyfriend who I’ve lived with for 3 years has suffered a lot of my bad times and annoying traits, but he still loves me enough that we are now engaged. Just because you might be different, doesn’t mean you can’t have / don’t deserve a fulfilling life.
    I’m different to you in that I didn’t like sport (though I did love horseriding) possibly because I was afraid of being laughed at. I was really good at maths and kinda good at english although I kinda hated it. I was/am good at music, drawing, acting, singing and other artistic mediums (except dancing, unless I’m given clear instructions on all the moves and I don’t have to make it up myself). I learnt German and now want to learn Japanese (I am addicted to anime). I am highly intelligent (I feel like a dickhead saying so, but my intelligence was tested as a kid), but I am super lazy and get distracted easily and just because I have this intelligence, doesn’t mean I always want to use it. I am extremely sensitive to loud noises, so much so that I carry some special musicians earplugs in my handbag in case. I can be sensitive to perfumes etc. I repeat myself sometimes and sometimes I explain things in case the person doesn’t understand, and the think I think they’re stupid, but I don’t, I might have only just learnt whatever it is and wasn’t aware that the other person already knew.
    Bla bla bla
    I am rambling. Nobody wants my who life story :p
    Anyway, my point is, I have Asperger’s, I am unusual and unique, I have talents and flaws like anyone, I am not ashamed of who I am and if anyone gives me shit, I’ll either defend myself or ignore them, but in the long run they are not worth having in my life.
    That’s my story.
    The end.

    1. I also have aspergers and I’m 13. Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve experienced! I can tell you, though, that I was diagnosed with the disorder at age 5 or 6, so my whole life I’ve had to go to therapy, being watched on on the playground in Elelementary, and having to go to speech. I talk WAY too much sometimes and wish I could say less, but I think so much about stuff that I make myself depressed and anxious(Mostly obsessed with philosophy). I like looking at lonely pictures or listening to sad music(Let love in, Boulevard of broken dreams, bohemian rhapsody). I think I’m not normal and try to fit in all the time. When sound gets too loud I have a meltdown ) : For example, one time the cafeteria got so loud I started to cry, and didn’t understand why until I looked it up. I want to know the truth because the truth is all there is to the world and I want to know it’s secrets. I want to know I’m not alone. Writing is something I like to do, especially when sad/listening to music. I took an IQ test. I think I have above average intelligence, not to be rude or anything. I just find math, writing, science, spelling, politics, basically anything easier than most kids in my school. And people say I’m smart a lot, too, but I don’t know if I believe them or not…maybe…) ; I’m too focused and when people say jokes to me I often think they’re being serious! I also defend myself a lot if someone interrogates me. ARt is a good way to express myself and I love it, but only actually draw when in art class. Just wanted to tell you my life. That’s it…( :

      1. Thank you so much for sharing Adina. I’m so pleased that girls are now being diagnosed earlier in life. Although, you are right, knowing why you’re different doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to actually be different. People are difficult to understand. Keep going with your writing, art and all the things that bring you joy. Wishing you all the best. Mae

  3. That analysis of your self lacked one aspect and that is that you are warm and generous and funny which overcomes any criticisms of you being self obsessed. Also Nonny I am interested that loud noises effect you…. is that because you already have noise in your head ? Jenny Gordon

  4. Thank you, it explains to my brain alot that i went through growing up and what i struggle to explain simply to my partner. Since i was only told last year at age 20. And its nice have someone else share their story for others to read.

  5. I can really relate to half of the things your saying. I remember when I found out I had autism. I was 8. I wanted people to know but I didn’t realise how different this would make me.
    I lost EVERYTHING.
    Now I’m 14 and to this day I still don’t really know what happened. I never did anything wrong, I was just being me, yet Iost everything and am still feeling the repecussions today.
    Sometimes I will sit there and wonder what my life would have been like if I didn’t have autism. Yeah, I’d probally have friends and I wouldn’t be so lonely, yet I wouldn’t be me.
    So I guess what I’m trying to say is, I get it. I get what it’s like to feel like the worlds against you. Like nobody cares or understands. Like your stuck, always trying to fit in, and always failing. And I want to thank you.
    What you wrote really spoke to me and made me see that, maybe, I’m not as alone as I thought and that, maybe, one day I, and every other girl like me, might find a group of friends who are just like me and understands what it’s like to live in a world that doesn’t really understand us.

    1. Hi Vicky. I really hope that we’ll all be able to find a group of friends who’ll love, understand and respect us for being who we are one day. Thank you so much for sharing. Wishing you all the best. Mae

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