reply to post by Cito
Asperger's is part of the autistic spectrum. In fact, the term is being phased out entirely with the newest version of the DSM, and will now simply
fall under the "autistic spectrum disorder" umbrella. Because autism is truly a spectrum encompassing many variables and facets, one can be at one
point in the spectrum and experience symptoms mild enough that they are considered "high functioning." That is also what Asperger's is often termed.
"A high functioning form of autism." Although, even that isn't really accurate as plenty of people who can be said to have Asperger's aren't
necessarily that high functioning. That's one of the reasons I actually happen to agree with the new classification.
What you describe - tailoring your thoughts and actions, being cognizant of thought patterns and behaviors and changing them - is essentially the
basis for CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy.) You've basically described it in a nutshell. For many with Asperger's (and other conditions) this has
proven quite effective in helping to alleviate symptoms and facilitate the leading of a more "normal" life. I can't say whether you have Asperger's or
fall somewhere on the autistic spectrum or not. (There are a variety of disorders and conditions that could be said to produce mood swings and
antisocial behavior. There are very specific diagnostic criteria for determining these things, and more goes into those determinations than just a
couple of outward behaviors.) But I can say that if
you do, then you're someone who responded to that, or happened upon it for yourself. Which
is great and something I think everyone capable of doing so should.
But to assume that because that worked for you, the condition either doesn't exist, or can be treated similarly in every
instance, is not
reflective of the reality many who struggle with more severe points on the spectrum live with in their daily lives. Self-awareness and effort are
important for everyone - even "normal" individuals - but that isn't always sufficient. I'm going to be 32 years old shortly. I have struggled with
this throughout my life. I can assure you that I don't wish for society to adapt to or conform to my issues. But I can also assure you that intensive
efforts in the vein of what you describe, as well as many other approaches, have not enabled me to overcome the worst manifestations of my equivalent
of this disorder, which for me are all anxiety-related. (Stimuli overload leading to anxiety, social and otherwise.)
It is not simply a matter of changing the way I think or the way I behave. I have invested much of my life in the pursuit of precisely that and can
assure you that it has not worked, and not for lack of effort. At the end of the day, this is who I am. I do not expect special treatment or for the
world around me to conform to my issues. But I do wish for compassion and tolerance. I have never been violent. I have never sought to harm anyone or
anything. I have no criminal or misdemeanor record. I am a pacifist and someone who loves people and wants to help everyone he can. My brain simply
does not process stimuli - including social stimuli and cues - the way others' do. This is something that can be mitigated to varying degrees
from person to person through various techniques and approaches both professional and personal, but to what degree depends upon the individual and the
severity of his or her condition. Not everyone will achieve the same level of functionality regardless of effort or attitude, and that is the
unfortunate reality of the matter.
Now, none of this is to say that one absolutely must agree with this terminology. As I said earlier in the topic, I'm all for not labeling it at all.
I'm all for taking issue with the psychiatric community's need to quantify and categorize everything and everyone. In fact, as a so-called Aspie I
sort of naturally chafe under such parameters, ironic though that sentence may be. But whatever one wishes to call it - and even if one wishes to
define it simply as "who I am as a human being," it - whatever it is - is real, and for many, a truly debilitating challenge.
I have never succeeded in holding a job. I live with one of my parents. I have not gotten disability because I want to try to do something, even if
it's only web work or getting a book published before resorting to placing my burden on society (i.e. your tax dollars.)
It has nothing to do with political correctness, at least in my case and the cases of those whom I know in my personal life. It has everything to do
with a basic struggle for some reasonable quality of life, the achievement of which will differ from person to person.
edit on 4/8/2013 by AceWombat04 because: Clarification re: terminology