In the mid 90s I started to work with a therapist and I would like to share how my life changed over time in working with him.
When I started working with him I had been living in a house for many years with 3 other men due to my low wages and my job history. I felt like the care taker. I was constantly dealing with my Mother’s issues and late night calls. I struggled with minor depression due to unmet life goals like a better job history and having my own family. I had some challenges with my father due to his frustration with me and my ability to support myself. Every time I lost a job I would always get re-tested so I could figure out what was going on and make corrections. Employers would tell me things like I was too old, I walked too slow, I had poor people skills, and I would never amount to anything. Since college I had over 10 assessments done with no real answer.
As our work progressed I started to go to 12 step meetings to understand my family behavior around addiction. I also learned my role as a codependent as well. My relationship with my mother never really improved due to her own challenges in life. It took a long time for my relationship to improve with the rest of my family. I ended up working two jobs and trying to hold them at all costs. I left them eventually due to the effect on my mental health. As I became more assertive it did cause me some problems. After fourteen years I moved out of my house into my own apartment. I managed to date for the first time but found that I was expected to care for them financially which I could not and did not want to do. I attended a social skills program at a local university which opened my eyes on various mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. The goal of the program was to improve my skills but the instructors didn’t think I was suited for it after several months. In 2003 my therapist referred me to a specialist to do some detailed testing. The test showed high functioning Asbergers, non verbal disorder, ADHD type 2 inattentive, pervasive developmental disorder consistent with Asbergers syndrome, decreased occupational functioning due to limited social skills and vulnerability to anxiety and missing nonverbal cues contributing to ineffective behaviors. The testing also found I was best suited to jobs with high structure. In 2007 I had a social security hearing and was approved for disability. This finally put my put my disability on record so if I went back to work I would have protection.
The plan now was for me to do some volunteering to build positive experiences where I was appreciated. My hidden disability was defined and now I am working on my acceptance of how I move about the world.