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What I Do to Cope with Asperger's: My Personal Story

My name is Cal. I'm 52 and have been asked to share some of the things I do that help me with day-to-day functioning.  Each person with Asperger’s is unique, so what works for me may not necessarily work for you. I think that interventions definitely need to be individualized. Most of the Aspies I know come to this awareness at different ages and stages of their lives, which can influence the approaches they choose. 

Anyway, while there is nothing particularly profound about what I do, here are a few things that have helped me cope with life in general:

 About three years ago, I worked with a Job Coach (you can find them online) that really did help me with goal direction and employment-related skills. If you have a hard time sticking with a job for any length of time, you may want to enlist the help of one of these professionals.

I try to teach others about the "disorder." I don't provide a lot of detail though. I try to disclose strategically, only sharing the information that is required for that time and place. I mostly say that it's "just a different way of thinking." For example, I'll tell them that "typical" people can read facial cues and pretty much know exactly what the other person means when he or she is being purposely vague. But, I can't. So, I ask them to be direct with me in their statements.

I used to be very good at blaming other people for my issues. But, I discovered that "blaming others" is a trait of the disorder. SO, I've tried to stop the blame game. Blaming yourself or others is common -- but not helpful.

I've learned that sensory and social demands of daily life make more "down-time" indispensable for me. If I start to get overwhelmed, I remove a few things from my schedule for that day. I call it my mental health day. Basically, I just slow down, maybe allow myself to take a nap, do deep breathing, drink lots of water, and try to keep it simple.

I know my weaknesses, and work on those things (e.g., impatience in long lines). Also, I know my strengths and build on them. For example, I know a lot about how to lose body fat while maintaining muscle mass, and share that knowledge often. There's always somebody that asks me how I stay in such great shape for my age. So, I give them some good tips on what they can do in this regard. Honestly, I should be a trainer, because I'm running into people all the time at the gym that ask my advice.

While I do need some down-time to recuperate, I don't allow myself to isolation for lengthy periods of time. Each day, I make sure I'm out with people for a portion of the day, even if it's just a short casual conversation with someone at the grocery store. 

To reduce my stress, I hire people to do the things I'm not good at, such as housework (when my wife is out of town on business), organization, and bookkeeping.

Sensory sensitivities make some environments unpleasant for me. So when I can, I change the lighting (dimmer), decrease the noise as much as possible (even wearing earplugs in some cases), and I always wear comfortable clothing (unless it's something formal, like a wedding or funeral). Also, a slower-paced environment is usually more tolerable and allows for a greater sense of comfort and competence.

Lastly, Mark Hutten's ebook "Living With An Asperger's Partner" has helped me relate better to my wife. She has learned some things from the book that have helped her as well. Good read.

I hope something I said here can help you have a better quality of life.

Have a great day,

Cal

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Cal. Appreciate sharing your experience. Helped this late diagnosed Aspie. Cheers

    ReplyDelete