TMI Time

by

I don’t know why I’m posting this, but for some reason I feel a need to do so.

Almost exactly 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression.  It didn’t start 10 years ago; it just wasn’t diagnosed until 10 years ago, when my brain decided it had had enough and started shutting down my body.  The depression itself is well controlled at this point.  I’ve learned some coping skills; learned how to live with it.  And my meds are well managed.  It’s no biggie.

Nonetheless I went to see my therapist, today, for the first time in about 2.5 years.

I was frustrated — again — with my complete (and pretty much life-long) social/interpersonal dysfunction.  My ineptness with people.  My knack for giving offense without knowing it.  For creeping people out and generally being rather off-putting.  My complete lostness in social situations.  Periodically, I get very frustrated with myself about it.

Today, when my therapist asked me what brought me back for a visit, and I told him, he said, “You know, Karen [my doc] and I have thought for a while that you probably have mild-to-moderate Asperger’s Syndrome.”

Not sure when they were planning on sharing this with me, but, regardless, it didn’t exactly come as a big shock.  It’s not upsetting.  It’s just one of those things that — like being told in your 30s that you’ve been clinically depressed most of your life — leaves you trying to reprocess your entire life up to that point.  Trying to re-understand it, and who you are.

So that’s what I’m doing now.  Probably will be for years to come, if the CD experience is any guide.  And for some reason I felt the need to do part of that processing by telling you poor saps about all this.

I guess that’s partly because I’ve had some pretty awkward interactions with several of you — Joe, Whit, & C-Love leap to mind — and, insofar as this sort of thing is worth knowing at all, I thought you should know.

Partly, too, it’s because this blog is one of my main sources of [simulated] social interaction, which is to say, you guys are among the nearest thing I’ve got to friends*, and this seems like the sort of thing one talks over with one’s friends.

(* Some of you, of course, I’ve known forever and actually are friends.  I don’t mean to slight that.)

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23 Responses to “TMI Time”

  1. alsturgeon Says:

    It is really disappointing when you are wrong, but I have to call you on it this time. The truth is that this is not TMI. 🙂 Thank you for your transparency.

    If I know anything about you, you definitely didn’t post this with hopes of receiving compliments. But I like complimenting you nonetheless. I can’t think of anyone who has helped shape my way of thinking more than you (that was meant to be complimentary and not insulting). When I started Desperate Houseflies years ago, I wanted to maintain interaction with many of the folks who meant so much to me. But with all due respect to everyone else in my life, you were the centerpiece. If you weren’t in, it would have been a failure in my mind.

    There. You don’t know why you shared your info. I don’t know why I felt the need to emphasize the importance of your friendship. Maybe it’s just transparency day. 🙂

  2. Sandi Says:

    I totally hear you, JU (or can I call you Trent?). I don’t think I quite have Asperger’s, but I have a more-than-uncomfortable level of social awkwardness that has always dogged me (I think they came up with a name for it a few years ago so they can sell pills to treat it, but a few glasses of wine has always worked for me :). I’m okay at faking it when there is a reason to –like to get a job — but in social situations I invariably feel anxious and tongue-tied. I never know the right thing to say when I’m in the moment and always remember later all the etiquette rules that I broke. I also spent much of my 20s depressed, so I can relate to that as well.

  3. Terry Says:

    Too dang sultry in here.

  4. jazzbumpa Says:

    I think Thom Hartman has written some books on Aspergers, about which I know nothing.

    I do know a little about depression, from reading and personal experience. Not fun. ‘Nuff said.

    Al’s right – this is not TMI.

    And blogging is ground zero for awkward interactions. Written dialog, lacking tone of voice, facial expression, and body language can often be misinterpreted.

    Wish I had words of wisdom to offer, but all I’ve got is friendship.

    Hope it helps.

    Cheers!
    JzB the friendly trombonist

  5. michaellasley Says:

    CD is one of those things that does make one socially awkward (or makes one fear that one is socially awkward), which usually results in one being less social, which usually results in atrophied social muscles, which usually results in one actually being (more) socially awkward (or more fearful of being socially awkward), which and etc. At least, that’s been my experience.

    It’s also one of those things I’m always embarrassed to talk about, so thanks for talking about it.

    And I like JB’s statement. Friendship is the best of things. And it usually does help.

  6. urbino Says:

    Agreed. There aren’t many things in life that are Good, but friendship is one of them. All friendship welcome.

    And thanks for the feedback, everybody (except Terry, of course). I’ll say more, later.

  7. urbino Says:

    I can’t think of anyone who has helped shape my way of thinking more than you (that was meant to be complimentary and not insulting).

    You’ve told me that, before, and I appreciate the compliment. But I’m not at all sure my influence has been a healthy one. You seem to doing okay, though. I guess you’ve been able to filter out the unhealthy aspects and focus on . . . whatever’s left. 🙂

    I think they came up with a name for it a few years ago so they can sell pills to treat it

    Heh. I guess the upside to Asperger’s is that, since there are no pills for it, I won’t have to put up with the equivalent of all the “anti-depressants are just lifestyle drugs” and “depression is a cop-out” crap. I have no doubt depression is over-diagnosed and there are lots of people who use anti-depressants as lifestyle drugs, but the people who make blanket statements like the ones above should be throttled.

    Or forced to spend 8 days in the hospital undergoing every test known to man while their weight fall to 110 lbs. because they can’t eat, followed by a couple months of total inability to do anything more than lie on their parents’ couch.

    I never know the right thing to say when I’m in the moment and always remember later all the etiquette rules that I broke.

    Yup. After 41 years, I’ve managed to learn what some of the rules are, but only in the sense that days, weeks, or even years later, I remember an attempted conversation and realize, “Oh, right, that’s why that happened.” But in the moment, yeah, I’m still completely lost. I’m like an actor who has forgotten his lines and just starts saying whatever he can think of.

    If this stuff is still bothering you, Sandi, you probably should see somebody about it.

    And blogging is ground zero for awkward interactions. Written dialog, lacking tone of voice, facial expression, and body language can often be misinterpreted.

    The thing is, jb, I’m actually much, much better at it in writing than I am in person. I don’t pick up on the body language and tone and stuff, anyway, so it just makes things worse. And my body language is pretty much always saying, “I’m very uncomfortable and stressed out, can I please go now?” In writing, I can just focus on the words. (IOW, I don’t read people worth a damn, but I read words real good.)

    Your friendship is very much appreciated. BTW, who’s Thom Hartman?

    CD is one of those things that does make one socially awkward (or makes one fear that one is socially awkward), which usually results in one being less social, which usually results in atrophied social muscles, which usually results in one actually being (more) socially awkward (or more fearful of being socially awkward), which and etc. At least, that’s been my experience.

    Agree. The thing is, it works the other way ’round, too. The awkwardness, inability to connect, etc., of Asperger’s very often causes clinical depression, and so on around the wheel. When things go undiagnosed until your 30s and 40s, there’s a serious chicken-and-egg problem.

    And I like JB’s statement. Friendship is the best of things. And it usually does help.

    It is. And it do. But isn’t that sorta like saying growing new eyes helps blind people, if you smell what I’m stepping in?

  8. jazzbumpa Says:

    Hartman has a talk show from noon to 3 on Air America. He’s a brilliant guy with a lot of real world experience. He’s written a few books on politics, and others on autism and (I think) Asperger’s.

    He gets a lot of conservative gursts on ho9s show, and has some pretty good dialog with them. If a caller wants to argue with Hartman, his screener puts him at the head of the queue.

    He has Bernie Sanders on his show at noon almost every Friday. They take calls from all over. Pretty interesting guy.

    Cheers!

  9. urbino Says:

    Huh. I’ll look him up on Amazon. Thanks!

  10. urbino Says:

    It looks like Hartmann’s books are about ADHD, jb, rather than autism or Asperger’s. Maybe I’m missing something?

  11. mrspeacock Says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m on the friendship bandwagon, even if the nature of Asperger’s can make friendships more difficult (am I smelling what you’re stepping in?). And for the record, I’ve never been creeped out or offended by you. I think you see yourself much more negatively than others do.

    I have no doubt depression is over-diagnosed and there are lots of people who use anti-depressants as lifestyle drugs, but the people who make blanket statements like the ones above should be throttled.
    Amen!

    And, I must confess, the first time I heard mention of “Asperger’s Syndrome” and the “Woodcock Johnson” test, I thought I would never stop laughing. I have since recovered. Mostly.

  12. urbino Says:

    And for the record, I’ve never been creeped out or offended by you.

    You can’t imagine how big a relief that is. I was pretty doggone sure I had, once upon a time. You and others.

    The Woodcock Johnson test . . . that’s pass/fail, I’m guessing?

  13. urbino Says:

    (Is anybody else having trouble staying logged into WordPress, lately?)

  14. Whit Says:

    Mrs. P put into words perfectly what I was thinking: You do see yourself more negatively than others (we) do. And don’t sell yourself short on your positive influence on us here.

    Lest anyone think I’m being flippant with such a simple comment, JU and I have been having a related conversation over on FB.

  15. urbino Says:

    Thanks, Whit. Both here and there.

    I hear what you and C-Love are saying, but if it is in fact the case that people don’t see me as negatively as I think they do, I honestly don’t know what I can do to correct it. I have no access to what others think of me.

    And, for the group: Whit pointed out elsewhere that, given the way my therp said what he said, it’s not clear that ass burgers was actually an official diagnosis. I go back in a couple of weeks, so I’ll find out then.

  16. jazzbumpa Says:

    Re: Hartman –

    I’ve only read a couple of his liberally biased political books. I thought he had written on autism, but that was from memory, and I could be confused.

    Cheers!
    JzB the confusion sharing trombonist

  17. urbino Says:

    An update, since I spouted off about this here:

    On today’s trip to the therapist, I asked him specifically why he brought up Asperger’s last time, and whether or not it was an official diagnosis.

    It wasn’t.

    He said a lot of people would diagnose it that way, but he thinks Asperger’s is over-diagnosed right now, especially in cases like mine. He think it should be reserved for those who lack empathy.

    So. Whatever that means.

  18. dejon05 Says:

    Dammit. I missed the party.

    I was just thinking recently about the start up of Al’s blog idea that has since evolved to its current form. I read it (and attempted to contribute) for the first time sitting in a coffee shop in Central Asia in below-zero weather sipping horrible chai tea lattes, and thinking, “I’m not smart enough to write anything compared to these people.”

    The only thing that has changed is the fact that it is warmer now, my current source of chai tea lattes produces a much-improved product, and I’m not wearing desert camo.

    All the rest is still true. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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