Diagnosis: Shellique’s Story

I am also one of the rarer female aspies. I could never understand why most people I came across were offended by small things I said or did. I was constantly being told I was rude, selfish and stubborn. My family were isolated from other people because people didn’t like the way I behaved. They thought my behaviour was inappropriate. For example I asked the host of a barbecue if I could take some of the left overs home and she was offended. Even our church cell group told my parents not to bring me there again after I pushed a younger child into the pool as a joke. I was told I behaved like a 5 year old.

I struggled to make friends and lost them easily. I could never fathom why ‘friends’ suddenly cut me off from their life, not replying to my calls or emails without giving me a reason. I thought it must be my fault. I blamed myself for everything and I felt like a failure. I was always trying to fit in but never succeeding. I developed a very low self confidence because I was ostracised and made an outcast in society. I was constantly bullied in school right up to matric and no one in my grade wanted to sit with me at break. This caused me a lot of trauma which made me develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

For years I had no idea that I had a motor co-ordination and sensory problem. I was teased because I couldn’t hit the ball straight or I did it too hard. I was always asking people to turn down their music and I was the only one who was bothered by it.

I was diagnosed late in childhood compared with many Aspies. At the end of 2003 when I was 16, my psychologist diagnosed me with Aspergers Syndrome (AS). She had been seeing me for 5 years already, but she had only just learnt about the syndrome. She gave me a book to read about AS, which explained my whole way of thinking and behaving. I was shocked but also very relieved. I finally had an answer for why I had been treated as an outcast all my life. It gave me a framework to see my past experiences. It told me that my ‘bad’ behaviour was not from a lack of character, as many people accused me of, but from the way my brain was wired. I realised that I wasn’t stupid, useless or rude after all. I then understood that most of my struggles were not my fault but stemmed from something I could not control. Once I had processed this new information, I struggled to decide who I should tell about my syndrome.

Once I had come to terms with the syndrome, I decided I didn’t care what people thought of me anymore and I accepted that I was different. Not being popular didn’t bother me after that. I decided that it was better to do my own thing and pursue what made me happy rather than focusing on what everyone else was doing. So I became a free spirit.


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3 Responses to Diagnosis: Shellique’s Story

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  1. Mim says:

    I am so happy for you that you’ve been properly diagnosed at your age. I am 69 years old and that is a long time to keep thinking of myself as stupid, useless, and rude, on top of which I had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic and institutionalized 41 years ago. I have not yet been formally diagnosed because I am having difficulty finding someone on my insurance to do so. At this rate I just might decide to be satisfied with the self-diagnosis.

  2. Daniel says:

    In your story, you mention a book your psychologist gave you regarding Asperger’s Syndrome. Would you mind telling me what this book is called and by whom it was written, please? I would very much like to get a hold of this book, for myself.

    • Leigh Forbes says:

      Hi Daniel, the book was Tony Attwood’s “Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome”. If you’ve not already heard of him, Tony Attwood is an internationally renowned expert on Asperger’s syndrome, and also much respected by autistic people as one of the few such experts to really “get” us. His book is excellent, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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