And it is all making sense now - how I used to think, how awkward I felt, how little I understood about others behaviour and language, how badly I wanted to fit in....
When I said to O's psychologist that I had a hunch that perhaps I was on the spectrum, her reply was "I can spot an Aspie when I see one!"
Well, no need for a formal diagnosis then!
Knowing what I know now, would have been incredibly useful as a teenager and if I was able to write a letter and send it back in time to my teenage self to help that person get through life, this would be it......
It is called Aspergers.
Being a teenager with Aspergers is hard and unfortunately it will get harder but it will be all work out in the end.
You think differently and there is nothing wrong with that. Others say that you are weird but you're not. You're just different and that is okay.
Different is good and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Don't try to fit in, just be yourself. There are people who like you for who you are. Chances are, they are also struggling to fit in and trying to find their way in the world.
If others around you mock you, that is not your fault. They are the ones with the issue. They are the ones with the low self esteem. They are only trying to get you down to make themselves feel better.
As much as words hurt, please try not to let their words get to you. Let the words roll off your back like water rolling off a ducks feathers. This in itself is a skill to be learnt and it just takes practice.
Your anxiety, while not normal, is typically common in individuals with Aspergers. And guess what, others around you also suffer from anxiety, they're just better at hiding it. Ask for help, let people around know that you are struggling. You will get through it, but trust me it is easier when you have others helping you. Put aside your pride and ask for help, you will feel much better in the long run. The mask becomes much harder to maintain.
You struggle to understand social situations, emotional and non-verbal cues and that is also common with Aspergers. Look it up in the library and read as much as you can about Aspergers, you'd be surprised just how much there is to learn.
Yes some of the anxiety and the struggles you are experiencing are simply part of being a typical teenager, but most of it is being an Aspie. But in saying that, this isn't an excuse and you will need to learn how to cope and manage.
Keep in contact with those who are accepting of who you are and understand you. Their support is vital to your emotional well being. Seek out like minded people and form your own pose.
There are others like you - Temple Grandin is one. The classical musicians and the scientists who you admire are all thought to have Aspergers. These people did great things in this world. You too can and will do great things. Be proud of your achievements.
Keep aiming high, you will get there.
When you are older and have children, you will have an advantage as you will understand what they are going through and you will be able to assist them to understand the world around them. Long time family friends will tell you just how alike you and your daughter are and it all starts to make sense.
Life does get harder before it gets easier.
But you turn out fine, so please stop worrying so much, relax and enjoy the ride.