Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I Think I'm 'Special'

My previous post was going to be this post, as that dream featured a kind of blindness I sometimes suffer (hence the probably obscure, misleading title). But, as I was typing out a quick, first draft, it turned into something else, a kind of little story. I just liked the way it was going, so I went with the flow, and decided to just leave it standing on its own.

(Hmmm, that dream story could have all sorts of meanings, all sorts of interpretations.)

Anyway, what I was going to write about was my suspicion (to understate it somewhat) that I have Asperger Syndrome (AS). It's an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which means it's somehow related to autism, in some kind of way. (Classic autism is at one end of the spectrum, while Asperger Syndrome is at the other.) But that's what I'm now writing about in this post. Basically, that dream (though I left out various things in the previous post) seemed to feature Asperger Syndrome. It was intended as a brief illustration of what it can be like.

Now, I haven't had it formally diagnosed, but it's been recently suggested to me that I might have Asperger Syndrome. It's not the first time it's been suggested, and the thought has crossed my mind before. This time, though, a list of common traits was included, and it looked like I was quite a good match! So, I looked into it a bit further, and I'm pretty sure that Asperger Syndrome is what I have.

(I was going to include lots of relevant links at pertinent points (or pertinent links at relevant points), but, having just had a Google, there's just too much to choose from! But, yet again, I'm finding that the more I read about it, the more it seems it's what I have.)

For years I've known I was 'different'. Even as a child, I felt 'different'. It's just always been there. I do not mind, and I've actually quite enjoyed being 'different', being 'odd', being 'unusual'. All those 'normal' people, though, can sometimes be a bit of a problem.

Sometimes, though, it's been a real problem (even leading to and involving deep, clinical depression). Sometimes different Aspergery traits come together and combine, multiplying their effects. And when it involves something - or someone - important to me, it has the potential to go very pear-shaped.

There's like a kind of social blindness that afflicts me sometimes - particularly in situations or contexts with which I'm not terribly familiar. There can be misunderstandings, I can say the wrong things, and misinterpret what others are saying. I can be misunderstood, fail to see the supposedly obvious, see things that are obvious to me but which 'normal' people seem strangely blind to, and so on.

Social conventions can also be problematic. In situations I'm not used to, or on matters I don't have much experience with, I'll be quite unsure of what's appropriate. And when it's all combined, like social dyslexia mixed with struggling with a foreign, social language, I can even end up getting into a panic.

Usually, though, it's not a problem. Just sometimes.

Well, I say it's usually not a problem, but I am chronically unemployed! And, before something of a saga several years ago, I had an active social life.

Talking of that saga (the details of which I may leave for another time), I've been looking back at it, in light of what I've been reading about AS. If I'd had AS diagnosed by that time, I believe things would have turned out so very, very differently. But no. What a disaster it was, and still remains.

Anyway, I will get a proper diagnosis. For the most part, it will, in itself, just be confirmatory of what I pretty much already knew. But it will provide a label, which is something that all those 'normal' people often seem to need. They may see that I'm 'different', even see it as obvious, but, without a 'label', they can be quite contradictory and illogical about it. At least, that's how it often seems to me. But with that label, once I've got it officially, it should all be quite different.

Oh, and even though I didn't even have Asperger Syndrome in mind when I thought of the title of this blog (Faint Signal), even that title is to do with Aspergery stuff.

Anyway, if you've ever thought I was 'different', if I said or did something inappropriate, or acted oddly, or whatever, then now you know why. At least provisionally, pending a formal diagnosis.

What really bothers me, though, is that some might think I didn't or don't care, that I didn't really care about them. That's what gets to me, because I do care! I might not know how to show it, I might not know how to express it, and, when I dare to, it might come out seemingly false or fake or something. It really gets to me that Asperger's Syndrome is at its worst when I really care. It bothers me because it gets in the way (if that makes sense). It bothers me because I care.


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