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echidna64
Hey guys, I thought that I would reach out to this community since a few people have identified as being on the spectrum.

Last year, I was officially diagnosed with Asperger's at age 30. This came as a shock to me. I always did well in school so I guess that I flew under the radar for the longest time. It wasn't until my wife and I were in marriage counseling that the signs really came to light; there were things that I just wasn't understanding. 

It's been hard trying to figure things out. Especially now as a husband and father, I feel like I'm playing on hard mode trying to manage all these different tasks while still learning about who I am and how my mind works. 

It's been hard to accept, much less talk about realizing that certain things like having an encyclopedic knowledge of history and video games may not be "normal."  

I would like to invite discussion and to share your experiences. 

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Benjanime
i was diagnosed at age 2 growing up with social issues and like you i also have had an obsession with video games, and during my teen years my antisocial behavior really began to show with high school, and being bullied had me taking antidepressants for a while. whenever i'm in a conversation in person with a small group of people it's fine, but i tend to freeze for a moment when making a reply. online that really isn't a problem because i don't have to worry about the awkwardness of pausing before saying something. i also have a memory problem when it comes to learning something new. when i was working in janitorial it took me roughly a week to get the hang of where stuff goes, and where and when things needed cleaned, but as a couple of employees left, the manager stacked more chores for me to do and it got overwhelming, so i am a bit thankful for having SSI now for that reason because i'd rather not have some kind of meltdown in public.

the only thing i don't look forward to is meeting new people who don't know how asperger's works from one person to another. i have a few relatives who used to expect better out of me in going off to college and achieving a dream job or something. I can't, and I know I can't because my years of high school just made me have a hard time trusting people and even after graduating I just made the decision not to have a career and keep all of my art and characters into the simplicity of being simple projects done for leisure. After all it's a scary world out there today, and you never know when a character or idea you create ends up becoming an unnecessary cash cow that's milked to death.

oddly enough, my character gilda was in concept to be in a handful of children's books, but it never caught on because i felt like i didn't have the proper support to make it happen. i created gilda's sister, gerda as like a way of autism awareness. she doesn't have autism, per se, but she has the traits of autistic behavior.

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Vaporman87

Thanks for being open about your new journey in life echidna. I bet there are a few here who appreciate it. It’s odd to me how drawn to nostalgic things those on the spectrum are. I wonder why that is?

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vkimo
From my years on RJ I developed the crude ability to kind of pick up on when people might have been on the spectrum, just by their posting habits - But you never  even were a blip on the radar. I'm somewhat on the fence about labels, since everyone is so different. 

Besides knowing the minute details of things, what else makes life hard? Has it had an adverse affect on your marriage? I have this inkling my wife might have some issues - she's sensitive to light and loud noises, freaks if her "routine" is changed, etc - But she's pretty normal socially.


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Caps 2.0
I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 1996 during time I spent in a mental hospital. It's been both a blessing and a curse at times.

The curse part comes from things like, among others, taking language literally and having trouble understanding things like irony, teasing and sarcasm. Sometimes I'll be ringing up a customer at work and they'll say something that sounds like a compliment, but it turns out to be a joke and an insult. To my ear, it's all the same. My speaking is often verbose, oftentimes too formal, and has certain tics, most notably starting many of my sentences in my interviews with words like "alright", "okay" and "cool". Those tics were attacked by a user on here when it came to their negative feedback for my Adam F. Goldberg interview, and led me to a brief relapse into the self-abusive behaviors of my teens and 20s, including hitting myself in the head and screaming profanities and hateful things to myself at the top of my lungs.

Physically, it's mixed. I wasn't able to ride a two-wheel bike until I was almost 10 years old, and physical education was my worst subject out of all the subjects I was bad at in my school days. I exercise these days, but my preferred form of exercise is walking around my neighborhood. I try and keep clean, but it isn't easy, and I've often been complained about at work for my hygiene and the condition of my clothing.

When it comes to friendships and relating to people, I have quite a few friends, but most of them are older than I am. Of the friends I had in my childhood, the Monti family have been the only friends I've really kept in touch with as an adult. Other than that, I've only been able to get along with people my own age once I became an adult, but especially in my 30s.

I would often discuss life with Asperger's Syndrome on RetroJunk, and I, along with the other users who dealt with it, was often attacked and made fun of for having it. We all revealed a lot about ourselves on that forum and came to know each other very well. I was called things on RetroJunk like "Mongoloid" and "Ignorant Aspie F-Bomb", and those words hurt. My mother had no sympathy for me, though. She said they were just words on a page written by people I would never meet, and I couldn't tell what the intent behind words were just by reading them. She would say it's a beautiful day in several different tones of voice to indicate that you can't tell what a person is feeling by their words, but when you're called a retard or a liar, you know what's behind those words, and it isn't respect or friendliness.

I was not a good student, preferring to concentrate on pop culture in my high school years as opposed to what we were supposed to be studying. The concentration on pop culture turned out to be a blessing, and this is related to Asperger's. One of the aspects of Asperger's is an intense focus on a particular subject. For me, it was the pop culture of the 1980s, which I turned to in the 1990s and 2000s as a form of escape from the problems I was dealing with in that decade, not only with my AS diagnosis, but with things like extensive bullying, the death of my father when I was 12, and the codependent, toxic and abusive relationship my mother and I had in the last 15 years of her life.

I turned to the pop culture of the 1980s because I saw in that decade what I aspired to the most, things like maturity, calm, and being happy with life. The pop culture of the 80s helped me through some of the darkest times of my life, and has stayed with me as my life has improved in my 30s. As a result of that, I've been able to do scores of interviews with talents who were active in the 1980s, many of whom are my Facebook friends, and several of whom, like Kimmy Robertson of "The Last American Virgin", Jennifer Rubin of "A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors", and Debra Lamb of 80s cult classics like "Deathrow Gameshow", have become dear friends whom I regularly exchange texts with and get advice from.

That's life with Asperger's Syndrome for me, and thankfully, things have been better for me in my 30s than they were in my teens and 20s, and life just keeps getting better for me.
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Vaporman87

Thanks for the incite into the struggles you’ve had in the past as well as present day, Caps. I wonder how the difficulty in distinguishing between sarcasm and seriousness, as well as the other communication problems you mentioned, are improved or worsened when it is done online with text communication?

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jkatz
Was diagnosed with Asperger's in the 4th grade. Life was hard for a long time, but with jobs, regular social interaction, and mindfulness exercises (especially meditation) I like to think I've improved a lot. Like Caps, I struggled in school and like Benjamine, I sometimes have memory lapses, but I'm working on that.

The biggest challenge I have is communication. Sometimes it's hard for me to explain my thoughts and ideas to other people so I end up condensing and simplifying to the point where it's not want I wanted to say at all. Some lights and noises bug me, but isn't that true for most folks anyway?
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Rick Ace Rhodes
There has been some speculation that I have it. Since I became a teenager my parents have believed I have it. I've even had some friends tell me they think I have it.

Personally, I don't think I do. I don't really match up that well with the symptoms. I have even been to therapy before and have brought this subject up to the person I was seeing. She didn't diagnose me with it.
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Vaporman87

It makes you wonder just how precise the process of coming up with an Asperger or Autism diagnosis really is. I have a feeling there are some misdiagnosed folks out there

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echidna64
Thanks guys for your support and for sharing some of your own experiences!

One of the (many) reasons why I like Retro-Daze is because I feel like I can be myself. I read once that many of the traits of autism can appear to vanish when somebody is in their element. 

It can be tough to diagnose since it is criteria-based meaning that people on the spectrum can have different "quirks" that can also range in severity. It seems like the field is undergoing a bit of a Renaissance, breaking away from myths about lack of empathy and so on.  

Personally, I struggle with communication, executive functioning (planning, decision-making), and organization. Creativity is definitely my asperger "superpower," my mind easily wanders off into like a trance-state about Indiana Jones sequels and so on. The biggest issue I have is multi-tasking or if my train of thought gets interrupted which is pretty common in family dynamics. 

The statistics are pretty scary- that 80% of Asperger and NT (Neurotypical) marriages end in divorce, but I'm never gonna give up. 

I'm glad to hear that life seems to be getting better for most of you guys. I always enjoy your celebrity interviews Caps, they are very entertaining and respectfully done.   
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Benjanime
agreed echidna, the site has been a complete blessing compared to the experience of being on retrojunk and getting into conflict with some of the more trollish members there, and taking notice of the infamous "war room" user forum where certain members got called out, but retrojunk has been a shadow of its former self since 2010 and i have no reason to go back now.

the positive about it i can give though is staying in touch with whatever popular rj members i could get hold of, i know a handful are already here, but i also added some on social media and on steam. i'm glad to know that i'm not a rarity in being on the spectrum on here though, it's always intriguing to hear how it's affected others and not just me giving my own perspective here.
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