Guest Post – by Daniel G. (introduced by redjohn1971)

Official seal of City of Houston

Official seal of City of Houston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As some of our readers may know, this blog belongs to a group of Aspies located in and around Houston, Texas.  We stay in touch via Facebook and even have our own closed, invite-only Facebook group, called Houston Aspie Discussion.  If you are an Aspie and live in Houston, we invite you to join us by asking FB group admin Josh to add you.  We will consider Aspies from outside the Houston area on a case by case basis.  We recently added a far flung member from Brazil, Daniel Gewehr, who had a longish, introductory post that I thought was worth sharing with our general readership here on the blog.

Without further ado, here is Daniel Gewehr in his own words:

“Hi guys! I’m new to the group (tks Josh!), I’m a little far from Houston – I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am 37 and discovered my AS status about 3 years ago in a chat with a friend who was telling me about her struggle with her autistic teenager son – which seemed a normal guy to me, just a little nerdy like many – and as she continued describing all his traits and particularities I was astonished to realize that digression was almost an x-ray of my own life. When she finished talking, almost one hour later – I remained silent, mesmerized – I told her that 90% of all that matched my experience.

I then started to make some research on the net, first relieved by discovering I wasn’t a crazy person, just had my neurons wired in a different way and I had a different structure of thought not fully grasped by others. However, I also felt frustrated by seeing loads of writings in those lists of traits found in the net and “diagnosis” methods that I would plain simple disagree, like “no feelings” and other nonsensical things. I also managed to see a prevalence of complicated cases of people severely affected by their inability to reconcile real life with their particularities, thus locking themselves inside the shell, drowning deeper and deeper in depression and stuck indefinitely in “I-don’t-fit” mode.

Not disdaining or being insensitive to people’s true challenges, as many of these were or are mine too, but this victimization always caused me discomfort. Truth be told, LIFE IS HARD and full of challenges. It applies to everyone. The wheel of life spins, there will be times we’re at the top, feeling like champions, other times we’ll be at the bottom, we may, at times, be exhausted and need help, friends, counselors, but, in the end every people must look at themselves in the mirror and decide whether they will be brave and strive to overcome the hurdles by themselves to the extent of their strengths and beyond or if they will be eternal victims of fate leaning on walking sticks indefinitely.

I had it clear on my mind none solves your problems for you, with or without help it is you who does it. My childhood and adolescence were scarce of friends, girls, I have always been the youngest in the class, I know what is being bullied, abused, not being liked, feeling alone, being called retard, “I’ll spank you in the exit”, parents having no idea of what was going on, all that. But it turned out life was good with me and I managed to join a technical high school where I found the right tribes I could mix with, get along well with both nerd or not-nerd groups which would not bully me, and when I was 20 I met an 18 marvelous girl who liked me despite some of my funny traits, and we’ve been together since then, now married for 9 years and 2 wonderful kids, in a stable and happy life.

She has always been the #1 of the class, very smart – totally NT before you ask – speaks little and observes much. Once I asked why me and she said something along the lines of “I liked your heart, etc.” and I believe it may indeed have connection with the innocence, truth-telling, loyalty talks, etc. that derive from typical AS behavior. Years ago, when I showed her my AS findings, numerous things found explanation in it, but I wonder she does not believe 100% in this theory because I look “too normal” to be called autistic, most will say, that I look people in the eye, that kind of thing, and most indeed do say – those who do not know me in depth. Even I started to doubt it thinking perhaps I am just willing to believe in something, despite the incredible behavioral matches, judging by the vast majority of cases publicized, on the verge of a disabled status, when I am just fine.

Well, that is when I accidentally stumbled into a video from Michelle Vines in Houston Oasis telling about her experience in adult life. So far that’s the closest I have seen to my personal experience. It was a great relief to hear that she disputed the exact same statements I did, on those lists of “diagnostics” many of these are just bs sugar coated, typically written by NT people who just see what’s on the surface. It was very good to hear it first hand from an insider, and I think that’s perhaps the best path for advice, AS to AS sharing, as we feel and perceive alike and can best report on successful compensation mechanisms to make life possible, as well as the unsuccessful approaches that drive us to the abyss.

Sorry for hijacking the forum, I know it is Houston-based, I just felt like sharing a bit of my story would add value. I also would like to congratulate Michelle for her great ability to shrink the topic within the time slot assigned to her and keep it with the appropriate density of detail. My main struggle in life is prevent myself from delving to much into tiny details in absolutely everything, from a public speech or teaching someone to use the espresso coffee machine, even when it is a one-step instruction. It is just sooo hard for me to just get to the point, and worst of all is my manager is an English – of the most objective ones – so a Brazilian with AS is like the extreme opposite. It requires me a lot of training and rehearsal to be objective. Ok, that’s a bit of me. Thanks and I look forward learning from this group. Cheers!”

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4 thoughts on “Guest Post – by Daniel G. (introduced by redjohn1971)

  1. Daniel, well said, my friend. Thank you for articulating so clearly the life experience of a very high-functioning Aspie. Anyone (NT or Aspie) who has the opportunity to read your post will find doors opened, as well as their eyes, regarding their friends and family who have demonstrated those Aspie qualities that have always made them seem “different”, attract bullies and sometimes just not get it when spoken to by others. Your post could be especially valuable to undiagnosed Aspies who suddenly recognize themselves in your words.

    You noted that our discussion group is primarily for Houston area Aspies who can join only by invitation. I want to be sure that you also know that many of us in the group are invited because we are parents or family members of an Aspie. I’m one of those NT members with a son who showed many of the symptoms you mentioned for years, making us wonder what was “wrong” with him and resulting in our using improper discipline with him when he was growing up and frequently not doing things the way we expected him to. He also has an anger problem and his behavior often made us angry with him.

    He was just diagnosed 3 years ago at age 36, and we are so grateful to his family therapist, Grayson Miller who is also an Aspie and who recognized our son’s symptoms, having lived them himself. With Grayson’s guidance, we got our son to a psychiatrist who diagnosed him and gave us much-needed closure regarding his behavior, and put us on a learning curve, mainly via the Houston Aspie Discussion group, where we’ve had the opportunity to meet with other parents and tomeet with the Aspies themselves and hear the all-familiar experiences and most importantly, learn how to relate to our so and become part of the solution,rather than continuing to be part of the problem.

    Getting to dialogue with Josh and Michelle, and with so many others who have filled in the gaps for us and created both an awereness and an understanding that we would love to have received many years ago. Michelle’s video and the post that you have written are both presentations which provide the critical awareness which could have helped people like us learn our Aspie’s realities at a much earlier age.

    With my thanks to you, I hope that you will seek to have it published and shared in public forums and to continue to write and to communicate the recognizable symptoms and characteristics that are being observed and misunderstood now by so many people. When the light comes on for them, many wonderful things will happen and many lives will change for the better.

    • Hi Quin, thanks to you and the others for embracing me so kindly! Since I discovered AS life kept me pretty busy taking care of my two children, I’m a very present father, so I have been unable to do my Aspie thing on it – you know, things like reading about it for a month night and day only stopping to eat and pee – as nowadays most of the time I’m either working, or cooking, or preventing kids from leaping through the window like superman, you know young kids. I have not been formally diagnosed by a professional in the area, I probably should, but by looking my life in retrospect and knowing myself from the inside I have a high level of confidence I’m so part of this group that it would take one a great deal of persuasion to convince me not. After watching Michelle’s video – I can’t get tired of thanking for that one!!! – I am now stimulated to begin taking notes of my life perceptions and childhood memories and do it the proper way, not thru the quick and rushed post above. I’ll look to interview my 1st grade teacher, other people that knew me closely, their recollections and write it down. Maybe someday I can post these in a blog. Soon the diapers will give us a break and hopefully there will be more time to invest in this.

  2. I broke up your story into paragraphs so people could read it more easily. You said that you struggle with English, but you’re doing better than a lot of native speakers. I’m glad Michelle could help clarify some things for you. She’s helped me a great deal too. In fact, I’d better not type too loudly or it’ll wake her up. :p

    • On the struggle with English, I didn’t mean the language, I meant the England/UK citizens, which tend to be very objective, blunt and somewhat harsh, depending on your culture. Brazilians in general are ellaborative and talktive by nature on their communications, tend to add small talk and comments to their sentences, which can be annoying to some straight-to-the-point cultures. Add to that a thick layer of detail, more than people are interested to know, it’s a real challenge to learn with.

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