Square peg

Peg

“The problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.”

Last year I decided to do something about my big pile of mental health problems, went to see a psychiatrist, and got a bit of a surprise when I found out that I have Asperger’s syndrome.
Well, that explains a lot…

My diagnosis took me on a bumpy journey of self discovery (and through a minor identity crisis), mostly through internet forums, where I’ve gotten to know a lot of people whose minds work similarly to mine. It’s very exciting to have found people that I can relate to.

One of those lovely people came up with the idea for this illustration.
Peg.jpg
Peg getting ready for a day in the human world

It is about how many square pegs (autistic people) spend a lot of energy trying to pass for round pegs (not autistic people), and it’s very damaging. You know, like how you pretend to be happy when you’re really depressed. The masking only makes it worse.
I’ve been masking a lot. Not good enough to hide the fact that I’m a total weirdo, but enough to not stand out too much and be able to make friends. Also enough to have me constantly exhausted and eventually depressed, and enough to go undiagnosed for so long.

I had no idea that the way I process information is different from the average person. I knew that I like to hide in small, dark spaces, but not that the reason for it is that my brain needs a break from light and sound sometimes.
I just assumed that the way I experience the world is the same as everyone else. I thought that everyone else is also putting a lot of effort into controlling and adjusting their behaviour to fit their company.
I thought that I was somehow broken, because I had such a hard time getting through the day when everyone else seemed to be doing just fine. I thought that maybe they were just better than me at pretending.

TinyPeg
Square peg, sort of fitting in with the crowd.

Of course, this has nothing to do with my illustrations, which is what this site is for. But I am so grateful to all the blogs, books and articles by other autistic people who are brave enough to talk openly about it, and I wanted to make my own tiny contribution..
It is those people sharing their experiences that has helped me learn more about myself and come to terms with my own nature. And it’s just really nice to know that I’m not alone.
Thanks to them, I have quickly gained a lot of self awareness and self acceptance, and it is very liberating. I don’t feel as strong a need to hide my differences, and starting to recognize where my limits are and learning to live within them has already reduced my anxiety greatly.
Now I know that I’m not broken, just built a little differently. And it’s ok to hide in lockers, and obsess over fungi-facts, and jump around when I’m happy, and play with slime. Because it makes my day better.

Many thanks to the big flappy family <3
#ActuallyAutistic

3 thoughts on “Square peg

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