My Friend Asperger

Imagine yourself in a room full of people. All of those people are laughing and socializing. Meanwhile, you aren’t. You’re sitting there in the corner all alone, watching everyone talking to each other. No one acknowledges that you’re there.

You just sit there, crushed from the inside.

You have issues expressing yourself because you don’t know how to. Your fear of being rejected eats you up. Your fear or feeling insufficient to others eats you up.

As you’re living with the Asperger-Syndrome, those whom you’re around can’t understand your pain. You’re constantly feeling depressed and angry. You feel as if this condition drags you into a point in life, a point of no return.
A friend of mine is living this day by day.

Growing up, he could never fit in with others. As a kid, he couldn’t look an adult in the eye. There was something about looking at another person that made him feel very uncomfortable. In social situations, his heart would pound very fast. He would tend to get nervous. He would always be the one that got left out because he couldn’t relate to the other children.

In fact the first time we met he seemed to be a little bit different. Nothing negative, but a bit unusual for a 19 year old boy. He wasn´t into small talks and directly confronted me with questions about my meaning in life and future plans. He asked me what I have done all my life and why I wouldn´t be helping active to make the world a better place. He quoted big philosophers and criticized most answers I was giving. I was perplex because I haven´t met somebody like this before. Most people just approved me in what I say. For him nothing I said made sense, but what he was talking about was the truth.

After several months he was still confusing me. He used to ask me if everything is ok in intervals of 20 minutes, also when I kept smiling. It seemed he couldn´t interpret my mimic or gestures .Also he hated to leave his apartment or to speak on the phone.
I thought it was a special kind of insecurity.

After a while we got closer friends and he revealed his secret to me.

At the age of twelve he was sent to a psychologist and got diagnosed with the Asperger-Syndrome. They had him on medications for a while. 300mg of Risperidone every day.
After three months he stopped taking them, because it seemed to make his life even worse.
Two years he made therapies but also the therapist seemed to him useless after a while so he stopped going there. He accepted it and is now simply living with it.

Although he doesn´t seem very awkward or antisocial, he has big problems socializing with other persons and does things that are really unusual. For example it doesn´t seem he has any kind of respect when he talks to new people. Usually he says inappropriate things and most of the time it seems he doesn´t know the unwritten rules of the daily social life. It´s not because he is a bad person, it´s just because he can´t understand them

On the other hand when he finally gets outside his home he is very anxious and paranoid.
He always thinks that other people are watching and judging him.

One time we went together to a store and he panicked because I was wearing a hoodie.
He was afraid that somebody might think we are thieves.

Since we hang out together he often says I really help him to get through his situation.
Maybe it´s because he knows that I don´t judge him for his statements or his behavior and my critics are constructive and just true. He trusts me.

So I think the best we can do for people, not only people with Asperger but with all people is to accept and respect them for who they are.
Because they are not less normal than ,,normal´´ people think it´s normal.

               In the end I want to mention that this is a subjective, non-psychological article which is written based on his declarations and my personal observations compared to articles and definitions about this disorder. I don´t want to generalize or play down this topic. I know that the Autism spectrum is large and also the Asperger-Syndrome can´t be exactly explained through my story. The appearance is too diverse to say that every person with this disorder has made the same experience or has the same symptoms.

written by Sven Terbea