I Got the Asperger’s

Richard Blandford

We are as gods. Bow down and worship us, puny humans.

Recently I got official confirmation of something that I’ve pretty much known for quite a long time.  That is, I have the Autistic Spectrum Condition called Asperger’s Syndrome.

I’m not particularly big on posting personal details on the internet, as you can attract all sorts of idiots that way (I, for instance, have never publicly revealed the existence of my miniature Schnauzer, Poppy, and don’t intend to) but feel like making a little statement about this for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I think it’s a relevant context for understanding my writing, both published and yet-to-be-published, and if I waited for everyone to figure it out for themselves it would take bloody forever (although someone’s already cracked the code).

Secondly, it seems to me that the more that’s found out about Asperger’s, the clearer it is that the ways in which it can manifest itself can be quite subtle (although the effect it has on someone’s life, positive or negative, is rarely if ever negligible).  The internet is rife with rumours that public figures like Woody Allen, Al Gore, Steven Spielberg and Prince have Asperger’s or a related condition, but if any ever get a diagnosis, they choose not to reveal it (give or take a Ladyhawke or two).

So I suppose the point I’m making is that the reality of Asperger’s goes beyond the current basic public understanding of it.  Many of us aren’t maths geniuses, and we’re not necessarily being socially inappropriate on public transport (although I reserve the right to do so at any time).  Asperger’s logic can be an integral part of creative thought and artistic expression.  You can also be a good friend, partner, parent, family member.  It’s a difference that contains within it many variations.

Now some of the more mean-spirited out there might look up from their Daily Mail and say, ‘Oh, everybody’s got Asperger’s these days.  You’re just trying to be fashionable and get away with stuff, like that hacker bloke.’

My response to this would be, firstly, ‘fuck off’.

My second response would be that Asperger’s Syndrome has only been available as an official diagnosis in the UK for less than 20 years, and has only entered the public consciousness relatively recently.  Consequently, there are many thousands of people out there of all ages who have gone through their entire lives knowing something’s not quite ‘right’ but are only now stumbling upon a framework for understanding themselves that makes sense.  That’s why it seems that ‘everybody’s got it’ at the moment.

Anyway, there’s a few more things I have to say about the matter, but I shall save them for another time.  Until then, I shall be doing really complicated sums in my head whilst behaving inappropriately on public transport.

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10 Responses to “I Got the Asperger’s”

  1. Olivia Barnes Says:

    Good work.

  2. Jane Prinsep Says:

    Great post, Richard. Honest, touching & to the point. I wish you all the best in dealing with your diagnosis x

  3. yuri_nahl Says:

    Comrades, there’s one in every crowd.

  4. If it’s a big crowd, there’ll be more than one.

  5. Nicola Willson Says:

    Thanks for opening up. I have two delightful children with Asoergers – a 14yr old daughter and a 10yr old son. They need to read about how Aspergers is for other people to give them the hope that they will get through the misunderstanding, despair, bullying, depression, ostracism that is currently a big part of their lives.

  6. You don’t know me, but I follow you on the Twitter… another nickel, to add to your collection! I would like to say how utterly brave I consider you. I have several people in my family afflicted with bipolar, another beast altogher, but one I have seen torment those I love who are already tormented by being creatively brilliant, because they are perceptive, but who are compelled to always make apologies for certain behaviors that others find confusing. I can’t say I empathize, because that would be patroinzing; I don’t suffer from this. But I do sympathize because life is hard already, and having added difficulties of people not getting what those I love are going through… well, I get protective. I say you’re brave, but I wish you didn’t have to considered thus. I wish various challenges were simply more routinely accepted as, “Ah, ok, well we all have our burdens, this is yours. You are to be commended for living with it, dealing with it, and continuing to put out art and life that positively inlfuences us all.” But that’s not how it is, there are still stigmas, and that pisses me off because it isn’t fair. And now you’re adding to the understanding of things that people might not get, which is amazingly great. And I have liked your observations via Tiwtter, across an ocean, and now I want to buy your novels! Because I like the way you think, and no syndrome or diagnosis dissuades that, so… I’m sorry for anything hard that you’re going through. But I am glad that it made you the writer you are, because selfishly, I want to read what you write! And beyond that, I, as anyone, just wants you to be happy, you know? Again, thank you for being honest, by the way.

  7. Thanks Nicola and Amy for your lovely comments.

  8. Thank you for your article. It’s good to read something related to Asperger’s that actually makes sense. I’ve got a similar website myself, so will keep popping back to see what else you’ve posted.

  9. paulboylan Says:

    You are clearly a high functioning Aspy. Believe me, it could be worse. In particular, you should be thankful that you are intelligent. Contrary to popular misconception, Asperger’s does not only afflict intelligent people. Believing that all Asperger’s Syndrome victims are geniuses is like saying all black people have rhythm: both are incorrect stereotypes. Asperger’s can and does afflict people with low intelligence. And when that happens, management, treatment and awareness are simply insufficient.

  10. I think I’ll work out what I should and should not be thankful for myself, if that’s ok. And I’m not even complaining. I’m just saying what I am. Thanks for your message, though.

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