Undercover Aspie


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175 in stock


What People Don’t See
By Ellie Bonchanting

ISBN: 978-1-84991-184-9
Published: 2010
Pages: 125
Key Themes: aspergers syndrome, anxiety, autobiography, relationships


This is an insightfully open look into the life of a successful, high functioning young female with Asperger’s Syndrome. The book begins with a compelling overview of her life then covers with sincere honesty issues including; diagnosis, obsessions, meltdowns, issues with puberty and sex, anxiety, social relationships, phobias and more.

Written in an easy-to-read fashion, the issue based chapters enable the book to be read not only as a whole but also suitable to dip in and out of to find aspects of particular interest.

About the Author

After an unconventional journey through life to adulthood, Ellie Bonchanting, (born 1983) decided to seek professional help with a series of quirky traits and anxiety issues. When diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome Ellie took to writing about her experiences to help others understand the hidden aspects of life with Asperger’s from a perspective of someone who ‘appears’ neuro-typical to the outside world.
Aside from having a keen passion for writing, Ellie works full time as a teacher and is currently completing her Master’s in Education.

Book Extract

One of the problems that I have always had from a young age is feeling awkward. It is like a constant feeling of being uncomfortable with my body and overly conscience of what it is doing and how it looks to other people. Although I am very good with my hands in a practical sense, I have always felt that my body is a little clumsy and uncoordinated.

I first noticed these feelings of awkwardness when I was at first school around other children. When I was with other children I realised that they didn’t seem to worry about how they moved. They seemed unrestricted and free with their bodies and movement, but me, I had to think about and plan what and how I would do things with mine! Throughout my life I’ve been picked up several times about the ‘funny’ way in which I move my body. This has mainly been for running or walking and the way in which I use my arms to assist these movements.
My feelings of awkwardness are always more evident in social situations where I am constantly thinking about what my body is doing, just like it is a foreign object that I have to manoeuvre around the place, totally separate from the rest of me. The uncertainty of where to put my arms is always a massive problem, when I am walking around or stood still I just don’t know what to do with them. I sometimes try to cross my arms in front of me but I am aware that this is seen as defensive body language so I try not to cross them too much because I don’t want people to think I’m unhappy or being defensive. I used to just put my arms by my sides when I walked but I got told off for this by my parents because I must have looked odd with them just hanging there and not swinging. I think I still do it now sometimes. I used to find synchronising my arms in time with my legs when I was walking a real task. I just didn’t get how to match them up, and to be honest, I didn’t really care. I couldn’t see why you would need to move your arms when you walked anyway because they aren’t the ones doing the work!

Anyway, when I am standing up or walking the best thing to ease the awkwardness is for me to carry something to occupy my hands and arms, so then I only have to worry about what my legs are doing. If I don’t have anything to carry, clenching my hands tightly is the next best thing to ease the awkwardness.
When I do feel awkward I get the feeling that I want to hide behind something so that no one can see me. I prefer being sat down at a table for this reason (so that most of my body is hidden) and it relieves the pressure of continuously thinking about my posture. When I am standing up I quite often feel exposed, one thing I really hate is standing in the middle of a group of people when they are talking. I’d be really happy to walk around in a big sack every day so that no one could see what my body was doing, I guess this could be one of the reasons why I always like to keep my coat on indoors, because it helps to hide me and makes me feel secure. I know that people are probably not even looking at me but I find it difficult to rationalise that in my head so I just keep on feeling awkward. Something that takes away this awkward feeling is alcohol, similarly it takes away many of my problems because it numbs my over active brain and thoughts, but unfortunately I don’t really like the taste of it and it would be unprofessional and damaging to my health to be drunk every day! I think that the awkward feeling is closely related to my self-confidence (which I haven’t got much of possibly due to my anxiety). I don’t ever resent my body but I find it difficult to think anything much of it when it always feels so awkward.


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