Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Aspie Macrobiologist

Here is a story from Healing is a Choice
by Steve Arterburn. I've entitled the story, The Aspie Macrobiologist, because (while Dr Arterburn does not say so) I think many Aspies can identify with him.

This man has a very high IQ and is a microbiologist and nuclear physicist -or at least he has the degree and the experience to be one. He is, however, a postal worker who drives his route alone in a truck, comes home to an empty house without even a pet, watches television, goes to bed, and starts the whole process all over again the next day.

He suffers from social anxiety. People drive him away or up the wall. He is uncomfortable every moment he is around others. This discomfort often leads to inappropriate interactions, which have caused him to lose job after job. Following his last job fiasco, he saw a newspaper ad about joining the postal workforce and has been able to hold down a job as a traveling postal worker for a few years. He has been able to earn a consistent paycheck, but he is miserable.

It is difficult to show up day after day and do a good job as a postal worker if you are called to be a microbiologist. Many of our listeners are postal workers...and they love their jobs...they are energized by the job. It would be a very difficult job, however, if you believe that everything in you was designed for microbiology. Postal delivery would be a very tough job if you have memories of wanting to know details about how things work and spent hours as a boy looking at leaves and seawater and anything else you could fit under your microscope.

I asked this man with an IQ far beyond mine, how has the ability to study and focus far beyond my ability, "What have you done to help yourself feel more comfortable around other people?" He had done nothing. He had never sought any help for himself. He had never Googled "anxiety" or searched the yellow pages to find a counselor...he held on to the notion that he would one day figure out the answer and help himself live the life he wanted. At his age, however, the rut he was living in was growing deeper and deeper. Perhaps talking to me was the first step toward helping his life.

If this sounds like you- and a few years ago, this guy sounded like me- please seek out help. You CAN learn to interact in the social world. You CAN overcome the obstacles to living the life you dream of. I know my posts have been a little down lately, but that's because I'm going through a sad family situation, and after awhile the sun will shine on both me and my family. It will for you, too, if you work on it.

Interested in the book? Read the Amazon reviews (you'll learn a lot just from the reviews), then get it from the library!


Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello SavedAspie,

Amen to that!

It sounds like a cliche, but today really can be the first day of the rest of your life.

For example, in elementary and junior high school, I was earning grades well below my abilities. I basically decided the summer after 8th grade that in high school I would do much better.

It was a tough row to hoe, but I got back into the Honors courses (from which I'd been removed due to my underperformance), worked my way into the top 5% of a highly competitive high school class and went on to Cornell, graduating less than three years after finishing high school.

When I met Emily, I was 29 1/2 and had never had a girlfriend. I think I met her at just the right time, as I was just starting to change a few things about the ways I related to people.

(Not to mention that I've learned - and changed - a heckuva lot more since we started dating!)

I've read The Love-Shy Survival Guide - it just came out this year and it's a good starting point for many lonely people who want to turn their lives around. It's packed with specific and practical - if blunt - advice.

I recently reviewed this book for Asperger Adults of Greater Washington, and I think some of the members will use my presentation to improve their lives.

I've begun helping fellow Aspies connect better with the folks around us. If you think I may be able to help you, please go ahead and drop me a line. As long you're reading this, it's never too late!


Jeff Deutsch

SavedAspie said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for your comment. Yes, I am familiar with your work. I'm actually a member of AAGW. But you wouldn't know it from that picture ;-)

Keep up the good fight!

Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello SavedAspie,

You did indeed mention to me previously that you're in AAGW. My comment was really a shout-out to your loyal readers.

Have a good night, and thanks again for the inspirational post!

Jeff Deutsch

Anonymous said...

Hi SavedAspie,

Stumbled onto your blog and just wanted to say I'm so glad you're blogging and thanks for the hope you offer here.

SavedAspie said...

Thanks, rhemashope, for the comment. Stop by anytime!