Look me in the eye

My life with Asperger's


  • On Amazon
  • ISBN: 978-0307396181
  • My Rating: 6/10

My notes

Asperger's exists along a continuum.

Asperger's is something you are born with – not something that happens later in life.

Asperger's is not a disease. It's a way of being.

People with Asperger's or autism often lack the feelings of empathy that naturally guide most people in their interactions with others.

Successful conversations require a give and take between both people.

We do not naturally care about people we don't know.

For much of my life, being different equated to being bad, even though I never thought of myself that way.

Caring – or pretending to care – about other people is a learned behavior.

Sometimes I think I can relate better to a good machine than any kind of person. I've thought about why that is, and I've come up with a few ideas. One thought is that I control the machines. We don't interact as equals. No matter how big the machine, I am in charge. Machines don't talk back. They are predictable. They don't trick me, and they're never mean.

I didn't like cities. They were full of people – people who made me feel anxious, people I didn't know hot to relate to. I never felt safe in a city or a crowd.

I wanted to make friends, but I didn't want to engage in the activities I saw them doing. So I just watched.

It's clear to me that regular people have conversational capabilities far beyond mine, and their responses often have nothing at all to do with logic.

The trouble was, the higher I advanced in the corporate world, the more I had to rely on my people skills and the less my technical skills and creativity mattered. For someone like me, that was a formula for disaster.

Many descriptions of autism and Asperger's describe people like me as "not wanting contact with others" or "preferring to play alone". I can't speak for others, but I'd like to be very clear about my own feelings: I did not ever want to be alone. I played by myself because I was a failure at playing with others. I was alone as a result of my own limitations, and being alone was one of the bitterest disappointments of my young life.

I was not a team player, so I needed to work on my own. But what could I do that might make money?

For ten years, I had listened to my bosses tell me that I could not communicate or work with other people. Now the stakes were higher. And I seemed to be communicating successfully. How could I tell? Because people were coming back.

All the bad things that have happened to me in my life have simply increased my resolve to overcome the obstacles that are thrown in my path.

Many times quitting would have been easier than going on, but I never did. And I never turned to antidepressants or liquor or pot or anything else. I just worked harder. I always figured I'd be better off solving a problem as opposed to taking medication to forget I had a problem.