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medicine » Blogging AS an Aspie
Matt has Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is writing this blog so that people can gain more of an insight into how people with the condition process thoughts, feel emotions, react to situations and generally handle life.

24 Jun 08 Marine disruptive pattern material

I was visiting a medical school today, and though that I might blog about the social aspects of the open day, and how I coped with them. Note that this post is paraphrased from a confidential journal I’m doing to help me keep track of things.

The title of this is called “Marine Disruptive Pattern Material”, because it is the first thing I noticed. Not the first thing of the day, but the first thing I noticed when I sat down to lunch. As you might expect, the foyer was rather busy, and there were no free tables; I noticed a young-ish lady sitting on her own, so I politely asked if I could sit next to her, and she said I could. My observation skills picked out that she was wearing a blue DPM style bra and not that I was looking, it was slightly sticking out over her blue strappy top.

We got talking, of course – who can shut me up? – and we spoke about school, A levels, exams, the open day itself and general things like how old we were, where we were from and so on. Funnily enough, I never conversed on any topics that could be considered inappropriate. The only thing I regret was not getting R’s phone number or surname (for FaceStalking)!

However, I did have a “get a grip” moment with myself, when I seemed to lose my flirty personality. I was sitting at another empty table later in the day waiting for the next tour of the campus, and a good-looking young lady came and sat next to me. She was wearing tight-fitting jeans and a white top. I didn’t even open my mouth to say a word. Something must be up with me…

For the rest of the time, I was just talking to the student guides, finding out about the place. I felt comfortable enough to mention my Asperger’s to one of the 2nd year lasses, and she was quite supportive and stuff, looked out for me for the rest of the day, which was nice of her!

Socially, no problems. But then, I always knew I can cope with things, it’s just being able to prove to the service provider that I can do so, without having to go behind their back and breaking their risk assessments…

05 Feb 08 Dr. Ruth Winters

I’m quite a fan of BBC One’s Casualty, and was rather saddened by Saturday’s episode, which saw Ruth hang herself in her room because she couldn’t cope with life’s many pressures. Ruth was an excellent F2 in the eyes of many people, medically speaking her knowledge and commitment to healthcare was second to none. Although quite obviously lacking in the social arena, I noticed quite early in the series that this was a choice she had made; she was there to work, not to socialise.

However, there were also many times during the series where I detected what you may call “Aspie traits”, that is an apparent non-willingness to socialise, to be narrowly focussed on an obsessional interest and other such things. At the same time, I wanted to scream (particularly to Abs, the mental health liaison senior staff nurse) for somebody to notice what this girl was putting herself through. Personally speaking, I know what putting yourself through too much can do, but I also think that Ruth was damn good at hiding how much pressure she was under.

Perhaps it is because I am an Aspie that I can spot traits in others so well, compared to a neurotypical. For instance, most people passed off Ruth’s keenness to research as enthusiasm, I saw it as a sign of becoming obessional, and queried the likelihood of obsessional compulsive disorder. Not going out for drinks after work was seen as Ruth imitating Connie, and becoming a mini ‘Ice Queen’, I realised it was due to a lack of social confidence, a low self-esteem, masked by a thick layer of control and non-emotion – the very traits that can be so easily spotted in a specialist college environment such as the one I currently attend.

The next episode

Since seeing the episode on 9th February, I have this to add: Well done to Dominic (Dr. Doom) for noticing what is wrong with her, and for confronting the issue. That to me is the best way to tackle it. However, he gave up far to easily; yes it would have been wrong for him to kiss her, but under the circumstances he could have hugged her, and calmly talked to her. If he’d tried a little harder, he may have discovered the underlying reasons as to why her confidence is so low.

Well done to Harry Harper for reading her diary, and correctly proportioning the blame onto the ED. I sincerely hope he does make the diary public next week, as it will be an education to all involved in such stressing and emotive professions as to how apparent confidence is often used as a mask to hide low levels of self-esteem.

A final, rather cynical thought: Ruth’s first though upon coming round will be “I’m such a crap doctor I can’t even get my own suicide right!”