Autistic Spectrum Digest (Autism) Issue 22, September 2015 - Page 28

Asperger`s is often referred to as a mild form of autism, but is there really anything mild about having Asperger`s? One of the problems with having Asperger’s is that sometimes people underestimate how difficult things can be for themselves. It seems as if they can push it to one side, and simply get on with their lives. But this doesn’t last forever, and at some point the impact of this will catch up with them. Autistic crashes are common in people with Asperger`s. This is when somebody has done everything they can to fit in to society – maybe going out and copying what they see others doing – socialising or conforming to social norms, everything that comes `unnaturally` to them, right up until the day when they can`t. And the years of supressed stress and anxiety hit them in one go. To anybody observing them during the course of the preceding years, they probably would have said that they looked as if they were coping extremely well. But this is the thing, it is not about how somebody looks on the surface. It is about what is actually going on inside their head. This depends on the definition of mild. It is true that when compared to classic autism physical symptoms may be less obvious. People with Asperger’s tend to be verbal, and in the eyes of somebody who isn’t familiar with autism this probably looks like a massive difference in severity. But in reality Asperger`s comes with a wealth of potential problems. The levels of anxiety, and stress that somebody with Asperger’s may experience can lead to severe panic attacks, depression, and self-doubt. Some people with Asperger’s might excel in some areas of their lives, but still find themselves unable to ever truly achieve independence, be it with travelling or living alone 28