15 Apr

Aspergers Syndrome, I’m an Aspie and proud!

Initially this whole thing was a relief but at the same time unchartered territory for me and hard to process and understand.   There doesn’t’ seem to be a definitive description of Aspergers.  The most useful I ahve found comes from the Autism Edu website.

http://www.autismedu.com/glossary.html

Asperger’s Syndrome – Is a pervasive developmental disorder that is characterized by near normal language acquisition accompanied by marked delays in the social domain. Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome have normal to above normal intelligence and tend to have restricted areas of interests. Many people/professionals refer to High Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) as one in the same. There is still a lot of controversy as to whether AS and HFA should be two distinct disorders. It is important to note though that some children diagnosed with classic Autism at an early age can gain so much skills that by the time they are adolescents they do not fit the criteria for Autism according to the DSM IV, but Asperger’s Syndrome.

 

Basically, my brain is wired a bit differently – I see things and process in ways other people don’t.  I struggle with things that other people don’t.  But at least understanding that my brain is wired differently, removes the pressure to be something i am not.  Spending so long trying to be like everyone else causes exhaustion, frustration and contributes to depression.     Instead I can put things in place to avoid the frustration or at least recognise the areas that can cause frustration and when those things do happen – (which they will) I can try react in a way that is appropriate.

Imagine computers, on the whole computers at the same they look similar, some look prettier than others, some have better memory than others, some a larger than others.    Having Aspergers is a bit like being a MAC in the world of computers.  Basically we are the same, but sometimes we are hard to communicate with, sometimes we don’t’ respond as expected,  and some things we do exceptional well don’t take that analogy too far though!

I struggle to keep myself in check, trying not to expect people to understand and treat me differently, trying not to fall into the victim spirit.   I do epically fail on so many occasions I am only at the start of this journey and I hope over time I can make more adjustments and observe my behaviour and thought processes earlier.

I’ll some more later down the line about how it works out in my life.

 

 

11 Apr

Depression part 2

Just over a year ago I wrote a blog post about being diagnosed with depression, you can read it here.   Well it is now another year and a bit further on and things and moved and I think they have progressed.  2 things happened that eventually came together at the doctors.

1 –  A rather daft facebook game testing for autistic traits (that I scored a bit higher on that I was comfortable with), a bit more research just to put my mind led to a desire to have a discussion with my doctor about it.

2– One of the things the doc had asked me to do was to try and identify things that triggered ‘down times’.  I had quite a list of things that caused frustration the combination of which can cause downs.

Just before the summer 2010 I was having that review with the Doctor and as doctors do, he asked what he could do to help, I mentioned both of these things.  He started by looking at the list of things I had pulled together, and looked at the list and pulled out a book about aspergers syndrome.  It turns out my list of frustrations were all part of a bigger list of possible aspergers traits.

So with that list and the discussion of the results from silly online games, we had quite a discussion! The conclusion was that I am a high function aspie.  Aspie is the term used to describe someone who has Aspergers Syndrome.

A rather unexpected turn in the scheme of things, but an eye opener and again, great to be able to understand myself a bit more and realise that so much of my frustration in life is simply the result of not understanding before that my brain is genuinely wired differently from most people.   Okay we all work differently, think differently, act differently and behave differently; we are unique just like everybody else!

I’ll write some more later down the line about how it works out in my life, it is an ongoing process I hope to continue to discover as time goes on.

 

01 Jul

I'm off to Togo tommorow!

As tempting as it might be to make all the To-go to Togo puns, please don’t bother, I WILL have heard them all before! I’m currently sat in my bedroom having led a VERY full of day of orientation for the team who are heading out via Paris tomorrow. My brain is a bit fried, I don’t feel like I have really stopped since the tour. In fact, I know I haven’t, one of my last jobs yesterday was to finalise the list of ‘follow up’ opportunities to pass on and even this morning was a teleconference about a possible tour in 2011! I then had to get my head very quickly in the game ready for the Togo team. I was mostly very pleased with how the day went, until a text from Ali at 2100 mentioning that I had left my packet of anti-malarial meds on the table at home. Thank goodness I am only 12 minutes drive away from home!

I’m tired. I don’t think it is a big deal, I’m not grumpy yet, but I can feel the tiredness from running around on tour! At the same time though, I am REALLY excited. This is the Togo trip that I didn’t think was going to happen. A chance to see the people one last time, a chance to properly hand over to Steve, a chance to get my knife back! I don’t express excitement very well verbally and I’m not sure the team think I am excited, but I know that as soon as I see Samuel in the airport, things will start to get real!

We had a fab time of sharing earlier, and I shared that one of my hopes on this trip was to get away from ‘normal life’ (whatever that is!) and try to make use of the extra time and space such a trip provides to really take hold of the depression issue and give it back to God. I’ve done a great job of analysing it myself. I know myself far better now than I ever did. I have things in place to avoid the dips, Ali is better equipped to cope with me! BUT even amongst all that, I need to allow quality time for God to do some deeper work in me. Weeding a garden is a great analogy when it comes to this stuff. I found the weeds and pulled them out, even dug a bit to find the roots. However, for the garden of my life to be fully restored, some of the underlying soil needs to be modified, balanced out to provide a better growth environment. Such a trip provides some excellent retreat time in the afternoons!

Pray for me at this time;

– That I allow God to do an awesome work in me.

– That the team all stay healthy and safe as we travel and do our thing.

– That handing things over to Steve goes smoothly.

– Pray also for Ali and Dan, for protection over them and a good time until I return.

21 Feb

Depression

Well it has been noted that there has been a lengthily silence in our communication since before the summer. There are many, many reasons that we could draw on, but one in particular has probably had the biggest impact on our lives.
Just before the summer, Tim was diagnosed with moderate depression. This brought a sense of relief but also a period of introspection.
The Facts:
It all began with a series of conversations Tim had with various people leading to a change of mind-set relating to a whole bunch of things. For example, Ali is no longer a cancer victim needing a carer, but a cancer survivor, needing a husband. We finally managed to buy a house, Dan settled into school, a whole series of things were resolved that really had been causing Tim to live on adrenaline. Once those things had been laid down, and no need for the adrenaline to continue running, it meant that the chemical balance in Tim’s body went haywire. The final straw was an occasion when Ali cooked Tuna Pasta bake, but cooked the veg into the bake instead of on the side. Tim simply couldn’t cope with it. No idea why it was such an issue, but it was quite evident that something was very wrong. A couple visits to the doctor and a blood test later, Tim was diagnosed.
The treatment was not medicine, but an offer of counselling and ‘see how it goes now you know what is wrong’ .
The Reaction:
It was a relief to understand why I have been reacting to such strange stuff, but also the start of exploring further into some of my life issues so to speak. There are days when I wonder how on earth Ali ever put up with me! I was also disappointed that he wouldn’t give me meds to help with the processing, but I guess that getting my body back in order and taking every thought captive into obedience is better into the long run!
I would have described the tough times as a black cloud over my head. It was almost constant and to be honest, I had passed it of as ‘everyone has bad days’. I hadn’t really registered that it had become weeks and months. I am sure the un-balance provoked a symptom / tendency that was already underlying but it was bought much more to the surface.
Ali was also relieved to know the reason behind me! Between us we are determined not to allow the diagnosis as an excuse for any of my behaviour, but it has helped with the processing of incidents and the restoration of relationship along the way.
6 Months on:
Well, not really knowing who to communicate what to, it has been very hard to see past the obvious and communicate on mass. I didn’t want to feel like I was not being honest with people, probably a stupid decision, but I couldn’t get past it. However, as you can see, now trying to get back into the communication swing of things. Generally life is going much better, there are very occasional days, mostly moments when I can feel that cloud appearing, but being able to say to people close to me that I can feel it coming on, is often enough to halt it. A little bit of understanding can go a long way. Also learning what can ‘trigger’ it, means being able to process those things quicker and be a little bit more prepared. I am by no means perfect, but I do on the whole feel I have got to grips with things. Ali can probably give you a much better grasp of how I am getting on!
I alluded to not feeling right in my last post about Nigeria. Well it was great to feel so good again! Maybe it is a small fix of feeling good, but it is a wonderful reminder that life can be good and that it is worth striving for. It probably sounds so un-spiritual to be invigorated like that, but God has had his hand upon me all the way. I love music and worship leading, and if I had not been involved, I suspect that I would have been in a far worse state before recognising something was up. Determined to continue renewing my mind through reading the Bible, I know the combination of all these things contribute to the process of ‘getting better’.
With thanks:
I am so thankful for people who have been able to stand by me.
Ali – God’s gift to me, twice it feels!
Geoff – My Pastor who is wise and understanding, who in my mind should have removed me from so much involvement, but I am very thankful that he did not, in fact he did quite the opposite.
Kent – My line manager who with understanding and grace, has help me steer a course through this.
My Cell group – who allowed me to share, and be myself, no longer needing to hide, helping me to be honest about what is going on.
By God’s grace and love we continue to serve him.
Please do talk to me about this! I am happy to talk and share my experiences.

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