Nancy Mandell

Writings by members of ASPIRES

Copyright © 2003 ASPIRES
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These materials are copyright by their authors. ASPIRES has extended a blanket copyright to them for purposes of their re-publication on this web site page. Individuals wishing to copy or further distribute these writings must contact the list owner of ASPIRES for explicit written permission regarding further use.


Being Real

I have been pondering my life lately. Since I discovered myself as an Aspie,  I have become overjoyed and delighted in my self-discovery. My life up until  the mid-forties was confusing and misunderstood. I have been to many therapists. I was misdiagnosed and felt like an alien from Venus. I was diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder and ADD, Anxiety Disorder. None of these diagnoses quite fit the full picture. I do show many ADD traits. I get easily distracted  but can hyper-focus on my interests. I could always see the beauty and absorb emotions around me. Yet, I felt left out in the ordinary world. I wanted to  become real for such a long time.

I tried living my life as authentically as possible. In my 30’s I was a caseworker for child abuse. I excelled working one on one with teenagers and parents. I took on my cases and treated my families as intensely as I would my own.

I heard stories of betrayal and unhealthy lifestyles. I was deeply involved in my families’ lives and took on their pain. Becoming a mom at the age of 35 with a daughter and again at 37 with my Aspie son made me realize that I could not emotionally continue in the abuse field. I cared too much and took on too much of the energy of the families I wanted to help. I still desired an outlet for my need to help and nurture others. I became a volunteer for 4 years with hospice. I found my true calling in life! I loved the honesty and sharing that was natural between my patient and myself. When a person is going through the dying process, there is no time for game playing or small talk. I became very quiet and centered. I loved the simplicity of our relationship. I could just BE … I could hold the hand of a person in transition and feel totally  connected on the deepest level. I had to give up hospice after my son started  struggling in kindergarten. I found out I had only enough energy to deal with his school situation and advocacy work. Later in life, I hope to go back into hospice work.

As an Aspie, I have such a NEED for justice. I have always been for the underdog. Seeing a child in pain, or anybody struggling or in despair causes in me the need to help. Aspies are supposed to be cold based on some diagnosticians’ standards. I know that my son is not emotionally cold nor are my Aspie adult friends.

I asked Tony Attwood if an Aspie could be a caretaker. He said, "Most certainly." This helped me to see that I was indeed a true Aspie. My need for righting the wrongs and cruelties of the world is enormous. I need to be involved in  society as a person who creates change when there is pain or fear. I started a support group this past year. My desire has been to help parents  understand their sensitive children. The world is so hard for us as Aspies to  live in. The loud noises, the smells, the pressure to be like everybody else  can be draining. We need to accommodate our children’s sensitivities and  provide a safe haven for them to flourish. As parents, we need to teach others about  making accommodations for the gentlest souls on our planet. Aspies have so
much to offer the world. Each Aspie is unique and intelligent in their own right. I felt compelled to become a role model helping other parents with Aspie children to understand how different and sensitive our makeup is composed of.  Making allowances and understanding the differences can help Aspies contribute their gifts to the world. An Aspie raised with understanding and love will share  great gifts with humanity.

If a person just met or even knew me for a while, I could "pass" as NT  (neuro-typical). Yet when I allow myself to be me, with all my flair and drama, I am viewed as "different." I am not a typical middle-aged mom. I am a little more  intense and driven. I take on the world with zest and can see life through the innocence of a child.

Living as an Aspie is a privilege and a pleasure. I can embrace life and feel the depths of happiness and sorrow! Each event can be felt and experienced with an understanding that few people experience. If I give myself permission to have lots of down time, take naps, eat  properly, accept my idiosyncrasies, I do much better emotionally. I have more to give my family and my Aspie community. I am learning to not absorb so much of other people’s (NT’s) energy. I am  trying to share who I am … sharing my knowledge of Asperger’s learning differences and special ed. Trying to teach people that we are all unique and  beautiful in our own ways.

I love the Aspie need for learning everything we possibly can on favorite subjects. I love the intensity of feelings and the depth of my feelings. I like  it best when I give myself permission to be ME, real and strong. Not a wimpy, frightened girl who has pretended all my life to be NORMAL. I no longer wish NORMAL. I embrace my Aspieness. I want to share my joy of being Me.

©  Nancy Mandell 2003




"We each have our own way of living in the world, together we are like a symphony.
Some are the melody, some are the rhythm, some are the harmony
It all blends together, we are like a symphony, and each part is crucial.
We all contribute to the song of life."
...Sondra Williams

We might not always agree; but TOGETHER we will make a difference.


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