Although I frequently want to blog about Adam having Asperger’s Syndrome I am stopped by the reactions that I get in real life. When I say that Adam does this or that thing, the person invariably says, “Oh he’s just being a man. That’s what men do.” I respond by saying, “No. This is not him just being a man. This is MORE than that.” And they dismiss me and my point of view. So I am going to make a disclaimer here right now: This thing that I am going to write about is not a MAN thing. It is a common Aspie thing. Yes, to some degree men do this thing. But this is MORE. This is a “Please let us find a therapist that deals with Asperger’s in married adults because some of these behaviors are putting a serious strain on our marriage.” In addition, this is something that makes Adam very sad. He knows that he does this thing, and he has no tools to control or change it. So he fucks up, I get mad, he gets sad and NO ONE is enjoying it. In addition, I have been married before, and I have dated before this marriage. I KNOW MEN, okay? This is not a man thing.
This morning our family had an outing planned. Adam tried to wake me up several times I was not functional. I don’t mean groggy and tired. I mean that my husband had to physically help me get to the bathroom because I was so stiff and in pain. My fibromyalgia is really kicking my ass right now. Eventually, Adam decided to take the children to a friend’s house to hang out and play games so I could sleep. He left around 10:30am.
When he arrived at the friend’s house forty-five minutes later, he realized that the frozen breast milk for Coop was still in a lunch box at home. For those of you not keeping track at home, Coop will be five months old in three days. He has not had anything to eat besides breastmilk at all ever. For me it is very important that Coop be exclusively breastfed. To illustrate what I mean by “very important” I need to explain that there are a variety of medications that I could potentially take that would reduce or eliminate my pain. Medications that I cannot take while breastfeeding.
My quality of life is diminished GREATLY because I believe that breastfeeding Coop is important. I have had to cancel or simply not schedule many social events due to pain and fatigue. From my point of view, giving Coop breastmilk is important enough to just deal with it. There will be many years of trying medications and attempting to reduce the annoyance of fibromyalgia. I only have one time in Coop’s life to breastfeed him. I make the sacrifice because I think it is worth the suffering.
Going back to earlier today, Adam realizes that he has no breastmilk to feed Coop. He is forty-five minutes from home. If he goes back home to get the breastmilk his plans are ruined. His friend has infant formula on hand. Adam needs to make a choice between giving Coop formula or returning home. He calls me at home but I am asleep and do not answer the phone. He wants to hang out with his friend so he chooses to give Coop formula. This is where his thought process ends and my brain blows up all over Twitter.
To you, this might seem selfish or short-sighted when actually it is a case of rigid linear thinking. Linear thinking in this situation means that Adam did not look at the problem with multiple points of view. The problem was feeding Coop, and in one option he had to drive home. In the other option he got to stay. He never even considered that there were other factors. In the following exclusive state-of-the-art representation of a decision model you will find what a neurotypical person will do when making a decision.
I apologize for the poor quality and penmanship, my hands have been really bitchy lately. You see how after considering the two solutions, there are additional items to consider? You and I would think in this manner. We would come up with numerous conditions under which each solution is employed. When Adam comes to a problem that he has never before tackled, it looks like this:
Solution A or Solution B? Solution B looks good! The End.
When Adam makes a decision between A and B, he is not thinking about the amount of effort I have put into exclusively breastfeeding Coop. He is not thinking about the medications that would improve my quality of life. He is not thinking about possible stomach discomfort that Coop could experience. He is thinking about A or B.
When Adam got home, I walked him through all of the pieces that he missed in his decision-making process. I call this It’s a Brave New World, because this is the very first time that he has considered all of the ramifications of his decision. Then I feel like a total asshole, because I know that he cannot help what he is doing. He feels SO BAD about making decisions based on 5% of the available data. He just doesn’t think in a way that leads to, “Well what about THIS? And THAT? Also THIS OTHER THING, TOO.”
It is a struggle. Once I walk Adam through something, I know that he will likely never make that mistake again. Unless he has made up a rule that makes it okay in his head. This looks like, “Well in this particular instance she said to not ever give Coop formula unless it is life and death and without asking her BUT there is this new thing that has entered the equation and that makes it okay to feed him formula.” Can I tell you how crazy this making up of rules on the fly makes me? Very fucking crazy.
So we’re looking for a new therapist. The last one treated me like the mother in these situations-like I was Adam’s mother. I understand she is used to dealing with autistic children and their parents, but her solutions would kill our marriage. It is frustrating, all of it. But Adam didn’t ask to be autistic. I didn’t ask to be disabled. We work with what we have, and try to do better the next time.