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Learning To Trust Again

mindfullness_mental_health2

As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s very difficult for me to take the perspective of other people. I feel as though I’m giving up too much control to the other person. I feel that the person may take advantage of me emotionally by either making fun of me or looking down on me.

But this past week, I made a breakthrough in this area.

I was getting ready to go deliver a very important speech to the community of a major psych hospital here in Philadelphia. I had trouble sleeping the night before (I eventually came down with the flu after the speech). But I think I was also troubled, because when I woke up in the morning I was overcome by an intense feeling of loneliness. Although this was my seventh speech at this hospital, and five out of the six talks had gone well, I had never felt this empty before.

I realized the reason for this feeling was that this presentation reminded me of the good old days when I used to give speeches or do public performances in high school. The difference here is that there was nobody around to support me. Part of that was my fault — I told very few people about the presentation, so how could they support me? But also in high school despite having undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome, I was a very social person and had many friends. So, naturally, when I was going to act in a show or skit, everybody knew about it, and I would get approval, support and feedback.

Unfortunately, when I went to college the support system that I cultivated in high school disappeared. The school was too large for me (35,000 students vs. 350 in my high school). I became disillusioned, angry, and lost. I then (consciously or unconsciously) took the attitude that I didn’t need anyone’s support and I was going to go it totally alone.

mindfullness_mental_health_support

That defiant attitude caught up with me this week. I was ready to have support from others again, but was blocked about how to get it.

A part of me is a very angry person who sees giving the other person a chance as the ultimate capitulation. I was hurt years ago by somebody. That experience made me shut down and not want to trust a lot of people. (Interestingly, I am now friends with this person again, but the impact of that interaction was deep and severe.)

I welcome a lot of guidance so I immediately e-mailed my Asperger’s life coach and therapist and asked if we could do a session that day on love, companionship, and close relationships with other people. I wanted help figuring out what was blocking me from forming those kinds of relationships again. She agreed and I was on my way!

Through my therapy session I now know that I can begin to push past the anxiety and learn to practice social empathy and perspective in small steps and phases. How do I know this? Well in reality, I don’t. We don’t know anything for sure unless we try. But, I’ll tell you that in the four days since I began this experiment, I have already begun to feel less alone in the world. I feel connected because I’m constantly thinking about other people and how their day went or what we’re going to talk about when we meet. I may be physically alone at times but I’m still concerned about others.

For many years, I felt like someone who needed to be plugged into the world but whose cord had come out of the socket. Now I’m beginning to feel connected again.

mindfullness_mental_health_connected

One of the big sticking points in being connected to others was that by getting close to someone, I felt I would have to give up my independence and self-sufficiency, which are very important to me. Growing up I had felt like others would suck me up like a vacuum cleaner would a piece of dirt and I would disappear. I had no real boundaries with people. I was nice to them and they were nice to me but I didn’t know where I began and they ended. We were just one. Which isn’t bad if it’s a mutual agreement.

Ironically, when I got to college and got hurt by the impersonal atmosphere I experienced at the university, I learned to put boundaries down too quickly.

As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I suffer from “all-or-nothing” or “black-or-white” thinking, which means that things are either one way or the other with me — there are no grey areas. And while I have made great strides here, I still have a ways to go.

The effect of this type of thinking has hurt me because my boundaries have become too rigid and inflexible. Either I’m right or the other person is right in a social situation, instead of a blending of the two points of view.

And I need this blending (as do we all) in order to be social with others. I need to come to terms with the fact that I’m not the only person on this planet who has needs and desires and feelings. Other people do too!

This is a good thing to realize because we are all dependent on one another and interconnected in varying degrees. As one of my other therapists said, even the pants or shirts I wear were stitched together by someone who I didn’t know.

mindfullness_mental_health_thinking3

Unless you want to be a hermit in this world and socially isolated you’ve got to depend on others.

What I now also know is that with healthy boundaries, I can see the other person’s point of view but also still make my own decision about things. And that is very important to me. Just because a person wants me to go out of my way for them doesn’t mean I have to. I can take into account many areas of grey with them. Have they gone out of their way for me in the past? Even if they haven’t are they going through a difficult time that I can show them a break or give them a “social pass”?

Instead of the old black or white/all or nothing thinking, I can take into account the context of the situation. And that is very important for seeing people on their own terms. People, of course, come with histories and back-stories (to use dramatic terminology). Even a stranger who asks me for a dime on the sidewalk obviously comes with a history.

And what about the person who snaps at you for no good reason at all? I don’t have to diminish anymore how it makes me feel but I can also try and get a read that perhaps they were having a bad day and that was the reason for their rude behavior. It doesn’t excuse it. And I don’t have to like it, but I do have to accept it.

But acceptance — as I learned from my cognitive therapist — does not mean passivity. It means accepting things as they are in any given moment but also knowing that that moment is open to change. All of life is in a constant ever-changing flow around us.

Even though we’ve made mistakes in the past we can still learn and grow from them. We don’t have to continually blame ourselves for past so-called “failures.”

Something that has been a big help on my journey is the concept of mindfulness.

mindfullness_mental_health_journey

Mindfulness is the concept of being able to step back and look at your thoughts and feelings for what they are. It means not being reactive to your every whim and thought and getting angry in the process.

I practice mindfulness through meditation tapes prescribed by my cognitive therapist for at least fifteen minutes a day, every day of the week. I do what is called a body scan where I lay down on a mat with my shoes off and listen to a therapist’s voice that tells me to tune into different parts of my body. If it sounds very new age, it can be. But it has worked for me. I listen to the tape and the voice will say pay attention to your feet or your stomach or your scalp. This is done because the body and mind work hand-in-hand with our processing skills. This becomes crucial for somebody with Asperger’s, especially when you’re trying to read somebody else’s facial expression or body language. If the person seems angry or happy with you, your body subconsciously or consciously feels this. For many years I would just shut down and process everything through my mind. I would use what is known as problem-solving, which isn’t bad for practical solutions but terrible for emotional regulation and taking the perspective of others.

There is so much stimuli coming from another person — visual and auditory cues — that to just be in your head can lead to disaster.

Many years ago when I lived in Los Angeles and I was in the throws of major depression, I would tell myself to get angry with people and fight with them just to get the upper hand and feel powerful. In retrospect, it just led to loneliness and isolation. I have been doing that to lesser degrees ever since I began work with both my Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and my Asperger’s life coach and consultant.

For some reason this week everything converged on that speech that I was going to give. I believe I had made enough leeway and felt strong enough in my self-esteem (I listen to a kindness meditation every other day of the week too) that I am ready to trust people again and give them the benefit of the doubt. I know I am probably going to get hurt again but this time I’ll have the skills that I didn’t have thirty years ago when I really got emotionally beat up. There are many resources and better therapies that weren’t available back then.

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I’ll also tell you that I’ll be fifty-four on December 24th and the last twenty five years have been hell. But today I went out for lunch with a friend in from Los Angeles and I had a good time. As I walked home from lunch, I realized that there have been many good times like this over the years. I just wasn’t fully present to totally appreciate them. I also realized that walking down the street among other people wasn’t so bad after all. Nobody accosted me (as my paranoid and obsessive mind has told me in the past that they would) and it was rather pleasant just to take a stroll down the street.

I attribute this ease to my therapy session on social perspective this week. I feel I was outside of my head enough to be fully present with others, even the strangers who were strolling past me.

Oh, by the way, the speech at the hospital went well.

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Bud Clayman

Bud Clayman is the publisher of OC87 Recovery Diaries. The website is an outgrowth of the autobiographical documentary film, OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie. Bud created, co-directed (along with Glenn Holsten and Scott Johnston) and was the principle subject of OC87, which had its theatrical premiere in 2012 and can now be seen on Amazon and YouTube. The film chronicles Bud’s ongoing battle with mental illness. OC87 Recovery Diaries expands on that story by allowing others to share their own stories of empowerment. His vision is simple yet challenging: to have a world free of mental illness stigma.

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  • Terry Moore

    What a powerful message, Bud! Thank you for sharing your journey, and sharing both your fears, and your accomplishments.

    • Bud Clayman

      Thanks, Terry!!!!

      Sincerely,
      Buddy

  • Bud, you write with amazing sensitivity and insightfulness and I’m so glad to see how well you’re coping with life’s challenges. Myrna

    • Bud Clayman

      Thanks, Myrna!!!

      Sincerely,
      Buddy

      • Judy

        Thank you so much for your story. I described my boyfriend’s behavior to a medical friend of mine and she suggested that maybe he has aspergers…comparing your description of your own presentation of aspergers really seemed spot-on; especially where misreading my communication with him and other social cues. When anyone would help him out or give hiim some suggestions of advise his response was that he could run his own life and live independently. Well, I won’t go anymore into that as I said I can’t help but wonder about it. I was surprised to learn that there was a form of autism where people functioned perfectly. He is a farmer and cattle person who has isolated himself (or so it seemed) of his own volition. Unfortunately he has not been diagnosed (and maybe I’m wrong). We are in our early sixties…we no longer are a couple but we stay in contact as I do his bookkeeping for him. I would like to learn how to communicate with him…that’s all just communicate with him. Maybe if I can do that I would be able to suggest the idea of aspergers.

  • Debora Cox

    I am so glad as a spouse of a aspie to read your blog.My husband finally diagnosed at 60.We struggle a lot.I am trying to get us some help and to hear your comments gives me great hope. You see I love my husband, He is a good man that has overcame a lot in his life.He finally realizes our thinking is just different-not wrong.He also suffers from narcissant syndrome,probably a protective thing.I will be happy when he can say-This is me,I am working on things.With the diagnosis I have already felt more empathy and have more understanding of my husband.He lived in a car and grad from HS with A’s-raised 3 boys on his own when his wife walked out,got a great job and is now a forman in const.We are trying to prepare for retirement by getting him therapy that will help him to see his traits. Thanks–I don’t know any other adults with Aspergers.Sincerely.Deb Cox

    • Bud Clayman

      Thanks for sharing your story, Debora!!! I’m definitely glad that your husband finally got a diagnosis. I was not diagnosed until I was close to fifty! It really helped explain a lot of what I was going through. I wish I had been diagnosed as a kid because the treatment I would have received, especially the therapy, would have been entirely different and could have set my life in an entirely different direction!

      Again, thanks for sharing your story, and good luck to you and your husband!

      Sincerely,
      Buddy

    • maria

      Hi I am a mother of adult daughter who I know has apergers syndrome but can not have ANY hepl from anybody .She tried to kill hersef two years ago and was on life support for 2 weeks .Nobody seem to understand whats going on and I have no word in saying so .

      Where do you go ???

      • Bud Clayman

        Hi Maria:

        Sorry to hear about your daughter. You do have some word in this matter. You may not be able to control the entire situation but you can influence it.
        Why don’t you try by looking at the website provided in this link. I hope this helps.

        http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/aspergers-syndrome/aspergers-resources/

        Best,
        Bud

        • robert walker

          Hi, Bud…I am a 22 year old aspie, and was diagnosed at age 17…it has been a struggle for my family, but thank God I have some positive things going on in my life…I work and take classes…I am trying to get into independent living…my grandmother has been my parent, and she is very supportive of me…how do I get an aspergers life coach? That sounds interesting…

  • Bev Galley

    Should an adult family member with what I think is espergers be told they have espergers. If yes, how do you go about telling that family member he/she has this condition..how will this help the adult if he/she knows?
    thank you

    • Brenda Vanden Berg

      Bev, after listening to a speaker tonight, I think my 32 year old son has aspergers too. How do I tell him? He has struggled with depression for several years. It is so hard to see his struggles. Brenda

      • OC87 Recovery Diaries

        This comment is from:
        Cathy Grayson, M.A.
        Educational Consultant

        Hi Brenda,

        In response to your question about your son, I would first like to pose some questions to you and then direct you towards help.

        1) Does your son have any awareness that he may have Asperger’s? How do you think he would receive this information?

        2) Do you currently have the type of relationship with him that would make you the best person to tell him or can you think of anyone else? As a mom myself, I know a mom may not always be the best person for this initial conversation.

        3) Do you feel the problems your son is having are due to his possible Asperger’s? Do you feel, if given this diagnosis,he would seek the help that would begin to address these problems? Receiving a diagnosis, just to have a label, but doing nothing about it may not be helpful for someone who is 32 years old. However, if you answered yes to these two questions, then telling him would be important.

        To begin to seek help would involve the following steps. If I knew where you lived I could give even more specific advice in regards to seeking a diagnosis and treatment.

        1) Investigate if there are any local groups for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (currently, Asperger’s is part of this diagnosis). If they are focused on individuals with Asperger’s I would suggest you attend a meeting to gain more information about local resources and to meet others who have also gone through this issue.

        2) If you have any teaching hospitals in your area, they may have an ASD expert on staff. You could decide if your son would agree to an initial appointment to rule in/rule out Asperger’s or you could meet with the person alone to gain more guidance.

        3) In terms of an expert, you are looking for a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist that has expertise in ASD, (ask them if they have patients with this diagnosis and how many they[are] treating). Sometimes, a psychologist trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy will have expertise in this area.

        4) Do an online search for resources in terms of both how to tell your son and how to find treatment. There are many excellent first person accounts (Daniel Tammet, John Elder Robison, Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore). Look for websites that are geared towards Asperger’s and/or hosted by individuals with Asperger’s.

        5) You could do some reading to gain additional knowledge and perhaps your son would agree to do some reading also. Tony Attwood is the best professional to read in this area. Good first person accounts include: “Parallel Play,” by Tim Page, “Look Me In The Eye,” by John Elder Robison and “Born On A Blue Day,” by Daniel Tammet. Temple Grandin has a number of books.

        Hope this helps,
        Cathy Grayson

    • Bud Clayman

      Editor’s note:

      This response is from Jon Hershfield, MFT, OC87 Recovery Diaries Mental Health Advisor.

      My opinion is that the best way to open the subject about any diagnosis is to simply acknowledge that there are some behaviors happening that are concerning and, as a family member, you’re not sure how to help. Then suggest that the sufferer speak with someone who “is trained in assessing these behaviors” and let them be the ones to use words like Asperger’s. The approach should be empathic, not judgmental. It is probably best to avoid having a family member make a diagnosis and start using it as a label, as this could lead to all kinds of family conflict and defiance, ultimately discouraging the sufferer from getting help.

  • priscilla

    we are starting to think our 18 grandson has aspergers but dont know where to get help can you starts somewhere thank you

    • Bud Clayman

      Editor’s note:
      This response is from: Cathy Grayson, M.A.
      Educational Consultant

      Hi Priscilla,

      Your question, “I think our 18 year old grandson has Asperger’s, but don’t know where to get help,” is a very broad question. I first would like to pose some questions to you and then direct you towards help.

      1) Does your grandson have any awareness that he has Asperger’s? How do you think he would receive that information?

      2) Are you close enough to him and have the type of relationship that would make it comforatable to share this with him?

      3) Do you feel your grandson is having problems that are due to Asperger’s? Do you feel if given this diagnosis, he would seek the help that would begin to address these problems? Receiveing a diagnosis, just to have a label, but doing nothing about it may not be helpful for someone who is already 18 years old.

      Depending on how you answer the questions above, to begin to seek help would involve the following steps. If I knew where you lived I could give even more specific advice in regards to seeking a diagnosis.

      1) Investigate if there are any local groups for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (currently Asperger’s is part of this diagnosis). They should be able to direct you to good, local resources.

      2) If you have any teaching hospitals in your area or even a children’s hospital (as they go up to age 18 and are usually versed in this diagnois as it is usually given in childhood), you should contact them.

      3) You are looking for a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist that has expertise in this area (so you would ask then if they work with this population). Sometimes, a psychologist trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy will be treating some individuals with Asperger’s. Developmental pediatricians are also trained to make this diagnosis, but I believe 18 would be too old.

      4) You can also do a search online. as there are wonderful resources available. Autism Speaks is a comprehensive site.

      5) You could also do some reading to gain more knowledge. I would suggest books by Tony Attwood as a place to start.

      Hope this is helpful,
      Cathy Grayson

      • Janet Bradshaw

        I believe my 38 year old daughter has Aspergers syndrome. She has always had problems with socialization. Basically, there are very few people that she can really get along with. This includes family members; college roommates and church friends. She just has problems getting along with most people. If anything goes wrong or against her grain- it becomes a huge problem and it is always the other person’s fault. She can’t get along with anyone in her own age bracket. Her two sisters and brother love her but have no chance of getting along with her and heaven help them if they cross her. She has no use for her in-laws and never has a good word to say about them. It has really divided our family because of the divide she has caused. I have no idea how she would or could be enticed to see a doctor about her condition. (Richmond, VA)

  • Jennifer Cody

    Bud,
    I really appreciate you sharing your story. I have a 13 year old son with Aspergers and try to read as much as I can to help him be the best child that he can be and cope with his situation. Right now I ponder the question of telling him about his diagnosis. I am so pleased to see that you have seemed to overcome so much. WIth him, I worry about him even going to college when he struggles so much in junior high. Anyway, thank you for sharing your feelings and accomplishments. It gives parents like me hope for a brighter future for my son.

    • Bud Clayman

      Thanks for your comments, Jennifer. Please see some of the other responses in this article to determine if it would be appropriate to tell your son about his Asperger’s.

      I know for myself that I would have liked to have been diagnosed early on because then I could have gotten the right help. Unfortunately, these conditions or diagnoses were not really available when I was going to school, but, oh, would it have helped!!!

      Thank you again.

      Sincerely,
      Buddy

  • Gigi

    After reading articles on aspergers, I know this is what my 30 yr old Son has. When he was a child they diagnosed him with ADD. He is very intelligent, 2 college degrees but very ackward socially.. Married a yr ago but unable to keep a job due to personality conflicts. Very angry, feels everybody stares or looks down on him. He has degree in mathmatics and nuclear eng. How do I tell him about Aspergers, hes convinced psychiatric prof is completely off their rocker.

    • OC87 Recovery Diaries

      Editor’s note:

      This response is from:
      Cathy Grayson, M.A.
      Educational Consultant

      Hi Gigi:

      You would never want to diagnose any individual without meeting them and taking a history, but you certainly do describe an Asperger profile. I often ask the following two questions when discussing[a] diagnosis for an adult: 1) Are the Asperger behaviors interfering with the individual’s life and 2) Would the diagnosis change those things? I believe you would answer yes to the first question and due to that, I would hope he would seek treatment to change those areas of difficulty. It does appear from what you write that he would not take this information well. That being said, is there anyone he is close enough to or looks up to that could be the one to share this initial information with him? If he thought just seeking information about a possible diagnosis could improve his marriage or assist him in the job world. Perhaps his wife or a job counselor?

      Possible ways to share this information and begin to seek help, I could be more specific if I knew where you live.

      1) Investigate if there are any local groups for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (currently Asperger’s is part of this diagnosis). If they are focused on individuals with Asperger’s I would suggest you attend a meeting to gain more information local resources and to meet others who have also gone through this issue.

      2) If you have any teaching hospitals in your area, they may have an ASD expert on staff. You could see if your son would agree to an initial appointment to rule in/rule out Asperger’s or you could meet with this person to gain more guidance.

      3) In terms of an expert, you are looking for a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist that has expertise in this area (so you would ask them if they work in this area and how many individuals with ASD they have treated). Sometimes, a psychologist trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy will have expertise in this area.

      4) Do an online search for resources in terms of both how to tell your son and how to find treatment. There are many excellent first person accounts (Daniel Tammet, Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore). Look for websites that are geared towards Asperger’s and hosted by individuals with Asperger’s.

      5) You can do reading to gain more knowledge and perhaps your son would agree to do some reading also. Tony Attwood is the best professional to read in this area. Another professional, Michelle Garcia Winner wrote a book, “Social Thinking At Work,” which is excellent. Good first person accounts include: “Parallel Play,” by Tim Page, “Look Me In The Eye, “ by John Elder Robison, “Born On A Blue Day,” by Daniel Tammet and “The Journal Of Best Practices,” by David Finch.

      Hope this helps,
      Cathy Grayson

      • Jamie Andruski

        Hello Cathy, I am 51 and just discovered I may have Aspergers Syndrome, what
        does a person do to improve their life. Can you recommend a good book or website so I can educate myself.

  • Teresa De Leon

    Hi Bud,
    I have a son with Asperge’s syndrome, he is 25 years old, he was diagnosed at 7 years old, he has learned so much about his condition but still now he struggles with finding a job, raising his son (he has a 2 year old boy) and accepting my help like he used to, sometimes it is very difficult for him to listen to me because I think he wants to show me he is an adult (and I know he is) and doesn’t need my help any more. I trying to find a support group for him so he can share thoughts and feeling and get the help that I am sure he needs. We live in Chandler AZ and I haven”t found a place where he can find some kind of support. If by any chance you know something, please let me know. THANK YOU!!

    • Bud Clayman

      Hi Teresa:

      Thanks for sharing your story! In terms of your son, I think it will be difficult for him to accept help from you like “he used to” because he is after all twenty five and a man in his own right. I’m sure he still loves you but needs to find the space and time to grow into the man that he wants to be.

      I don’t think you can force any groups on him as he is far too old for that at this point.

      I think what you can do is GENTLY say to him that he MIGHT want to check out this or that group but that this is only a suggestion.

      The more you try and push him, the more he will defy you, even if he knows what you’re saying is the right thing! This will take some flexibility on your part but I know you can do it!

      Why don’t you check out this link of Asperger/Autism resources and see if you find it helpful? http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/aspergers-syndrome/aspergers-resources/

      Good luck!

      Sincerely,
      Buddy

  • Natalie

    Hi Bud!

    Thanks for your bravery and honesty! I know it is so hard for neuro typical folks to understand just how much of a challenge it can be for us to allow others in. It’s my hope that as more of us on the spectrum learn our unique strengths and talents, that we can become more integrated and contributory, and recognize that we are not the only people who think and act differently. I am proud to be a member of this funny, odd and very special group of people who call ourselves ‘Aspie’! I’m learning more and more that lots of the things that supposedly define me are actually the same things that make me a truly unique human being. And you know what? Even though I wasn’t born having an easy time relating to other people, I can LEARN! It may take me a little longer and sometimes I even have to fake it, eventually, I can ‘get it’. That’s the great thing about the human brain – neuroplasticity!
    I am honored to have encountered your work and I’m really glad you are doing what you are doing. It will help a lot of people, just to know that we are capable, fun, and competent people with a lot to offer.
    Natalie

    • Bud Clayman

      Thanks, Natalie for sharing your story as well and for your kind comments.

      Best,
      Buddy

  • Stacey K

    Thank you for this. My son has just started 9th grade this year and reading the symptoms we are starting to think he has Aspergers. We are trying to find the best way of supporting him. I really appreciate finding your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • Bud Clayman

      Thanks, Stacey!

      And good luck to your son!

      Best,
      Buddy

  • Kristy Montgomery

    I want to thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and lessons you have learned in this life! Reading your writing has given me such emotional relief! Thank you! Blessed be!

    • Bud Clayman

      Thank you for your nice comments, Kristy!

      Best,
      Buddy

  • Sandra Marr

    I have a different *take* of what is named Asperger’s… It is this: We are super sensitive to other’s hearts, sense them without truly even realizing it. We *know* when people are listening with the heart, when they are not. If they are not? Then we can not trust them. Pattern has proven, if the heart is withheld in a personal interaction, they can (and probably will) retract, forget, lie, bite our heart, steal, deny and more, at a later date. If we insist that they use their heart? Good ones will back away for a time, to deal with their own issues, before approaching us again. They must have their minds clear on their status/state/issue, before confronting us with it. Or, they attack us and make us feel like we are scum of the earth. I have watched with clear insight and listening ears, a person go from smiles to fanged statements of bitter attack. Lies, twisted statements and recall of events passed. Taken and twisted and new hatred spews from their lips. *insert big grin here* I have been watching and listening, very very carefully, over the years. Assessing and gathering info on human behaviors and reactions. We do not or are not able to respond in a normal manner, they say? Oh but we CAN and DO! Yes, we do. If we wish to. The problem is, we get hurt so often, ignored so frequently and our words twisted into psychotic statements…that we just dont want to anymore. We guard our inner heart. I have listened as a good friend from my teen years, suddenly snaps, when faced with her own lies. I did not bring them out, she recalled her own statements. This made her angry, that my position of dire need, reminded her of her unwillingness to keep her own words. I never once uttered the request for assistance. But my position of need, spoke them. She retaliated with bitter voice, angry, veiled threats uttered of having my child taken. I *heard*, contrary to what Pro’s claim about us. I detected and FAST. I retreated. Silenced and guarded, I became. 35 years of friendship suddenly turned into something dangerous, for this same person *knows* too much about my life. Thus, could very well make the call, to have the child removed.
    The fact that the bullying child organization exists and loves to attack Aspie families, is another story. 🙂 But this *is* what I have learned after many many years of life. Humankind can not be trusted. Not *unless* they engage the heart. Most do not.
    I do not view us as having a *lesser-than* status, at all. I think in truth? With the heart sensing ability and our focus? We strive to achieve a higher-than all others status. The heart is what makes the person. What they do, what they think, what they give, what they do not. Truth must come from hearts. Thus, without any effort, we have already surpassed most humans walking on the Earth. Why so? Hearts must be the ones that handle the earth issues, pollution, solution, integrity, honesty, thinking beyond the now, honor. All needed by society, to fix the conditions, disconnected hearts have set into motion.
    I sound like I am bitter. I am not. I sound like I am prideful. I am not. I have been gathering and observing, a long time. My brain never ceases. My topics are never limited. In fact, that is MY sign of Aspie. That you can be well versed in many subjects, above a norm. If you are older and so choose to learn, learn and learn some more. The brain holds a lot of information. I continue to test it’s limit. I will die testing it. *grin*

    • Pax Humana

      “A spirit of pride goes before the fall of a person and a spirit of arrogance goes before their destruction.” You might want to also rethink your “Aspies are better than everyone else” stance because that is just as, if not MORE, dangerous to think in a position like that in your life than feeling like you are less than someone else in your life. Failure to do so sounds akin to things like what Hitler tried to accomplish and we all know how dangerous people can be when they think that they are better than everyone else in this world.

    • Zman F

      So in essence , what you are saying is that Asperger syndrome is a gift . A sensitivity to the hearts of others that gives you the special ability to sense and then judge a persons actions and then decide if those actions are worthy of a response . While I would agree with you that the sensitivity that you feel can be a great gift , I have to respectfully disagree with your overall point of view that this gift has made you better than others . If they were truly gifts that made you higher or more evolved
      The predictable negative outcomes of your interpersonal relationships would not be present in your history and hence lead to your diagnoses .
      A more balanced perspective about the positives and negatives of being as Aspie sounds far more reasonable and healthy in my opinion .

  • Judy

    Hi Bud,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Just looking at you reminds me of my husband. Hearing your story helps me to understand my husband better. I know he has Aspergers. It all became clear about 1.5yr ago. I was ready to give up on our marriage. It was frustrating communicating to him, and getting him to engage in our lives. I thought it was because he really didn’t love me. So I felt unloved and uncared for. He couldn’t sense my emotional cues and that was frustrating to me. That said, once I began to research and had him secretly assessed by a girlfriend who is a behavior therapist, it was confirmed. She helped me with a plan and strategy to break the news to him. Neal is 54 years old, and a musical genius. He is happiest when he is in his strength. He also has a regular day job, but I think it’s too much for him to process through. After reading your story it helps me understand even more about my sweet husband. I love him so much and want the very best for him. I know why God put us together and I will stay true to my vows and make sure he gets the care he needs. It sounds like you have made great strides and realized a lot of progress to help you function. Neal has too, he like you is very social and almost craves the interaction. Yet on the other hand he recedes from it. I don’t understand everything yet, but it seems as he is under stressful situations at work it is harder for him. He is incredibly smart and has a great job, with some level of repetition, but when it comes to problem solving so quickly this drains his brain and is high point of anxiety for him. I know we need to find him another job and we are working on that. Do you know of places that are more empathetic towards Aspies? I think when we find the right fit of a job for him, he will be much happier. Somewhere where he can see the rewards of his work, and where they respect and value him. When people respect and value him he excels tremendously. It’s so amazing. This is what I want for him always, but can’t seem to find something that pays decent. Any ideas on places like that?

  • Pax Humana

    Hey, Bud, is there a way that I can get this kind of help without going through meditation and New Age channels? You see, I am one of those rare Christian Asperger’s Syndrome/Disorder people and due to the rules of which I must follow, I can not open myself up to demonic practices such as meditation. Is there something similar that can accomplish the same results? Also, have you ever made stupid decisions and only was aware of them after the fact and/or when someone pointed them out to you? I am tired of doing these things in my life. I know that part of my brain agrees with people saying that I should quit doing them, but another part of my brain just wants to completely not care and to do it anyway and that part of my brain is getting dangerous. I also suspect that I might be having early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, as I saw numerous pages that were regarding that sort of thing and I could easily tick off eight out of the ten major criteria on whether or not that someone has Alzheimer’s Disease. I need to learn how to quit doing that from someone that has what I have in my life, so any advice that you can give would be welcome. I want to quit driving myself to a point of insanity with making stupid decisions over and over again and expecting different results in my life. I am smart, but I need to prove that I am smart and after being misdiagnosed as a child, I suspect that a forced prescription of Ritalin, and a later one of Cylert, have irreversibly damaged my mind as an adult. I need to learn to think before I act, let alone to think correctly and to act correctly in my life. It is bad enough to have Asperger’s Syndrome/Disorder as well as anxiety, depression, and borderline ADHD and paranoia issues, but to possibly have early onset Alzheimer’s Disease on top of that…I think that would be too much for my mind to handle…:*(

    • Cheryl

      I feel that Aspergers syndrome is just another money making label and stigma. Why dont we rather look at how people feel about having Labels put on them. I guess we should ALL be educated derelicts with academic arrogance. For your Information,,,We are ALL God’s children, We all bleed red, and ALL our graves will be the same size. What I personally am really fighting right now, is why a Native Indian can do 4 years in A College, and not come out with A BA degree, because we do NOT reach the same Government Standards, that the White Anglo Saxon people do. Believe me….RACISM is ALIVE and well and on that matter so are MONEY making Labels,,,and stigmas. The only part I liked about this article, is the suggestion of a life coach or consultant. Without labels someone would be out of a job. Who says we have to blend in ,in order to be social with others….My Bible tells me different. I am sorry, BUT I am NOT a people Pleaser. I am a child of God. and I am LOVED.

      • Pax Humana

        The so-called “native” people are just as bad as the so-called “white” or any other so-called kind of “people” that promote racism and you can thank Darwin and his ilk for what you have today. Also, the so-called “First Nations” enslaved and hated others, even within their own tribes, nations, and empires, LONG before people came her from the European, African, and Asian countries, but you will not hear that thanks to historical revisionism from the people in those communities as well as their allies, which are usually liberal and/or racist scum, Cheryl. However, with that being said, I agree with much of your other comments.

  • Dennis McGuire

    I just realized that my old friend has the Asperger’s Syndrome. I am wondering how to
    relate to him now. We are both over 75 so I don’t anticipate any personality
    changes or adaptations. For example, last night I was describing a novel I
    recently read. The main character, I said, would not listen to what anyone else
    had to say. “Just like someone I know,” he said, referring to me. I questioned
    him on this statement and played along with his game. To my questions of who
    that might be he said: “Someone who I talk to on the phone.” “Someone who lives
    in Quincy.” I suppose he regards this sort of exchange as witty. I can no longer take offense at his behaviors because I understand it is coming from the Asperger’s brain. I
    am no longer concerned with heightening his self-awareness about his behavioral
    style because he has never expressed any interest in this regard. But must I
    limit my conversation to ideas? He teaches philosophy. We were classmates in
    high school. I need some guidance in conversing with him. Regards, Dennis.

  • Jana

    Hi Bud. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences, perspective, knowledge, and positive outlook on the topic. I believe that my husband very likely is an Aspie. He definitely has the traits, which can be both positive and difficult too. We have discussed it and after looking up all the symptoms, he does believe he has it. When I bring the topic of formal diagnosis and assistance, however, I’m met with what appears to be indifference. He suffers socially very much. He doesn’t understand why people are offended when he is stating what he believes to be the truth. He has a lot of difficulty with another’s view and is usually focused on being ‘right’, and therefore highly argumentative and is also easily provoked. Underneath this is a warm, talented, good man with a humanitarian nature as well as a whiz with communications devices. I love him as my husband as well as a person. The difficulties are negatively impacting our marriage, however, as he has a difficult time controlling his temper, and an incredible amount of fear that I am trying to control him in some way. Most recently he became physical with me for the first time, shoving me and calling me a ‘bully’ because I wanted to help him change our daughter’s diaper. It is taking a toll on his friendships with others. It is causing him to be at risk of losing his job as they have written him up for his statements and have blocked him from any possibility of promotion (even though he is extremely good and devoted). I fear that in the future it will negatively impact his relationship with our daughter as well (she is two years old), and I do fear for her self-esteem. I try my best to be patient, and I am a highly empathetic person by nature, but I can only take so much. If I could help him I certainly would, and cannot. It is an extremely helpless feeling. Is there any way to explain to him what he can gain from receiving diagnosis and assistance? As the old saying goes, ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’. I know it is true, at the same time watching his world crumble and our marriage go down the tubes is excruciating. If you or anyone here has some advice I would like that very much.

  • Yale Landsberg

    We seek to make the Full Features Forever version of our TrueTyme patented displays of natural time FREELY available to as many as possible on the autism spectrum who agree that it is worth a good, serious try. Because, as you know, many on the autism spectrum tend to have sense of time and sense of timing challenges. And there are now many studies linking autism with large disruptions of the biological circadian clocks, which regulate our organ and cell processes and the expression of some 25% of our genes.

    This is the free trial version of what we are seeking to make available, with no charge for the Full Features Forever upgrade…
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.TrueTyme

    As our patented methods of displaying the passage of circadian sun time and also circalunar moon time might be of some help for some on tbe spectrum, do you have any suggestions for the best venues for us to offer our free versions of TT/FFF?

    Warmest regards, Yale and Jackie Landdberg, The Better Tymes Project

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