That is what happened in to me. My family did not understand why I behaved the way I did. Actually very few people knew what Aspergers was when I was a kid in the 60s. But my parents, being the authoritarian type, saw my behavior only as a attitude problem that required discipline to solve. I ended up being punished and harassed and eventually disowned for my behavior, which I really had no control over.
Treated as a ‘bad’ kid through my formative years, I developed sever depression and anxiety, and this only compounded my problems. When I tried to explain to my parents what was going on with me, they denied the problem. To this day they still won’t admit to the mental health issues I’ve been suffering since I was a kid. They still believe that I choose to be the way I am.
I remember being asked early on by one of my first therapists if I was feeling depressed. All I could do was shrug my shoulders. Having never been “not depressed” I had no comparison for my feelings of depression. I’d always felt the same way. Only until later in life was I able to gain some perspective between feeling good and feeling depressed.
My parents, my school teachers and counselors, not understanding what was really wrong with me, just assumed I was being “lazy”. And because of this they made no real effort to figure out what was going on with me. “Lazy” was an awful label that I still cannot shake because of my homelessness, and the negative perspective people have of the homeless.
A life time of this kind of constant negative reinforcement has made it near impossible for me to trust others. And in a world where a person must “make a living” and that living requiring people to interact with others, I find myself trapped and even farther out on the fringes of society.
For some people, this difficulty is too much to deal with and so they actually go crazy from it, or they indulge in drugs as a means of coping or escaping. Since people are never cured of Aspergers, once a person starts using drugs to cope with it, it doesn’t take long before they are addicted, and have a most difficult time overcoming it.
If we are to end homelessness, it is imperative that society identify and explore the ramifications of a population dealing with Aspergers.