Hello and thank you for joining me after my first post. After said post, I began thinking how I could follow it up. I thought about getting all dramatic and heavy and discussing my diagnosis and the therapy and pills I’ve been through, but who wants to hear about that? Plus, if you want to hear about dysfunctional individuals on pills, several people have beaten me to the punch and created their own media based around that (coughnexttonormalthemusicalcough). So as I kept brainstorming and listening to show tunes it hit me: what about talking about what exactly Asperger’s is and what it means?
Now, I know most people have a vague idea about what Asperger’s is and how it affects people, but I figured it couldn’t hurt if I wrote a little blurb about it, particularly what it means to me specifically. So to some this might seem redundant, and for that, I apologize.
There are hundreds of thousands of ways one could describe AS (I’m going to abbreviate it for the rest of this post because for some reason spell checker doesn’t recognize the word “Asperger’s,” and those cursed red squiggles are hurting my eyes). God knows how many books, articles and encyclopedia entries have been written about the topic. As I browse google looking for a definition that I can steal (and by steal I mean cite and give all the proper credit to said writer) I see several potential candidates from sites such as web md, autism speaks, and the wonderfully named The Geek Syndrome, but the definition that most catches my eye comes from that old war horse Wikipedia. So, according to Wikipedia (the most trustworthy website ever) here is the definition of AS (all credit given to the proper writers I’m not plagiarizing please don’t fail me):
“Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s, is a developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.” (“Autism Spectrum Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health.)
So, there you have it. AS, while not fatal (something that honestly worried me when I was first diagnosed, no BS) is something that a person has to live with their whole lives and can affect a person’s ability to function in the real world. While we tend to take these things for granted, an adult with AS can have difficulty maintaining relationships both platonic and romantic, holding down a job depending on their chosen field, and generally functioning in polite society.
On the other hand, people with AS are capable of things that normal people might not be. For example, ever since I was a kid, I knew a lot more about certain things than the other kids my age. I would only have to watch a movie once before I had every single line of dialogue and song (because my childhood was owned by Disney) completely memorized and was reciting the whole film for my family and peers (my poor father cannot watch anything Disney related to this day). However this never seemed out of the ordinary to me, I just thought it was something everyone could do. Now I think of it as a type of bizarre superpower (I’m still waiting for a call from the X-Men).
What I’m trying to say is that AS is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, having AS means that you’ll always have to watch yourself and be hyper aware of everything you say and do in the real world, which, let’s be honest, kind of sucks. But on the other hand, having AS also means that you will always be unique and quirky, and that you’ll never have to suffer the curse of being normal (and seriously, screw normal). You can release your inner creativity: strip naked, paint yourself blue, and cause chaos in your wake (metaphorically, not literally. I did this as a child, but it was only in my house. Don’t strip naked in public. That’s wrong).