Jiu Jitsu and Apergers Part 3 – Social Frustrations

It has been quite a while since I have shared anything in relation to my Aspergers. The transparency is sometimes difficult since I’m constantly having to double and triple check that I am staying within socially acceptable boundaries of communication. I have been having some difficulties in the past year that I am going to just expand upon. If anyone has any feedback that may help, please share!

Before we dive into current issues, here is a quick summary of Aspergers. For more detailed background information on my specific style of Aspie-ness, I have included links to my earlier articles at the bottom of this one.

Aspergers is a neurobiological disorder in the high functioning end of the Autism Spectrum. It is typically diagnosed in childhood but I was diagnosed as an adult. I’m just going to take a quote from the Autism Spectrum Education Network webpage since they cover it pretty well!

Individuals with AS and related disorders exhibit serious deficiencies in social and communication skills. Their IQ’s are typically in the normal to very superior range. They are usually educated in the mainstream, but most require special education services. Because of their naivete, those with AS are often viewed by their peers as “odd” and are frequently a target for bullying and teasing.

They desire to fit in socially and have friends, but have a great deal of difficulty making effective social connections. Many of them are at risk for developing mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression, especially in adolescence. Diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders should be made by a medical expert to rule out other possible diagnoses and to discuss interventions.

In the past couple years of immersing myself more into the Jiu Jitsu community, I have started to develop some good acquaintances into actual friendships – a HUGE milestone for me. The difference between the two is that an acquaintance is someone I am friendly with. A friend is someone who I can trust that I don’t have to project a perfect self at all times around – without fear that a slip up will taint the relationship. I enjoy being around both groups and there may not be any noticeable difference in my behavior from an outside perspective.

My biggest fear is that I will do or say something stupid, hurt someone, not be able to read the normal social cues, and therefore continue on like nothing is wrong. In other words, I’m not a jerk, I’m not insensitive – I just honestly don’t know something is wrong. If I know something I did caused tension it is devastating to me. As much as I have spent my entire life trying to tune in to what is going on, I miss so much of what people are thinking or feeling.

Yes, this post was triggered by a specific event that occurred recently. I thought I was doing so well and now I find I’m still stuck in the cycle. The difference between now and childhood is that kids are more likely to tell you up front if you are acting like a freak.

So what now?

Most of my blog posts are written in one draft because I’m just typing what I am thinking. Even if I am not able to figure out a solution to a problem, just writing it out helps immensely with organizing my thoughts so I can think clearly again. So where does that leave me?

Still working on it.

I have definitely considered seeing a psychologist with experience in delayed diagnosis Aspergers/Autism but that would require trusting someone else with what goes on in my mind on a much deeper level than I ever have, and I’m really not up to that.

I think I am going to start sharing more of the details of my diagnosis with more of my team mates and friends. If they are more aware of my difficulties, maybe it could keep dialogue open so they can verbally let me know when I’m starting to cross boundary lines before I become a complete annoyance that no one wants to be around.

I am definitely open to questions if anyone has any. I’d rather be asked than misconstrued!

More articles in Aspergers series:

Part 1 – My Aspergers

Part 2 – It Fits

Addendum – A Mother’s Perspective

I close with this video for your amusement and education. The character of Sheldon from the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” has been described as having Aspergers and I definitely relate. Note the inappropriate attempt at teasing, followed by the heartfelt explanation. I feel like I live in a world where everyone knows how to read minds except for me.

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