A few weeks ago, aged 43, I received my Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis.
Unfortunately immediately after delivering the diagnosis I was informed there is no help for diagnosed adults in the UK's North West, where I live. So I am almost back to square one. I have been given links and things to read, but I really need to talk to someone. Get an idea of where to go from here. I feel that 43 years of my life have been wasted trying to fix things when I could have been revelling in the talents that I have, but am only just now beginning to understand. Hopefully this forum will be a start.
After years of trying to fix my personality and character traits, I have suddenly discovered I was going about it all wrong all along. As each day goes by and with each new article or post I read, I discover more about myself that links in.
Here's my list - how does it compare with yours?
(apologies for the length, I know long posts are frowned upon on most forums, but hey - skip it if you prefer. Hope it is an enjoyable read.)
Control Freak - an absolute need to control and plan not just my life but everyone else's (and everyone else just loves it when I butt in).
Change Meltdown - my eyes gloss over and my mind hits overdrive whilst I try to come to terms with a change in the plan. I am going shopping with my wife - but now someone else is coming too. That wasn't in the plan! Aaaaaaaaarrggghhhh!!!!
Poor working memory - writing lists seems like a great idea to get past this, but turns out to be a nightmare, as I forget each point just as I start to write it.
Prospective Memory - inability to remember to do anything. I have alarms on my phone to remind me to eat lunch and dinner. Drives my wife crazy. I can easy drive 50 miles past a turning without realising I was supposed to turn. SatNavs have saved me! I am not just late for meetings, I simply don't turn up and realise hours or even days later (or not at all).
Social conversations - do I really need to go into this? I just feel like I am not there. I can be the centre of attention making everyone laugh and be having a great time. Then within minutes find myself lost, with no idea of what to say or to whom. I really hate this.
Social Situations - a completely overriding fear of everything and yet nothing in a potential social situation. This totally controls my life and is the main area I have tried to change, with hypnotherapy, NLP, counselling, drugs. I was a professional club DJ for over ten years, but can I get on a dance floor with my wife? No chance! No no no no no. And I hate myself for it. Its not fare on her. I really despise it.
Loner - I have friends but none I can call "best friend." Over the years I have scared people off or drifted apart without knowing what to say, or even that I should say something. For the most part people must think I am weird, eccentric is the nice term, and those that deal with it do so, but I guess most eventually leave me alone. My closest friends live in other cities - I think distance/lack of daily contact, may be key to me keeping friends.
No Flirt - "my friend isn't interested, will you please stop flirting with her." "Errr, I am not flirting." Retreat into corner.
Lots of Flirt - on a few occasions in my youth I discovered girls had been flirting with me for up to 6 months without me having a clue. One quicker example was in a club when my friends left without me, figuring I was preoccupied with a girl. To this day I have no idea who they were talking about.
Arrogance - I suspect many people think I am arrogant. I think I pass on information in a manner unsuited to the situation and puts me in a bad light. Bit confused on this one.
Me, Myself and I - stunning ability to go on about myself, or things that have happened to me, or will happen to me, or my clothes, or my hair, or my friends, or something I saw etc. See below (and above).
Collecting - seems to be a general ASD trait, but lots of people collect and I am not one of them. Ok, so I have over 50 pairs of shoes, but just 50, not 500. The difference appears to lie in the manner of the collection, or how the collection is treated. I have lots of music (was once a professional club and radio DJ). I do not consider this collecting. However I have designed my own rhythm notation and order my tracks according to their main beats as described by my notation. Apparently this is unusual.
Detail Spotting - if something small is dropped, it will always be me that spots it first. I can pick out tiny details in seconds. This has pros and cons.
Total focus - on one hand I can have phenomenal focus at the cost of everything else. I become totally unaware that anything else is happening except what I am focusing on. I can go for a day without eating, or stopping.
Easily Distracted - on the other hand, if the environment is not perfect (no music, nothing moving like birds flying past the window, no interruptions etc) and I am thus unable to get into The Zone, I am distracted by anything from a cloud to a thought. I will then go off on a mission to follow the cloud or thought and then another tangent and another and, have I told you about my first pet fish?
Sounds - I note many Aspies have issues with noises. I do also, but not in a negative way, its in a totally consuming way. Having music on whilst doing something else like writing this is a total no-no. I'll just get lost in the high hats, or the bass line. Making out as a teen with romantic music lead to several misconstrued situations of apparent disinterest.
Photosensitivity - I wear Reactolite glasses and my prescription sunglasses are the darkest available tint, despite the optician trying to persuade me otherwise.
Extremes - I am in or out, very little in between. I failed an exam at uni, told the Professor immediately and he laughed saying all students think that. I got 26%. He took pity and I resat gaining 100% - his first student to ever score so high. He offered me a job.
Dr Spock - my childhood hero. He was the only person in my world that I got. I could relate to everything he said. After reading inside this forum, I suspect a number of Aspies will relate to this. Whilst others were wondering if Jim Morrison was reincarnated into their body, I was considering how Dr Spock could pull it off.
Anger - the frustration of not dealing with situations explodes inside my head. I have two very young kids and this is becoming a serious issue in my own head. I can feel it inside and am so scared one day it will boil over and I'll do something stupid. When looking for help in this area a councillor suggested Asperger's, and so the diagnosis process began.
Incorrect Phrasing - just saying stuff wrong. How many times have people looked at me like I am crazy? I almost got fired after writing an email explaining a situation. Friends read the email and jaws dropped, "you wrote this without getting fired?" I had no idea what was wrong with the email. It was just facts. Simple. A friend wrote a guide on how to write emails in future. Still have my job, so guess it worked.
"Cheer up" - so many people have said to me so many times I look miserable when I am really happy.
Dead Pan - a good friend said to me the other day she has no idea when I am being serious. A quick ask around and apparently everyone thinks this of me. I guess facial expressions are not my forte, yet I think I wear my heart on my sleeve. Confusing.
Repetition/Perfection - any idea how many times I have read this post before actually posting it? 18 at time of posting. I'll re-read it a few times after posting also.
Ecstasy and Empathy - took ecstasy (MDMA) in my twenties. Totally changed my life. I remember very clearly sitting in a club and connecting with the feelings of the person I was talking to. This totally blew my mind. I sat there thinking I was telepathic or something. I told a friend later that night and she explained it was empathy. I am still not very good at it, but at least I know it exists now. Did you know it was two ecstasy researchers that independently invented the world "empathogen" (Ralph Metzner and David E. Nichols)? I note that some autistic researchers are planning the first study using MDMA treatment.
thanks for getting this far