I got diagnosed a few years ago with mild Aspergers and also PDD/NOS.
Talk about keeping your options open ;-).
I'm a failed programmer. Not clever enough in the mental gymnastics department. I still study computer programming for fun. Some stuff that catches my eye is decompilation, disassembly, reversing, GUI design.
All kinds of things. A lot of my 'friends' think I'm a wizard. But what I don't tell them is that they are just fuck dumb and incurious. :-). A full Aspie would just tell it like it is...
I am a bit clumsy. Always was. Kind of grew out of it though. I wanted to be a pro footballer because I loved the game. But I just didn't have what it took in the leg synchronised with ball gymnastics department.
I was shit in other words. So gave up on that.
Decided I would become a pro guitarist. Practiced 8 hours a day 6 days a week for more years than I care to admit. Finally reached the point where I thought, Mmm... I am good, but I'm not Ritchie Blackmore. In other words I wasn't shit, but I wasn't as good as I should have been for time expended.
Now, this may or may not have anything to do with anything. But it does show that I can be a little obsessive about things and get lost in them, and also my motor-coordination whilst perfectly fine for every day, day-to-day life, is not at a level that would be necessary for a jet-fighter pilot. I do have one particularly weird thing though. I can knock a cup off a table whilst full (accidentally of course) and by pure instinct and without sight whip my arms around my back and with a twisted and convoluted contortion, catch the cup without spilling a drop. Don't ask me how I do it. I have the reflexes of a cat. I should be in the circus.
Someone mentioned earlier the curse of only being slightly on the spectrum. I can confirm this. It's a nightmare. Most people assume you are normal. So you work with computers, so you are intelligent. You are not dribbling at the mouth, so you are not autistic. They put two and two together, and.... They just think you are rude or insensitive. I have learned to hone my social skills. A little too much sometimes it would seem. I have actually been accused of being 'suave'. :-) Does anyone even use that word any more? Well the gentleman in the pub that had just met me did. It is surprising the level to which one can mimic learned human behaviour. This is probably how psychopaths work. I don't know. I just do it to get by. Fat lot of good it does me.
I'm pretty much a failure in everything I do. There is nothing I am really really good at. Maybe music. But that's not for me to say. I don't really get this life thing. I have all the co-morbid stuff that goes along with it - chronic and severe and even sometimes major depression. Yes they are all different. Double-depression it is sometimes called. There is anxiety, social exclusion and a whole other raft of things to deal with.
Family don't want to know. Autism, whether a little itsy bit on the SPECTRUM or not doesn't count. People with autism are dribbling idiots. Then there is the, oh psychologists make this up as they go along. In the old days you would have been called the village idiot. Then there is the 'Oh you just want to be autistic because it is trendy'. I actually know people in the computer world that DO want to be autistic, ironically enough, but just being good with computers and insensitive is not enough to join the hallowed club, sorry. They resent me for my diagnosis saying 'you can't be autistic, you are a crap programmer'. Go figure.
And so the thing entwines with itself. Contradictions and paradoxes abound. Very little understanding. You can't tell someone you just met you are a 'bit' autistic. They have no concept of a 'bit' mad. Others will think you are making excuses for rudeness. Others will think you looking for attention. Others will think you are saying 'aren't I clever?'. Most people with Aspergers are only of an average intelligence. Yes, higher intelligence exists, but it is balanced out by those with lower intellect. Being autistic does NOT mean you are automatically even as clever as the guy who sweeps the streets. And no offense to him/her that does sweep the streets. If you do mention it you are marked. Some will say, 'oh there's that autistic one'. Others will say 'oh he's just making it up'.
True story, I have a blind friend. Let's call him John. Coz that's his real name. Not only is he totally blind, he has two glass eyes. The laughs we have had when we have had a couple of drinks together when he raconteurs about the times people have said: 'He's not blind, he's making it up'. Once he even had the police called to a pub after someone called about someone impersonating a blind person. I don't know if you know but that is an offense in the UK and not taken lightly. All he ever has to do is take his glass eyes out and put them on the table. Best one was some young girls having a go at him. This time when he put his eys on the table in front of them, one of them actually vomited. Oh the hilarity that ensued...
I digress. Thankfully I suppose, I can't take my eyes out and put them on the table. I only have my honesty and yes pretty much most spectrum people don't lie, or don't feel the need to or couldn't even if they wanted to. I can bullshit as well as and maybe better than the next man. But that's just me. Everyone is different, even within the spectrum. But these are 'good games' as the guru Alan Watts might call them. I never bullshit to gain anything, whether it is respect or money. I must never gain in any way. I do it to learn. I do it in environments where no one is harmed. I do it to test. It has almost become a defense mechanism for me. But whilst I probably do have low self-esteem, I really don't see how lying or deception could ever make up for that. I want what's real. Something most 'Neurotypical' people are unable to give.
I get on well with a lot of other Spectrum people, well the ones I have met. But to be honest, most Aspergers and autistic types just go 'blah blah blah, me me me' and consequently they are highly boring. But then again these are just my findings so far and I have little experience with these things. After only being diagnosed a few years ago, Aspies, autism and all that comes with it, weren't on my radar.
Look at me blahing on ;-).
One final point about the sensory overload. It is quite typical for the senses of an autistic spectrum person to be more sensitive than neurotypical types. I wear shades in the day - bright light hurts my eyes. I can not stay in a room with a television - it hurts my ears. I can not stay in a room with pig-ignorant people - it offends my sensibilities. And if someone asks me what I really think, and I know that they are genuine and that they value my opinion - I tell them the truth.
I love computers, I love music, I love philosophy. I even love people when they aren't being shits..
I just feel for (I won't patronise and pity here) the people that are a good bit further along the spectrum than me. If it is impossible for me to have a life, a job, friends, a relationship, what must it be like for them? That was a rhetorical question btw, if you went some way to mentally answering it, I would get yourself checked out and diagnosed. You never know. It could be you! There's a place on the spectrum for everyone.
These are just some flippant off the cuff remarks that hopefully aren't too far off topic. FWIW.
But I must just leave you with this before I go. As for a lack of functional empathy, what would you make of this:
A crowded bar at noon. Lots of shirts and black ties.
Robot Voice: DOES NOT COMPUTE!
End up talking to some guy and asked what it was all about. He says to me: 'Oh I ran my wife over in my tractor and killed her'.
What would you say?
This is what I said: 'I'm sure the bitch deserved it!'
You can imagine the rest. Hilarity did indeed ensue.
I didn't say that because I had a lack of functional empathy. I said it because I honestly thought he was joking. He totally caught me off guard.
And do you know, (and this is why I love all types of people), he is the ONLY ONE that forgave me for what I said. I apologised to him a a week later, and he just said, no apology necessary etc. etc..
No one else in that pub ever forgave me though.
I don't lack functional empathy. I just lack the wherewithal when to employ it. Because after years of being taken for a ride because you are a bit 'simple', your defenses really do go up and you end up trusting no one on face value at first sight. I did say the thing entwines on itself didn't I? And the paradoxes? And the hilarity? Really, if you didn't laugh...