By THOMAS F. JOHNSON
I’ve dealt with Asperger’s syndrome for all my life, unable to find a proper medication until the end of high school.
For years, I struggled with fits. I still have problems interacting with others on a daily basis.
The educational help I received served only to keep me in school, not to deal with my disability-related issues.
Both “life skills” classes I was assigned to in high school eventually devolved into study periods — a testament to the incompetence of TUSD special education.
I woefully wonder if I am ever going to have a relationship or even a one-night stand. It’s hard enough for seemingly normal guys to get dates. My various blathering and rudeness-based infractions are as lady-repellent as Axe Body spray or truck nuts.
Beyond fearing that I’ll fail to achieve my dream job as a writer, I worry that I’ll find any job at all unless I sell my orifices to strangers to buy food.
I’ve never had a paying job, and am afraid my behavioral problems may get me fired from any work I do obtain.
That possibility is hammered into me repeatedly by my stepmother over the basic social and cleanliness-related faux pas I commit at home on a nigh hourly basis.
The fear is even more warranted since I was kicked out of my volunteer position with the Humane Society for requiring “too much supervision.” I’ve come close to alienating another organization, too, which I will not name because I don’t want to create drama.
It winds me like a watch when other people, both in and out of the autism spectrum, say that Asperger’s syndrome is a gift. There is a phrase for empathizing with a tormentor like this. It happens to be known as Stockholm syndrome.
It’s true that I’m more high-functioning than some autistics. Those souls are the only ones free to call me a lucky schmuck.
Science has proven that autistic individuals are just as intelligent as most people, but can’t vocalize their thoughts. They are forced into insane, repetitive behavioral patterns because of their disability.
Are these mental shackles a gift?
This is why I find the concept of neurodiversity laughable. Only people without disabilities formulate hippy-dippy ideas such as keeping the genes that cause children to be born with stunted flipper-limbs in the gene pool to preserve diversity.
All forms of autism sap a person’s self-identity like a tick.
I have no idea about how much of me is truly me and how much is the disorder talking. Feeling that my free will isn’t truly free is the most existentially terrifying aspect of my life.
I try, God knows I try, but I feel a crippling doubt when I fail. Am I really the master of my own fate, or am I a puppet of neurological cross-wiring?
If there ever is a cure developed for Asperger’s, I’d be afraid to take it. I simply don’t know what would remain after the disease is stripped away.
It might take my one notable skill (writing) away, leaving only a pink, quivering lump of worthlessness on the ground, my true self naked to the world.
But, despite all my griping, things have gotten better. My chances of accomplishing my dreams have gone from impossible to merely infinitesimal, and I do try to improve every day.
All I ask is that you try to understand my problem. It’s not something invented by the Internet as a cheap ploy to get sympathy, nor can it be instantly wiped away in an ‘80s-style movie montage.
I don’t need your pity, just your help.