I have no intention of adding another page in which some unimportant person has to tell the world about their feelings, so, this is not for the world, but for myself.
And since my life is not really filled with things worthwhile to be fixed in writing, I will try and write about my thoughts instead and hopefully, this will help me understand them and myself better over time. I have tried to do that with an old fashioned diary but my perfectionism keeps me from finishing more than a few entries before I find a flaw in my overall concept and I have to start again. This, then, is a try to make use of the greater flexibility of digital notekeeping because if I find a flaw in my layout I can change it without erasing all previous entries.
The reason why I started this is that I recently found a label why I seem to think differently from most other people I know. I suspect I have Asperger’s Syndrome. My therapist is sceptical but I can see why. I have tried to convey my feelings in a most straightforward manner to her so that necessarily made the impression of me being somewhat in touch with my feelings. Even then she repeatedly told me I would express anything to do with emotions very rationally and cognitively – but that is not how I expressed it, that is how I feel. Feelings, to me, are internal stimuli, just like sound and light are external stimuli, which have to be recognised, analysed and evaluated. That might sound very dry and it is not as robotic as I suppose most would read this; furthermore, I did not decide to function in that way, I just do. I can and do have deep feelings but I repeatedly get the impression I process them differently from most individuals.
Since I am now on my way to an official diagnosis and, as I already mentioned, my therapist is sceptical, I tried to confirm my theory for myself by searching to disprove it. I have once read that this is the most convincing strategy to prove a theory because it is – as far as it can be – free from the human tendency to find the evidence they are looking for. This approach is a little difficult because Asperger’s is a very diverse syndrome which is not classified by a specific set of symptoms but by a combination of various symptoms that result in specific behaviours and personality aspects. This means that there are no symptoms of which one could say they are absolutely necessary for a diagnosis.
The first possibility is, what is also known as “medical student syndrome”; i. e. I found symptoms of Asperger’s within myself because I falsely categorised some of my personality aspects and developed other matching traits and behaviours as I read about them. This is a somewhat disturbing theory because my previous theory was that I am sociopathic – and it means I could have developed those behaviour patterns if I had read about that more. This possibility is disproved because there are many behaviours I know I have been doing for a very long time.
The second possibility is that I developed these behaviours due to social and developmental influences. The issue with this approach is that I have had a very happy and untroubled childhood surrounded by caring, sociable adults. There is no obvious reason why I should have so tremendous difficulties with social settings and why they should be so exhausting to me. As far as I can see I am the only true introvert in my family although my father does display difficulties to handle emotions both within himself and within others. I do not know, however, if this is just due to his being a typical man or if it is something more towards processing emotion differently. I cannot fully discredit this approach – and this is what my therapist would choose to pursue – but there are some behavioural and developmental aspects that correlate strongly with my original hypothesis. I have a considerably high IQ and I learned to speak when I was not even one year old. Despite encouragement by my parents I have never been social on my own accord, I had to be forced to go to the daycare centre and kindergarten and I disliked children’s parties. I preferred to talk to adults rather than someone of my age – and I still do – and I expressed myself quite eloquently from an early age on. I taught myself how to read before I went to school and spent most time, from there on, sitting in a corner reading one book after another. On the contrary, I believe had I not grown up in a household with eight adults and me as the only child, I would have become much more turned inwards.
The third possibility is that some other disorder can explain my difficulties in interacting with the outside world more effectively and comprehensively. As I mentioned my initial theory was sociopathy but that did not match many of my behaviours and personality aspects. I cannot say I looked at all psychological disorders and their co-morbidities but I have yet to find something that can even closely explain so much of my talents as well as difficulties as Asperger’s Syndrome.
Ergo, I still think that my hypothesis holds true and the diagnosis is correct – I will, of course, try to be open for other possibilities.
I will describe how I came to that conclusion in the next post and, hopefully, divert more to the course of my thoughts and my perspective of the world once I got all these introductory points done.