I’ve been off by myself for a while, now. I kind of over-did it with my posting on forums and my writing, for a few weeks — working like crazy, as though my life depended on me finishing my edits (which, I suppose, it felt like it did)… and then reaching a stopping place… or having it reach me.
I guess I “blew my wad” of online personal resources. But now I’m back and posting.
Something kind of distressing happened to me a few days ago. I’ve been seeing a therapist for a little over a year, and it’s been going pretty well. I have heard lots of people say that traditional “talk therapy” isn’t that effective for Aspies, but for me it’s been very helpful to have someone to talk to in a controlled setting, once a week, like clockwork. It’s like paying someone to be my friend, as pathetic as that may sound. But it’s true — many of the qualities I seek in a friend, I have found in this therapist.
Talking with her has helped me really zero in on my AS, as well as other cognitive/behavioral issues I’ve had all my life, but never really came to grips with. It’s kind of eerie, how much of my life was unarticulated, and how much of it I misunderstood or didn’t even recognize, because it was just always there… it was just part of my life, and I thought it was normal. Until I’d discuss it with C. and find out that not everybody does things the way I do them.
I’ve seriously been so sequestered and so blocked off behind this autistic wall, that I never fully realized many different aspects of my life existed, till I talked about them with C. and found out that they were there. Sort of like having another personality, except that I don’t. I’m not nearly that exciting — I just have this life that I lived privately and always thought was typical.
Until I found out it wasn’t.
So, anyway, C. and I have been talking, and I brought up the AS subject with her, and she was just not open to it. I suppose I should have brought it up sooner, but I really didn’t have the words to describe what the heck was “up” with me, until fairly recently. I can write to my heart’s content. I can understand things visually and spatially and relationally, but when I’m talking with someone, it’s like this part of my brain clicks off and is so busy trying to figure out how to not get into social hot water with the person I’m talking with, that I forget where I am and what I wanted to talk about, and the subject flies out the window.
I have a really eventful life on a daily basis, anyway, and since I see C. only once a week for 50 minutes, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for wandering farther afield than how my day/week has gone, and what I did when someone did some shitty thing to me, and how it relates to my relationship with my parents, my partner, etc.
it’s funny, tho’ — now that I think about it, I thought that we were talking about my AS (albeit in a roundabout way), for the past months. We would talk about my issues, we would talk about my social difficulties, etc. etc., and she would say things like, “Why don’t researchers just ask the people who are dealing with the issues, what it’s like to deal with them, instead of making snap judgments in laboratories that affect a whole generation?” Sounds like she’s talking about autism, right?
Well, uh, I guess not.
‘Cause when I brought up Asperger’s, she was sorta kinda flabbergasted, as though the thought had never occurred to her. She even said that she wouldn’t have guessed I’ve got AS. And I had to wonder WHY? What part of me sitting across from her, twitching and ticciing and stimming, not making eye contact, humming to myself, commenting about my physical sensitivities being worse than usual, and my long series of social gaffes, not to mention going absolutely silent for 5-10 minutes at a time is NOT autistic?
I don’t get it. Maybe there’s another syndrome that accounts for it? If so, I’d like to know what that is. Or maybe I wouldn’t.
Anyway, when she told me she didn’t think I had AS, and she went into this long spiel about how her husband has ADD and his family all has ADD, and his sister has Asperger’s, and he’s nothing like her, and how I’m NOT AUTISTIC! it really threw me for a loop. Not immediately, of course. It took a while for it to sink in. But after a few minutes, I could feel the standard withdrawal kicking in.
(to be continued)