I wanted to fill this post with hope and love so others could be inspired, so I reached out again to my aspie groups and asked for their stories.
What I found was disheartening. I guess I should say what I didn’t find: support. When I asked my fellow aspies to share hurtful things friends and family had said to them, I was overwhelmed with responses. When I asked for positive and supportive things from friends and family, I gave them over a week to respond. Still, the answers were sparse:
Wendy W. – “Wow, that must have been tough”
Candice S. – When I told my husband, his reply was “I know” in a very casual tone. His 2 words said everything. They said that he loves the way I am and that includes the AS.
Kelly S. – “Don’t worry, you’ve always done things in your own time.”
Sue A. – “I’m glad you found answers and are embracing who you are.”
“Thank you for being so open and sharing your experience!”
“It’s good that you know this about yourself and what you can do to work on the things you want to improve on.”
So I changed the question.
Last night, I asked “Tell me something that another ASPIE has said to you that made you feel loved and supported.” I was delighted to see this many responses in less than 24 hours!:
Abby N. – I am kind and understanding
Colin S. – I‘m glad to have met you. Your knowledge is a gift.
Aletheia K. – “I’ve felt the same way all my life, but you actually put it into words!”
Aubrey M. – “We are so much alike”
J.J. B. – My aspie friend has helped me by just listening and not judging
Ron K. – I understand.
Claudia A – Well, you are different. I think it’s great, and if someone doesn’t like it they can go f*** themselves.
Alyce A. – Twins!
Debby T. – We can be weird together!
Julia R. – Being with other people with ASD can be amazing, especially if you have similar interests, and similar ways of being and communicating. I have several family members with ASD, and just being around them can feel so good because there’s no pressure to be anything different. Also I’ve finally started to understand and appreciate how earlier generations of people with AS in my family organized their lives so as to benefit from the positive aspects of AS and to minimize the more challenging and potentially disabling parts. So it’s not so much what anyone has said, it’s just the sense of the pleasure of feeling completely normal while being around others who are very similar. While also learning from them that you can be autistic and live a good life.
John T. – You guys are the only Aspies I know and you always say nice things to me.
Anne. L. – The facilitator of the Aspie Womens Group commented on how lucky my daughter is to have an Aspie Mom. I bring a level of insight and empathy to her parenting that it is unlikely an NT parent could. I really hadn’t thought about it that way before.
Sherri S. – I admire you a lot. You seem so self-possessed and competent and unruffled. You have a golden heart. That’s not weird. I do that too! It is more than just words. It’s a feeling of connection and acceptance. Immediate, unconditional acceptance.
Robin H. – Often times, when others say they have “been there”, they say it with a sharp tone that we’ve learned means we’re stupid and implies “quit your whining you aren’t the only one”. Whereas when my friends who are Aspies say they have “been there”, it is explained with distinct empathy showing their hearts are in sync with mine. If only the rest of the world could know how lonely of a place it is when others do not connect in that way with us.
Kerrilynn H. – You are an inspiration to others. You help others in their journeys by being so open about mine.
Anna W. – You’re not mad, you’re not wrong, and I rather like you. You’re neither mad nor hopeless, you’re wonderful. You are Anna and regardless of what label anyone chooses to slap on you or whatever metaphorical box you may be put in, you will still be Anna.
Ashley M. – I know you asked what supportive things others have said to me, but being supportive of others makes me feel loved and supported myself! Here is something another Aspie said to me: You give me strength. Because you have been so open about your Asperger’s, I finally feel like I have the strength to find my own voice. Thank you for always being so supportive.
Jenny S. – I get you. Nobody had ever told me that before.
Wendy W. – I feel a connection with you that I’ve never felt with anyone else before- I feel like we’re twins.
I was sad to see such a lack of support from our friends and family. At the same time I was overjoyed with how accepting and supportive other Aspies are to each other. Sometimes, our family isn’t our best support system. Sometimes, we have to find our own.
If you have Asperger’s or Autism and you are not feeling supported by friends and family, reach out.
There are many support groups online – especially on facebook. Search twitter for #aspie. Email me. There is connection and acceptance here. There is friendship here. You are most definitely NOT alone. ❤
Go where the love is.