cross-posted to Tumblr
I’m a bit weird – Internet addict, introverted, bipolar and maybe borderline, but…
One of my best friends, and someone I was in unrequited love or infatuation or crush or whatever you want to call it with, has finally been diagnosed with Asperger’s, which is a form of high-functioning Autism. I figured he had Asperger’s but I didn’t treat him any differently than anyone else. I also had a bad habit of touching him all the time because that’s what I do with people I like/want to be my lover because even though I hate being touched by people otherwise, I always get drawn to people I like and want to be connected to them physically because I’m lame.
I’m also one of those people who says what I’m thinking and depended on him and my roommate to deal with my bipolar last year. I lived with them away at my professional grad program.
I feel kinda bad I was one of those people always telling him to “act normal,” which he would say is something that frustrated him and of course it would. I would get uptight when someone told me the same thing when I was manic or depressed or both.
But anyway, I knew a Russian girl from Lynn (city of sin) with Asperger’s before, but it was on top of mild agoraphobia, an internet addiction, OCD and a hoarding compulsion. I did what could either be interpreted as insensitive or good, dragging her on a trip to New York City to stay in this sketchy hostel in Brooklyn. I like adventures like that, but what’s ironic (?) is that I quickly hated the trip and the hostel, and during the weekend we were there, SHE got acclimated to interacting with all the colorful characters we were staying with. Oh, well. I figured she wouldn’t be too scared or uncomfortable because she liked adventuring too, taking trips across the country to go to various scifi and fantasy conventions.
Whatever, I dunno if I knew it was a definite diagnosis I would have treated my friend differently and been weird, and if that would have been bad for our friendship. What’s funny, though, is I was reading a little guide just now (lol, on Wikihow?) and it said to be sure not to do XYZ, and then said to treat the person the same as you would treat anybody else. I’m a little confused.
I remember during our non-love affair he got used to me touching him and let me. He got used to me being in your face and emotional. He tempered my mood swings best he could. His disorder made him seem impassive, he expressed his emotions and expression of such feelings differently. He was insensitive and crude. He wouldn’t know how to comfort me except to sit and listen. I got used to the way he acted, figuring it was Asperger’s but that this didn’t matter and that I shouldn’t act any differently.
He’s finally gone into therapy, which is where he got the bad news, not that he or anybody else was surprised about it. He said on Facebook – me and his friend were replying on the comment thread on his status update – that now he has a valid excuse for being an asshole (on the Internet). I said “tsk tsk” but also had to admit I use bipolar as my own excuse for being an asshole.
/sigh. The ups and downs of mental illness…