I am struggling to write at the moment. Partly this is because life has been so jam packed that I don’t seem to have the time to be by myself let alone think by myself. Partly this is because I came across a video through somebody else’s blog that has fundamentally changed how I think about myself, at least I think it might do though I really don’t know if it should. If that sounds confusing then that’s fine because I am definitely confused.
The video in question was made by somebody with Asperger’s describing the things that need to be taken into account if you decide to enter into a relationship with somebody with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. As he described the issues I was struck by how much they matched what I had been talking about in therapy, but I guess what was shocking for me was how closely they matched the issues that my wife and I have. I watched this video late at night (i.e. early in the morning) so my wife was sound asleep so I decided to email her a link to the video and ask her to watch it to see if it reminded her of anybody. I didn’t feel I could discuss the video without her seeing it first, and I unfortunately was unaware at the time how important it was for me that she watched it sooner than later. A few days passed before she watched the video.
I have looked into Asperger’s Syndrome since it is on the high functioning end of the spectrum where I would have thought I might fit in. Looking at the descriptions I’ve seen though would suggest that I don’t have Asperger’s; at least that’s my unprofessional opinion. The video is something else though, the match is uncanny. There are two things of note about ASD, everybody is unique in their symptoms, and it is a developmental disorder that is part of that person. They can’t help having ASD, one is born with it, in a sense one is the ASD. ASD isn’t a disease, so there is no cure for it.
When my wife managed to find time to look at the video, she agreed with my assessment. I am going to assume I am Asperger’s because it makes the language of writing easier.
I don’t think I know what to do with this information. On the one hand it is fundamental to how I approach things on the other hand does it really change anything? For instance I have depression, do I change how I approach this? I suspect that my depression is because I am not living the way I need to but is that life any different now that I am on the autistic spectrum? I am who I am, a label doesn’t change that. I do think it changes how I approach my life though. I have wanted to be accepted as I am but I have tried to adapt and change because that is what a shared life is about; making compromises. Being an Aspie (not sure how I like that term) means that I cannot change who I am, I cannot help who I am, I have to find ways of living with who I am.
I think I am afraid of what that may mean. I suspect that I have lived my life being something that other people wanted me to be, to fit in so that I wasn’t different; except I knew I was different. If I am to accept that my natural behaviour is different than how I am at the moment, then how do I find out what my natural behaviour is? I guess I have to listen hard to how I react to things and question whether there is another way that suits me better; should I perhaps avoid doing certain things? I think I am feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities here. I believe it is good to try new things, to challenge myself and through the process learn new things but I have to be careful not to pursue a dead end; trying to change something that cannot be changed.
I can hear my friend say “be easy on yourself”; one step at a time I guess.