Over the past two plus years, I have utilized this space to share with you the challenges and travails of being a person with Asperger's Syndrome as well as Schizotypal Personality Disorder. There are many things about being autistic -- in a non-autistic world -- that can be viewed as negative or, at least, not favorable to blending in with the mass of humanity. Those of us with a form of autism have difficulty communicating with the rest of you and social interactions can be quite frustrating.
But there are times and situations when being autistic has a silver lining. This post is about one of those.
By any definition, I come from a somewhat dysfunctional family. Within my nuclear and extended family, we have had to deal with alcoholism, mental health issues, emotional abuse, extreme marital discord and marital infidelity. These issues have impacted my brother and I in starkly different ways.
Though we both found ourselves unwillingly in the middle of these problems, they have impacted my brother to a far greater extent than me. As an adult, my brother continues to deal with many unresolved issues from his childhood. It is like his formative years were spent in a sometimes toxic cesspool and he soaked it up like a sponge. Though he has tried to leach it out little by little over the past 25 years, much of it still clings to him like an oily film.
While my brother's mind was like a sponge, mine was more like teflon! Most of the crap that went on just slid right off. In thinking about this recently, I realized that my autism is the reason.
I live in my own world most of the time. Amid chaos and confusion, I'm often deep within the labyrinth of my own mind -- Planet Trey. It is because I spend so much time on Planet Trey that I tend not to be impacted by many of the things that swirl around me.
So, while my brother's recollections of our youth are very personal for him, I tend to look at these events and circumstances in a more academic or clinical sense. Yes, I was there and an unwilling participant, but it almost feels as if I was present in the form of a science fiction hologram. In other words, I may have been physically present, but a lot of the time I don't think I was mentally there!
The upshot is that most of the crap didn't get attached to my being. There is little to no oily film for me. This is why I can look back over my past sort of like a casual observer -- someone who was there, but not one of the principal characters. Kind of like sitting in the bleachers watching a game on the field.