Monday, 26 August 2013

Let's start at the very beginning

In October 2011, after thirty-nine years of not feeling quite normal, I began to realise I might have Asperger's Syndrome.

Sometimes I feel normal. When I am at home in my comfort zone, with my children, I feel normal and happy.

But I hate social situations, dislike women, and I can only relate to men sexually. I used to work with a group of men, Most of them hated me for being clever and the ones that didn't, I flirted with. I don't understand people who don't say things that are not true, and not being believed frustrates me beyond all measure.

What brought me to this conclusion began this way: One night my husband and I had a massive huge argument. He had mistaken my reaction to something he had said and thought I was "being funny" with him, when in fact I wasn't. I tried to persuade him, but he refused to accept it, and his refusal to accept the truth sent me flying into a huge rage with him. I threw things at him and insulted him and screamed at him to get out and swore at him.

The second he left the room I calmed down instantly. Instantly. Because he had finally done what I wanted - left me on my own.

But I realised that this behaviour was not normal. I began looking online for some kind of anger management techniques to help me deal with my outbursts.

When I was younger I used to fly into rages. Once, when I was in my early 20s, I was working with a bunch of people who thought it was hugely funny to play practical jokes on people. This guy one time emptied a fire extinguisher all over me, while his friends dashed outside and held the door shut so I couldn't escape. When it was empty, he dropped it and laughed at me. I was so furious, I picked it up and threw it at his head with all my strength. He turned to avoid it, and it hit his back instead of his head, cracking three ribs.

Another time I almost threw a hammer at a boyfriend because he had offered to help me with something. Luckily, at the last second, something in my brain kicked in and said "YOU CANNOT THROW HAMMERS AT PEOPLE!" and I ended up throwing it at the floor instead.

The hammer incident scared me so much that I decided from that point on to seriously try to control my temper. Mostly I did. I learned breathing techniques, and took herbal remedies to stay calm.

I met my husband in November 2008 at the age of 36. We got engaged the following September, and I moved in with him in June 2010, a month before the wedding. I had never lived with anyone before, apart from my children, and it was interesting to say the least. I found it very difficult and I found myself losing my temper with him a lot.

So, in looking into anger management, I found a page which listed causes of anger outbursts. One of these was Asperger's Syndrome. I had heard of it, but all I knew about it was the character of Karla Bentham in Waterloo Road, who had frequent meltdowns. I had watched it, but not identified with her in the slightest. However, the more I read about this Asperger's Syndrome, the more I felt "This is me!" I found a link to an Aspie test, which said:

Your Aspie score: 148 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 58 of 200
You are very likely an Aspie

I went downstairs and we had a very calm talk and I told him what I suspected. He said that if that was really what I thought I should go to my GP and get a proper diagnosis.

It affects us mostly when we argue - I have frequently told my husband that I don't know "the script" - The things I say are "wrong" somehow and I don't know what it is I am SUPPOSED to say so I lapse into confused silence, which annoys him even more.

It also affects my parenting. I have two girls, aged 12 and 5. I love my children deeply but my older daughter sometimes complains that I don't show her any sympathy when she is hurt or upset. It isn't that I don't feel sympathy and feel bad for her, I just don't know what to say. And that makes me feel bad because I am making her feel bad.

The thought of having AS was scary - I didn't want to have a mental illness, but it was almost a relief at the same time - that there was a reason I am the way I am - I'm not just a callous bitch with no friends.

Let's Start At the Very Beginning (Do Re Mi) - Julie Andrews

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