Defying Stereotypes Since 1976

Pretending to Be Normal

Pretending to Be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome

This was the very first book I read about Asperger Syndrome period, much less about women and AS. This is an autobiographical story of a woman who discovers that she has AS after one of her daughters is diagnosed with it. She speaks very candidly about her journey: from being considered a “gifted but spoiled” young girl; to the somewhat sheltered life of her teenage years; to the rude awakening at college once her AS-related difficulties manifest themselves (navigating around campus, sensory dysfunction, inability to read people, and so forth); to her emergence into her career as a university professor; and finally to her marriage, the difficulties she encounters as a new mother, and the diagnosis of her daughter.

If you are a woman and suspect that you have AS, I would say YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. It opened my eyes, affirming that I indeed was not alone. I had already begun to explore the possibility of me being an Aspie with my counselor, but reading this book began to solidify that concept in my mind. While every Aspie woman will be different, I found many parallels between my life and hers — the sensory issues, the inability to tell if someone was using me, the “gifted and spoiled” label, the feeling of being “odd” or “out of place”. A very good and engaging read.

Comments on: "Pretending to Be Normal" (5)

  1. [...] Labeled AutisticHow Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move?Pretending to Be NormalThe Complete Guide to Asperger SyndromeResourcesAspie PoemsPoem: Letter to [...]

  2. [...] Labeled AutisticHow Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move?Pretending to Be NormalThe Complete Guide to Asperger SyndromeResourcesAspie PoemsPoem: Letter to [...]

  3. [...] with having Asperger Syndrome but also from the title of Liane Holliday Willey‘s first book, “Pretending to Be Normal”. She discovered as an adult that she has Asperger’s, and this book documents her early life, [...]

  4. alyssa irene said:

    I pretend that i’m happy with my friends and family but deep inside i hurt and have pain that nobody will understand. It’s a show that i put on but that only last for so long. Once the walls come down the show is over. Than what? Please help…..

    • Alyssa, I’m so sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I just read your comment, and I know that kind of charade all too well — it’s something that I’m trying to fight the tendency of doing even now. It can sound like a tired cliche that it is better to be yourself, and yes, it is easier said than done. But if you aren’t happy, you do not owe anyone the debt of pretense — not acting like you’re happy, or anything else you aren’t, for that matter.

      Have you reached out to anyone you trust or with whom you feel comfortable? Unreleased pain has a funny way of clouding your judgement and perception. Is there anyone in your life that you would trust talking to about how you feel?

      If you’d feel more comfortable discussing this backchannel, that’s fine — please leave a comment and let me know. I hope you find the relief, help, and clarity that you need.

      -Nicole

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