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Embracing Asperger's

I'm not crazy, I just have Asperger's.  

I've pretty much known I was on the Asperger's spectrum ever since I knew what it was, but recently have been doing quite a bit of reading on Asperger's in adults and do I ever fit the bill!  My dad could have been a poster child for both the best and the worst of the syndrome, and aspects of it show up in my siblings, especially my youngest sister and me.

No, I haven't gone to get a formal diagnosis, partly because I have no access to health care but primarily because it just isn't necessary.  Knowing this about myself makes no difference to anyone else, it just makes things better for me.

This information would have made a tremendous difference to me as a child.  Back then, I knew there was something different about me, something that all the other children knew and I didn't, rules that were invisible to me but were so clear to them.  It was peculiar--when I was observing other people, I could understand and interpret their behaviors and words as well as any psychiatrist, but if I were directly involved in an interaction, all that understanding disappeared and I didn't know what to say, what to do, how to act.  It wasn't just being smarter than everyone else in my classes and liking different things, it was like being in a universe just a degree or two different from theirs, close enough that I could interact with them and fake it as a native, but different enough that I could continually mis-speak or misstep or otherwise mess up.

Reading the articles on Asperger's in adults has been so illuminating--I see my strengths and weaknesses both, along with explanations for some of them.  Several of the articles I read reference adults' reactions to finding out they're on this spectrum, reactions ranging from anger to denial to relief.  For me, it's been nothing but relief.  Now that I can see why my universe is that degree or two different from the usual universe, I'll be better able to modify my actions to pass better, and will better understand why some of the customs in this more usual universe drive me nuts.  Knowing more about how and why things bother me will enable me to develop better coping mechanisms, again so I can pass better in this world that isn't one-hundred percent mine. 

And this logic-ruled universe of my Asperger's is a nice place to live.  Once it got its proper label, things fell into place and I could enjoy the sense and order of it, and not stress anymore that it's not quite the same as the universe where other folks might live. 

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Your post sent me on a google search for aspergers in adults so that I could check on myself:

• Lack of managing appropriate social conduct
• High intelligence
• Controlling feelings such as depression, fear or anxiety
• Repetitive routines provides feelings of security
• Stress when their routine suddenly changes
• Specialised fields of interest
• Visual thinking

I checked yes for the above and no for the 5 below.

• Anger management problems
• Lack of empathy
• Inability to think in abstract ways
• Inability to listen to others
• Inflexible thinking

Do I therefore sit on the asperger's spectrum? Perhaps.

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Hi Quenntis, I don't have

Hi Quenntis,

I don't have problems with empathy, either, and can think abstractly well, but do have problems with anger and symptoms of OCD, along with other issues having to do with extra sensitivity to certain sounds, being able to tolerate only certain fabrics next to my skin, and having a few repetitive motion habits.  My dad was much worse, an abusive autocrat in addition, something I've tried hard (and sometimes unsuccessfully) to avoid.

When I add folks like myself into the mix, the numbers of one out of a hundred and ten for the autism spectrum aren't quite so extreme, because we're in those numbers, too. 

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Your interesting self diagnosis...

We are coming to understand more syndromes and conditions that characterize us and sometimes define us. Many professionals will do almost anything to avoid "labeling." I understand their concern and the dangers involved both when the labels are accurate and even more when the labels are inaccurate. But your relief is one of the values of having a name for a characteristic or set of characteristics. And I like what you are doing with this self diagnosis to improve your life and the understanding the label brings to you. We humans (including the professionals) must come to accept that a label can be a good thing and a gate to improvement--but it must never be used as a lock to prevent growth. This is yet another area where you may have a responsibility to use your writing ability to help others understand your alternate universe.

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Sue, I think you're exactly

Sue, I think you're exactly right. So many things come on a continuum--physical ability, intellectual ability, sexuality, and social and emotional development. Not everything is bad or good, so much just IS, and recognizing skills and liabilities is necessary before dealing with any deficits. In this case, knowledge is a tool and with it, I'll be able to unlock problems I've had and maybe avoid others in the future. I LIKE the mind I've got--the positive aspects are wonderful, and the negatives I'll get better at managing.

A good comparison is to my ex-husband's situation in boot camp: he spoke almost no English (an English teacher had signed a letter that he did, but she was wrong), so he stood at the end of every line and watched like a hawk to see what everyone else did, so he could do it, too.  That's how he made it through, and that's what it was like for me as a child with Asperger's.  I didn't speak the right language or know why this or that was happening, but my lord could I ever stand in the back and WATCH EVERYTHING.   

And he turned out just fine.  His English got better and thirty years later he's now a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel. 

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Just Fine--You too...

You helped many people and children in your careers, and best of all, you reared three successful young adults. As they weep for their children, many would envy you that success. (And on top of that you have organized poseessions and book shelves! I envy you that! Ha)