If you have read much here, you know I've been working hard to understand my emotional health. It's improved by leaps and bounds in the last five years, but there remain many aspects I can't and don't understand.
Last night I watched a YouTube video by Dave Plummer (Dave's Garage, see below) where he announced he has autism. Me mentioned a few things that I recognized, so I looked into it a bit, and think I do too.
My symptoms off the top of my head:
- Not engaging with mom when I was an infant (anxious attachment, sort of).
- The "twiddle fingers" thing I did back in first- and second-grades, and the dissociation associated with it where I blocked off my senses: I heard nothing and I saw nothing while doing this. Lynn Merritt, a friend who sat next to me, noticed me doing this and would touch me to get me out of it. Maybe that's where I began learning to mask.
- The pencil twiddling I still do, and holding onto the same pencil for decades.
- Feeling uncomfortable and sometimes pain when I look people in their eyes.
- Inability to feel things that others obviously feel.
- Sensitivity to some smells, inability to differentiate pleasant smells from each other.
- Inability to see others behaviors as being motivated by love, and am baffled by why others do the things they do.
- Inability to feel most emotions, particularly the good ones.
- I got into a career where I can go on and on about a thing I know well, and nobody gets bored: a university professor. I can teach the same thing year after year and not get bored talking about it.
- I frequently say things in an indelicate or non-diplomatic way which at the time seemed a really good way of expressing it.
- I love things over people.
- I walked early and talked early, but my coordination was always poor; I still can't throw.
- My handwriting is nearly illegible.
- I tried writing a story, but can't get past chapter 1.
I took the QA test (Simon Baron-Cohen, 2001) and scored 36; he said anything above 32 was strong evidence that autism is influencing behavior.
Until last night I didn't have the slightest inkling that I might share any behaviors with the autistic.
So I'll make an appointment for testing, see what's there. There is no cure, but I can learn to cope, if I have it. Right now it seems to explain a lot.
P.S. I bought Dave's book on Amazon: Secrets of the Autistic Millionaire by David William Plummer (2021) It's pretty good, so far. Interesting life, well told. Good info on how autism affected his life.