I now know loneliness in both worlds. Am I getting anywhere?

That was the question that I asked on November 11th, 2001 when I was still involved in a group therapy program. A lot has changed in the last 11 days. I’ve learned a lot more and have come to get in touch with a lot more of my grief as a result.

I am still very much grappling to accept that I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I mean, I know this, now, yes. But, I still keep sort of denying it, in a sense, hoping it will somehow go away. Hoping that if I work hard enough, for long enough, and believe me I worked damn hard in group therapy, for as long as I could absolutely stand it, that I would break through this void of not feeling for others and the void of not being able to emotionally understand socialization and the pleasures that I’m told others derive from it. — NOPE! And, I get that now. I really do. It hurts inside as it bounces off all that I don’t emotionally understand. It leaves me feeling like damaged goods. Though I think I intellectually know better than to think of myself as damaged goods, it’s very difficult to not when I am now so aware of such an incredible separation between myself and others. This separation is not due to my choosing or to anything that I can change. That’s somewhat of a relief but also somewhat of a grief-causing frustration too.

I really never cared to address this before. I really never had any explanation for this before. Now I do. For better or for worse, now I do.

Interesting, what the answer to my question, at the end of Awakening To Loneliness was.

I now know loneliness in both worlds. Am I getting anywhere?

The answer, as most things in my asperger experience are, has to be an ambivalent and conflicting yes and no. Yes I am getting somewhere. No I’m not really getting anywhere.

On Tuesday November 20, 2001, I was asked to leave the group therapy program. Interestingly enough, I was about at the end of my rope with it anyway. I would have served myself well to have been able to recognize and admit this and make the decision to leave myself, but unfortunately, or fortunately, really, depending on how I look at that, that was not the case. I now realize too, that I had gained from it all I really could and that I just couldn’t keep up to that level of agitated stress and utter stimulation overload any longer. I did my best to share space and time with others and to try to regulate my presentation in such a way that would please others and invite them closer to me in terms of connection. For periods of time I had some success with this.

At first the therapists thought, hey, she can change, this isn’t Asperger’s. That was based on their observations and incorrect interpretation of what they thought this “change” actually meant. When I explained that while I had made an intellectual choice to change certain aspects of my presentation (from feedback and through rote mapping – which I cannot consistently maintain) and explained that this was done purely intellectually and that there was no accompanying emotional change then, I think, they finally started to get it.

It was at this point (for other reasons too) that I was asked to leave. It was a point at which, it seems to me, a big circle was starting yet again to evolve. A circle that “shouldn’t” happen if you are “changing” the patterns and emotional experience that you’ve always known. No matter how hard I tried this was not to be the case. In the last two days, since leaving the group, it has felt so calming to stop banging my head against that wall of false-hope.

I learned a lot about what others need/want/expect from me in order to feel more closely connected to me – this is how I got somewhere. However, I did not learn to feel anything else emotionally from my side of what the “connections” “should” be (as I understand it intellectually from what I was told and re-told”) In this sense I didn’t get anywhere at all.

I continue to try to understand what I just experienced. I continue to try to figure out why I can’t “get it”. Why each time they felt closer to me I would not feel closer to them.

While I noticed a difference in the behaviour of others toward me at one point when I was somehow living up to what they wanted me to do (act like) or be I never quite understood what that difference really meant, emotionally. There was no pleasure in it for me. I only know pleasure in my own world. Pleasure in nature. Pleasure in other aspects of life. I do not know pleasure from shared emotional connection to anyone. It feels scary to admit this because I now know that it can easily hurt other people’s feelings. The feelings that they have that I don’t understand very well. While I might be different emotionally, wired differently emotionally this does not mean that I, in any way, want to hurt anyone else.

The question at this juncture is, what now? Where does what I now know and understand actually leave me?

© Ms. A.J. Mahari 2001