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Introduction

Everyone’s journey is unique. As the journey unfolds, we all navigate and define ourselves through self-identification. Self-identification is crucial as it allows individuals to embrace their identity and find community and support.

Often, our parents, friends, families, and society teach us what it means to be “normal’. They set expectations for behavior that align with societal norms, and we all strive to conform.

But what if we can’t?  Many of us think and perceive the world differently. In such cases, the unexpected is often labeled as “atypical”. Neurodiversity is the concept that all humans vary in terms of their neurocognitive ability. Everyone has both strengths and challenges. Here’s my journey of navigating through the strengths and challenges along the path of self-discovery, and self-identification as an autistic individual.

Hello, I am Manvendra. I am a Social Media Strategist and Consultant. I have been in this business for the past 2 years, and recently, I was diagnosed with ASD (high functioning). I am writing this blog to share my journey with you. I am going to start from the very beginning. As much as I can remember, I have always been a curious kid, and I could never sit in one place for even a few minutes.

When I was a child, my parents used to say, Tarun, agar tum 10 min ek jagah shaant baith gaye we will give 100 rupees. By the way, Tarun (the name is of Sanskrit origin and translates to “young” in English) is my pet name, and this roughly translates to, “Tarun, if you sit still for just 10 minutes, we will give you $1.” But I never earned those 100 rupees because you have no idea how tough it is for me to stay still. Even if I am sitting still, I will bite my nails, play with my hair, or fidget with a pen. In short, I can’t stay still; I need to do something to keep my brain at peace.

As I grew up, I started asking a lot of questions, like why we call “number one” one. Why can’t I call it two? There were a lot of seemingly useless questions like this that I needed to ask someone. But people started ignoring me. It wasn’t their fault; my questions were trivial. So, I started answering those questions by myself.

I used to read journals and watch YouTube videos. I was never a bookworm. I get bored reading books, but for the past few years, I have started enjoying them. Let me give you an example of my curiosity. As I told you earlier, I am a marketer and have no relation to nuclear physics. But I know how a nuclear reactor works. I have no previous experience in web development, but I created a whole website from scratch using four programming languages: HTML, CSS, Java, and PHP.

Because of my curiosity, people used to ignore me, so to avoid that, I stopped asking questions to people in general. I started answering questions by myself, and I guess that contributed the most to my introverted nature. I wanted to do so many things that I never fit anywhere.

I completed my tenth grade with commerce, then I took PCB (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) in my 12th, and then I chose Philosophy in my bachelor’s, but I built my career in marketing.

So now you must be wondering how I ended up doing marketing. Long story short, when I was in college, I was an NCC cadet (NCC is equivalent to American Scouts for general understanding), and I did multiple internships in Marketing for extra pocket money.

I chose NCC because I wanted to join the Indian Armed Forces as a Commissioned Officer. My plan was to join Para SF or MARCOS (Indian Special Forces). For a long time, I didn’t know why I wanted to join the Special Forces because I am one of those people who loves to be alone in a dark room, listening to music, writing, or creating something. Recently, I got clarity in that area as well.

When I was in class 8th, I had evil suicidal tendencies. I tried to …. myself multiple times that year. But I guess I am not very good at ……. myself as well. The idea never went away; my subconscious brain just changed the way.

I am from India. We don’t have much awareness about neurodiversity here, so I couldn’t know that I had Autism.

Conclusion

When I started working with Mind Shift, I noticed similar traits between me and the autistic individuals that I created content for. Then I took some online diagnosis tests, and in every one of those tests, I found out that I am on the spectrum.

Then I searched the web to find some doctors who could help with my diagnosis, but all I found was a list of hospitals and doctors treating ASD. But I don’t want to treat my ASD. I want to know how I can manage my ASD better, so I reached out to Joy and Ushas with my issue. They were very generous in helping me. We scheduled a one-hour call during which they helped me a lot. Joy gave me a “PAUSE” method for whenever I am trying to talk to someone.

I am trying to learn everything about Autism so I can manage myself better. I have no idea how I should finish this blog, so “Sayonara.”. This is Manvendra Pratap Singh signing out.

FAQ's:

What is Neurodiversity?

  • Neurodiversity is the concept that variations in brain function and behavioral traits are normal and to be accepted as part of human diversity. It encompasses conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other neurological differences, recognizing that everyone has unique strengths and challenges.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication, behavior, and social interactions. The “spectrum” aspect means that ASD can present in a wide variety of ways and levels of severity, from mild to severe, with each individual experiencing a unique combination of symptoms.

What is High-Functioning Autism?

  • High-functioning autism refers to individuals on the autism spectrum who have average or above-average intelligence and can perform daily tasks independently. While they may face challenges with social interactions and communication, they often have strong skills in specific areas such as logic, memory, or attention to detail.

What are High-functioning Autism Symptoms?

Symptoms of high-functioning autism can include:

  • Difficulty with social interactions and understanding social cues
  • Intense focus on specific interests or topics
  • Repetitive behaviors or routines
  • Sensory sensitivities (e.g., to noise, light, or textures)
  • Challenges with change or transitions
  • Strong attention to detail and pattern recognition

What is Self-identification?

  • Self-identification is the process through which individuals recognize and label their own unique identity, including aspects such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and neurological traits. It is a personal journey that helps individuals understand themselves better and find communities where they feel accepted and supported.