The Verdict

Yesterday, I returned a call I missed from Dr. Neuropsychologist. While I was driving to work, he diagnosed me with Asperger’s.

So there it is. Asperger’s. A non-surprise, but a shock all the time. I have Asperger’s.

I started to cry and shake and had to park at a gas station for awhile to collect myself and to start digesting. Then I called work to tell people there I could not come in because I was just diagnosed, and was pretty much shaking uncontrollably and hyperventilating. I mean, it is a relief, but when it’s real, it’s real. I couldn’t tell you how I felt, it seemed like I felt everything.

Then my sister took off work to hang out with me and to figure out things, like if I lost my employment, the future, etc. This is because the whole reason I ended up with this diagnosis was because I couldn’t do my job in some basic ways: time management, priority setting, being socially aware, writing too long of notes, being unclear, etc. etc. etc. I am still bitter than I have been receiving such harsh treatment over the past 5 months, with negative feedback cloaked in “constructive feedback” every week. No mention of anything “right” that I did. No mention that I created hard drive space, created informational spreadsheets, helped with tech-related issues (“How do I get this to work?”), make their printer work again by figuring out the network cable, none of that. It is no wonder I got depressed and demoralized.

I told the Disability Director that I was diagnosed, and she spammed me, really wanted to meet with me. I was scared because what else is going to happen? So my sister and I both went to meet her, and my sister is a Type A personality who is an account executive which means she interacts (er, kindly bullies in a persuasive way) with people for a living. If you want anyone in your corner, it’s my sister with her claws out and her brain-mouth firing at full speed. She is a force of nature with both words and voice. One does not piss off my sister and expect to escape unscathed.

So it turns out I have a 2nd chance, engineered by the Disability Department, in concert with the State’s Disability Vocational Rehab/Training Department, to try out this position in which someone who has a disability but still can work, can be trained according to their disability in this position. If most people think inside the box, this position has no box. It seems to be an experiment, and as a science aficionado, fine, I’ll be your guinea pig.

Basically, I really am going into this job where everyone’s aware of my weird quirks (social awkwardness, inability to verbally communicate but very able to write/email/text/draw pictures) and learning style (visual/hands-on/theory-based). I have to teach them about me as much as they have to teach me about my job. “Me” being “someone who is nontraditional, boxless, Asperger’s, whatever”. “Me” being someone like Sheldon Cooper, except without a PhD but probably smart enough to get one if she had the money. It’s still temporary but it’s better than being fired in two weeks. This week, I do not have to go back to my now-ex job at all; I will not be burning bridges; the Disability Director will “handle it”. I have two coworkers I consider friends who I hope will still see outside of work.

After I went home, I learned that my ex-manager at my ex-job just up and fired the office manager but said that person had chosen to go somewhere else. No probationary period, no warnings. They fired her for “not doing a good job”, which of course, can be twisted up into paperwork if you’re looking hard enough for mistakes. Which is what happened to me. Then I was told that this has happened a lot in the past, where this workplace will “cleanse” the practice “of undesirables” suddenly, sneakily, underhandedly. It makes me sick that people can do this to other people.

So what seems like a “great” job ended up being a nightmare. I’m glad now I don’t have to go back, but I’m scared about my future. I’m scared to not be able to support myself. For my whole life, I have been a careening mess that my parents had to scrape up and support. Now I know why but that does not make it hurt less. But I promised myself after graduating from my second college with a second degree that all my “shenanigans” will stop and I will grow up and be an adult, to support myself and not have my parents pay anything. So far I have been successful for 5 years..
So now what? I don’t know.
It’s an ending.
It’s a beginning.

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