Painting Life in a Positive Light While Living with Asperger’s
October is Canadian Mental Health month.
As I reflect on my own journey with mental health, I sometimes find it more challenging than some, as I have lived with Asperger’s Syndrome (High Functioning Autism), since I was diagnosed at nearly five years of age.
With Asperger’s Syndrome, it affects my ability to process a variety of things, such as emotions, stressful situations, changes in routines, the moods and behaviours of both myself and other people.
For some, these occurrences may not seem like a big deal, just the regular ups & downs of life, but for me they are challenging and I feel out of control, in my body, heart, mind and soul. Through it all, I love sticking to the bright and positive side which is extremely important. I surround myself daily with things that are uplifting and keep me busy.
I have been an active member of the Newcastle Lion’s Club for three years. I work as a Mighty Content Coordinator for MCG Media and Giv’er magazine, and am an avid volunteer and fundraiser throughout various organizations. I am a Christian, and my family and friends have instilled in me to look on the bright side of life rather than the negative. As well, I cherish the great outdoors as it very spiritual and therapeutic as we have so much to offer along the Mystical, Magical and Mighty Miramichi and beyond!
This year, despite the pandemic, when a lot of activities and employment ceased unexpectedly, and my routine changed, some new things came into my life to decorate and paint it in a positive light, all over my heart, mind and soul.
I launched a personal blog on Facebook, followed by an Instagram page– Anthony WJ McLean “t-Tone” as a first step, with my hopes to launch a website, podcast and videos in the future. I share a Good Morning wish, a daily quote / words to ponder on, and interesting facts and highlights of the day to inspire readers. Sometimes, I even give a shout-out usually to two friends, of whom I find to be an inspiration to many people including myself. Also in March, I met a gentleman who has become a wonderful friend.
I encourage parents to talk to your children about bullying, mental health and respecting others who are acting different. From an early age, I knew I was different. I was bullied, taunted and assaulted, for being me.
Mental health and illness is not a joke. It is a difficult challenge for anyone to face and can affect men and women of any age.
Mental illness can cause different symptoms in men than in women. Men who are depressed, for example, may seem angry and grouchy rather than sad and withdrawn. It also may be harder for men with depression to get help. Some may see it as a sign of weakness rather than a treatable illness. (source: University of Rochester Medical Center)
Mental health issues have affected many of us in someway or another and just know there is recovery and ways to cope, and that is why I am sharing with you my story.
I believe there are also many perks to living as an “Aspie” gentleman.
I am social, verbal, creative, knowledgeable, talented, gifted, loved, accepted, determined, and proud of who I am!
If you need help, there are a variety services available:
Canadian Mental Health Association: www.cmha.ca
Miramichi Mental Health Clinic: 506-778-6111
Chimo Helpline: 1 800-667-5005 www.chimohelpline.ca
Kids Help Phone: Text “CONNECT” to 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868
Canadian Crisis Hotline 1 888-353-2273
Anthony William Jeremiah McLean “t-Tone” is a Mighty Content Coordinator for MCG Media. In his spare time, he loves digital photography, reading, writing, singing, blogging, history, genealogy, faith, politics, volunteering, and spending time with friends. A couple of his photographs are below.