GET A JOB!
One clue I had on my journey to diagnosis is my fractured job history and inability to stay employed. Most employment (especially without a college degree) requires some amount of interaction with other people, this was always very hard for me. According to previous employers my personality is “off putting” and I cant seem to connect with my fellow employees. When it came time to trim money from the budget or lay people off I was always first on the chopping block. Unfortunately working hard and being a good employee is almost never enough to keep a job. When it comes down to it, people would much rather work with someone that’s fun to be around but does OK work than someone that does good work but rarely speaks to anyone.
Another thing that’s hard to cope with for people like me is adjusting to changes. Any change in my schedule or routine is enough to give me a panic attack. This not only makes keeping a job nearly impossible, but it also makes looking for a job very hard. I know that I need a job, but I also know that it will come with a bunch of changes to the routine I have now. Just the thought of readjusting and meeting new people is enough to make my heart race. I know that no matter what I do I’ll never be able to connect with the people I work with and I know that will leave me in the same situation again. Sometimes, I’m not sure there’s a way out for me.
Most Aspies my age didnt get diagnosed until later in life and arent registered with the Department Of Disability. This means that employers arent required to make any special arrangements for us like they would with someone else that was disabled. Because of this, most of us just end up floating from job to job unable to land on stable ground. I’m going to be honest with you guys, at the moment I’m not capable of maintaining a job. I’ve come a long way since I started regular therapy last September but I still have a long way to go. Right now I have no income. No welfare, no unemployment and no disability benefits. I applied for disability back in December, but they can take up to 5 months to make a decision. So I’ve spent the last few months just waiting. Its been rough. Not only have I been dealing with this diagnosis but I’ve dealt with the constant threat of possible homelessness. The stress has made all the bad parts of Aspergers much, much worse. Ive gone from being high functioning to sometimes barely functioning.
Luckily I have the support system of an amazing family, the only stable thing in my life is them. I realize that I am truly blessed, but I cant help but think of all my fellow Aspies that dont have what I do. There must be thousands of Aspies out there that get branded as lazy, stupid and unwilling to work with others. This shines a light on the need of a shift in the way people view Aspergers. We need to shift our attention away from changing or curing it and onto creating a wide support system. We need job training, active support groups and laws that create an environment were we can be productive members of society. There are good things about Aspergers, but people need to let us show it.