I can’t tell you how many times people have been dismissive or incredulous about my mental illness, simply because I don’t fulfill their preconceived notions about bipolar individuals.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I could finally understand that from the time of my diagnosis, my education was not going to be “complete,” because I did not have the full access I needed. It was as if intensive speech therapy and itinerant teachers were more important than having a sign language interpreter in my classes.
When I received my diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome seven years ago, I thought of all the young people today who face the social challenges and bullying that I faced decades earlier. I wanted to create a character like me, but one who fights back against the way others treat her in a way that I never did.
After second grade, I stopped reading most books unless they were assigned for class. Even then, I often didn’t read them. The reason being, when I read a sentence, I often didn’t understand it. Somewhere between my eyes seeing the words and my brain, the phrase disappeared into the ether.