One Of A Kind

Historically, the world has not been kind to those who are deemed “abnormal.” As humanity has evolved (or devolved, depending on your view), those who challenge the system in any way or dare to think outside the box have been ostracized by their peers and sometimes have even been cruelly abused. Ignorance is and always has been one of the greatest dangers to the growth and preservation of the human race, mainly because of its tendency to manifest as cruelty, violence, or fear.  Until we rethink our misconceptions and realize that “abnormal” doesn’t actually exist, no real change can be made. Unfortunately, most people will never reach this “ah-ha!” moment, embrace themselves, or celebrate the fact that what sets them apart also functions as the greatest advantage they will ever have. Instead, they will just keep oppressing others.

I struggled for years, fighting an uphill battle I couldn’t figure out how to win. As the slope steepened and I began to tire, I cried out for help, my heart and mind heavy with agony and desperation. No one answered my plea, no one heard the screaming that drowned out every happy thought or memory I could cling to. I contemplated death by my own hand, frightening everyone around me and forcing them into more than a few painful situations.

I realized, after countless close shaves with insanity and hundreds of hours spent shut away in my room, that the answer had to come from within. The realization that changed my life (the one I’ve hinted at but never truly explained in my previous posts) came in surges that were initiated by my mother one night when I was a junior in high school. She called me into her room after we’d been screaming at each other all day, her voice breaking as she spoke. I shambled in, my head spinning with no sign of slowing down or losing any kind of momentum. I looked at her, and I saw that her face was soaked with tears. “Hayden,” she choked, her eyes searching mine, “when is this going to stop? When are you going to give yourself permission to love yourself and be loved by others?” I sat on the bed next to her, buried my face in my palms, and sobbed. “I’m broken,” I said, my chest heaving and my breaths coming in short, violent gasps. “I was born broken, and everyone else wasn’t.” She looked at me, managing a small smile as she said softly, “You only broke when you believed you were broken. You’ll be fixed the moment you discover how wrong you were.”

I left her room pensive and receptive, my world still in pieces but my resolve to find happiness stronger than ever. It took a few days for everything to hit me, but when it did, it hit hard. The chains holding me back broke (I could almost hear the clink!) and fell away, exposing me to an emotion I’d never experienced before. Gratitude. I was grateful to be me, to be the compassionate, understanding, accepting person I knew I was. When I started applying this gratitude to all areas of my life, my world flipped upside down and got a whole lot better. It took months for me to establish lasting friendships and to really delve into the methods and tools that would make me successful, but I knew all of that would come. This amazing turnaround made me realize that it wasn’t my Asperger’s or my differences that made me so unhappy for so long. It was my interpretation of these differences and my willingness to believe every negative thing anyone said to me that hurt and hindered me so much. The moment I welcomed my Asperger’s as an important part of who I was and as an amazing gift, I knew that I was going to be ok.

Everyone has their quirks, their differences, their characteristics that set them apart from every other human being on the planet.  No one on this planet can be you better than you. It just can’t happen. Isn’t that the greatest strength anyone can ever possess? YOU are the only one of your kind on the planet, and no one excels at being you and knowing you like you do. Shouldn’t that be something to enjoy and celebrate? “Normal” doesn’t exist.  Everyone on the planet is different and special in the most extraordinary ways, so “normal” can’t exist the way we think it does.

Be grateful that you are you. Love you for you. Live life with gratitude, not contempt or regret. I promise it will be the best decision you’ll ever make.


13 thoughts on “One Of A Kind

  1. Thank you for this post. I think this is the best thing I’ve read for helping my son with his anxiety and out look on life. Not only for me to help him but for him to help himself.

  2. This is a wonderful post, one that I have been waiting to hear from someone with Asperger’s. I’m 20 and I’ve just discovered about my Asperger’s, and on this road of discovery, there has been too many upsetting and depressing stories that can make you hate yourself and your condition. I have been desperate for a different view to things and this has been it. Thank you for sharing this with the world and giving positivity to some of us despaired souls. Again, many thanks.

  3. This is an amazingly brave post. Thank you for sharing a deeply personal story and truth. Your gifts shine through your writing. You said more truth in this post than many are able to share in their lifetime. Thank you for putting this out there in order to help others. It is a beautiful gift to those searching for desperately needed hope and answers.

  4. This is a stellar piece of writing. It is right, and moving (to tears) and powerful and affirming. But here I want to comment on it as a piece of writing, in case you didn’t know. It positively sparkles. One of those hurrah pieces that makes me want to dance around the room! Thank you.

  5. i just have to tell you, and put into words for myself, too.. that i would like to love myself, and treat myself like a friend would treat someone who was their friend, if they were a good friend. i heard yesterday, from my counselor, that i need to treat myself as a friend would, ( i am trying to but have some difficulty taking care of myself well). having difficulty eating on days that i don’t work, i am feeling sick aobut it, but can’t find what to do. also i live in an abusive environment. i am strugggling with leaving. i found one of the videos from aspergers experts on facebook and liked it enough to put my email address on the line to subscribe. and now through searching more into the stuff you have, like this blog, i want to thank you for your work, so much. i hope i can make it. i have felt really bad in the past, and had no idea others have felt this way also. i thought i was a really bad person. both you guys have a lot of insight and i am glad i have seen some videos and read here. i hope it helps me, and that i can get over this abusive environment on my own. maybe i should see the videos you have for those with aspergers. i will be investigating that.

  6. You are so right! I have a son who 16 now and he is my heart! I love him so much…he has Autism and he so talented! I have a lot patience among others. I’m grateful for you sharing your story.

  7. Thank you so much for this article. My son is 19 years old and has Asperger’s. We can relate so well with this. My son is now at the stage where he is realizing how great he really is and excepting himself. Thanks again.

  8. hello, new here and trying to get more info. my son is 3 and a half and is PDD-NOS diagnosed since he was 18 months old. he recieves the PT, OT, Speech and other thearapies. he is emerging vocally, has some social skills, but is soooooo impulsive and lacks focus. he is sensory seeking, he bites, pushes, and sometimes hits. i know that he is young but he needs all the support he can get to be prepared for this world. i am trying to figure out if he has Aspergers or not. he is very smart and i think he can be taught many things. am i off base and need to wait till he is older or is now a good time. thanks for any advice anyone can give

  9. This is very timely for me and my just-turned-13 Aspie daughter. She takes any negativity she encounters, or perceives, and turns it in on herself. I worry about her often and will share this blog with her this afternoon.
    Thanks for all that you and Danny do to make the world a better place for kids, and adults, like my beautiful daughter.

  10. Thank-you for this! Thank-you for being open and vulnerable.
    My 6 year old, after a very enraged meltdown, starting crying. He has never been told anything about a diagnosis etc. He said, “Mommy, there is something really, really wrong with me. I don’t want anybody to know, but somehow they do. They know I am wrong, deep, deep down I am wrong”. It was a raw moment. I didn’t know how to help him. There is nothing wrong with him, he is whole, but how do I show him?

    I also couldn’t help because all of my life I truly believed that I am irreparably and fundamentally flawed. I have also tried to hide it, suppress it, and make myself as invisible as possible.

    So thank- you for this. I really never thought I would ever find anybody who felt this way or express it. I would like to thank your mother too! It gives me hope that I can find a way for my son to see his beauty. That I will find a way to show him he is whole and is fine, and that being exceptional is not ‘wrong’. I do not know how yet, but maybe I can help him ‘see’.

    1. Shari, if your son is old enough to recognize that he’s different and that other people see it too, he’s old enough to understand – likely, embrace and cherish – his diagnosis, too. You should tell him. It is not the same as admitting there is something wrong with him, but it will certainly allow him to define his differences and tackle them with purpose.

      Is he working with a social skills counselor?

      I’m a 23-year old Aspie who found out my diagnosis at 21. Boy do I wish I’d found out sooner!! All the years spent thinking there was something wrong with ME, and only me, a unique flaw, that angered many but that my parents would never admit to. Growing up, all I heard from my mother was that there was ‘nothing wrong with her baby’, but at times she herself would grow so frustrated with my behavior and call me ‘rude’ or ‘inconsiderate’ for things I didn’t really understand I was doing. It was all made 10x worse by me not knowing I wasn’t the only one!

      I think admitting that a child is different is often harder for the parent than for the child. He knows it already. All of us have felt it, but trust me – finding out the diagnosis was one of the happiest days of my life. Good luck!


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