Monday, July 21, 2008

Self Diagnosis

In my two undergraduate psychology courses, I was warned against "self-diagnosis," and that included making guesses as to what may be "wrong" with various friends and family members. For the most part, I headed this advice, at least in the presence of my instructors.

After reading, Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison, I am more convinced than ever that through my father's bloodline runs the tendency to be a bit on the Aspergian side of the autism spectrum.

According to both John Elder Robison and WebMD, Asperger's Syndrome often shows symptoms including:
  • Not pick up on social cues and lack inborn social skills

  • Dislike any changes in routines.

  • Avoid eye contact.

  • Talk a lot, usually about a favorite subject. One-sided conversations are common. Internal thoughts are often verbalized.

  • The most interesting, and perhaps oddest, symptom that I discovered while reading the book, is that Aspergians tend to like small spaces and also like to sleep with something heavy on top of them - this can include pillows or blankets or even another human being. While I can certainly relate to the lack of eye contact, the tendency to get caught up in talking about my own favorite topics, it's the blankets and the need for warmth and weight on top of me that stands out most. It's also the one that affects someone else (that would be WG). I can't explain why I like to have heavy covers on top of me...I just do, and I'm beginning to understand a bit more that there may not be an actual reason.

    As a kid, I tucked myself away in corners. In fact, as a teenager, when I had the opportunity to rearrange my furniture, I created corners and small, snug places, that I then packed with pillows. I would also hide away in my closet. In fact, I still tend to have dreams about crawling into the closet with a book and just escaping for a few hours.

    WG is a social creature. He flourishes when surrounded by people. I shrink. My technique for dealing with this is to take frequent bathroom breaks. I can go and be in a room, alone, breath, and reconnect with the world. Overstimuation, crowded places and too many things happening at once tend to make me go "Vegas," or, as I am beginning to see, make me go just a bit autistic.

    There are more things that are present in both my life and that of my father, but I think the blankets and the blank stares are enough for now.

    It's time to go spend a nice, quiet, commute in the small, safe world that is my Honda Civic.

    1 comment:

    Sith Esq. said...

    Bonnie thinks I have Asperger tendencies as well. That was what Dustin Hoffman's character had in the movie Rainman.