A while ago, I made a few posts about my memories of what I was like as a child, and the ways in which I think having Asperger’s syndrome influenced the sort of child I was. Lately, I’ve been thinking of how I might continue along the same lines, to talk about being an adolescent with Asperger’s.
In online discussion forums about autism and Asperger’s, I’ve seen a few people relate something like “I could always tell that I was a bit different, but it didn’t start really becoming a struggle until I became a teenager.” I think I’d have to put myself in that category as well.
For me, I think a lot of it has to do with having a very rule-based mind. A lot of childhood is about learning to follow rules. Rules to keep you safe, rules about how to treat people around you, rules that allow you to begin to understand how the world works in subjects like geography, math, and language.
I loved the structure of elementary school, with a subject for each hour and a book for each subject. I was able to figure out how things worked, and by the measure of my grades and what my teachers said about me, I thought I was doing really well. I had no idea that my Aspie mind may have had a lot to do with making me take to elementary school like a fish to water.
But as you get older, a lot of areas in life become more complicated, and operating primarily according to rules seems to become gradually less effective and less looked upon as a good thing. The gradualness of it can catch you off guard.
I’ll try to go into more detail about what I mean in later posts. Hopefully they will not be too scattered– I’m finding these topics more difficult to write about because I think my memories of adolescence are perhaps more muddled than my memories of childhood, in that they involve thinking in a way contrary to how my mind prefers to work.
At the same time, I’m thinking back a long way from a very different point of view as a thirty-something adult, but I’m also closer to and less objective (?) about these things because I’m still working on that same transition in thinking even all these years later. Still, I am hopeful that examining them will be helpful to others dealing with the same things.
I think I’ll start by writing about the way I thought about growing up when I was still a child, before it began to happen.