My name is Gary and I am a new member as of today. My wife and I have been married for over 20 years now (second time around for both of us) and it is because of her that I am here.
My eldest daughter has been diagnosed with Aspergers as was her former husband. She is now divorced from him because of his unreasonable behaviour due to Aspergers.
I am 64 years of age and have known for several years, probably since a teenager, that something was 'not quite right' with me. I had no clue what it was and it did get me into a lot of difficulties as a teenager but of course, back then, not many people understood what Autism was let alone HF Autism like Aspergers. So I have lived most of my life not understanding some of my odd behaviour and the 'melt downs' that I suffered over the years, as I described it as like someone 'throwing a switch' and, when it was all over, not knowing why I had 'blown my top' over something so trivial.
My wife's persistence in trying to find out what was going on, seeking medical intervention by my GP, the MentalHealth Crisi team and some psychiatric analysis, failed to identify my issue despite suggestions I had Bi Polar and concluding I was suffering from complex PTSD! However a chance viewing of a video on you tube led her to look into the whole aspect of Aspergers, which for her seemed to tick all the boxes that explained my behaviour. I am exceptionally grateful that she has 'stuck it out' as I have no doubt that a lesser woman would have given up on me years ago and chosen a different route without me.
As of today, having spoken to my eldest daughter and asking her bluntly if she thought I had Aspergers, I was shocked by the response of 'yes dad, you have had it for years!' When I think back to how I behaved towards my kids at times, I broke down in tears. It has been very difficult coming to terms with how my behaviour has affected my children and my first marriage.
Ok, so I haven't had a professional diagnosis but having watched the same you tube videos as my spouse, read some of the 'signs and symptoms' of Aspergers, I have to conclude that indeed it is my issue.
I am here to learn much more about this misunderstood condition and to try and find strategies to alleviate, as far as possible, those behaviours that have damaged my relationships. My wife has been an absolute rock and my eldest daughter, because of her diagnosis, understands what I am going through right now in trying to rationalise what has happened over the years.
Thanks for listening.
Well met, Gary, you're not alone.
My youngest son, as a toddler, didn't like me for a period of two to three months. Then the trust came back. It's heartbreaking. I probably did something wrong, looked wrong, stared wrongly... Luckily it came back. He's 13, so all weird behaviour is consided 'that age'...
My daughter told me it's obvious that it takes me a lot more time to react to emotional news than your average human being. She told me it's obvious that I care, but in the moment, it's weird for everybody around... like I'm on another planet for a while, and only seconds later come back...
Weird how everybody knows and still it takes so much courage to tell the person...
Strange also that lots of people only go for a diagnosis after their 40's... I have this theory that in your 40's you run out of excuses... Until then you have the 'it's stress from the career, it's stress from the mortage, it's stress from the young children, ...
...or the local mental health team have finally got sick of seeing you as a "repeat customer" for decades. That's how it happened for me - I never could get my life together enough to experience stress from career, mortgage, marriage, children etc. as I never had those things.
Friends and family were always well aware of how much I struggled with the "normal" expectations of the world around me. I don't suppose I'll ever know what explanations they had for this, but nobody ever suggested autism, even though I have both a family member and a friend who have worked as support workers with autistic children and adolescents. It's one of the many downsides of learning to "pass" so well, I suppose - many of us have made a rod for our own back that way, I suspect.