Thursday, September 10, 2009

Part II of the Female’s View of Asperger’s guest post

Yesterday's post sure generated a lot of discussion. This next part should keep that going. I’ll preface her story with two comments she sent me yesterday . . . .

Please know that of course I am GENERALIZING. It would be a tedious article indeed if I had to get out my calculator and jot down statistics all the time. We generalize in common parlance all the time. It's just more efficient time-wise. Most people get that when you talk to them. Also, like everyone else who is just being themselves and not role-playing, I am a mass of contradictions. Every moment is alive with its own reality. I change my mind about things all the time. The article was written from my own observations of not only myself but the reaction I seem to bring out in others. AND, material I have read on Asperger's, which is all quite recent. So I hope the statisticians among you can take a break, have a cup of coffee, put their feet up and just go with the flow. I did when I wrote it.

Also . . . I forgot to tell everyone that I've been fired from every job I've ever had pretty much. And not once for lack of ability, according to the bosses that fired me. ??

Now, on to her story . . .

Suicidal -- More people on the spectrum commit suicide than any other group. But I've read it's a group of intelligent people with high IQs too so who knows if it's the Asperger's or the intelligence. Maybe we know it's OK to check out if we want. We're too smart to be manipulated by superstitious beliefs. It is definitely a reaction to the constant rejection from the world. Especially family members. I have tried to kill myself so many times I lost count. Once I swallowed a whole bottle of 10mg Valium that belonged to my roommate at the time. I can't even take one of those pills without moon-walking for a week. How I survived without even puking them all up, I'll never know. I slept though. :D For like 16 hours. But dammit, I woke up! I couldn't believe it. No vomit, nothing. So I crawled to the bathroom and slit my left wrist. Apparently I didn't do it hard enough and in the correct direction.( Note to self.) Just then the phone rang and someone I didn't even know nursed me through it. ?? I have some serious protection around me let me tell ya. I could write a book on that subject alone, FULL of stories involving unseen rescuers. Once I blew the pilot light out in the oven. Bob happened to come over and saved me. I was already falling asleep on the sofa. Miracles. Each and every time has been a miraculous save. Hey anybody wanna be MY friend? :D :D :D

Social Faux-Pas -- I'm a big old puppy. I'll come bounding up to you with a big smile on my face full of enthusiasm and friendly intent. I don't know that you think I'm trying too hard. Trying for what? I don't understand that one at all. It is true genuine enthusiasm (my favorite word en - Theos -asm meaning having God within), the real deal, not any manipulation to win your favor. Why? I know I'm gonna say something that's gonna piss you off any second now so why would I fake anything? It's not in my bag of tricks. I may use words differently, pronounce them differently and even go into different accents at different times. To me it's play. I have a kind of lilting musical sort of way of speaking. To me it's obvious I'm playing with you. Why would I want to make fun of your southern accent? I think it's a whole lotta fun to talk Southern. ;) I will probably interrupt you to tell you I have gone through the same thing. Maybe I'll use too many words and so the time away from your original thought is too long and so I look like the prick who's always bringing the attention back to themselves. That wasn't my intent believe me.

Self-absorbed -- I think Aspies use the word I more than anyone else. :D It's not out of vanity. At least not for me. It's just who else am I gonna talk about? I am the only one I know this well. I'm trying to connect with YOU so I... I don't even know how to deal with this one. You try being alone 99.999% of your life and tell me who you talk about. Besides, when a sentence begins with a she or a he, mean-spirited gossip usually follows. I don't like that. It's not fair. (Unless of course it's someone in the public eye who has done something horrible and expresses no remorse for it.)

Routines -- We hate our little routines to be disrupted. I have my little things I do every morning and I will not allow anything or anyone to get in the way of them. It's probably why I hate to travel. I like it once I'm situated in the hotel, IF the bedding is soft and the towels don't scratch and there isn't noise from the AC, etc. But I get very very anxious and worry endlessly about what's happening at home. Are the kids OK? What about the guys in the backyard? Did I leave the coffee maker on? Is the door locked? Are you sure? It sucks because I do love to go to foreign countries and meet new people. There they just think I'm a crazy American. I can hide behind that quite well.

Organizing -- I used to joke that if I woke up blind tomorrow I could find a file from 7 year's ago in the cabinet. I create manuals on every subject I'm interested in. Each a book in its own right. I constantly update them and reorganize them. :D Gee ain't I fun? I LOVE it. A Staples or Office Depot is like a candy store to me. I can go CRAZY in those places!! No lie. I have spent hundreds of dollars at one time on just pens and notebooks and file folders, etc. You can have clothing stores. Give me the office supply store and I'm a happy camper. Ah the smell of it! ;)

Prefers Objects to People -- My objects aren't just objects to me. Each of them has a story. I treat them with great respect. Every single object has a home and I'll know if it's been moved a quarter of an inch from its spot. It makes me very nervous when a new person comes into my home and picks everything up one by one and sets it down in a different spot. I can lose my temper over this. Sorry but it feels like my babies are being molested. Hey I'm just bein' honest here. This isn't a museum or a shop. It's my Home, OUR home. Leave my stuff alone! :D :D I don't go to your house and pick up everything.

Prefers Solitude -- Is it any wonder? I like silence. I rarely listen to music. If I turn it on, I have to dance. Background music is bewildering to me. How can you not get sucked into the lyrics and the rhythm and start to move? I cannot listen to music without dancing or at least singing and moving around in my chair. It's very distracting. People are mean in my view so being around them is like listening to nails on a chalkboard. I want to be around people sometimes but it ALWAYS hurts. I'm misunderstood a lot, punished a lot, for crimes I did not commit I might add. I don't get what they really mean. It's rarely what they're saying. I Know they're gonna dogg me behind my back because I'm so "weird". It's funny how those in the rock world seem to do that the most viciously when many of the most amazing singers and musicians are all considered "weird" themselves. ?? And actors that sympathetically portray "different" people on screen, can be the most un-accepting of "different" people in real life. That's been my experience anyway. And I've supported some major players in my day.

Expression -- Aspergians often have that hunted animal expression on their faces. Well it feels like people are coming out of the wood work to make you miserable for no good reason so... I AM a hunted animal. Often there's a serious intense expression that doesn't fit what's going on. If I had a dime for how many times I've been told I'm so "intense" when I've just been sitting there minding my own business reading a magazine or something. Huh? I know I squint when I want to suck info in. Is that what they mean? I'm sure it can make me look mean but I'm just squinting. Men with Asperger's have this cold stone boy expression. I tend to be over-animated. Just a couple of months ago a guy at Farmer's Market told me that I was the most animated person he'd ever seen. I apologized. :D :D Oh Lordy Lordy Lordy...

Trying on Personalities -- When I was younger I could not leave a movie theater without becoming the main character to a certain degree. I'd absorb them and they'd be so far inside of me that I WAS them for a day or so. The remnants will stay with me for decades. When I talk Southern I think of a certain character depending on what I'm saying and how it might relate to that movie I saw so long ago. I coulda been somebody, I coulda been a contender. I pepper my speech with stuff like this ALL the time. For me it is amusing. For others who have no idea what I'm referring to, it's just odd. :D :D Whatever. (Notice the quick transition from referring to Southern and going into Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront? Another Aspie trait.)

Temper Tantrums -- OK here's the one thing I should be terribly embarrassed about. But I think I'm lacking that embarrassment gene. I can be humiliated. But that's usually because of how someone else is treating me. If I'm really angry I can have a meltdown that puts a 2 year old to shame. I don't care where I'm at, who's watching, or what I say. I once had a tantrum because the arrogant eye doctor was making my vertigo worse with his tests. So I ran out, sat down on the concrete in the middle of the parking lot, and screamed and cried and blurted out hateful things about this poor old doctor who was only trying to help. Bob was mortified. The more he tried to control me, the more I raged. I was 47 at the time. Not good. But I have no problem going back in there. I did call to apologize of course. But I didn't know that I was an Aspie so I couldn't explain it to them. All I could do was say I'm sorry. Poor ole Bob. He's a saint let me tell ya. WHO would put up with that nonsense? But honestly, I can't help it. It's like holding back a tornado. It's just not possible. It's just NOT possible. :( See? I stay home to protect the world from my wrath. Thank God for the internet huh?

The Stare -- I'll admit it. I stare at people. Shamelessly. I'm trying to absorb info about them. My eyes actually feel like sponges. I can feel energy coming in through them. Once I worked with Gary Oldman and I could not stop staring at him. Now he's a celebrity so he's probably used to it. He probably thought I fancied him. Nope. He did remind me of my first love but that wasn't it. I felt sadness from him. I felt his isolation. Anyway, as the night progressed, he started following me around and staring at me when I'd be talking to someone else. I don't know if he was playing games trying to make me know what it felt like but it didn't bother me in the slightest. I am always on a fact-finding mission. I can't even take a walk without a destination to reach. (transition back to staring) People can misread this horribly. Usually men see it as an invitation. Then when I reject their advances they get pissed because they think I led them on. ?? Huh? I didn't lick my lips and look at your package. I just stared at you. Get over it. Be flattered that you're interesting. People can also think I'm being hostile and trying to intimidate them. No. Why would I want to intimidate anyone? I know how to get what I want. I ASK for it. :)

Personal Disclosure -- TMI. I figure there's nobody here but us chickens so why put on airs? Ironically I'm always accused of thinking I'm better than everyone else because I look smug. HUH? I air my dirty laundry more than anyone I have ever come across. The world is my confessional. I used to say "Show your ugly", way before Ugly Betty came out. How is this being smug? It's the opposite of smug. I refuse to allow anyone to make me afraid or ashamed of anything in my life. It's too much trouble. Withholds, lies, marketing, manipulating... you can have it. I am an open book. End of story. People have used things about me against me but it doesn't work. When you have no secrets, no one has any power over you. You are free!

Focus -- I can focus for so long I forget to eat some days. Once I'm on the net researching new data, forget it. My stomach growls and I may or may not interrupt my research to shut it up. I'm not sure I ate yesterday, I'm trying to remember. Amy's boxed frozen vegan meals are a life saver here. Not good, not healthy, but better than nothing I guess. And cruelty-free so... it'll do.

Overwhelm -- Here's another one of those characteristics that I wish I didn't have. Crowds send me into hysteria. I kid you not. I can get hysterical from a minor crowd. How I ever lived in NYC for 17 years I'll never know. I simply cannot handle lots of people coming at me. It's like darts, or trying to cross an 8 lane highway. I just freak out. I am in and out of the grocery store in 10 minutes or less. I run the whole time. I know exactly what I want and get the same things every time. I have to go first thing 7am when they open. I'm usually waiting there at the locked door. Suffice it to say I order out a lot. Delivery is a life-saver. Unfortunately Ashland doesn't have a wide variety of restaurants that deliver. I order a lot of cheeseless veggie pizzas.

Inability to Get Over It -- I remember when my father died when I was 12, I could not stop crying. The funny thing is that at his funeral I was happy. Inappropriate facial expressions is another category. Now no one loved my father more than I did. I was definitely Daddy's Little Girl. He saved me from that child-molesting raging ogre after all. But at his funeral I could not stop smiling. Inside I was so happy for him. He was Home with my beloved Jeshua. The turn out was Presidential in scope. Firemen have HUGE funerals for their brothers. I remember thinking Wow Dad was loved so much!! But I could never get over the loss. His own mother actually put me down behind my back, but within earshot, saying that I should just get over it. That was his mother talking. You'd think she would be the one having a hard time with it. Then she called me a white witch and died. :D :D And they call ME crazy. Right. So back to the subject... I remember every single slight. Every betrayal, every lie, all of it. I never forget a cruelty. I do forgive pretty easily though. I really am a very friendly person. So long as I can be me without punishment from you. But I do hold onto hurts like nobody I know.

Alien -- Asperger's is fondly referred to as Wrong Planet Syndrome. :D I have always felt that it was a mistake my being born here. I have always felt that I was on the wrong planet. That this is a photo negative of what's right. Here what's right is wrong and what's wrong is right. It's all reversed, a mirror image of Home. People have called me names my whole life. Space Cadet, Martian, Alien, etc. I have a friend who truly believes I am from another world. I've thought that maybe I'm from the future. As crazy as that sounds it is possible. Cords for instance were always a source of exasperation to me. Even as a kid, before I knew about Tesla and his free, cordless, energy. Why in hell would we have cords tethering us to the wall when we're trying to vacuum or something? I simply detest cords. I see no purpose for them. They're stupid and unnecessary and they only get in the way. Besides bunnies chew them and die. I'm not OK with cords. Now, I have seen UFOs several times throughout my life. It would seem that this should be of no surprise to anyone. Of course there's intelligent life (ALL of life is intelligent by the way) on other planets. Of course. The first time I was asleep in my bed under the window. My sister was asleep in her bed against the opposite wall. I was awakened by what I don't know. But I immediately looked out the window and saw 3 lights, bluish white glowing discs, playing around making formations in the sky. Then 2 of them sped off and one hovered still. Then all 3 formed a diagonal line and then sped off. You could write it off as a dream except that it was on the front page of the newspaper the next day. The Coast Guard (this was Florida) was chasing 3 unidentified flying objects. :D This did not bode well for my reputation in school because I had been talking about them before we discussed current events. We didn't get the newspaper at my house during the week, only on Sundays, so it was obvious I knew about them from another source. I felt they were my friends and they came to check up on me, make sure I was OK. :) I remember not long after this, I was playing alone in my room, as usual, talking to my "invisible friend", as usual, when all of a sudden I got up and walked into the kitchen where my mother was opening up a can of whathaveyou for our nutritious meal, and I simply announced, "I am part of the last generation of its kind, I've come to walk with Christ." I still remember her face. Mouth gaping, can opener in hand, stretchy black and red shorts. She says I was a "strange" child. :D This leads me to my conclusion..

I, and others, don't feel that Asperger's is a disorder. I feel it is a neurological difference. You can SEE the difference on a brain scan. We are literally hard-wired differently than a neuro-typical person. (How many times have I said I'm just not wired that way!!) I believe we are a leap in evolution. Leaps like this occur in nature all the time. I believe a more childlike and pure sort of human is on the horizon. One that is less caveman-like and more angelic-like. More ethereal, less dense. I feel it is a requirement for the organism that is Earth to survive. If humanity kept on the path they're on, we will not have a planet to live on. It will take a certain sensitivity and honesty in order to bring her back to a state of health. I know this comes across as very arrogant. But recognize I didn't say better I said different. Might was probably needed up to a certain point. Although I believe that point was passed long ago. Now another constellation of characteristics is required for the survival of the whole. So the next time you see somebody that might be a little "different", you might want to feel gratitude for them rather than annoyance. We are the wave of the future. "... and a little child shall lead them." "... the meek shall inherit the Earth." "... the lion will lay down with the lamb." (Although isn't the real quote something else? I'll have to look that up.) ;)

Thoreau states, "I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home."

23 comments:

Helen said...

... once again, my sincere thank you for writing this. The Universe in its infinite wisdom as put you in my sphere at this moment in time.

cath c said...

seems to me, maybe gary oldman has a bit of it in himself. many actors are great mimics. like you said, absorbing another person, trying on a new personality or mimcking the southern accent. i know my son does that. and so do i. again you reveal a lot of myself in your words,myself, not dx'd, but recognize commonalities.

krex said...

Thanks for sharing the second part of the essay .I was really struggling with the first part, as the person did not seem real to me . In spite of the fact that I could have written 90% of it myself, I could not get over the "we" of it or the lack of a "person" behind the data . It simply seemed to incongruity.... that an individual that has a 165 IQ would not understand that not all aspies share every trait .

Yes, I am hyper sensitive to some stimuli but also under sensitive to others...(pain and many smells that others dislike) . It as not simply that certain food tastes and textures were unbearable to me as a kid but that I would often taste and smell things differently even if I didn't dislike them .

Some aspies can adjust to sensory overload through desensitization .
I have gone through periods where tight clothes felt better because I would often lose track of my bodies position in space. When I switched to loose clothes, I had to get used to feeling the cloth brush against my skin which was distracting but now I can not stand anything tight . It's les the tight or loose issue as much as getting my body to ignore the sensations over time .

Fat people are "unhealthy, greedy and anyone who defends their right to have a sense of worth is being PC and not sincere ? Carbs are not animal products and can make even vegans fat by the way...(not very logical, deep or analytical thinking for a person with a 165 IQ, so I think it is a great reminder that aspies are not immune to psychological issues that are not apart of their AS .As far as my own honesty, I can lie if I rehearse it before hand...(it is just acting),but it does hurt to do so . My hoesty is more of a compulsion to speak up against anything I see as an injustice and gets me into the most trouble in my jobs when I try to defend the animals or persons with disabilities . They like me, managers hate me .

Alien < yep, I was certain of it from the age of 5 and even knew the name of my planet and an alien friend .

"Too intense" and "holier then thou" were common accusations as were comments like..." You think to much".... "stop analyzing everything and feel it" <--- irony for someone who was often in tears and cutting myself after I would disassociate because I as feeling to much .

Darci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dawn said...

So interesting and enriching to read this post and the comments (or, rather, stories) that have followed in its wake, both on the blog and on Facebook!

What can't be discounted, or so it seems to me, is that one person's experience of living in the world is one person's experience of living in the world, and perhaps the best we can do is tell our own experience honestly while listening to others with sensitivity, compassion, and occasional insight rather than passing judgment. For the most part, it seems this approach has ruled these discussions, and I love that comments by the likes of krex and darci move me into new depths of understanding and connectedness.

I also appreciate the sensitivity with which you, John, address these "Female's view" posts in your follow up post. I do think you are right to emphasize "the gradual process of learning to interact successfully" as "one of the major things that has changed me from a person who was disabled by Asperger’s to someone who’s just eccentric" even as I recognize within my own family exactly how this process of learning (or not) has shaped people's lives.

Not to belabor the "fat" discussion but only to use it as an example, it seems to me that the phrasing of a statement can make all the difference. Declarative "X people are this way" statements push others away and make them defensive because not everybody sees/experiences things the way the speaker does (the whole "theory of mind" thing??). We don't/can't inhabit each other's skin no matter how hard we try, but it's incredibly helpful to foreground the personal/individual nature of such comments, maybe even the context of sensory issues. Others may still not "get it" exactly, but they can be less defensive from the outset just in the way that a statement is made, and the Aspergian can still be honest and true to him/herself.

OK. Now I've written way too much...

vye said...

Well I'm a skinny female Aspergian and I've always had problems a) for making perfectly nice looking larger types 'feel bad about themselves' and b) for 'being weird'. I can relate so much to what's being said here. Obviously we all differ in some respects, but essentially the honesty thing is most crucial. despite story telling and obsession with study arenas, when it comes to facts, the Aspergian is obsessed with truth. My biggest problems have always been with the fault finders, the judgemental types who make assumptions. The Gospels were mentioned in the second part of the essay and I think of the quote, 'Judge not lest you BE judged.' The uncanny insights of the one who inspired The Gospels could indicate an early Aspergian, the kind who could out quote anyone from the age of twelve onwards! Thanks for your essays, I'm going to begin to post my writings about my work and interpretations. I have time on my hands as an unemployed. All the jobs I was really good at dried up some time ago. I've got quite a few books and essays though not many contacts.

ZoriN said...

Oh god. I gave up reading this article and started skimming after reading this "More people on the spectrum commit suicide than any other group. ... We're too smart to be manipulated by superstitious beliefs"
I can't remember if depression, borderline personality disorder or anorexia claim that title, but it isn't asbergers.
It doesn't matter how intelligent you are if you don't have the education.

I'm struggling to believe that you did research into this.

John Elder Robison said...

ZoriN . . . I did NOT do research into this. These are not my claims or opinions; this is a guest post by a female Aspergian

LunaTec said...

Hi guys. Thank you so much for all your love and support, your understanding. It really touches my heart to know that I'm not alone here. That I can be myself and be honest without getting beat up for it. I can't tell you how healing that is. My door is always open so if you want to friend me, please do. I'd love to get to know others on the spectrum, or those in relationship with one. :)
Again, thank you.
Deborah McCarthy

PS: The suicide data was from the founder of GRASP's book. But remember this was originally meant as a letter to a friend at first so of course it wasn't researched the way you'd research an article. :)

LunaTec said...

Darci, please contact me. I can't find a contact link for you. You can dance at my house any time. I promise I won't laugh at you. :)

LunaTec said...

Dawn, I do know how to coach words, sugar coat them so they go down easier. It just feels like a lie to me. It's false.

When people get offended over a comment about something that is not them but something they have, you have to wonder if that's true hurt or just pride. It's the fat I don't like, not the person underneath it. I feel like in our society there's so much pressure to jump on the fat is beautiful bandwagon. That's not healthy. It's deceitful and I want no part of it. If someone tells me my socks are hideous, I don't take it as I'M hideous. I think people in our society identify too strongly with what they have, including how they look.

When I mentioned fat, it was in the context of smells and my sensitivity to them. And yes it does symbolize animal cruelty to me. Remember I'm an animal rights activist. I see where the "meat" and milk come from. That's why I'm vegan. So I have issues yes. :) But as high and mighty as this sounds. I serve Truth, not ego.

And btw, you didn't write too much. I thought you gave great advice. Thank you for caring enough to take the time. :)

dawn said...

LunaTec (cool handle, by the way),

Thank you for your continued conversation :)

I actually thought you did a very good job contextualizing your comments and explaining your perspective, not just stating your conclusions but explaining how you came to hold them. At any rate, I didn't think you sounded high and mighty, just honest, and I liked that.

Communication is so tricky because there are always so many possible pitfalls and opportunities for miscommunication, not just in what gets said but in the way what we say gets perceived (not at all the same thing). I spent the bulk of my childhood, adolescence, and early adult years trying to convince my father about my views of the world--didn't work, and we always just ended up more polarized and in opposition with each other. Since then, both in my teaching and in my interactions with others, I try to emphasize being true to oneself while also making space to trust other people and be trusted in return. The best way of doing that, I continue to believe, is in sharing our stories with each other.

I also think you make an excellent point when you say, "people in our society identify too strongly with what they have, including how they look." Such insecurity-based pride really is at the basis of many of our defensive/hostile reactions.

Anyway, I'll see if I can find you on Facebook before my daughter wakes from her nap and my son returns from school.

LunaTec said...

Thanks Dawn. :)

I've always felt so multi-faceted. I'm an infant, a teenager, an old wise-woman, a man, a woman, a boy, a girl...a chicken,well you get the idea. I try and let all facets express themselves fully. I can't understand people that choose to lock themselves in to one identity. I guess you could say I'm schizophrenic except that we all know each other quite well. :D :D There are no secrets here. And my food preferences and sensitivities don't change based on whatever aspect of myself is coming out.

I also transition very quickly. This worked really well for me as an actor. But I couldn't stand the business. It's all about hawking sex and violence. No thanks. :Q

I think people who haven't been to acting school, Method especially, think that telling lies is acting. But the first thing you learn is how to tell the truth, and without shame. It's good therapy for everybody. I highly recommend it. I miss it.

You also learn to just be yourself. No acting. It's ironic that good acting entails NOT acting, but it's true. It's about BEing where you're at and EXPRESSing that openly, honestly and generously. This was very easy for me to do. ;)

I think a lot of really great actors are probably on the spectrum. It's such an interesting subject. One I hope to explore further. :)

Anyway, I hope you've made peace with your father. My mother is not at all interested in even reading this little essay I wrote. The rest of my family have been estranged from me for a very long time. It's for the best.

Mom is harder. I go back and forth. I'm still a little girl looking for Mommy's love in some ways. It ain't gonna happen. Gotta give up that ghost, pronto. :( I'll live. Don't worry.

Thanks again for your understanding and support.

dawn said...

I have also felt very multi-faceted, which may be why I've always (until recently) gravitated towards writing fiction where I can try on all sorts of personalities and yet be myself at the same time. Very strange to explain to most people, but it makes sense to me. One of the most powerful and profound dreams I have ever had was about an artist named Jelly who was simultaneously infant, old, man, woman, etc., so I think I understand something of what you're talking about.

Even as I'm venturing into memoir and away from fiction, I find I'm juggling selves and am very aware of the ever-changing dynamic of self which is NOT a constant but more a continual changing. What I wrote yesterday is not who I am today or in another environment...I think this is why I do best one-on-one with people since I can tailor myself to their personalities somewhat, but I can get very confused/uptight if I'm with two friends who don't know each other but only me and in very different ways.

I'd love to hear more about correlation between acting and Asperger's. It seems such a natural fit. My son Elliot, age 5, has been different "characters" off and on his whole life ("I'm being Mary Poppins today", he used to say quite frequently, and once, when nervous about a new social experience, sat and repeatedly told me, "I'm Mary Poppins and I'm drinking lime cordial today" as he drank green punch. And even though he doesn't go into characters like he used to do, he now has ME being different characters, especially Angelina Ballerina who has a nice British accent ;)

The dad issue--yeah, I'm mostly over it, though when the local paper ran an article about me a couple weeks back about two writing awards I've won, one for an autism spectrum-related memoir, my mom read him the article and all he said was an expletive at the part where it mentioned my exploration of family members on the spectrum. But as a good friend says, "It is what it is." I still love him and there are ways in which we get along, but I am past the point of being understood/valued as the writer/person that I truly am. But he still takes me fishing and picks strawberries for me. It is what it is :)

Moira said...

So much revealed and so fascinating. As a mom with an aspie son I learn all the time from adult aspies how they are experiencing adulthood and hope I am able to impart some learning onto my son for him to use. So when I hear of someone with such gifts contmeplating suicide I worry for them and for my son. I hope it is a short passing feeling that does not get acted upon. The world is a much better place with aspies. Thank you for sharing.
I see many similarities with my son and your thinking and interactions. I do not try to change him, but explain to him how the world is perceiving him so he can understand, sometimes he gets it other times he can't comprehend.
I do see the child like innocence and am constantly worried about what is to come. But with adults such as yourself sharing your experiences we can all learn and maybe value each others "gifts".
Thanks for opening up.

glintfactor said...

I completely agree with the evolution idea. I have often thought so myself!

ananias said...

It sure seems like AS makes sensing injustice a lot more uncomfortable for us. Is it a form of hyper-responsibility? But responsibility is just the flip side of freedom, so many it's a deeper appreciation of liberty that's beneath it all.

Evolution works better without plans or foresight. So I doubt that AS is nature's way of fine tuning the human mind to be more compatible with the remainder of the biosphere. More likely that high stress levels just lead to more variation in the wiring of minds because, well, the niche we occupy may be changing and that's something likely to better enable us to keep up with it.

I also got the feeling that women are a lot worse off with this syndrome than men are. It reminded me of something J. Paul Getty's wrote about in his autobiography, As I See It, that discussed how much harder it is to correct a woman because they take any criticism more personally than men. Our society (and I suppose every other as well) seems to expect women to be more generic than men. I guess it makes sense, someone has to be stable, and kids need their mothers more than they need their fathers. Or at least that's what my single mother taught me.

I got to the point rather young where I realized the best way to deal with having AS (I had no idea it was a condition--I just thought it was being me--it still doesn't feel like there is anything wrong with me) is to convince yourself that you're already dead. The decisions life asks you to make are so much clearer if you're already dead. It's a lot easier to see what's right and what's fair. You don't have to worry about a whole lot of things that just get in the way of seeing our world clearly in the first place. I loved the book All Cats Have Aspergers that my wife used to convince me I had it because I couldn't be bothered to read anything more clinical at that point. I wonder if all philosophers have it. It almost seems to force you to become a philosopher just to survive.

jypsy said...

As the owner of the Ooops... Wrong Planet! Syndrome Website, established in 1995, let me correct your "fact" - "Asperger's is fondly referred to as Wrong Planet Syndrome." You're being rather exclusive as, in fact, *autism* is what Wrong Planet Syndrome fondly refers to. Not only Asperger's like you and I but autistics like my son.

This is the only false claim, of the many in your "essay", I'll bother to comment on/correct. As an Asperger's woman I found much here that is false and other stuff just plain offensive.

If you want to talk about yourself, fine, but please don't drag me into your version of Asperger's.

Tidoubleguher said...

I read this and felt like I was reading about myself or my son. He was recently diagnosed but I've not been. Yet so much of what I've read about AS resonates with me that I have pretty much claimed it for myself. (Of course, the doctors that diagnosed my son dropped some pretty strong hints that he came by it naturally. ;)

Thanks for sharing.

Lee said...

Oh so true, what you say! I am just diagnosed @ age 42, after learning my daughter is, and my Mom is, no doubt....especially the part about the conversation being a chance to give a dissertation to someone. Sometimes I am so excited about what I am going to say I don't even pay attention to what others are saying! I just say "uh-huh, yeah, ok" until I get my chance. Everything so spot-on! Loved the bit about being more highly evolved, who needs all that trashy emotional baggage when logic will always win the day. Anyways enjoyed it a lot, keep at the writing, thanks for sharing!

ousavatifi said...

I have a lot of problems with thess articles' POV, particularly with the misguided generalisations made about women with Asperger's. It is not that the articles do not site statistics or evidence (unnecessary for this), but that the generalisations are separating females with autism from males as an "other". Also that many personal experiences are spoken about on behalf of aspies and especially aspie women, furthering the untrue stereotype that all autistics share exact symptoms - of course we know they do not, but EVEN HIGHLY INCIDENTAL ONES does not make or break an aspie. It's a problem I have faced even from doctors.

The remarks about fat people I cannot vent a fraction of my true disgust about. The disdain reminds me of that put upon those who are not "normal" both historically and today. Such as autistics. Also I'd like to point out that obesity is more prevalent amongst the poor in the west. (But Paris Hilton isn't greedy because she's THIN!)

On the other hand, I did really appreciate the first article as an account of what it is like having AS and being female. The account was informative but clearly personal, I could get past my disagreement of some of her fundamental ideas and see a person whose brain works a lot like mine.

By the second article the experiences were so individualised and the rash claims and unhelpful remarks beyond belief (the suicide paragraph?).

I should also like to point out that there are less women and girls DIAGNOSED on the autistic spectrum than men and boys. This does not mean that there are necessarily less, or almost certainly not as many less as we think. There is not a "test" for autism, not in the same way you could test a sample of people, and conclude that 10% of them have a specific gene and if it is more prevalent in one sex.

I think people with autism can find more common ground on what causes their particular thoughts, behaviours, etc. rather than the thoughts and behaviours themselves. My aspie brother (whom I mentioned in my blog linked below) is hugely different to me - but in a "there but for the grace of FSM goes me" way. I'm convinced we could be a lot more alike in our behaviours had we been *brought up* as the same gender. That is, not actually hypothetically changing our sex, because I think that plays such a small role in comparison with society's gender gap.

I wrote a casual blog post for my friends, but with the intention that it could be seen by anyone who wanted to, which refers to some points on being AS and female, and the particular difficulties it brings me and how I deal with them. Here is the link if anyone is interested:

http://ousavatifi.blogspot.com/2009/02/aspergers-syndrome-stuff.html

Blessed said...

Wow. An aspie friend just did something very uncharacteristic for her yesterday(said something very,very mean that she KNEW would hurt me.) I was incredibly hurt. I have an aspie husband(For 15 years) so I've run the gamut of aspie situations.

I'm trying to understand but cannot communicate while I'm still angry as, honestly, I don't think she'll care and am wondering if it's worth bothering over anymore. I'm an insomniac so there is partially exhaustion talking.

But thank you very much for the article.

Blessed said...

Krex-what an interesting perspective. My husband has a high IQ too. But his issue is skeletons. Skinny models freak him right out. He sees "bones" and they "look like death". There cannot be anything on the TV about anorexia.

Over the years he has mellowed and his social cues are very blended. I keep his environment tightly managed. He rarely stims(except lightly while driving-our traffic would make everyone do calming things)

Your point of view is so helpful. He also knew from a young age that he was "different". I handle all things that he cannot touch(garbage, dishwater etc.)He definitely has the sensory issues so I keep things soft. Scratchy things can make for a very bad day.

His conversational skills are quite mellow-except when he is passionate about something. So he has worked for a very long time on them. I always say he's "at a three" (numerical volume level) which clues him into the fact that he's about to scare people. He's a big guy.