I recently came across this anonymous letter. On reading these words it is obvious to me that this person is struggling with who they are and the world around them.

Even though it is unknown who this person is I want to share this article with you, as I believe it illustrates some of the struggles that someone in our lives (perhaps even yourself) may experience.

I do not know if this person is autistic or not. They may or may not be on the autism spectrum, but either way they do find it difficult to ‘fit in’ and know how to relate to others.

Perhaps you may also have similar challenges in your life.

My experience and story below may not be exactly the same as what other aspies experience, but it may begin to paint a picture of what some people with Asperger’s syndrome go thru when they find themselves around other people. This is especially true in settings where more than a few people are gathered together, such as at a sporting event, church meeting or even large family gathering.

I stand, looking around at everyone talking to each other and wondering, “Will anyone come over and talk with me?” I feel like it would be nice to be included, but at the same time I fear that someone may actually come and talk to me. How will I know what to say? Will I be able to look them in the eye as is expected? Will they see my fear and think that I am strange?

I find the noise and lights difficult to deal with. My eyes and mind get easily distracted by those typing into their smart phone, by feet tapping on the floor and other sounds and movements that most people do not even seem to notice.

The clock ticking on the wall seems so loud to me. How can everyone else just ignore it? Don’t they hear that continual tap, tap, tap of that pen tapping on the arm of the chair? I find I cannot concentrate on anything else as these constant sounds keep distracting me.

Most of all I see all of the interaction between those in the same room as me and I feel some how different. I feel like I do not fit in, that I am different in some way from those I am watching.

  • Why can’t I be like them?
  • What can I do to make myself fit in?
  • What can I do to be normal?
  • How can I make others like me?

When I finally get back home I feel both physically and emotionally exhausted. I am relieved to be back in my own familiar surroundings, but know that once again very soon I will need to leave and face the barrage of sounds, sights and people. I know that soon I will have to step out of my comfort zone and interact with others.

Each time I do this it does not seem to get easier. It continues to be difficult for me to relate, interact and connect with other humans.

I do not know if I will ever understand why I find simple things so difficult that others seem to find so easy. This is my life, my world – my world with Asperger’s.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below. I will reply and give you my feedback too.

Remember that you can make a difference in the life of someone today just by being who you are!

Many Blessings,
Justine 🙂

About Justine

11 Responses to “A Letter – Why Am I Different?”

  1. Ryan

    Hello,

    Despite having “mastered” social interactions years ago (fake it to make it, right?), I believe I am somewhere on the AS spectrum. I just scored a 37 out of 50 on your test and I didn’t even cheat that much. Well, I do not think I actually cheated at all. I described the answers as I would have answered them before obsessively studing human social behavior as displayed by non-Aspies, as you call them, for the past thirty years or more.

    I believe I started wondering what was wrong with other people when I was about eight years old. That is the first time I remember thinking someone was being ridiculously unfair and trying to work it out with him. That man was my father. He taught me, in essence, three very good lessons. The first is love your family, be loyal and stick up for them and against them when necessary. The second was to find my own answers and always to trust myself first (he is the product of a lonely childhood, afterall). The third was to show self-restraint.

    My father rezognized my capacity for frustration and the potentially explosive outcome very early in my life. He also chased a second grade teacher under a desk when she kept sending me home crying. If not for the force of my father’s delivery, maybe I would have learned very early on about my Aspieness. Given my various capacities, for frustrated anger (my primary emotion to this day) and physically explosive action, Dad made sure I did not push people around, at least not to the point of physical abuse. Though he never said anything about the verbal kind, to his everlasting chagrin. My dad also set a wonderful example of physical restraint when I was only eight years old and already struggling with impulse control. Without those three lessons I am confident I would either be dead or in prison.

    I am actively seeking answers. As recently as this morning I was convinced I have OCD. The thing is I never behaved like those I have met with OCD. I never behaved like a depressed or even bi-polar type I or II, either. However, the description of an Aspie ruthlessly pushing ahead with his subject despite the clearly expressed antipathy of his listener fits my familial interactions to a tee even to this day. It typified all my conversations until I learned to control it. I usually only lack that requisite control when I am failing to be understood, which is still the predominant response (I just don’t seem to ever put things in ways people can accept, not even when I am right and I am right a lot), and when I am fearful of having to fight. Then I bark so loud that people back off. I’m 6″4, 240. The point is my trigger for Aspie type stuff is a threat, either physical or communicative, the ones that usually preceed the physical threat. Hey, I’m a fighter, not a lover.

    When I was young was took refuge in competition because I usually won. I also had a raging inferiority complex. I always chalked it up to my familial guilt. Turns out the inadequate feelings may have had another source, one based in failed communication. I never had girlfriends because I knew I couldn’t be what they wanted. I also thought I would let them down on the basis of accountability, not lacking social graces and whatnot. I was just slow to go after girls because, even though I felt socially accountable, I could not be emotionally accountable. Yes, clearly I have my hands full.

    To this day I still wondered if I will ever truly need anyone. I found out today that I do, although not in the way most would expect. My need is cerebral, as if it is simply the result of a calculation. Such is my life the way I learned to live it.

    See, while I always struggled with the typical social limitations of an Aspie, as you call it, I just chalked it up to adolescent awkwardness. I now believe I pushed past my limitations in a quest to avoid demonstrating the same guilt so clearly worn on the shoulder of my family, my family more than most Cathlics even. This is for reasons I will not elaborate here, but suffice it to say my people have shame in spades. So, back to me, I always knew I was good enough. That shielded me from shame that might have pushed me away from people. Instead, I forged ahead to the point I learned to fake it. I still fake it. I still fail at communication daily, but I am as outgoing as can be. I can talk to people, very easily these days, but usually it is just to prove to them that I know how. My forays into communication are more masturbatory than anything else. Maybe this is the source of my isolation and it is more self-inflicted, but I doubt it. I think it is asperger’s. Failing at communication has always puzzled me. I mean I have one serious vocabulary and the ability to use it intelligently. It does not help. I realized recently my communication failures are the result of my delivery, a delivery I believe is shaped by asperger’s to one degree or another.

    Anyway, I’m going to speak to an appropriate psychiatrist tomorrow. I’m very eager to know what has always been up with me because every person I ever knew thought I was either bi-polar, weird or just plain nuts. I guess now they were right. Given my suspicion of asperger’s, I sure wish there was a pill to treat AS like there is with depression. Oddly, knowing there is no drug treatment or other significantly effective treatment for AS is comforting. See, I love being me. I always have. Asperger’s never slowed me down and I won’t let it stop me know, not figuratively, although I do plan to make decisions differently in the future.

    Wish me luck,
    Ryan

    Reply
  2. GLENISE JOHNSON

    Hi Justine
    I have an adult son of 38 who was diagnosed as having Aspergers earlier this year in NZ. He had been suffering from depression, saw his doctor and was referred to a specialist who did the Aspergers test with him. As a mother I have had to put up with many of his behavioural symptoms. I am always being blamed and verbally abused by him for things I have no control over, especially when it comes to money and the fact that I cannot always help him when its needed. I have been giving him money for years now and I am now a pensioner and can’t always do it for him. It breaks my heart the way he treats me and it is always a long time before he says he is sorry. Sometimes never!!. He completely changed when he came back from a trip to the UK.

    I was living on The Gold Coast in Australia at the time and he came back there and joined me. He had absolutely no money!!! I had just lost my job and we had to stay with a friend of mine. I was finding hard to get work and so was he ( at that time he was 26). I started to get a lot of abuse then and it has continued right up until now and still does. He has had some help since he was diagnosed as we both came back to NZ. He seems to think that I should be saving money for any emergencies he may have ( eg dentist, doctor). He has gone back to Australia again and has struggles with work as he is not qualified for anything, He is a” Jack of all trades” and “Master of None”. So many times I asked him to do a trade but he would never listen to me or his father either (he has now passed away). He fixates on things he has lost during many moves of house. I lost everything that was sent to me by my sister when I was living in Australia as I simply didn’t have the money to get it all from storage in Brisbane. Some things that were sent over were my sons. Especially photographs of when he was little and I lost the lot!! All he does is live continually in the past and I can’t seem to get him to move forward. He is obviously not seeing anyone about his Aspergers in Australia as he doesn’t have the money to do so.

    He is now living in Cairns.He has a job driving and this is something he loves to do but I get blamed if he loses a girlfriend or a job or can’t give him money. It gets so hard to take with his name calling and continual verbal abuse. Its all done by txts. If he does speak to me on the phone, he doesn’t listen to what I have to say and he just rants and raves something terrible!! He goes on about the colour of his eyes also. They are greenish/grey. My husband had hazel eyes and I have hazel/green. Is it a possibility that his eye colouring is because of his Aspergers? They were more hazel when he was younger. I have no idea where he is living because he will never give me an address. I don’t know who he is sharing a flat with, if he is by himself or anything. He tells me it’s none of my business!! I simply cannot have an adult conversation with him!! Before he went back to Australia, he stayed for a week with me and my older sister ( I live with her now) and he was so restless, couldn’t watch tv, had to keep going out to a friends, he wouldn’t look us in the eye when we talked to him and spent hours in the bedroom “sorting out his stuff” and wouldn’t tell me what his plans were until the last minute and left NZ without sufficient funds for emergencies. My sister and I both told him to work more here to have more money before he left, but he just wouldn’t listen to us. I know this can be a trait of Aspergers. He also has the most terrible temper when abusing me whether it is in txts and especially over the phone.

    I am really concerned as to how he is getting on with others. He wont tell me anything!! I get continually told he hates me, I’m a liar and he wants to die. I do fear he may take his life. Do you know of anywhere in Cairns where he may be able to get some free help?

    Reply
  3. Laura

    Hello, Justine.

    Recently I found myself reading an article about how it felt for the author being in a party with Aspergers. I suddenly felt so identified in her words that couldn’t help to read more about this condition. Every article I read convinces me a little bit more. It feels like every single trait that I thought made me different and miserable in society, is included among Asperger’s symptoms. I had to accept all these traits, let them define me, then cope, learn and go on. And that’s how I got where I am, accepting myself.

    Actually, I’m quite well now. I managed to love and be loved by people I just recently knew, which I thought was impossible for me. And what’s more important, I can express my feelings and understand others’, and I’m learning how to fit and get all of the non-verbal information quite successfully.

    But I can’t undo this feeling of comprehension, like if everything had a sense now… the sudden anger when I realise there’s a repetitive noise bugging my mind, the not being able to write an Anthropology essay although I know what I want to say, being totally incapable of designing my own routine or following my own tempos, all my childhood problems…

    My question is: since I really feel I’m a functional person now and I’ve learned to enjoy human intercourse instead of fearing it… should I reach for professional guidance? The thing is I feel comfortable enough with my present and potential self, bu I would like to re-evaluate my past from this new point of view. But I wouldn’t like to feel I’m not being taken seriously, since it seems I already did most of the job by myself.

    Sorry for talking so much… and thank you. Greetings from Barcelona! Laura.

    Reply
  4. Leo

    Hi I am 15 and think I may have aspergers I have taken several tests and scored 42 out of 50 on the autism spectrum quotient. I can really relate to this letter as I am very sensitive to light and sound etc.

    My parents do not think I have enough problems to be diagnosed/ aren’t particularly interested/ trying to pretend there is nothing wrong.

    However I am unsure if I have it, as although I am not very social I do have one friend of 11 years who I am able to interact with quite well although I am unable to make conversation with pretty much any of my other peers.

    Do you think I have aspergers?
    Thanks
    Leo.

    Reply
    • Justine

      Hi Leo
      Are you able to ask your parents to sit down and talk? If so then you could take that opportunity to share your concerns with them. I am sure your parents love you very much and just want the very best for you.

      If that truly is not possible then is there a teacher or guidance counselor at your school that you could express your concerns to?

      This does seem to be causing you concern and hence it would be great if you could find a trustworthy adult to talk with about what is worrying you. Perhaps your family doctor may be another option?

      I pray that you find helpful answers to your questions and concerns, Leo.

      God’s blessings,
      Justine 🙂

      Reply
  5. Johan Miltenburg

    I’m living in a Roman Catholic missionary community of 6 members, of six different nationalities from 2 different continents. Our language of communication is French and 4 of us are bilingual French/English, each one having moreover his own different mother tongue. With outside people we either speak French (as we do among ourselves) or the local vernacular, with varying degrees of proficiency. 15 months ago a new member (we say in French “confrère”) joint us in replacement of another, assigned elsewhere. Right from the start I was struck by the intellectual brilliancy of this new “confrère” but also displeased by his provocativeness, “fait-accomplie” strategies, indifference, extreme aggressiveness (but not without occasional apologies !), opt-out behavior, blunt refusals, aloofness, etc. 7 weeks ago I was asked to take on me the moral and religious responsibility for our bunch of “guys”. In our missionary environment I’m known as someone with many good qualities and the regretful absence of other equally useful qualities. One of these regretfully absent qualities is “leadership”. We all know that and it’s not a matter of shame since I can make fun of myself, God thank. I don’t want things go from bad to worse. I suspect an autism syndrome with our new “confrère” of 15 months ago, whom I need to protect (not paternalisticly but brotherly) utter isolation and dismissal. At the same time I need to “protect” (allow me the term !) the other confrères. One of my main worries is how to go about, searching for help and understanding, without defiling the name and reputation of this young brilliant genious of ours. Basically, I like him but even my sober person needs protection from him, one day. I suppose these few words about our “confrère” of 15 months ago, won’t sound unfamiliar to you. Thank you for your respectful consideration.

    Reply
    • Justine

      Hi Johan
      You certainly are in a unique and interesting situation. 🙂

      I wish I could help you specifically. But honestly I do not know who you can turn to in your part of the world.

      What I would suggest is to search online for a website on “Aspergers” plus the country or area that you are residing in.
      Here are a couple of websites that may help you get started:
      http://www.usautism.org/
      http://www.aspergers.ca/

      I hope this helps a little.

      God bless you in your endeavors,
      Justine 🙂

      Reply
  6. Paul

    Hi Justine,I have just read the anonymous letter on your site.I can relate to a lot of it. I’m 54,scored 33 on A S test and after a full test was told I have traits of Aspergers but not enough for a full diagnosis. I do not have the ‘repetitive’ indicators .So, after many years of not fitting in, and finally thinking some understanding of life events had surfaced, I find myself walking down a path which winds its way between two worlds.Is this it until the end? Coping, mixed with depression and social isolation {self inflicted or other wise}.My apologies for moaning.Your site has been great to find. Thank you. Paul.

    Reply
    • Justine

      Hi Paul
      Thank you so much for sharing your comment. 🙂 I am sorry for my delay in replying. This has been due to some family circumstances that has kept me offline for a few weeks.

      Feeling different can certainly be difficult. If you are able to connect with a person and small group of people who understand you and accept you as you are then that truly can help in reducing the feeling of isolation. It can also help in times when you feel down.

      I hope that you feel welcome to continue to return and share how you are getting on.

      I wish you all the very best, 🙂
      Justine

      Reply

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