Living With Asperger’s – Personal Stories Part 3
Today we have another real life story from Marie Hélène Carette. Its great that we receive so many stories from all around the world. Over to Marie:
I am really grateful for your site and its rich content.
I happened to do the Aspie test on your site in 2012, and two other times since then.
And my score was always around 32/33 — confirmed Aspie!
In fact, I was more relief than desperate; I was even grateful for the life I had in spite of many difficulties. I am grateful because, unlike many children today, I have never been officially diagnosed, so even if I saw many books about “how to raise a difficult child” on my mother’s table, I just grew up trying to find my own way and I recognized how my two parents were both naturally gifted to raise a “difficult child” like I was.
It certainly was helpful for me to grow in normality WITH my own difference. I always felt I was “different”: I had lots of motricity difficulties — my eyes were not straight, I was a silent observer, living in an ivory tower, drawing a lot. I asked so many questions in school that the teacher told my mom to keep me home at one stage because she was just so exhausted by my many questions. But instead of punishing me, my mother taught me to draw on the big papers she placed on my room walls.
In school I was often bullied and I felt I had no defence, but I always found nice girls who were older and mature and they lent me good books so I became very good at writing stories.
Later, I became a high school teacher, teaching grades 8 and 12 in French and Ethics. My methods were different and I was able to give each pupil his/her place and value their talents and skills. I also worked a lot to improve my own skills and undertook many courses and therapies. I wanted to get over my own difficulties, which were like an invisible handicap. What helped me the most was my ability to recognize others’ skills and talents, and to value them in each student.
But I it took me so much of my energy that I simply didn’t have room for having a family; I needed so much time just to relax and be myself, that I needed all my private time for rest as well as for my preparations.
I had very few friends, but solid ones. They never did reject me. Then after 12 years in teaching high school, I earned a Masters degree in my free time and I was hired at university level and there, during my working years, I got my Doctorate degree. The miracle was that I was under contract (no tenure), near 25 years working full time but with the opportunity to organize my time; this was an approach valuing results more than the number of hours at my office. So I was able to organize my time between being physically present with the students (I was a field education director) and all the other necessities of such a task, giving myself the time and space needed to be able to cope with my handicap.
Today I am retired and it is the best time of my life, not only because I live with a nice pension plan, but because I spent all my life without a name on my secret handicaps. I just learned how to cope WITH them on an everyday basis and it is only since I’ve retired that I have come to realize, through your website, that the problem all along was that I have “Asperger’s Syndrome”! Imagine!
Through doing everything possible during my whole life to manage my condition, I became a quiet and contemplative person devoted to her students and even low profile with my university peers, I am grateful that they recognized and valued my work and I only got good help from them when needed and lots of respect and mutuality for encouraging the students the see what is possible.
I will soon turn 65 and I am grateful to be able to live WITH who I became along the way and I don’t wish to get a formal diagnosis from a psychiatric hospital to certify the type of autism I was born with.
I wish I could simply have some opportunities to volunteer my time to help autistic children and their parents, in order to share joys and hopes by encouraging them to accept their situation and work through it for the best.
Sincerely yours and long life to your website!
Marianne H. C.
i am an early retired old man – 63 years old – until about ten years ago – i had not heard of aspergers – now i am suspicious – i scored 40 on one test and 38 on the other – i really do not think that at this point and time in my lite time this would make a difference – none the less – this does make sense to me – and i can relate to many of the stories that have been posted – some of the situations that i got myself into were outrageously humorous – others almost ended in tragedy – i experienced failure and success in my life – i am ok with who i am – age seems to make a lot of difference .
I scored 42 in here every time. 45 out of 50 elsewhere and with another questionnaire 38 out of 42 for Asperger. I’m 37, an excellent physician but not great in freestyle communication and social strategies. Just do in real life what you’ve learned at medicine school they say to me all the time. But for me it’s not that easy.
Hi, I scored 45, and knew a long time ago what was with me. I am curious, seeing several physicians here, does anyone know how many surgeons of any type there are in the USA with Autism/Aspergers?
I am 67 and like the writer of this story I always knew I was “different” It was only when I saw movies with people with Aspergers being portrayed did I have any idea I was an Aspie.
Over the years I have adapted in many ways but now looking back I see how “different” I was. I am glad there wasn’t a diagnosos when i was young. If so, I might have been treated differently and would not have been able to accomplish as muh as I have during lifwe
Thank you for sharing your personal story, it was reassuring to me. I can relate almost to everything you ve said, except the bullying. I have Asperger’s too. I m a kind of feisty person and when I was young all bullying attempts towards me turned into a big mess anywhere it happened. Poor mom and dad. And oh.. I m a small lady, no martial arts involved. I m a medical doctor, so you must guess that at some point I acquired skills to deal with bullying, other than beating the “sheet” out of those brave enough to bother me. And it has mostly to do with not taking anything personally, because it is never personal. People only hate in others what they hate in themselves. If they don t have it inside them too, they don t even identify it in others, whatever it is. It s a ego projection of them. Took me a while to understand it.
Once you realize this dynamics it becomes kind of rare to feel bothered by other people’s attitudes, views or remarks about us.
Remember that every bully is miserable him/herself. If we don t give any feedback at all, we avoid adding more misery to his/hers regretable life, for he/she is already unhappy as he/she can be.
Sometimes we can feel prone to enlighten the ignorant person, and it can lead from neutralizing the situation to making a new friend. But if the purpose of the intimidation is evil and the arrow doesn t find you as a target, then you can choose to let the individual to enlighten him/herself spontaneously by life s hardships in due time, and walk away in absolute peace.
Anyway, Aspies tend to save energy and are minimalist in all responses to stimulii. Whenever we choose to interact it must be really worth the expenditure. We can get exausted and even sick.
So, I wanted to share this because I see many of us hurting, and scarred by ignorance and bad people. I hope it can help more Aspies to cope with the difference and the negative responses to it.
But I must highlight that I am talking about emotional, verbal, social subtle bullying that can be dealt with. When it comes to physical bullying, difamation, or threats, it requires The Law to take action. We must make use of our rights as citizens.
To all mom’s and dad s out there, going crazy with their Aspie kid: We get better and better with age, we are capable of achieving any dream, or goal with resilience and persistance. We graduate, we marry, we have kids, we support our families, and we learn to play neurotypical when necessary. Don t despair, believe in us, love us as we are, just don t try to change us.
Love and Light to you all!
How recognizable how you have learned to cope with things. For me, also a (female 37 years old) medical doctor, did have experienced physical bullying because I’ve said something what triggered another in physical bullying me. Later in verbal bullying till I was going to the university then it was over. Later on I did some tai bo training just to know how to defend myself whenever it would be necessary.
A wonderful, inspiring story! Like Marianne, I have coped with Undiagnosed Aspergers throughout my life and, like her, I became a teacher. Unfortunately, some of my colleagues were less “understanding” of my social isolation issues and perfectionism than hers seem to have been, so I suffered a great deal of antagonism and bullying during my career as a result; nevertheless, it was always a great delight for me to be able to encourage my students to develop their talents and skills to their fullest potential.
I wanted to say thank you to Marianne and to everyone else who has shared their life stories. I took the test online as well after an acquaintance suggested that I might have Aspergers. I did subsequently take the test and scored in the 30 range. I chose to get an confirmation of that by going through testing. After two tries in trying to find someone qualified and I did find someone thanks to the Austism Society in South Carolina.
I am 38 years old and to finally have an explanation for why I feel like the outsider looking in on the rest of the world is wonderful! I am so grateful that I have found my niche in the career I have chosen to pursue. I thank you for everything you do to put this website together and share with the world.
I enjoyed Marie’s article because I too have had a successful university career and am now retired. I just found out this year that I have Aspergers and it explained some things from my past. I am glad that I didn’t know I had it until now because I am afraid that if I had known that I had a “condition” it might have undermined my confidence to function successfully. I became a physician, a psychiatrist and directed a psychiatric residency training program (which trains physicians to specialize in psychiatry) for 18-plus years.
I’m curious about how you as physician was able to do psychiatry. That’s a job where you have to “read” other people’s face etc. I’m going to be an specialist in eldercare. Also very important to “read” another’s face and conclude and ask what is going on.
I guess you have been trained well to do that. But what were your tools to manage these important skills? And how about writing down your observations?
I found that difficult because I was taught to be short without to much other things in my past skills (surgery, plastic surgery, intensive care, Energency medicine and cardiology).