Living With Asperger’s – Personal Stories Part 2
Todays article is one from our series of Personal Stories; it comes from James Boscole.
My issues with Asperger’s started at a young age, although I had no clue that I had Asperger’s. I can only hope relating my story will help others understand their situation and overcome its obstacles.
Life was strange, people were hard to relate to, I just didn’t “get it”. I tried too hard to make friends; it didn’t work by just trying to let it happen naturally. I was lonely but didn’t understand how to make friends. All I wanted was a couple of “good buddies”. To date I have still not accomplished it.
It was hard to focus in school as I always felt out of place. My parents were no help; they wanted me to be like everyone else but didn’t (or wouldn’t try to) understand why I wasn’t. I couldn’t focus and received terrible grades in school (until college, where I could focus on one subject extensively). All I was good at was “foolin’ around”. I was an expert in daydreaming and could space out at will, no matter what was happening around me. Perhaps it was just me escaping an unpleasant existence.
I was/am an adrenaline junkie. I get bored easily and seek out excitement: hang gliding, driving fast cars, sailplanes, race cars and boats, exploring most new activities, meeting new people on a one-to-one basis, etc.
I am great one-on-one with new people but have difficulty in groups of people. I am not very good at chit-chat, but can get deeply involved in single-subject conversations. This has been a hindrance in the working world, where networking & putting yourself ‘out there’ is a necessary skill. I have failed several times in business and selling positions. Where I excel is in project orientated tasks.
Ask me to fix something for you or build something, I am right on it with a successful outcome every time. Ask me to convince others to buy something, not so well.
Even now, at 70, I still do have only a couple of friends that are similar enough to me that I like being around them for long periods of time. Even with them I sometimes get this feeling of wanting to escape and get back to my life alone.
I have issues with feeling love for people. I can experience empathy for others though.
ven my children sometimes feel like strangers to me. Although I yearn for a ‘family feeling’, I don’t experience it even when I’m spending time with my children. For some reason my brother & I have a connection that I don’t experience with anyone else.
Since I don’t like to waste my time when I could be doing something I would rather be doing, I don’t invest the time to just ‘hang out’ and get to know strangers better. I’m uncomfortable in these situations since it is hard for me to know what to say next or keep the conversation going unless it is a discussion about something specific.
I am an observer and this trait makes people uncomfortable sometimes, because I can be so focused on them. Some people have called me too intense.
To help me make sense of the world I have experimented with psychedelic drugs, astrology, religion, the Law of Attraction and meditation.
Other than the Law of Attraction the most helpful has been Eckhart Tolle’s philosophy of ‘being here in the now’ as much as possible. Eckhart has many YouTube videos you can view for free.
Listening to my intuition as a guide when I get to a dead end and seeking to shut off the constant chatter of my brain so I can think clearly and stay in the present has been very helpful.
As a result of my not understanding the cause of my difficulties (I didn’t take the free online Asperger’s Test on this website until last year), I have been through 5 marriages/divorces, 4 failed businesses, and have spent 50% of my life living alone. Asperger’s has not been an easy life to live.
My favourite affirmation: Stepping outside your comfort box makes your comfort box bigger.
Just knowing why I was having a difficult way in the world has made a major difference in my life. I am more confident in social situations, more confident in my ability to manage life, and more satisfied with my life. I am actually experiencing happiness and gratitude on a daily basis … not something that was part of my normal existence.
James,every word you wrote could have been my story. I’m only 45 but,I can relate to everytbing you said. Thank you for lifting the veil off of a world that seemed mine alone.
I actually feel privilidged to be ‘different’ knowing that desnt read ‘freakish’ anymore.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, James. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. Except for the hang gliding and daredevil stuff, your story runs parallel with mine. I’m “self-diagnosed” using the online tests but don’t have an official diagnosis. Kind of on the fence about it. Any suggestions? I wish you all the best and thank you again!
Unless you have other issues like ADHD, etc. that require medication, I would stay away from diagnosis. The psy. community has not committed to Asp. and lumps it with Autism. Autism has way more social stigma attached to it.
I have shared with my kids and they understand…I have shared with a few outside my family and it makes them uncomfortable…the only time I would share would be with someone I was having a relationship with and it came to a point where they needed to know because they were questioning my behavior and wanted to understand.
James – Thank you for sharing your experiences, which in some ways are similar to mine, while in other ways different. I guess “no two Aspies are alike” applies here.
This past March I was diagnosed at age 63, and it has also been a mostly positive and “freeing” experience for me, as I finally make so much more sense to myself! After taking the Asperger’s Test online, I saw a great Psychologist who specializes in AS and Autism evaluations and treatment, and had the results confirmed. Now I’m investigating which of my many behavioral and physical AS symptoms can or should be pursued with treatment. I thank God that I have an understanding, loving and supportive wife who’s put up with this Aspie all these years, both before and after my recent “epiphany.” I wish others would be as supportive. I’ve told several people (family, friends and doctors) about my diagnosis, with mixed, and sometimes disheartening results. Maybe I should act even stranger, so they’ll believe me, and not inadvertently try to make me feel like I am crazy, which now I know I’m not! Life sometimes works backwards, I guess.
Again, I wish you well in your life journey!
I’m only sixteen. I honestly think I have Asperger’s…after much research. However, people have judged me and have told me I do not have it. I do NOT want to seem over dramatic and annoying. Should I see a psychologist or wait until I’m older? I would like to address it before I go to college because I know college is going to be most difficult for me. What should I do?
You’re young enough to get free funding to get diagnosed. Don’t wait until its too late. Just get the diagnosis and if you don’t like it.,bin it. I’m desperate for an official diagnosis.i don’t have the money to go private and they’re telling me I’m too old for a funded diagnosis.im 36 from london
I am frustrating my parents as I write this, with my inability to fall into a corporate culture. It seems so obvious to them, but lines like “all our friends have done it” just keep landing like unsympathetic parenting. Im 38 and I feel robbed of having parents who didnt take the time to go deeper. Why do they invite me home for a break just to go on a tirade about getting a job. I have ADHD and possibly OCD but my therapist refuses to give me the Aspergers diagnosis. Keeping tabs on Aspie research does nothing but good for me as I relate to all of it James. Thank you so very much for this article.
Thank you for sharing your experiences, some of which I can definitely relate to. I was recently diagnosed with AS in March, at age 63, after first taking the Asperger’s Test on this website. It has mostly been a wonderful “epiphany” for me, as I finally understand myself a million percent more, and know now that I’m not just “strange.” (Well, I’m still that, too!) Now I’m at the point of trying to research and decide which of my many behavioral and physical AS symptoms may respond to treatment, and which I feel are serious enough at my age to pursue.
The only negative experiences I’ve had have been in attempting to share my momentous news with others, from family to friends to even doctors and other medical folks. This has gone badly more than it’s gone well, with reactions often in the realm of “you’re imagining it.” So I’ll have to rethink my strategy on this issue. At least I have a loving, patient and supportive wife, who’s suffered with me (hopefully in mostly minor ways) for decades, and who has been a dream since my recent realization.
I wish both you and Mark (thanks for your sharing as well!) on your life journey!
I have to agree with Mark. There are a lot of similarities to my life also. Not enjoying social chit chat unless a really interesting subject is being talked about, liking to meet people and being fairly competent one on one – but horrible in groups, (Although in groups or alone with people, I start noticing details about people that nobody else sees and then figure out things in a detective like fashion which make me not enjoy them any longer, is one of my stumbling blocks socially. I consider myself kind of Sherlock-like), being considered too intense for most people, hyper focusing on tasks (and yes, don’t ask me to sell anything!) I could go on and on.
It is oddly comforting to know there are others out there like me. I wish there were ways to meet other people with Aspergers (particularly other women with this, making friends with “normal” women is tough!). The friends I already have who have this (or suspect they do) are the most comfortable people to be around! By and large my Aspergers friends are brilliant, creative, wonderful people. I enjoy being with others who are detail oriented and love to analyze things to the enth degree! Phone conversations can go on for 5 hours, which is impossible to accomplish with a “normal” person). Nowadays I try to focus on the plus side of having this.
I’m also finding the “be here now” philosophy helpful. Thanks For sharing James and Mark.
Good luck to everyone! If anyone ever starts an online social site for people with this, it would be a boon to us all!
Just putting it out there because you mentioned being Sherlock-like, but Sherlock Holmes is AS too!
James and Mark,
Me too. At 64 I function like a bright 17y/o. Spectacular successes. Spectacular failure. Brilliant but forever immature.
I did learn that I confuse sincerity with empathy. I totally mean well but in reality I really can’t get into anyone else’s head.
Yes James being saddled with Aspergers makes life difficult to ride.
I a….well i liked your affirmation. I used to say it alot.
And i used to be very courageous, and my life resembels Josephs story from the heavenly religions.
I believe that my parents deliberately have “misunderstood” me. I believe they are the best to have given me the chanse to be the best of the best. And struggel with loneliness is imperative then. The commoners use physical strength and simple tricks to make me like them. But when i get out of here i will Godwilling spend my time in the mosque. As close to God as possible. This life is not my home or final destination, i long for death but cant commit suicide.
We share the desire to pass on…there are days when I feel it just doesn’t matter any longer. BUT, I have started meditating and the practice has awaken my awareness of some hidden passions I want to pursue and this have given my life new meaning.
Just the realization that I am not broken just see the world differently is helpful also. It has attracted me to others that may not know they have Aspergers but have become friends. We are here only once as far as I can tell so why not just make the best of it, we have an eternity to be dead!
I understand you very well but please don’t give up. Allah swt made this world also for you even with asperger’s syndrome. He understands you always
My 3rd wife told me I had aspie. When I was young I was labeled angry like you parents never helped. grew up in foster homes it’s taken 50 years to start to feel comfortable with me. For me it’s one say at a time
212 Sugar Creek Lane
I’m 73 and totally relate to what James shares (and I thank him for his openness), for my story is very similar. It really helps to read sharing from people dealing with similar issues, since I tend toward feeling alone, even when with others. I tried big pharma meds, but finally decided to just go with the natural flow of how I find myself to be at any moment. Advaita yoga as presented by Sri Nisargatta Maharaj in his book “I Am That” is very similar to Tolle’s westernized perspective. Gets down to living in the now, releasing judgments and expectations. Really helps!
Correction: Advaita yoga teacher name should be Sri NISARGADATTA Maharaj.
What a story I find it all beleivable but ot the adreline junkie bit this I dont find to be true for me infact I am totally the opposite on that I totally hate anything to do with adrendaline i also now tend to stay in on my own a lot as I just cant face the world and its people I seriously struggle to talk to anyone and if I do I just get agitated and “kick off
I also hate that I do have aspergers and sometimes wish I was dead
Its hard enough living my life but it seems that in the UK ppl who HAVE ANY sort of disablity or condition are targets of ppl who WONT or just dont want to understand us I get bullied and made fun of every day when I go out so I dont do it very often
the mediacal professionals in our country take a very poor view of ppl who have aspergers and just think that we are just saying that to make excuses ALL the fucking idiots who are in power think about is been in work and making money this totally makes me mad and frustrated sorry about the swearing but its just the way I FEEL
Thank you, James! You said this SO well. I love your idea of the comfort box, and have written it in my book of special things that I keep. It’s good to hear your are happier – best to you in the rest of your life!
I second Marks comment. I’m 63 and found out last Aprial I have AS. I was going through a divorce after
37 years and was having a very rough time. I found a local therapist to go to and it turned out to be the best thing I could have done. After about 4 secions with him I was told I have AS. He then told me he had
Several AS clients and had AS himself. It was great to find out why I felt the way I did all my life and to be
able to talk to someone that really understood.
Everything you wrote, literally word for word, is everything I have gone through in my life.
Thank you for sharing.
Yes I felt so much better learning what was wrong too! And it has made my daily life better also.
Thanks for your story, it is just like mine- I am 50.
Thankyou for putting your story down in print, it’s very well written.
It sounds very familiar to me too, I wonder where you live James, I often wonder how fellow Apergers would get on, especially if they had similar interests.
I’ve tried some of the forums, but there is never anyone in my area and most seem from the US.
More should be done to bring us together in the UK, maybe I (and people like James) wouldn’t feel so isolated.
I am also from the UK. I guess we’re not always as isolated as we feel, although I find places like this far easier to communicate on than actually meeting people. Where in reality I would sit in a corner and look at the floor, wondering how I could get out of there without actually talking to anyone.
Wow, that sounds like my husband in some ways. I did not understand that shortly after we met, he would not look directly into a persons eyes. And he did not have friends, but I thought it might be common with some males. He is not social with others. And I am just now thinking that he might be on the Autism spectrum, or Asperger. I cant tell since I don’t know if he was late walking and talking. He does not think that he is any different than others, more like he is better than others. We had 5 children, and my youngest is on the Autism spectrum, but highly functioning. She is not Asperger. She was later walking and talking, and dr. says that means she is not Asperger. So I think it is in the genes, and the more children one has, it can be seen clearly, since one can see more of them on the spectrum.
Reading everyones stories on here has helped me to realise I’m not the only one. Thank you.
I could write so much about my life with Aspergers but I don’t want to bore you all so I’ll try and keep it brief. I’m 45, a single dad of 2 and was diagnosed with AS 4 years ago, 2 years after my youngest son was diagnosed with it. I have the added complication of depression and anxiety and to top it all have recently been diagnosed with diabetes as well.
I have struggled with relationships all my life, whether that is with family, friends or partners and I ‘get it’ when other people on here talk about their own struggles. I too found my diagnosis helpfull in making sense of things in my life but it fell short of making my life easier. I don’t hate AS, it gives me an understanding of my sons problems that I never got from anyone as a child. It’s other people I don’t get.
I have a psychologist and a cpn from the local mental health team that I see regularly and they are slowly trying to get me to do more for myself outside of being a dad. I have 2 friends who also say I should do something ‘just for me’. The point that they all miss is that I am a dad. While my sons need me thats all I want to be. They are my slice of sanity in an otherwise baffling world.
How lovely to wake up & read all these stories. I’ve been feeling so isolated lately, it’s made me remember there are so many other misunderstood Aspies out there. Mark’s story reminded me of all the snide comments from my Mother, cruel peers, & the horrific experience of school, being sent to the local Mental hospital, and to this DAY..Not diagnosed with Aspergers! My last diagnosis, since my Mother with dementia, told the Psycologist (In a phone conversation) how ‘popular’ I was at school, and a ‘Child genius’..I was diagnosed as a time waster & a substance abuser…In reality, I’m a boring lonely Artist & gardening fanatic, don’t drink any more to kill the anxiety & loneliness.
Even in the past, it was only once a week.
I envy Mark that he can even drive at all! I find this thought terrifying. I know just how ‘Mustafa’ feels, you want to die & be born again ‘normal’. But my Auststic Son needs me, as he too is now living with his Grandparents, that despite him being diagnosed at 8, with a statement of educational needs, tell him he’s now old enough to go to the GP on his own, organise his Travel card on his own, go to Dentist & make appointments alone, ect ect. (He’s too scared & confused to do ANY of that stuff)
I thank God for him every day, he is now like a Soul-mate. We spend hours talking with each other. Actually, he’s my one & only ‘Visitor’!!
This is me in every regard. No official diagnosis but the online test and I have to give that some merit. I’m 52 and I can count every friend I’ve had in my life on my fingers (currently 0). I started a new job last week and I am feeling like a failure with no reason to feel that way. I went through the drug/alcohol thing but quit everything 24 years ago and one big reason I did so was that buying and selling drugs required interacting with lots of people and that was just too scary. I have missed many opportunities because speaking out just wasn’t possible. Knowing that I am probably an aspie gives me some peace because I know what I have to overcome and where to look for answers. I’m looking forward to a diagnosis someday because the frustration I feel when I have to talk has gotten me in some hot water at work and I worry about losing my job. Having a medical/psychological reason may save me one day.
Thank you for sharing your story James. I am 48 and have a very similar story, minus the need for the adrenaline rush (although I am learning to enjoy getting out of my comfort zone on occasion, I need to mentally prepare myself). I am self diagnosed via tests on this website, as well as reading about Aspergers. I don’t like the fact that Aspergers is now being lumped in under the Autism spectrum. Aspies can and do function in the world, albeit not as easily as those non-Aspies (I dislike the term “normal”, because what is normal?). I did well through elementary school, but once I started in school, I became Dr Daydreamer. I’m amazed at how far I’ve gone without a basic AA or BA in college. I did attend one semester in 2006, but the whole crowded classroom/campus scene made it tough for me. I’m always being told I am smart, and feel like it at times, but I’ve always struggled feeling good enough, or even equal to others. In other words, I’ve always felt inferior to people, even younger than I.
Hi, I’m 37 and female. Recently someone told me I have some similarities with autism. My mom and dad don’t agree with that till I’m finally diagnosed. So I have to be patience. If I’m diagnosed with Asperger my dad must have it too.
I can see similarities too with the test and with the story of James (thank you for sharing), but these similarities are also written with an introverted character.
So till my coach says I have it, I’m not diagnosed with Asperger and I’ll refuse to believe it till finally the diagnosis has been made. And that can be never. Fine for me. I’m successful in life if you don’t count some details.
I’m you, but a bit younger and female. And the conclusions I’ve taken differ. I got my diagnose (Dx), three years ago. Now I am 51. I’m a veterinarian, married to a wonderful caring neurotypical man, but I have several marriages and children behind. I love my children, but differently, and this has created great distance between them and me. Still I do not miss them, knowing they get the chance to live I this universe, they’re healthy and they’re all privileged and safe.
I’m a bit less daredevil now, but I’ve done a lot of scary stuff as younger, although all my risks were calculated. Another difference is that I haven’t done drugs nor alcohol and that drugs do not appeal to me, and I get sick before I get drunk.
Otherwise I’m superficially outgoing, mostly to dull other people’s noise, and I thrive in one-to-one friendships with intelligent or interesting humans. My true love for life, ikigai, lies in the peace I experience underwater, as a swimmer, and the contact I have with non-humans. I try to live vegan because I can relate to sentient beings’ suffering and I certainly do not want to contribute to more of what 99.8% of the rest of humanity is doing.
Anyway, thank you for sharing!