Being South Asian and diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome comes with emotional and psychological distress when talking to people, going through college, and everyday life. As a kid, I wasn’t the best with social skills, and i was deemed “scatterbrained” by teachers as they made an effort to separate me from what they would consider to be “normal”. I had heavy amounts of anxiety when talking to people, I struggled in school, and I’ve felt alienated all my life. I’ve also discovered that the south asian community is unkind, toxic and alienating to those who get diagnosed with mental “defects”.

I see many desis in college resharing stuff about mental health while actively being toxic to those who struggle with the diagnosis by alienating them from social spaces. Social spaces in college, especially those in college, can be toxic when it comes to approaching people who think differently.

I found myself trying to adjust the way I talk and do things so I can fit in, and forcibly sculpting myself into a form of which I am not has cost me my spiritual and mental energy.

I learned to love myself for who I am and it has taken me years to come to this. My Aspergers feels like a superpower when the world deems it an abnormality because I found drawing and painting to unleash a current of visually compelling images to the world. I battled through depression, anxiety attacks, alcoholism and self-hatred in college, and in the past month or so, i came to terms and finally accepted who I am. Aspergers Syndrome is classified as high-functioning autism, with speech differences, delayed motor development, poor social skills, and the development of harmful psychological problems. I remember when i first spoke up how i felt being diagnosed with this, it felt like a label hurt me more than it helped. But i learned to not give a f*ck about what people think. At the end of the day if they want to judge what i do, its a waste of their mental energy. In college i’m studying User Experience Design, because I want to take the power of empathy and understanding people into how technology and systems are designed so that they are accessible to everyone.

Author: Rocky Sahoo