Re: Getting Diagnosed
Petit Mal - Type of epileptic seizure, lesser-cousin of the more well-known grand mal seizure. I used to think these two were the only types of epilepsy, and congratulated myself because I knew of one more type than most people. (I don’t know if arrogance is a symptom of Aspergers, or if it’s just me. If Sheldon Cooper is a 10, I’m a 6 or 7).
Turns out there are dozens of different types of epilepsy. I have one of those, on top of my mild Aspergers. My epilepsy manifests as violent temper-tantrums, which are easy to ascribe to me being a stroppy, undisciplined man-child, rather than to an electrical storm inside my brain.
It's a dangerous combination: The Aspergers cause me to be easily frustrated, which in turn causes stress that can trigger the seizures. From the outside it just looks like I couldn't handle not having my way, and threw a shit-fit.
Now I take anti-epileptic drugs that have improved my quality of life 10,000%. I no longer have the tantrums, which makes my life easier; it makes the people around me less scared of me, whichobviously improves my interactions with them, which makes my life easier still; I no longer get in trouble at work for scaring away customers (I had to go through a disciplinary, back before I was diagnosed); and the meds greatly alleviated the depression that had dogged me since childhood. (Depression, both unipolar and bipolar, are linked with epilepsy in some way, such that one can be confused for the other, and drugs for one can have the side-effect of alleviating the other.)
Moral of my story: If you think there is something "wrong" with you, your child, or a loved one, get a professional diagnosis as soon as possible. Do not, like I did, wait till you're 38 and your life is already a mess. Proper therapy (drugs and/or psychiatric) can make all the difference.