I’m 41 years old, male, divorced. I have Asperger’s syndrome. My author’s icon for this blog is adapted from the Anime character Tatsuhiro Satō (佐藤 達広 Satō Tatsuhiro?), main protagonist of the Anime series Welcome to the N.H.K. (N・H・Kにようこそ! N.H.K. ni Yōkoso!?), who is a Hikikomori (ひきこもり or 引き籠もり Hikikomori?, literally “pulling inward, being confined”, i.e., “acute social withdrawal“) and may or may not be autistic himself.
I was diagnosed in the summer of 2010 by the good people at UT Health Sciences in Houston, Texas, not long after having lost my last job as a Librarian I (Cataloger) at a major state university well north of Houston, in the greater DFW area. I have two Master’s degrees, one a Master of Arts in German Studies from Rice University (earned 1997) and the other a Master of Library Science degree (earned 2004). My BA degree is from Texas A&M University in College Station, where I had a double major in History and German. I was a member of the TAMU Corps of Cadets my first 3 semesters of College, earned an NROTC scholarship on the basis of academic merit my freshman year, only to lose it via physical disqualification stemming from exceptionally poor eyesight…LASIK was not around back then. In High School, I had been involved in NJROTC at William P. Clements High School, and earned the rank of Cadet Lieutenant, Junior Grade my senior year, serving as Drill Team Commander.
High School JROTC was an especially good fit for me as an awkward, undiagnosed Aspie. Indeed, the diagnosis wasn’t added to DSM-IV until 1994, when I had first started graduate school. NJROTC in High School put me in a social environment that was actually very tightly knit and kept me away from the hustle and confusion of the general school population in the mornings. Wearing the uniform once a week meant relief from picking out something suitable to wear. If I could’ve worn the uniform 5 days a week, I would have. It was certainly a relief to wear it full time at Texas A&M later.
My clothing choices are nearly always a matter of utilitarian consideration weighing more than fashion sense; though I can be quite fashionable if I choose to be. The contrast between my work-attire and my casual attire is quite stark.
I currently live at home with my parents. I used to be very depressed and feel a lot of self-loathing about this but have learned this is actually not at all uncommon for a disturbingly large number of Aspie men.
I do work full time for a large public library system but am severely under-employed for my level of education, experience, and age group. I am a staff member only (Library clerk) and not in a professional position actually requiring my ALA-accredited Master of Library Science. This is not by choice but by necessity. I have been in two previous professional positions at two different state universities in Texas, but both jobs ended, one from dismissal the other from being bullied into resignation.
Only after receiving my diagnosis in 2010 can I look back on these past job failures and see how my undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome played a huge role in these job losses. I fear it continues to blunt my opportunities for advancement with my current employer, but this is something nearly impossible to prove legally.
Looking back, I can also state that my Asperger’s casts a large shadow over why my marriage failed, but I will address that in a later post in the future, perhaps.
I have learned to live with an accept my diagnosis, I appreciate the insight into my past it provides me, and I appreciate the friendship and socializing I have managed with other local Aspies, many who are co-contributors to this blog. I aim to contribute to this blog and pull my weight, so to speak.
We are hoping that by sharing our common experiences through this blog we will help others struggling to understand and manage their Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or that of a loved one’s.