I’d like to write about differences today. I realized, that if people know at all or have heard of Asperger’s, they do have some kind of clear picture of what it is. But there’s no clear picture.
The best, even for myself, is to just remind myself to my Ex. Let’s call him Paul. Paul and I have had an intensive relationship and things, people from outside found strange on him, I found rather normal. That’s now about 16 years ago and it was the time, when diagnosing Asperger’s started…but by far not in Germany. So, people though, Paul was strange…but hey, he was so smart and witty…there couldn’t be anything wrong. Ja, there was. And strange enough, I was the first to somehow suffer from it…but also the first trying to help, after he had a breakdown in later years. In a time, we didn’t have contact anymore.
So let’s see. First things, one recognized might have been his stacato like talk. Words where spit out in a speed, hard to follow. Paul never had a quiet voice. Everything was fast, one realized, he was faster thinking than talking. And he talked a lot. Looking at me, I need long to talk especially when there are strangers. I need long to make contact. Paul always went to new people right away, chatting with them, asking them about themselves. Things which are still difficult if not impossible for me. But that way, he was my backup.
When one was a bit closer, one realized his obsessions. They were not like books say interests in trains or buildings or whatever. His obsessions were mainly food and music. I remember weeks of self made popcorn…every day, every time of the day, followed by certain kinds of bought potato chips. I never had a food obsession. Mine is knowledge. Once I’m interessted in a topic, I can’t stop reading about it - including buying tons of books. And yes, I read them all.
His next obsession was music. Day and night we had gregorian chorals….in the beginning, when I learned to know him, it was “Freude schöner Götterfunken”. Music obsessions are something I do understand, I have them myself…not in this way and with different music, but they are there.
The third remarkable thing was, that Paul never ever was preoccupied. something, in a political way got difficult. But somehow, he only was interested in the people. So his friends came from every background - and when I say every, I mean every. Luckily, they never met. I’m somewhat the same. But due to my family’s history, i had to learn early, that one shouldn’t trust too easily. As I’m anyways needing long to talk to people, that’s not difficult. Nevertheless I’m often said, that I’m not preoccupied enough, that I understand too much….whatever. What else shall one do in a world, one doesn’t realy understand, than trying to understand it? Though I know the consequences of people’s thoughts and believes. Paul obviously didn’t think of it.
Another thing, I learned early is, that one has to be careful with what one says. People could react strangely. So when I say something at all. I always play the game of ittt (if this, then that) I learned, how people react. They are study objects all my life and I know mostly, how to play this game. Although it’s tyring…and obviously more and more people don’t care about it. Something making it even more difficult to cope in this world. Paul instead always said, what he thought. No matter what consequences it had. He didn’t understand NTs, like I did. I could explain things like this to him. But then it obviously got more difficult for him. After all he had to stop his dissertation. His Prof. couldn’t deal with him this way. No one explained Paul the rules of NTs. His parents didn’t think of something wrong with him…his father most likely was an Aspie himself, his sister surely was. With even more problems to deal with NTs…but she was the greatest vet I’ve ever known. She couldn’t talk with humans but she had the best feeling for animals. There was not one pet being afraid of her. They just made a connection.
Later years I heard, that Paul was in a psychiatric clinic. He brought himself there. I called the doc, as I was worried about him. II was told, I was the first one, interested and even offering help. His parents only wanted him to leave there….what would the neighbors say? Paul stayed only for a week. I don’t know, if he was diagnosed there. I haven’t heard of him in a while. Only a few years later, when he returned to Berlin after his Prof fired him. He stayed at my place for the first weeks. I had the impression, he had even more difficulties coping with the world. In the meanwhile he had two children, but wouldn’t live with them. He told about them, as they were strangers…and some kind of experiment.
Again, I didn’t hear of him in a while. II had to get him out of my place, as he crossed the line of getting into my room while I was asleep. He still was my friend. But learning about the N world seemed more difficult for him, then for me. II think, I could do that better in the meanwhile
The least thing I heard was, that he rented a room close to his children…he”s working as what he is, a great physicist. And I know, he knows by now, what we have.
Both of us where born in a time, when Aspergers was unknown in Germany. Both of us are diagnosed the same. Nevertheless, we are different. As humans are.