Sunday, July 1, 2012

Only Different

“I was thirty years old and had been married five years when I learned that I have Aspergers syndrome… Receiving such a diagnosis as an adult might seem shocking and unsettling. It wasn’t. Eye-opening, yes. Life-changing, yes. But not distressing in the least. Strangely, it was rather empowering to discover that I had this particular condition. In fact, the diagnosis ultimately changed my life for the better.”

The Journal of Best Practices David Finch – Simon & Schuster, Inc 2012
The book opens with Dave going through a self-help quiz with his wife. He says, “I found the questions rather amusing until we came to a section so personally reveling that it pulled the air from my lungs and made me forget how to blink.”
He ends up scoring 155 out of 200. He then asked his wife, “who is perhaps the most un-Asperger’s person” that he knew to take the same test. She scored 8.
Dave continues with his initial reaction after the test.
“I was not upset. I was not conflicted. The knowledge felt amazing. It was cathartic. And it made perfect sense. Of course! Here were answers, handed to me so easily, to almost every difficult question I’d had since childhood: Why is it so hard for me to engage with people? Why do I seem to perceive and process things so differently from everyone else? Why do the sounds and phrases that play in a continuous loop in my head seem louder and command more attention than the actual world around me? In other words, why am I different?”
For my husband, as is for many people with Aspergers, it can be a struggle to accept the diagnosis – self-administered or diagnosed by a medical professional. There are times his family members try to convince him he doesn’t have Aspergers, even though not one of them is a medical doctor, and even though he has been diagnosed by four doctors totally independent from each other. Even though the medications he takes daily help him function throughout his day. Even though he fits right in with his Aspie group that meets on a regular basis.
I was never looking for a cookie-cutter mate. Yes, there are challenges in communication and social aspects of our life. But I am thankful that Steve is my spouse. I sincerely hope that his family will lay off of him. It doesn’t help his depression that he struggles with. He is what he is. Different.
And that is just fine with me!

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