There comes a time when enough is enough. A time when one has to stand toe-to-toe with what’s what. A time when lifelong suspicions will no longer cut the mustard; when other people’s good natured, yet alarmingly consistent assertions, will lead you to the precipice of self-knowledge; the next step on your journey.
A journey that you have flirted with taking for years, but have never dared……
The next thing you know, you are sitting in a small room with a little lady whose name you can not pronounce. Hilariously the lights, that are on a motion sensor, for some reason keep going out? The little lady apologises profusely as she moves around the small room, waving her little arms above her head. For someone with a sense of humour, you do not see the funny side.
You sit staring into space with your heart pounding in your chest. You do that thing with your fingers that makes you feel a bit better. You are certain that if you have to wait just one minute longer, you will quite literally go insane. The little lady, now that the small room is bathed in a hideous fluorescent light, sits down and comments that you seem on edge. No shizzle Sherlock.
You can’t look at her. You mumble, wring your hands and exhale loudly.
She asks you what you are expecting? You speak, but the words don’t make any sense. You have no idea what you are saying. Your mind is racing. Your anxiety levels are stratospheric. This is worse than last time; and the last time her questions laid you bare. Revealed you. Made the tears roll down your face while your wife squeezed your hand in support. Two exhausting hours of naked honesty. But this, this is tougher. Much tougher. Not long now…..
She says that she has a definitive answer for you. The word definitive rings in your ears. You like definitive. There is no wiggle room in definitive.
And then the little lady, in the small room with the hideous light, tells you that you have Asperger Syndrome.
Your self-stimulating behaviours go into over drive. Your fingers rub and twist and flick, your foot taps, you exhale and you make some vocal noises. A bit like an owl hoot. Twit. She carries on talking but you are not listening.
You are distracted by the sound of the final piece of the jigsaw slotting into place. Suddenly the picture on the box becomes clear. It is beautiful in its simplicity. It takes your breath away. It’s the answer that has alluded you. The feeling that you have always felt. The otherness that necessitated a performance that opened to mediocre reviews over 40 years ago and finally, finally the curtain can come down.
Life is so hard, SO hard, because you are autistic. You have Apserger Syndrome son.
You are designed differently. You feel different because you are different. You find things so difficult because your brain is wired differently. You find things so easy because your brain is wired differently. You have done things for ever, not realising why, until you met the little lady sitting across from you now.
You have kept people at arms length with humour, without realising you were keeping them at arms length with humour. Somewhere inside, you knew that if you were busy cracking jokes and they were busy laughing, there would be no time to connect. You can’t connect. You don’t know how. If people talk to the real you, you have nothing to say. Nothing. Mind blind. Very few people have ever spoken to you.
You don’t understand things, so you avoid them. If it’s not concrete, absolute, clear; then you want to kick it in the knackers and run.
You have constructed such an elaborate array of coping mechanisms and have lived them for so long, that you don’t even know what some of them are any more.
You will reveal one or two of your coping mechanisms to the people that love you the most, and their eyes will fill with tears, and you will make a mental note to keep the rest of your coping mechanisms to yourself, so as not to upset them.
But you will be okay. Drama queen. Let’s not get too carried away m’kay? It’s a spectrum innit. Some good, some bad, some whatever. When all said and done, you’re still a nobhead. No-one can take that away from you. All you have ever wanted is the answer. To understand.
Imagine being designed and built with the intrinsic need for certainty, and knowing that you had a secret, but not knowing what your secret was. S’up with THAT.
Anhyoo – Time to rest. You have found your truth. At last, at last…..
You are home.
This, decidedly unfunny post, is dedicated to my wife Toni and my children Ike, Cooper and Axl, for it is they who truly understand life living with an Aspie.
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