The subject of depression has been in the news of late due to the recent demise of a well know celebrity. I have long known that depression is a common condition that runs tandem with Aspergers Syndrome.
Last year Nomi Kaim addressed this issue in her article Asperger's and Depression: Inside a Common Paradox
My Aspergian hubby has always struggled with depression he says. He is rather quiet by nature so it can be difficult for me to tell if his mind is miles away or if he is depressed. The very nature of his syndrome often drives him to 'aloneness', but should I respect that or should I press him to find out his mood or feelings? If I ask him about those, will he even recognize what they are?
It's such a fine line we, who love an Aspie, must balance at times.
My nature is to be very verbal. I know that I can drive people crazy. I think that my parents were able to 'deal' with my verbosity due to the era that I was raised in.
In the 1950s and 1960s, we kids were shoo'd out the door after breakfast to either school or play at large in our neighborhoods. We were fed lunch on the back porch at noon sharp. Since none of us owned watches, little alone cellphones as kids have nowadays, I can only assume our stomachs were well tuned timers that let us know that it was meal time.
After school we went straight home to change. Regardless of school or summer, we were expected to be home and washed up for supper before our fathers arrived. Once our plates were clean, out the door we'd go to play until dark. Children were to be seen, not heard.
Steve's moods definitely swing from sullen to gloomy to glum and back. Over twenty-one years I've had difficulty in seeing any major changes from medicated to unmedicated states. He rarely discusses feelings. That tends to be a guy thing, I believe.
However, I know that it often drives me to distraction to have to explain so many things my Hubster. It's very similar to being followed around all day long by a three year old. There are so many times I'd love to just say, "Zip it!".
"Why do we have to put towels in a separate wash from all the other clothes and linens?" mutters Steve as he empties his dirty clothes basket into my sorting baskets in our laundryroom.
"Because towels pill up and leave nasty lint balls on our clothes and sheets that feel lumpy and scratchy to you," I respond automatically, exactly as I have for the last one thousand one hundred and fourteen weeks since we married.
"But why do they do that?" my spouse inquires.
"Gosh Steve, I don't exactly know. Maybe you can look it up on the internet, then tell me!" I mumble through clenched teeth. Repetitive questioning can have that effect on me. My answer to him has been the same week in and week out over all these years.
What I tend to forget is my Apsie mate can often dwell on questions such as these that turn into irrational (to me) fears that will keep him awake at night, and absorbed him with worry during daylight hours to the point he can't concentrate at work.
What is so upsetting to him? The concern that he might forget this 'rule' and accidentally put a washcloth or hand towel into the regular clothes that I might miss while loading the washing machine, thus ruining his 'employment' clothing that he might wear to a big presentation at work that would cause him discomfort or distraction to the point that he would mess up the meeting and get fired.
None of those thoughts would have ever crossed my mine. In fact, even after earthshakingly dreadful events in my life, I have always slept well. I'm not a worrier.
Living with Aspergers has caused me to slow down; to be on the lookout for different dimensional rational and thought processes from Steve. Part of being in our relationship is to try to be the strength to balance any of his weaknesses. We've been made into, I believe, two parts of a whole. One single being melded together from two separate entities that has ebbs and flows, highs and lows, metes and balances.
I just have to remember to be extra patient and sensitive to my spouse's countenance.
Or lack there of.