Most people with Asperger’s do not look disabled. We seem “off,” sure. But not to the point where we can’t work full-time.

But a lot of us can’t. And here’s why.

You start out upbeat. You were excited about this. You got through the interview just fine because you were so happy to be there. They might have even called you a good communicator.

You chat with your coworkers. People compliment your work. You might miss a few things, but you’re doing such a good job that they forgive you for it. People help you when you can’t do something.

For a while, you’re golden.

Then it gets harder.

As the work piles on, you start making mistakes. You lose something. You send a poorly-worded email. You realize that everyone is working faster than you are.

The multitasking is killing you. You ask your supervisor for help. You’ve been asking her that a lot by the way. Especially with sequential tasks. And she’s getting annoyed. She says you need to “work more independently.”

If you do your work without help, she says you need to “show more initiative.”

Either way, you are clearly not handling this well.

You don’t make small talk anymore. You don’t have the energy for it. Those people who were so nice to you at first are now starting to avoid you. The important assignments are now given to somebody else.

You know you look disinterested. And vaguely creepy. But you also know there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

You’re also getting less sleep than you used to. Which means you can’t focus. Before you had this job you used your free time to recuperate. Now you have to spend it on chores.

Not to mention that a lot of us have executive functioning issues that make household tasks like balancing a checkbook exhausting. Chores are the things we need to recuperate from. Let alone getting yelled at because we typed in the wrong numbers on a spreadsheet.

If you have friends, you don’t see them much. Which makes everything worse. You feel worthless at your job. Your friends make you feel like you have value.

But you can’t talk to them because you’re always so fucking tired.

You start calling in sick. You need to sleep. You might even fall asleep at work. When people aren’t avoiding you, they look vaguely concerned about you. You look sick.

One step at a time, you tell yourself. I’ll do one step at a time just to get through the day. Nobody confronts you about your performance. But you have a feeling it’s worse than you think.

You’re too exhausted to regulate your social behavior. You start stimming. You wring your hands or twirl your hair. You stare at people when you’re tired. You stare them down while you’re stimming.

No one speaks to you. You don’t blame them at this point. You look creepy as shit. All the time.

You make a big mistake. Like misquoting somebody if you’re in media. Or a giant glitch in programming that causes someone to lose money. You say the wrong thing to a very wrong person.

Or maybe it’s just a ton of little mistakes that just keep adding up.

You might quit due to exhaustion. A lot of us work for a while and then not, going through phases of high hopes and then complete fucking burnout.

But you’re probably just going to get fired.

 

(Image from huffingtonpost.com.)