A friend that I grew up with, before I moved, has Asperger Syndrome. I recently found this out. I asked him if he would write something for me, since he’s had help from professionals and I’ve had my family and friends helping me. I figured that his experiences would benefit others in ways that my experiences can’t. He’s written this for you, and I think he did a wonderful job.
My name is Dylan, and I am diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. I’ve known Allie for many years, and I was rather honored to be asked to make a post on her Blog to talk about my experiences living with Aspergers.
I was diagnosed around 4th grade with Aspergers syndrome, and since then I have received counseling through one on one counseling sessions and behavioral groups. This has helped me with a lot of my initial problems I have faced throughout my life, mostly the ones dealing with coping skills and proper communication skills. One thing that many psychiatrists have said about people with Aspergers is that they have a lack of empathy and show little emotion. I have found that I have almost too much empathy. I almost think of myself as a Newtype from the Gundam anime franchise, but I digress.
Throughout my life since my initial diagnosis, I have had to deal with many emotionally scarring problems, such as the divorce of my parents. I was bombarded with sentiment from both sides as they fought about what was best for us. It was and still is something that I have to deal. Another problem I had to deal with was the cultural shock of moving to Hawaii. Now, I know what you all are thinking: “Hawaii? That’s paradise! How could that possibly be emotionally scarring?” Racism and drug culture. In Hawaii, many of the locals are addicted to many harmful substances, such as marijuana, ecstasy, alcohol, crystal meth, etc. This has caused many of the locals to join different gangs and commit various crimes outside of just having those substances in general. I have literally had friends beaten to death because some local got drunk, crashed a party, and decided based on the fact that they are a bit different, that they deserved to die. These actions personify the other problem with a lot of the local culture in Hawaii: Many of the locals are racist against white people. Now granted, it is true that people of white descent were the cause of the fall of the Hawaiian kingdom, but that ultimately doesn’t warrant much of the hate that the people have towards the whites on the islands. I have been mugged and harassed on many occasions just because I’m white (although I am actually part Hawaiian and part Chinese, but as if they cared). This coupled with the divorce led to probably the most depressing period of my lifetime.
It was at this time that I really got a lot of the counseling work done on me that needed to happen. Had it not been for the care of my school 504 counselor, Mrs. Svenson, and the school behavioral specialist, Mrs. Dibiase, I wouldn’t have made it through all of the constant verbal and physical abuse from my peers. The other person that really helped me was a man by the name of Clyde Uyehara. Mr. Uyehara was the band instructor, and boy did he teach me the meaning of what it means to live life. Mr. Uyehara told all of us to live life to the fullest, and that “talk is cheap.” When we said we were going to do something together as a band, come hell or high water, we did it. Being in band gave me many opportunities. It allowed me to go to California to tour 4 colleges, go to Disneyland, and play with the Aliso Niguel High School band in the Laguna Beach area. Being in band also gave me the opportunity to play a gig with prominent Hawaiian musician, Uluwehi Guerrero. Ultimately, music became my antidepressant, and band kept me from wanting to give up on living.
So in the coming years from learning to deal with being socially awkward and my social problems, I have done a lot with myself. Despite being the most antisocial person back in those days, I went on to become Student Body Business Manager 1 year after I moved back to Washington; imagine that. I have also gained a lot of charisma and learned to love people in spite of whatever their flaws may be. Normally people with Aspergers are speculated to have little chance of having these social successes. In response, I say whoever came up with those statistics should really try talking to one of us and learn what it is really like to live with Aspergers.
Now in closing, many of you might be wondering the significance of the title of this entry. For starters, Zero was my nickname for a while when I was living in Hawaii. I still hold that name and all it represents close to my heart considering all I learned in the time that I went by Zero. As for Ai Senshi, that is Japanese for “Soldier(s) of Sorrow”, and the name of one of my favorite songs from Mobile Suit Gundam. I gave myself that title during senior year of High School, not because I am a sorrowful person, but because I am willing to embrace my sorrows and continue on living in spite of whatever sorrows come my way. I will continue to live my life in spite of whatever may want to stop me, because the best is yet to come.
Towards the unknown,
PS: Thanks Allison for giving me an opportunity to tell a bit of my story of living with Aspergers. I hope to see you sometime in the future.
P.S. It was my pleasure entirely to give you this opportunity. I hope we see each other again too. I hope that you write for us again some time. 😀