I think I was always borderline bipolar since my teenage years, frankly, upon talking to my psychiatrist and detailing my thoughts and feelings and actions. But it was the two pregnancies that really seemed to tip the balance right over into the madness category where I was into the straight mania/depression phases. Scary. It was at one of my meetings with my psychiatrist that I said, and I remember this so clearly “I feel there’s more to me than just bipolar. I read about descriptions of it in books and it’s not all entirely me. There’s more to me”. She said she’d think about it more and get back to me. She came back at our next meeting with the idea that I had Asperger’s syndrome or more correctly now, Autism. They’ve done away with Asperger’s syndrome as a label in the medical journal that details mental health, the DSMV V. She gave me the name of a book to read “Aspergirls” by Rudy Simone. I went away thinking okay maybe she’s onto something.
Reading that book was like opening a wide window onto why I’ve been the way I was all my life. From the early days when I’d rather read a book than play with friends. Obsessive behaviours over certain things like horses or “mad passions” as I called them then. Diving into subjects with great glee and depth to the exclusion of all else. Why I had few friends in high school, ate lunch in the school gym while watching the kids do trampoline. Not having a date to the prom. Having some difficulty getting words to paper. Knowing things in my head but not being able to reproduce them onto paper for exams therefore failing even through I was “smart”. Being taken advantage of by people who knew I was a soft touch.
Meeting Tim, my husband, who I believe is also on the autism spectrum, was so wonderful. Finally a person who saw me as a valuable friend. I’ve had very few true friends in life. I can count on two hands those friends who’ve been with me throughout my life through thick and thin, ups and downs. Autism isn’t a kind companion when it comes to that. You’re viewed as being very different, odd, not one of the crowd. You definitely march to your own drummer. But I’ve always tried to believe it’s due to my uniqueness, my gifts that that is why people don’t get me. Not because I’m broken and defective which what the negative voices try to tell me. When I alienate people, which I know I do, I simply have to accept that they just don’t get me, which is hard sometimes, of course. I’m very opinionated. Don’t get me started on politics, for instance. But I’m very thankful when people do accept me for me and obviously enjoy my company.
How I view myself according to my Johari window is accepting, bold, caring, extroverted, giving, and warm. How others view me is quite long and varied but highlights are cheerful, friendly, energetic, helpful, loving, sentimental, spontaneous, and silly. You can see more of it here.
So, hopefully that goes some way into explaining my discoveries. I’ve only found it’s helped me grow as a person to embrace these discoveries and adapt them into my life.