By: Tracy W. Taylor
I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, and I would like to open my world to you of how I’ve functioned in this world, and that the mystery has finally been solved at last.
I have had this mystery that has not been solved for nearly 49 years. I have lived with it for most of my life. I do them and I wear them. And it’s been a part of me. It has been a mystery since a myriad of other issues have masked those symptoms that have been left unanswered for many years.
Some of those sensory, habits, and developmental changes in me has affected how I functioned in social situations. All those years, I have been asking questions as to why I act in certain way or how I interact in this complex world.
Well, I’m going to tell you about myself in a way that you can understand.
I was born in 1965, blind in both eyes till I regained sight about eight months later. So there is the hand-eye coordination issues that’s been masked. And I am deaf from birth also, and further complicates matters. Yes, it all started with Rubella Syndrome. I have written the blog entries concerning this condition.
The first sign that an Asperger’s Syndrome has begun was the strong aversion to anything fuzzy, furry or anything grass-like. I did react badly those tactile sensation. It all began when I was merely an infant to toddler age. I would not touch anything that are fur-like or grass-like because in my perception, they felt like sharp knives, or needles.
So I have lived in the world with little or no one to play with at a young age. I have difficulties in how to interact with children my age. Also during all those times when I was 1 to 6 years old, I used to ride the hobby-horse, it’s a child’s toy shaped like a horse. I’ve ridden it for hours on end without stopping. Back and forth, back and forth. It was the motion that I’ve craved. It was very comforting. Yes, I have worn the hobby-horse out till its spring broke. I have kept doing this for so long that I did not realize that I was wearing it out till it broke. So I moved on to different ways of comforting myself with repititious behaviors. I have also ridden my aunt’s motorized exercise-bike since it provided the motion that calmed me.
I have also worn out 2 swing sets over the years. I used to swing for many hours on end, without stopping. I have kept swinging and swinging. So I didn’t stop swing even well into my adult life. I still miss swinging. I have also look for anything that resembles the swinging motion like the swing-chairs or benches so that I could and still can get that comfort of swinging motion.
Then, there is walking in circles. My mother calls this “Turning-Circles”. I am still doing this ever since I started this in early childhood. I have not stopped this. It was something that helped me to think and to comfort myself. I needed that vertical turning motion.
Whenever I swim before I’ve learned to swim; I’ve used a floatation device in the form of the rings so that provided the twirling motion for me for hours on end. Of course; I’ve had rashes in my armpits as a result of my first use of it.
So I still rock myself ever since my childhood. Again, it’s that rocking motion that comforted me. I’m doing it as I am writing this article. Yes, all those habits and behaviors, I do them for many minutes to many hours on end without stopping.
Then, there is that strong fixation to bright lights. Yes, I’ve stared into flashlights for a hours or till the batteries run down. I’ve also stared at bright lights in whatever rooms that I was in.
Anyway; I’ve explained some of my world, but that’s not all. I am still in the world that I feel separated from the “social norm”. Even with my severe vision and hearing impairments; I still struggle with learning language skills and the hand-eye coordination. There are times I that I have wanted to say something, but I often got frustrated when they misunderstood me. With my hearing impairment that have complicated my growth in language skills further; I struggled. Even when I received my hearing aids; some of those struggles seems to alleviate. With my vision impairment; I rarely make eye-contact with anyone and even if I did, it’s disconcerting to me because I feel uncomfortable and exposed. As a school-age and teen-age years passed on; it was not an easy road for me because of lack of knowledge of Asperger’s Syndrome, and the fact that I’ve had to deal with bullying. I have often done many things by myself. I’ve preferred to be alone. Hence why I didn’t have many friends. There are times that I felt isolated because of how I am and what I lived with. I didn’t start catching up with my peers academically till after I’ve turned 10 years old. No, it was not just because I was hearing and visually impaired, but I also have Asperger’s Syndrome, the mystery condition that went undiagnosed for many, many years.
Well, there goes my intense interest in science-fiction that I’ve written about. That was my main interest most of my life and I have not deviated from that. My interest or fixation on science fiction especially Star Trek dated from when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I have read and written about anything to do with science fiction, and I collect anything to do with such hobby also. So yes, I breathe science-fiction. That was my fixation. Even certain science-fiction and Star Trek characters have become my fixation (some would call it “obsession”). It is any wonder that I did have many friends who would relate to me in the same interest?
Yes, I have been somewhat socially inept, but I did not show it. I didn’t do well in some conversation because I have difficulties relating to people. I knew that I was fairly intelligent, but I just don’t get the proper education that are tailored to my needs rather than being pushed to catch-up with my peers. I would have functioned better that way rather than tossing me into the world that was so alien to me. For me: I had to know what is going on before I make any decisions. I know that Asperger’s Syndrome was one of the newest spectrum that has been discovered, and I was one of the many thousands or more adults with the same dilemma that I have.
And all those noises? Ah! Since I have hearing aids, I was able to lower the volumes in order to cut down on those uncomfortable background noises. Yes, there were times I literally had to shut them off. I couldn’t stand a lot of loud noise. Those rubber balloons? I’d get startled when they pop. So it still bothers me.
And many times, I was often cold. Some rooms were too cold for me. Yes, I couldn’t stand any cold climates, which explains why I was often outside during warm or hot weather. In cold weather; I’d bundle up as much as possible in order to get to those swings.
Using the computer has opened the doors for me so that I can interact with the people while I was “anonymous”. I became fascinated by computers for years and was able to use one in 1997, and have used the device ever since. It was the way for me to open up to people without having to deal with eye-contacts and speaking properly.
I also had to deal with the various childhood traumas that I had to live with, which would have caused me to revert to my repetitive behaviors on end not being able to break out of their cycles. Swinging, turning-circles, and rocking. I was that close to shutting out the world. I was in emotional turmoil during that time, ranging from anger to indifference. And the feeling of being inadequate also complicated the matters further, which culminates towards depression.
I didn’t get the proper psychological treatment till 2008 when I became overwhelmed and had suicidal thoughts.
All this trouble I’ve gone through:
Rubella Syndrome – blind and deaf,
Strong aversion to anything fuzzy, furry or grass-like,
Fixation of bright lights,
Lack of friends or playmates,
Being startled or can’t stand loud noises,
Being socially inept,
Fixation on certain interest or things, “Science-fiction” or being something or someone that I am not,
Strong aversion to cold temperatures,
Bullying in school,
Child molestation, and
Depression, are what nearly had put an end to solving this mystery.
All that I’ve mentioned has piled up to the point when enough is enough, I was not properly diagnosed. I was going in circles asking the same questions about my symptoms and behaviors. No one had noticed this for years. Even my mother may have noticed some behaviors but she had not thought it would affect me that greatly.
So it has been a long time coming. I have not been able to find the right professional clinician to help me with this mystery till June of 2014. When I have spoken with her; divulging all that I have known about myself. She has decided to help find out why I have acted the way I was (and still am).
At last; All the puzzle pieces fell into place to where they belong. All the other conditions that I have masked these symptoms and it went undiagnosed till now. So no longer will I have to live with unanswered questions or the worries that the mystery would not be solved in time.
Now here I am, a happy individual writing this blog entry opening the doors to my inner world of how I’ve lived and struggled for many years.
Someone has asked me if I plan on writing an autobiography about how I have lived with Asperger’s and other myriad of conditions. My response was that it was undecided. I may or may do so. It really depends on how committed I would be in finding the information that I needed from various sources especially my family.
So I hope those of you out there are reading this and I can relate to this. I am glad that all my questions are finally answered, and now that I can understand myself better. Yes, I still do the things I do, but I will no longer be ashamed of them. Thank you for taking your time to read this.
Asperger’s Syndrome Links:
There are the links for information about this autism spectrum.
Asperger’s in Adults: