This is the first in a series of posts about Asperger’s Syndrome. It has been living in the back of my brain for months, taking up precious space and time that I don’t really want to lend out anymore. I need to spew it out onto the innernets. I need to be able to talk about this subject, to get advice, support, to vent, to cuss up a motherfucking storm if need be. I need mah peeps.
A former friend of mine diagnosed herself and many other people with Asperger’s Syndrome, including myself and Chicken. I’m not here to argue the validity of her armchair diagnosis of people not in my immediate family. However, I can say that it is amusing to me that the one person she did not diagnosis does in fact have Asperger’s Syndrome. My husband, Adam, is an Aspie.
I’d like Adam to guest post to tell his story, but for now I will clumsily tackle the topic. Somewhere on these here innernets, someone recommended seeing the movie Mozart and the Whale. It is a love story about two Aspies+. Adam and I sat down to watch it one evening at home and came away with very different feelings about the movie. My thoughts were, “I don’t identify with them. It must be so difficult to live in a neurotypical world when you have an Asperger’s brain. How do they succeed? How do they cope?” My husband did not remark on the movie at the time, but his brain was thinking thoughts of an altogether different kind.
Six months later, Adam got in trouble at work. He came home visibly upset and told me what happened. Then he casually remarked, “Remember that movie we saw about Asperger’s Syndrome? I think I have it. I’ve been doing a lot of research on it.” My response was something like OMGWTFBBQ?!?! and then “oooooohhhhhhh” and another “Oh. My. God. (imagine me saying this very drawn out and dramatic like) it all makes sense.” Followed by many more OMGWTFBBQ in my head as prior knowledge and current experience collided violently in my brain.
You see, when my old friend diagnosed ME as an Aspie I did a lot of research on the subject. Although I came to the conclusion that I was not an Aspie I did have a fairly robust body of knowledge rattling around my noggin. For the first time I looked at my husband and the majority of his behavior made sense. Adam is brilliant, however he misses social cues that neurotypical children master. He is skilled with his hands, but it takes him great effort and concentration because he is clumsy. His attention to detail is astounding, but he will miss things completely that aren’t on his radar. When he is interested in a subject he goes balls to the fucking wall on it. Researching, talking, researching, talking, did I mention the talking? Aspies tend to have trouble realizing when someone is bored, tired, or annoyed with a conversation. They continue talking beyond the socially accepted amount of time, giving excruciating detail in many cases. Dear GAWD this can annoy the shit out of me.
Now, my old friend was correct in some respects. Chicken and I share some Aspie traits. However, we seem to be just on this side of the neurotypical fence whereas Adam is on the other side still talking about fucking speakers. Or plants. Adam wishes he knew that he had autism fifteen years ago. He has struggled for his whole life knowing that there is something different, wanting to understand why people think he is an asshole, wondering what he is missing when he incorrectly interprets things literally. With therapy he is learning the social skills that most people learn naturally. His therapist specializes in the autism spectrum and children, so one of the first things I asked was, “OMGTHEBABY??” She evaluated Egg and he appears to be neurotypical beyond a doubt. Next we had some appointments where I join him to help work out marital issues.
Aspies tend to have “problems expressing the degree of love and affection expected by others.” (OASIS @ MAAP) It’s like being married to a man. But not just any man. A MAN x 10. One that drives me batshit crazy with his plants! plants! plants! and forgetting about the WIFE with the FEELINGS. Therapy is helping. For some reason this therapist can say, “Adam, what Sam is saying is that she needs more from you emotionally and to be more included in your life, ” and the motherfucker gets it. She says it in a special language that only dolphins can hear or something. But he gets it. When I say it? It sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher in super bitchy nag mode.
It is still a work in progress, but we are learning so much about each other. Adam’s peers and management have noticed the difference although he has yet to tell them of the diagnosis. Therapy and an official diagnosis have changed all of our lives.