Aspergers = life

All about me. I think just because I am in business - it doesn't mean I shouldn't post personal blogs. Hopefully it'll tell you a lot about who I am and how I got to where I am. A little bit of everyday life. (P.S it's blunt!)

How I got to where I am today - the sliding doors of living with Asperger’s.

What happened?

Sitting in front of my deputy editor & picture editor to be - I sat relatively still during my interview, smiling slightly, keeping eye contact, answering questions confidently and fully. I left feeling like I had done my best and that they both liked who I was.

What goes on inside;

Sitting in front of my deputy editor and picture editor to be - I was early, was it too early. I read you should be twenty minutes early but they are late so did they care that I was early? Those receptionists are loud.

My nice face is on, the friendly face but slightly innocent one, with a smile - the one I know people like. Yes please I'll have a tea; I don't want a tea but people like it when you accept a drink. Don't stop smiling, not that much, don't laugh nervously, keep eye contact, smile slightly, stop looking at his teeth, look up, look up, smile. Keywords, Don't forget keywords, why is she laughing? Oh did he make a joke, was it a joke? Laugh! Don't fidget, stop moving, don't answer too quickly, stop smoothing your hand, Look up, smile, keep eye contact. Drink your tea.

I knew all the answers because I had researched every possible Google page of interview questions and memorised all the answers.

Are you a team player?

No. I don't like people in my space, I hate people talking when I don't want to be spoken to, I don't like noise, I don't like people looking at me, I don't like people in the car with me and generally I like to be work alone, in a corner with the cat.

That would have sunk faster than the Titanic seems as I was interviewing for a newspaper trainee photographer role. 

I got the job.

After three months my boss asked how I felt I was doing- "plodding along" I said. I wasn't in the mood to talk, especially to him.

Needless to say he didn't appreciate my bad attitude and lazy work ethic so he gave me a kick up the backside. Now, that sent my anxiety raging. I hated the job, I hated seeing people, and I hated life. But I got used to it.

Everyday speaking to people became easier; I learnt to almost say a script that adapted to each situation. I loved sport; this became my favourite because there was no talking required. I managed to keep conversation to a polite minimum without ever appearing before rude but maybe a little shy.

I learnt an excuse to not have a cup of tea.

I made eye contact but focused through them.

I learnt to take control of a room, to control any situation and to be in charge.

I sat with my laptop in the car until the battery died to save sitting with colleagues.

I avoided work experience students like the plague but occasionally got stuck with them in my car. It wasn't until I had my diagnosis that they let me be alone.

I only began to enjoy my job when I went to press training for three months in Sheffield.

I was the top student, the most confident in my work, my ability and for the first time independent from anyone. I don't know what these three months did but I loved every single minute. I thrived, won two awards and went back to work as a different person.

Underneath all the same traits were there but there was genuine love for my job on the surface. I finally found the key to surviving Asperger’s. Confidence.

 

This positive streak lasted around another 5 years until I began to slip back down the hill I'd climbed up. This time it wasn't Asperger’s traits getting worse, I'd just genuinely outlived my time there. I had reached a peak and I was ready to move on and be my own boss.

 

When people questioned the how's and what’s and financials, as usual I had every answer sewn up. I've always thought of the answer before it's been asked because I'd been up for the last 6 months not sleeping thinking of every possible scenario. I was sure.

My traits never get better, I just learn to manage them. Sometimes.

Hopefully hearing this will help you understand why I can come across over excited or maybe say something the wrong way or don't understand what you're talking about..  But probably, most of you didn't notice.

Some people with Aspersers can't handle it like I can, so maybe this will help you stop and think next time someone is nervous or a little brash. None of this effects my

Ability as a photographer or videographer but it can affect how I am perceived.

We all have our faults, our problems, our pet hates but we are all alive and I'm proof that you can get through it all, everyday and be strong, confident and proud of your work.