“Aliens Among Us” is our Asperger Syndrome/Autism blog. We are not experts. We just want to share our experiences, thoughts and research in the hope that somebody might relate, find it useful, or be able to teach us a thing or two.
We (David and Craig) were high school friends growing up in small town Australia. David received an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis in his late 40s. Craig is undiagnosed/self diagnosed but pretty darn certain. Now we are on this journey to understand ourselves in a new way.
Please allow us to introduce ourselves.
[ David’s Introduction / Craig’s Introduction]
I always knew that I was different.
When I was a little kid, the other kids would be off playing, while I was talking to the adults about future technological changes and the impact on society. Not your normal 7 year old kid.
As I got older, the differences became more pronounced. Sunlight hurt my eyes. Certain sounds would bother me. Around the age 10, when the boys were chasing the girls, I was try to work out how to get jet engines to deliver vectored thrust for vertical take-off.
At high school, during lunch, I would bounce from group to group. Never part of any groups, tolerated, but not accepted. Towards the end of high school, I had given up on any of the mainstream groups and fallen in with the misfits. I was madly in love with a girl, but couldn’t work out how to date her.
I wondered why I didn’t fit in. I wondered why everyone seemed to think differently. Why rules were important to me, but then everyone else could break those same rules with no consequence. If I broke them, there would be derision and scorn. I started to wonder if I was an alien. If I wasn’t a human being.
The older I got, the more I wondered if this was true. I live in a world, where it is like the world is wrong. Like the sky is pink and the grass is blue. But everyone else sees blue and green. This world, this society, it is jarring to me, all wrong colours and discordant noises.
And I can’t be myself. If I am, I’m picked on or bullied. I’m ridiculed and scorned. So I pretend. I pretend to be one or the “normals”. But it is hard. It is exhausting constantly pretending. Constantly not saying what I really think. Constantly trying to consider the emotional content of what others say, or what they will hear in what I say. Even though there is no emotional content in what I say. I talk in truths. I talk in facts. Normal people don’t like that.
I’m constantly trying to not do what I like to do. Tapping my leg, twisting from side to side, humming, singing, talking to myself. If I do, people look at me like I’m not right. Like I’m not normal.
One day I finally discovered the truth about me. I’m not normal like them. I’m an alien amongst them. I’m Aspie.
And these are some of the things that my friends and I have discovered on our journeys.
I was an amateur psychologist back in the day. I knew I didn’t think like everybody else. Certainly, I couldn’t behave like everybody else; years of baffling conflicts with authorities and ridicule from peers taught me that. So, I read psychology, psychiatry, science, math, logic, philosophy, history, poetry, literature, even religion, in pursuit of who I was, why I was different, and what I was doing on a spinning blue ball with seven billion other sentient souls.
I was the Outsider’s Outsider. The Misfit’s Misfit. The kid the other weird kids thought was weird. Standing Outside the Circle/Staring at a Point in Space. Not for lack of trying, I didn’t find an answer or my place.
Skip forward a couple decades. Through the magic of the Internet, I’m in touch again with David, a high school friend. The Pacific Ocean now divides us, but something connects still. He’s researching Asperger Syndrome. I’m on a TV show, The Good Doctor, about a surgical resident with High Functioning Autism. We both go deep on ASD. We find it tells our story, and we can tell each other’s. Things I’ve never told anyone, that sounded too crazy; but he doesn’t say, “What’s wrong with you?” He says, “Yeah, me too”.
That starts a journey; a few years of discovery now. Research. Consideration. This seems like a good time to share, to give it form, and set it free. Maybe someone can get something out of it? Maybe there’s something they can give back to me?
So, this is our experience. It might be yours, or it might not be. But it’s offered in spirit and fellowship. Traveling together on the spinning blue ball, let’s see who we are and what we can be. Maybe find what makes us different. Maybe find a way to be free.