Autism Spectrum Discorder

Fix the Environment…My Thought for the Day…June 10, 2019

fix the environment suzygoebel.com/blog
June 7, 2019

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”
Alexander Den Heijer


Fix the Environment?

So, I am intimately acquainted with this quote.  I have been in many situations where, I, the flower, was not blooming as I should.  And the remedy was always to fix me, the flower, rather than address the possibility that the environment might not be the best for me.

I have not had the easiest time in my professional life, or personal life for that matter!  I recently sought help from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.  DVR is a state agency tasked with helping people with disabilities find and keep employment.  I have a long history of major depression which makes me eligible for services from them, so I thought, why not?  Maybe they can help me.  I brought up to my counselor that I thought I might be bipolar, and I didn’t think depression was the only thing going on.  She agreed and authorized a comprehensive psychological assessment.

So, I have had these assessments before, but stupid me always lied on them, because, well, I didn’t want to be crazy.  So, this time, I decided to be fully honest and answer all the questions to the best of my ability, since I am not getting any younger or any better for that matter.  If anything, certain struggles are getting worse as I get older.

Results

Last week Thursday was my follow up appointment to get the findings.  Turns out, I am both bipolar AND autistic!!  High functioning autism to be clear (formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome), I sure didn’t see that coming.  But it does make a lot of sense.  It is unfortunate I didn’t find this out when I was younger so I could better address the issues and problems my conditions present.

I’m still in a little shock.  A little sad.  Ok a lot of sad.  I feel I have wasted my life at this point, just floundering on the beach like a washed-up fish.  A little scared too.  Not that this diagnosis really changes anything, I am still the person I always was, and it is not a death sentence.  But I am finally realizing I will most likely never be successful in the world of work and no matter how intelligent and how much education I get.  I am just not able to cope with professional situations the way most people are.

I can ‘chameleon’ for only so long, then I get exhausted and the masks come off. I need more time off than most due to this disorder, and most people can’t understand that.  Even my husband doesn’t understand my need for downtime, or I lose it and melt down.  At least I know why I meltdown now!

We all know meltdowns at work are never a good thing.  I believe the longest job I ever held was only due to the large amount of vacation time I had which I also needed to supplement with unpaid time off (FMLA).  Which obviously raised many an eyebrow and hindered my ability to move on to other positions.

Next Steps…

So, where do I go from here?  I am not sure yet.  The doctor said my DVR counselor is really good and can help me immensely, hopefully, this is the case!  Now, I will just start researching more about what it means to be on the autism spectrum and how to cope with that.  I will try to fix my environment because I guess there is no way to fix me!  And maybe have a drink or 3.

I also now know why I was bullied at school and at work.  So, to all the people out there that have ever thought I was off or weird, I guess you were right!  I am going to have to learn to be proud to say…

 

 

So suck it!