A small measure of peace

After I completed the investigation, research and analysis phase of my Aspergers discovery there was a brief period of calm.

  • I was Autistic!
  • OK.

I was in my 40s, a graduate, gainfully employed in a specialist field, married and we had been blessed with wonderful children.

Instant Replay

Then suddenly my entire life was being replayed in my head, passing through some kind of Autistic prism.

Everything made more sense.

  • That’s why I was always so curious about the world
  • That’s why I asked lots of questions
  • That’s why I loved books
  • That’s why I was obsessed with maps, travel, other lands, outer space
  • That’s why I didn’t have any friends

Pure analytical thought, devoid of any emotion.

Safe ground.

Then the grieving hit me, like a freight train!

But as I explored my grief, I realized that I wasn’t actually grieving for me.

I was grieving for a little 6 year old boy who was about to embark on a journey that I wouldn’t wish on the most heinous criminal!

Although I knew intellectually that little boy was me, I was relating to him emotionally as if he was a news story!

But not for long.

Finding me

I think I sobbed, on and off, for about a month, as I had when my Father died.

  • But I had survived the horrors of High School and College
  • It was ancient history
  • I was now a grown man

This was a little boy, innocent, happy, care free and about to begin a life-sentence for a crime he hadn’t committed.

  • And he was going to have to do it all alone
  • More than 20 years before Aspergers was given a name!

But that was ME and I wanted to go back and protect him, tell him things that not even his parents told him, rescue him!

I wasn’t relating to this boy as my younger self, I was relating to him as a Father would to his child.

Going back

I have often wished I could go back and meet me as a young boy, before the horror of my school years.

There would be so much to say, to do, to just watch, so I framed it as I imagine it would be done in a movie.

I have 2 minutes to speak with my 6 year old self.


The following is inspired by dreams I had after my Father died.

Written on Fathers Day 2012 – in his memory

‘Hello Sam’

  • ‘Hello Sir, who are you?’

‘I’m a family friend and I have come a very long way to see you Sam’

  • ‘Where do you live Sir?’

‘On the other side of the World. Listen son, I don’t have a lot of time and I need to tell you some things’

  • ‘Can you show me on this map where you live please?’

‘I will, but first I need you to listen to what I have to say, because you won’t be hearing these words again for a very long time’

  • ‘Wow! OK’

‘Sam, you will be starting school soon and everything is going to change’

  • ‘Yeh, Mom told me about that, they have lots of books and even telescopes and………’

‘Yes they do and you’ll learn about the planets and Math……..’

  • ‘I love numbers!’

‘I know you do’

‘Sam, you are a very special and wonderful person but not everyone will we able to see this or understand you’

  • ‘Sometimes Mom and Dad can’t answer my questions’ (chuckling)

‘You might not have as many friends as the other children and you might spend a lot of time alone and sometimes you might feel sad’

  • ‘That’s OK, I have lots of books and we have a big garden’

‘Sam there might be times when you feel very sad and lonely.

But whatever happens always remember that it will get better and one day it will all, all be OK.’

  • ‘What’s wrong with your eyes?’

‘Oh! Just some dust’

  • ‘Can you come back and visit again?’

‘No I’m sorry I can’t and I’m so sorry that it took me so long to find you.

It is so very good to finally meet you’

  • ‘Can I go visit you?’

‘Yes you can Sam, I’ve prepared a room for you at our home.

But you will have to find your own way there’

  • ‘Can you show me on the map?’

‘There are no maps to where I live Sam, but you won’t need one.

Just follow your heart’

  • ‘I don’t understand’

‘I know you don’t, but you will Sam, I promise you that you will.

And I’ll be waiting there for you, on the porch, when you arrive.’

  • ‘Do you wanna say hi to Mom and Dad before you go Sir?’

‘I would like that Sam, but they won’t be able to see me.’

  • ‘That’s funny (chuckles) sometimes it seems like they can’t see me either’
  • ‘I think you have dust in your eyes again’


‘Follow your heart with everything that you do Sam and remember that one day it will ALL be OK.’


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. monkeybrainsaspie
    Jun 17, 2012 @ 14:51:46

    I love that movie. It is full of great lines.

    I am 43 and only just in my first year of learning of my Asperger’s. When I first found out, there was such immense relief in the knowing, the understanding. The discovery phase was (and is) exhilarating. When the grief phase hit, I was NOT prepared for it. It was shocking. If this was so very good (and it was/is), then why this grief?

    Now I get it, of course. It took a while to process but I understand the grief in much the same way you came to. I get a day here and there — sometimes just a cluster of hours — where I still have to wade through these feelings that can most definitely include self-pity. As if I could ever be different from what I am…as if I would ever WANT to be different but there are difficulties and even the best of us have days when the difficulties FEEL like they outweigh the rest. The reality, of course, is that they don’t…or at least, that there is no other way to look at it and still move forward. (This sounds far more depressing than I meant it to!!)


    • spectrumscribe
      Jun 24, 2012 @ 16:13:14

      Fully accepting and embracing our Autism is a work in progress. Discovering our Autism relatively late in life means there may also be grieving for the ‘lost years’, opportunities (fill in the blank)


  2. Angel
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 07:33:50

    This post moved me so much that I couldn’t comment when I first read it. I love this post. I have to be honest the thought of me writing a letter to my younger self is too much. It feels very painful, but I think it is something I need to do for some healing. Not now of course, I am in the middle of a big move and that would be plain silly to put myself through that! 🙂

    When I saw this post I had just had a meltdown about wanting to protect my son. He had his reevaluation and it hit me that I could not protect him from everything. I wrote about it on my other blog. Your words pierced my heart and made me happy, so happy for you.

    p.s. ‘I love numbers!’ hee hee And you are right “one day it will ALL be OK.”

    Thank you for sharing!


  3. spectrumscribe
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 16:19:30

    Thanks for your kind words Angel. It wasn’t easy for me to write, particularly as I was writing it on Father’s Day and there were a few tears.

    We can’t go back to protect our younger selves, but with our writing and our advocacy, we can set out a few lamps to help light the path for those who follow us, be they parents, children or those discovering their Autism later in life.

    It happened, we survived and we are still here.

    Thanks for sharing.


  4. Michele Schwien (@MLSchwienD)
    Sep 30, 2012 @ 21:39:09

    Tears are streaming down my face. Your post took me back to when my son was diagnosised. Soon after I was at a Michelle Garcia Winner conference. One discussion was regarding when/how to tell your child of the diagnosis. …So many thoughts emotions moving through me. …

    “Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” (August Wilson)


  5. spectrumscribe
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 02:24:58

    I am reminded of the myth of Orestes, which Scott Peck used as a mental health metaphor in ‘The Road Less Traveled’


  6. Michele Schwien (@MLSchwienD)
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 08:23:05

    I was not aware of Peck’s book so I had to look it up. Delaying gratification . . . a behavior my son struggles with. Frankly, who really wants to do that? There certainly is joy in being able to be lost in time, simply enjoying the current moment. i try to learn from my son in this regard. I think the difficulty comes from then not being able to ALSO organize/plan/anticipate for the future. This is where I try to teach my son ways to use scheduling aides. It is a slow process.


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