Open Book

 DANIELS WAY 

Introduction

There’s a road in life that eventually comes to an end. It’s up to you to decide which path you wish to follow. My path began when I was diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at age 3. I grew up functioning at a high level and many people questioned my diagnosis. I never wanted anyone to know that I had ASD because I felt as if it would ruin my relationships or my encounters throughout my time in school and everywhere I stepped foot. 

As I got older and graduated from high school I began to tell people I was suffering from ASD. Many said, “You’re very high functioning for someone who has ASD.” I would reply, “yes, but do you know there are many different signs/symptoms and severity of ASD”. Personally, I began to understand the diagnosis was correct realizing my disorder was mild. I will always need help in certain areas and it’s important to realize that someone with ASD isn’t necessarily ignoring you or not paying attention. I am a quiet person, but I struggle with communication and social cues, which is a symptom of ASD. 

When I first became aware that I had ASD, I looked it up on google and I was surprised because I’ve never heard of it before. I didn’t think anything was wrong with me but I was having difficulty communicating and learning. I knew something was wrong but had difficulty accepting the diagnoses. I noticed some other areas within myself that were different and those areas were a part of ASD. Some of these areas were eye contact, hypersensitivity to lights and noise, memorization, social skills, reading and writing, and behavioral issues.

I am now 20 years old and have experienced depression, anxiety, multiple medication changes, inpatient/outpatient mental health treatment, and even ECT. I have struggled for many years wondering if I would be better off dead. Suicidal ideation has been the hardest challenge for my family and me.

 In the following chapters, I will detail my personal experience coming to grips with this disorder and how it manifested into anxiety and major depression. And lastly, I will also discuss the current research and treatment of ASD. My hope is that the reader will benefit from my personal experiences in their own struggle with this disorder.