View Full Version : Where Have I Been All My Life? Sex, Drugs and Asperger Syndrome


tambourine-man
07-28-11, 09:10 PM
Where Have I Been All My Life?
Sex, Drugs and Asperger Syndrome
By John Scott Holman
Her eyes were blank, as if little pink erasers had quickly rubbed out their sparkle. I understood this empty gaze. When taking a moment to sort something out, many people wear a fixed, ambiguous smile. Kat, however, was thoroughly unpretentious; if the eyes are the shop windows to the soul, Kat’s had little “Back After Lunch” signs hanging in them.
The sparkle returned and Kat began laughing.
Now I was puzzled. I had only asked a simple question, “Kat, did you want to fool around tonight, ’cause my Adderall will be wearing off soon and I can’t concentrate when I’m not properly medicated?” Was that such an unreasonable thing to ask?
“Have you ever been diagnosed with Aspergers?” she said, her voice broken by a final giggle.
“Huh? You ask that rather casually.”
“That’s the pot calling the kettle black. Don’t you find it a little odd that you can recite every line of Cabaret or list all currently marketed benzodiazepines in alphabetical order?”
I stared at her stupidly. Back after lunch, I thought.
“You tried to get into the wrong car three times today…” she continued. “You can barely remember your own address.”
I was still perplexed but now I was also intrigued. I pulled out my copy of the DSM-IV and flipped to the pages on Asperger Syndrome. I began reading aloud…
By the third paragraph I was stumbling over my words. Then I was sobbing, overwhelmed by emotions I never thought I could experience. It was the most revelatory moment of my entire life.
I always thought I was an unfortunate mistake of nature, missing certain basic human characteristics and seemingly endowed with other superhuman gifts.
To have AS is to feel as if you roam the world in an antique diving suit, cut off from everyone. Though something of what others say can be interpreted, their words are muffled by a devastatingly beautiful, frightening and complex symphony. This has been the source of both my lifelong joy and solitary despair, for as much as I would like to share this music, it seems no one else can hear it.
Growing up I struggled with baffling sensory issues, social victimization and deep-seated feelings of failure and shame. Obsessions ruled my life and I spent countless solitary hours amassing information about any subject that had caught my attention. I was both mockingly and endearingly referred to as a walking dictionary.
I enjoyed the company of my parent’s friends who found my precocious antics amusing. At the tender age of two I appeared unexpectedly during a post-bedtime social gathering with the tail of a stuffed monkey dangling between my legs. I cleared my throat and declared, “Everyone, look at my wonderfully long penis!” My performance was well-received by all in attendance.
Peer interaction, however, was far more difficult. Making friends did not come easily. By puberty I confused and frustrated everyone I encountered - parents, teachers, pastors, employers… I was a colossal failure.
In high school I discovered recreational drugs. One little puff of a joint instantly provided me with a popular group of peers and an excuse for my bizarre behavior. Best of all, I’d found a juicy new obsession. Due to the nature of addiction, others actually shared this obsession.
This was the beginning of an outrageous journey of self-destruction.
I fully believed that I was a monster capable only of hurting others. I resolved to act according to this belief, channeling years of self-loathing into increasingly dangerous behavior.
Psychiatrists insisted that I was bipolar and the various sedatives and anti-psychotics they prescribed only exacerbated my symptoms.
After numerous nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts and legal problems I finally gave up on drugs… or rather I lost interest and moved on. Though I was quite proud of my newfound sobriety, something was still amiss.
I was still an eccentric, obsessive little space-cadet. I still fled the room when someone flipped on a vacuum cleaner. I still could not hold a job.
After a year of sobriety and one humorously blunt sexual proposition, I finally uncovered the secret of my existence. Thanks to a brilliant girl named Kat, the relatively short half-life of Adderall IR and my overactive libido… all the puzzle pieces came flying together.
Now that I have been officially diagnosed, I write this hoping to spread awareness of AS. According to Connie Erbert, Director of CARE and Autism Outreach, "Increasing awareness regarding Asperger Syndrome, paired with early diagnosis and intervention translates into… hope for those diagnosed; hope for increased success in school, both academically and socially; hope for better opportunities within their community to successfully work at their preferred job with accommodations if needed; most importantly, hope for a fulfilling life surrounded by those who accept without judgment, challenge lovingly, and support unconditionally."
I fully believe this “disorder” to be an incredible gift and hope to help others view it as such.
Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Good lookin’ out Seuss! You’re the only doctor that ever caught on.