I have always been a quiet person. With my first abnormal psychology class I even explored the possibility of being a person with Aspergers, which is a high functioning autism. It is not uncommon to identify with disorders found in an abnormal psychology book when you are beginning your trek through the world to being a therapist. I also found myself diagnosing my family, because as a child I observed a lot of things and did not feel the need to comment. There was no need to compete, no need to comment, no need to prove people wrong about what they thought of me. I am still that way. The reason I came to the conclusion that I did not have Aspergers is because I have a filter in my frontal lobe. Just because it comes into my mind does not mean I have to either say it or act on it. I can sit quietly by and think a lot of things and not feel the need to express one of them. This did not sit well with my family. We are a family of talkers and anyone who does not have an expressed opinion is considered slow, stupid, mentally challenged. I was considered mentally challenged because I did not talk about anything unless I felt it was important enough to talk about. I saw my family as talking a lot about nothing. There are a lot of things I do not consider important enough to talk about because I truly do not care about them or what happens with them. The not talking also was brought into the classroom and I had few friends during my school years. I did not feel a need for too many friends and found the giggling and the drama unnecessary and silly. I was voted most unamiable at 8th grade graduation. When I looked up what the word meant I was surprised because I did not consider myself unfriendly, just shy. As I got older I began to show people a sense of humor and used the humor to get through a lot of situations and still do, especially stressful situations. I am still quiet and do not feel a need to express an opinion even though I may have a differing opinion then yours I am able to sit and listen to yours, respect it without commenting and unless you directly ask me my opinion you may never hear it. The teachers at school spoke to me as though I were slow, mentally challenged or deaf. I knew it, but had no idea how to make it different. I was often called on even though I did not raise my hand. I knew the answer but could not get my mouth to work enough to say it because I had just been put on the spot and was unprepared to speak about anything. This of course brought ridicule from my peers at the first opportunity. I learned how to defend myself verbally and physically and reinforced the idea that people were untrustworthy and you were on your own to defend yourself against them. That is how I came to defend my younger sisters as well.
I still do not have many friends and do not need many. I am still quiet and use my sense of humor to get through a lot of things. I have found a voice but still do not need to express feelings or thoughts about what you might be telling me or talking about, I am able to stand up in front of crowds of people and teach or speak without anxiety. I have learned that I am not stupid or unamiable. I am content with who and what I am and know that I will continue to grow and become fully who I might eventually become. This is not always as easy as it sounds and often is a lot of hard work. I have people in my life that I can rely upon to tell me the way it is and if I am just kidding myself. They are valuable to me because they make me a better me. I also use this video to help me put thing I have no control over into a box and relax about those thing I cannot change. Click here for the link to the videos. Enjoy!