I'M OUT - I'm on the Spectrum!
Within the past few days I have learned that I am almost certainly on The Autism (formerly Asperger’s) Spectrum. At first it was shocking and scary, despite my having known that I was “different” for most of my life.
A good definition clarifying us is:
1. I find social situations confusing,
2. I find it hard to make small talk,
3. I did not enjoy imaginary story-writing at school,
4. I am good at picking up details and facts,
5. I find it hard to work out what other people are thinking and feeling,
6. I can focus on certain things for very long periods,
7. People often say I was rude even when this was not intended,
8. I have unusually strong, narrow interests,
9. I do certain things in an inflexible, repetitive way.
10. I have always had difficulty making friends,
(Simon Baron-Cohen, as quoted by Ashley Stanford in “Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships”, First Edition, p,30.)
At least nine of the 10 criteria fit me perfectly, and the tenth one is certainly at least partially on target.
It has been stated that there are about 10 of us men, for every women. Presuming that that is true, a lot of us are likely to complicate the lives of women, who innocently fall in love with us. I “passed” for 68 ½ years before I realized last week that I’m “neuro-divergent” or an “AS” (autism spectrum?) in contrast to my partner, and most others that I know.
It is both scary and exciting. I have a lot to learn! While it is painful to realize I am “different” from the image I had of myself up until a week ago, it is also an opportunity for me.
I can learn ways of trying not to alienate my partner and others as much, though I will always be “a pain”. It is hard though! I can not listen to you say: “yes”, when you really mean “no”, and read your non-verbal cues accurately.
I can also learn to love myself in a deep way for the first time in my life.
I can also appreciate some of the gifts I have. I am good at “snooping” on the internet and tracking down people. I use that skill to help others most of the time. When I “hear” a person really deeply, I hear a lot and can experience them in what sometimes is a unique way. While others may not perceive that I even have feelings, I can feel in deep ways, though I rarely can communicate what I am feeling to others.
It is good to finally “be out”! Thank you! I hope that my work, my insights and my growth will help me in future relationships with others around me.
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