Wow, has it really been a month since my last blog? Life's been pretty uneventful lately, so I haven't had much to write about. I'm in a thinking mood today, so figured it was time.
I was replying to a status someone posted on My Autism Team, and really liked the way my response came out. Here's some background information about the original poster: she was concerned that she sometimes puts expectations that are too high on her daughter, who is an Aspie, but often presents as NT. She felt stuck between setting the bar too high and too low, and was looking for advice. She essentially wants to assume competence and expect her to do her best, without expecting more than she can handle and thus, letting her down. Here was my reply:
"Totally understandable! I'm an Aspie and flew under the radar until last year at 31. My parents have always put "typical" expectations on me because that's what I was known as at least until I was 25, when I was diagnosed with ADHD, OCD and anxiety. They learned that my struggles were real at that point, however it was when I got my autism diagnosis that they really began to understand. For years and years, my dad used to try to convince me to act older, despite my natural feelings to act young for my age; it's simply the way I am. Now, he doesn't press the issue anymore! He gets it :) My parents both understand that when I don't pick up on things right away, I'm not doing it just to annoy them, but because it takes me longer to process them. These days, they seem to put expectations on me that are level with my abilities, while still assuming that I can be my best!"
After having written that, I feel thankful for my present situation. I'm in a place where I can still be expected to challenge myself, without having people expect me to be someone I'm not. Yes, I'm still expected to do X, Y and Z, yet am given the space to do them one at a time, and at my own pace. Since this has not always been the case, I'm glad it finally is.
Expectations can be hard to deal with, especially when the bar IS set too high. It can often lead to stress and anxiety, which in turn leads to performance that is not one's best, after all. There were times in the past where I did not feel like I was good enough, because I wasn't what the world expected of me. Now that different neurotypes are becoming more widely known, and I have a stronger and more knowledgeable support system, I feel that I am doing the best I can, as the person I am.