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!”