For a week or so now I have been aware that I'm avoiding writing a blog, I'm avoiding tweeting, and I am avoiding thinking about or addressing "the Aspie Question".
And the reason for it is pretty simple, and pretty sad, really. I don't want to acknowledge that I am Aspie.
There are some days where the knowledge of AS and how it relates to me is a real comfort, as it means there is something that explains the often inexplicable in my life: the odd choices, the strange habits, the behaviour that even I have never been able to justify.
But then there are the other days, where I realise how different I am, how little I understand the people around me, how often I am excluded from conversations in a passive fashion, just because I can't read the body language of others, and I don't react as they understand. Sometimes I look at it, and think that this is too much of a burden to bear, that if I stop acknowledging it I can continue on with my life as I understood it before someone suggested I might be Aspie.
However, today has stopped me in my tracks because of two incidents, each of which is powerful in their own right and together brought me to tears.
At my work, one of my colleagues has M.S.. I am her line manager, but she is one of the only people who I have told about my AS issues, because I feel she understands what it is to be different but look the same, and I really value her opinion and just to have someone to listen to me who can get it. To be honest I see her more as a friend than a colleague. A couple of days ago she had a M.S. relapse, and as a result has permanently lost some feeling in her hand, her arm and her leg, and some bladder control. She told me this, and I was truly sad about it.
Today, I was spoken to by my boss, who told me that my colleague with M.S. doesn't feel she can talk to me as I gave very little reaction to her news to me about her relapse and her lack of feeling in her hand. I was appalled! I am really sad for her and sometime give her lifts into work to try to make things easier for her, and am genuinely concerned for her well-being but to hear her view, apparently all I did was stop typing for a few seconds when she told me, then started typing again.
When I told my wife about this, she said that's normal for me. the bigger the news, the more emotional, the less likely I am to react to it. I simply sit still and absorb the information. I wasn't really aware of this, but I thought back and realised that she's right. Petty things can get me very animated. Big things stop me dead.
But following on from this, wife said to me that it often appears that I take things too well, and I joked about when our eldest was born by c-section. I was at work and the hospital called me to tell me that I didn't have to worry and that the baby would come today, I just said "OK, call me if the plan changes" at which point the person on the phone said "ah. no. you're maybe being a little too laid back. you need to come to the hospital now!" Wife didn't laugh though. she pointed out that she had thought about that recently, in the light of AS, and realised that this was typical of my reaction. someone said not to worry, so I didn't, but it hadn't even occurred to me that she might feel lonely, or in need of company, sitting lone in a delivery ward awaiting an emergency c-section, which is major surgery when you come right down to it.
And so I sat there, at the dinner table, considering that moment of 5 years ago, realising that not once had I considered how lonely and scared she might have been; how worried for our baby's health. I don't know what I did think, I really don't. but sitting at the table, for the first time, I became tearful thinking about how hard it must be on wife. 2 AS children and an AS husband who is now undertaking a journey of self discovery. How hard is it on her to hold all this together. how often her needs get put last. how often her desires get overlooked.
And while I deny my Aspie nature I will never change, and I will always be that self-absorbed. So, my task tonight is threefold:
1 - Read theories on Aspergers and dealing with it by experts, and find things that work for me
2 - Write my blog and remember why I started doing it in the first place as a self-therapy
3 - Acknowledge, and never forget.
Some days its hard, and some days its ok, but its an ever present fact that I need to face
I am Aspie