Shaina

My name is Shaina Cilimberg and I am almost 27 years old. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s in the Dark Age, the 2000s. Back then, there was limited knowledge on Asperger’s Disorder. It was a time when mental illness was seen as demon possession or an excuse for sin. While Satan does attack everyone’s (neurotypical or not) minds, mental illness is not demon possession. Demon possession has more to do with the individual, not with mental disorders. Mental disorders are not made up excuses for sin, but real chemical imbalance in the brain. Add that to the fact our frontal lobes are not completely developed until our mid to late twenties.

It took me a while to actually accept that I have Asperger’s. Then, I found out more and how the traits related to me. See, some people (including professionals) will say you do not have it, while other say you do. I think people need to educate themselves on what Asperger’s/Autism is and realize we are not the some. While some of us are introverts, others are extreme extroverts. I’m an extrovert.  When I get an outfit I like or haven’t worn the outfit I like in a while, I want to be seen in it. I really enjoyed reading the Diary of Anne Frank because I saw myself in her. She was fun and bubbly. She was different from those around her because of her personality. She wasn’t boring.

Today, I read something on a blog about how my fellow Aspie girls and I have a tendency to root for the underdog. I guess that’s why I like Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians so much. He is misunderstood and faces constant rejection and I have experienced that a lot in the pasr. I really like “Let it Go” from Frozen. I struggle with OCD, Asperger’s and vertigo and it just is a good way to tell people not to worry so much.

As a Christian, I need to trust Jesus, but it is so hard. All the stresses of life, worries and fears get in the way. I see others have seemingly better lives and feel depressed because mine isn’t perfect. Yet, I want to help others.

I am a struggling author who wants people to take her books seriously and learn from them. I want to be believed when I’m telling the truth and want to be believed in. Jack Frost wanted to be believed in as well. I just relate so much to him. Maybe I’ll find my center and why I was chosen to be like this.

My books are for teens and young adults, called Deep River High Series. They tackle serious issues such as friendships, bullying, eating disorders in males, OCD, Aspergers and other topics. They are really good stories I think teens and young adults would benefit from.

I do have to warn you; I’m like most females who have a thing for angsty male characters. Selena in To Be Sane is an angsty female, though and Lydia could be considered that in Perfect Forgiveness. I am currently working on a Christian Fantasy novel, which will take a while. I want to really make sure it’s well-written.

The best way to overcome insecurities where you are in life is to not compare yourself to others. We should have Christ-like role models to imitate as they imitate Christ. However, we should not mope because someone’s life seems so much better than ours. I may not be popular or “normal”. I may be boring to some and outlandish to others. I’m me. As long as I try to improve myself as a human being, that’s all that matters. I don’t need to sell my soul to the Devil to be happy and I refuse to. I burst into songs from Frozen and am obsessed with Rise of the Guardians. As long as I don’t put those two over Jesus, I’m fine.

I am so grateful for Rise of the Guardians because it is a great example of how to write a story and character well. I want people to feel towards my book characters the way I feel towards Jack Frost. I want them to feel for and relate to my characters. I want to write my characters showing emotions in different ways than just the same old same old. Rise of the Guardians does so well with that.

One of my struggles with OCD and Asperger’s is the intrusive thoughts. They really bother me and won’t go away. I can’t concentrate on conversations because of them. I get all these thoughts of second-guessing myself, my friends and things I like/don’t like. Some of these thoughts are blasphemous towards God and they just won’t go away.  If you believe in prayer, please pray for me. Even if you don’t, think about us who suffer. We are people with goals and dreams. We do not want to be overlooked by the system any longer.

People who say those with Asperger’s lack empathy, but they could not be anymore wrong. I care a lot for others. I have tons of empathy which can lead to be taken advantage of, as another trait of Asperger’s says. I was reading the Maze Runner and had too much empathy for the characters to continue. Even the Hunger Games characters had more hope than they did. I actually am a fan of Hunger Games.  In fact, over-empathetic can be a trait of Asperger’s.

I am very protective of people’s freedoms. If feel horrible if someone is forced to have their hair cut too short, wear something not appropriate to weather or our culture. One time, I tried to get a church school to allow the boys to have hair to their ears and I was the “bad guy”. I was just trying to let people see a guy does not need hair above his ears in order to be short and that ear length is very normal for guys.

As a Christian with Asperger’s, it is hard to fit in anywhere. I always worry about offending or upsetting people. I have to deal with people not believing me when I am telling the truth and worry about losing friendships. I worry about whether or not I’m in the right friendship. I worry about Hell because of blasphemous thoughts or because I love Fantasy or because I prefer guys to have longer hair than some think they should. Everytime something seems to be going right it isn’t and good times are sure to end more than the bad times it seems.

People with Asperger’s lack an awareness of social cues and have poor social skills. The extroverts like me are always bound to say the wrong thing, no matter one. It’s like we either do not comprehend what is said to us or others don’t comprehend us. I could make all the guesses about the introverts but I don’t know. Some really can’t talk and have trouble with speech. If I were an introvert, it would be a “why bother trying” thing for me. Since I’m not, I just talk and regret everything while or after and it consumes my mind.

People see us with Asperger’s as either unintelligent or extremely talented. I’m neither. Don’t assume I can’t swim, can’t read or be amazed I wrote a good story. If I’m telling you a prayer request, don’t pass it off as deep. If I show interest in friendship, give me a chance. Talk to me and communicate with me. Give me a chance in employment.

[To read the story of Keith Slabbert, who suffered a seizure and broke his neck, click here]

[To read some other stories of people living with different disabilities, click here]

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