"Coming Out" with your silent disability

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godoftruemercy
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14 Oct 2011, 3:42 pm

The disability advocacy group I belong to had a meeting last night about whether or not people should "come out" as having a silent disability. We had a really great discussion, so I was wondering:

Did you "come out" to anyone in your life about your ASD/whatever else? Why did you or didn't you? Do you feel as though people have a responsibility to "come out?"



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14 Oct 2011, 4:20 pm

godoftruemercy wrote:
Did you "come out" to anyone in your life about your ASD/whatever else?

No, but I've said that "I must be having an Aspie day" right after a herp-a-derp moment, just to see if anyone knew what I was talking about. No one seemed to even care.

godoftruemercy wrote:
Why did you or didn't you?

I will never "come out" as I'd rather people thought of me as merely eccentric, instead of having to prove that AS is not the same as mental retardation, schizophrenia, or psychopathy.

godoftruemercy wrote:
Do you feel as though people have a responsibility to "come out?"

Not at all. I do feel, however, that if someone does want to "come out", then they should first prepare to deal with being disbelieved, disrespected, dismissed from their job, or simply shunned and misunderstood. They should also be able to deal with being told that AS is "Just an excuse" to act like a spoiled brat.


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14 Oct 2011, 4:24 pm

I don't like coming out as having it. I know I should but I feel I do fine keeping it a secret. For one, I feel embarrassed about it and two, I am afraid lot of bad things may happen based on what I have read online. People either have it define you so they make all these assumptions about you or they act like you are retarded or think you are using it as an excuse or may think you don't have it because you aren't textbook or a stereotype of it or not like someone they know who has it or you seem too normal. Plus people don't always care that you have it so nothing changes.

I've told my husband of course before we met but I had to anyway because it's important for him to know so he understand me better. But I don't care what the rest thinks so I don't tell them. I used to be more open about it though because I didn't know what it was then. But it was never something I said out of the blue because it never felt important to me so I didn't find it important for others to know. So my mother was the one to tell people and my husband is the one to tell people too if he finds it that important but he doesn't tell strangers.

Sometimes I do feel like screaming out I have it just so I am given some slack but I keep my mouth shut and I am afraid of making a fool out of myself. What if it had nothing to do with AS so that's why. They can also think I am using it as an excuse. Plus I feel I can explain myself without using the label.



btbnnyr
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14 Oct 2011, 4:30 pm

I don't think that people are obligated to come out about their autism.

Personally, I am open about myself being autistic, and I do wish that more autistic people would be open about it, but I understand that there are many many many reasons not to come out due to the society we live in.



Apple_in_my_Eye
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14 Oct 2011, 4:50 pm

I have ("officially") other disabilities, and my experience is that people don't really care, and that if you can't explain it in one sentence their eye glaze over and they get bored.

However, I basically live like a hermit, so in the context of friends and family and such I can't say how that has gone.



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14 Oct 2011, 5:30 pm

I was going to tell everyone in my class when I when graduate in month but I decided againist it. I feel like they don't know me well enough so it's probably not worth it. The only people that know about it either close to me or a teacher. The teachers ignore the fact that I have Aspergers and also the ones close to me also ignore it with the exception that I can talk it about it freely. I think Aspergers isn't properly understood yet, people just think it's an excuse to act like a brat but Aspergers is more than that. I look forward to the day where it is understood



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14 Oct 2011, 5:44 pm

"Coming out" about being an Aspie is actually a very big decision, IMO, and I've been giving it quite a lot of thought over the past several months. On one hand, I feel it would provide an explanation to so many people about my lifelong abnormal behavior. But, on the other hand, I feel it would also force those same people to redefine me against the backdrop of Aspergers Syndrome and whatever preconceptions they may have about it. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. In my own mind, Aspergers has become a huge part of my identity (if not the single most important defining issue) but on the other hand, I like the idea of being this quirky, unusual kind of guy that has figured out a way to succeed in spite of being dealt a strange deck of cards. It's actually very difficult for me ... should I reveal the truth or stick with the same "lie" that so many have come to believe?



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14 Oct 2011, 7:25 pm

Once you come out as an Aspie, you no longer have the same identity in the minds of your family, friends, and coworkers.

Instead of "John Doe" (for example), you become in their minds, "Aspie John" or "John Doe, that Aspie" or even "This is John. He's an Assburger, so don't take anything he says too seriously", and they will have pigeonholed you in a different category than before your coming out.

After that, everything you say or do will be measured in the light of what they think they know about Asperger's Syndrome, most of which will be wrong.


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— Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, in the Star Trek
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14 Oct 2011, 7:46 pm

Immediately after getting diagnosed I posted on google+

"Apparently Tuttle has now officially been labeled. Just got back the report for the mental evaluations done last week and it gives me an official Aspergers diagnosis and all but tells me that I should be playing role-playing games to learn social interactions." (I even referred to myself as Tuttle despite most of these people knowing me IRL)

And then we got into a discussing about how tabletop RPGs and LARPs can help people on the spectrum.

All these people are talking about it being a big decision, it wasn't for me, for me it was just sharing information. Nobody has treated me any more negatively since then, I think I've been treated minorly more positive by some people.

I've been debating writing up longer descriptions to educate people more, but haven't done so yet.

How much it matters is dependent on the people who you're telling. The people I told are more okay with Asperger's than many and I've actually had more issues with people not believing that I was autistic ("Asperger's isn't being autistic, its just being socially inept") than people not taking me serious in the other direction.



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14 Oct 2011, 8:00 pm

I still dont know where I sit on the "coming out" part. I used to be very open then I suddenly didn't want to be open. So ive been back and forth. I have a couple friends that are like, you have to tell people! I guess they dont really consider the issues with letting people know.

I wonder at times if people already think Im psychotic. Cause generally disorders to NT tends to be more like black and white even tho NTs are suppose to be able to think in greys. The only mild disability most NTs know about is ADHD. So if Im not retarded then they probably think Im psychotic.



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14 Oct 2011, 8:53 pm

I don't care about what people think of me regarding my hfa. I don't really care what other people think in general. It isn't a disability anyway, ive never approached the way i am like that. I didn't get a diagnosis till 31 and did fine with anything that ever took my interest, apart from friends and social. I can still make acquaintances fairly well ( like getting on with workmates, classmates and etc) just i can't actually turn those acquaintances into friends. I can actually talk to girls but my main reason for not talking to them is the same reason i dont talk to most guys, they dont have anything to say that interests me. Which isn't attractive imo.



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14 Oct 2011, 10:08 pm

I don't think i would ever come out, with any of my disorders. Everyone will just presume it's an excuse for my faults.

So i tend to subtly hint towards my disorders so that others work it out. it worked anyway, my friends all know i'm an aspie :)


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14 Oct 2011, 10:34 pm

godoftruemercy wrote:
"Coming Out" with your silent difference

Fixed that for you.



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14 Oct 2011, 10:54 pm

I've only told my friends that I had it once, more on that later. However, I don't even know how many people my parents have told about it, and since they seem to want me to die from embaressement they have mentioned it in the family letter to everyone they know a few times.

I haven't told anyone about it for a few reasons, the first is that I'm a bit ashamed of it, expecially before I figured out more about it. I only really became confortable with the diagnosis recently. The second reason is that people make stupid assumptions, and I'd rather remain being viewed as a shy and eccentric genius than let people use their false knowledge of the disorder to lable me as retarded, a sociopath, or say that I'm using it as an excuse to be a jerk.

Here is the reason I came out for a second: I was with my friends at school and they were gossiping about this kid who appears to be retarded. I was a bit uncomfortable as I don't like gossip and I don't like making fun of disabled people. Eventually one of my friends stated that the kid wasn't actually diagnosed with anything. Some suggested that he might have Autism, and then some else suggested that this kid with ADHD that is a bit of a jerk might also be autistic. At this point a friend of mine whose mom works at the same place as my mom stated " Isn't that what (my name has)?". Some then asked me if that was true, and since I cornered I replied "Technically no....". Not a lie in my mind, I have Asperger's, not Autism. So then the kid who brought up me being Autistic in the first place "Oh, I remember what it's called, Aspergers?" and I said "yeah". He then explained that it as meaning that your really smart and socially awkward and that a lot of famous people have it, and I decided to let that pass, at least for now. The discussion ended there and my Aspergers hasn't been brought up since, and now I wonder how many of my friends know.



bergie
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14 Oct 2011, 11:10 pm

I have only told my immediate family.

My coworkers might suspect something (or it might be my imagination) because the topic of autism has come up a few times. One time we were eating lunch and the topic of genetic profiling came up (we are all computer programmers so geek conversations like this are the norm) and I said that I would have it done because I would rather know if I had some genetic predisposition to a disease and one of my co-workers said something like "what if it showed you were autistic?". This was like right after my self-discovery/diagnostic phase so I was pretty much floored (but also might have been reading too much into it) and couldn't respond. The discussion quickly turned to autism and how they are unique and gifted individuals so that made me feel good that I had good co-workers who were willing to see the advantages to neurodiversity.