WeirdWanderer.com has been trucking along for a bit over two months now. Posting these entries is a lot of fun and I hope you’ve been enjoying them along with me. I thought it would be a lot longer before I had follower questions to answer, but some have already come in.
So, this entry will be my first blog Q&A session. As no one specifically gave me permission to use their name, I’m going to keep this session anonymous. For future comments and questions, please let me know if you are okay with having your name shared. Enjoy!
Are you autistic or do you have Asperger’s?
This is a reasonable question, especially considering even the medical community can’t form one team regarding the difference between Aspies and autistics.
Until 2013 the great tome of medical diagnoses known as the DSM listed Asperger syndrome separate from autism spectrum disorder. However, as of the fifth edition of the DSM, this is no longer the case.
My official diagnosis is PDD-NOS, which stands for “pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified”. This is a common diagnosis for people with autism, acting as a kind of catch-all for a condition that can differ significantly from one person to the next.
When were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed late in life, in my middle thirties. There aren’t many resources for adults with autism because, unfortunately, adults don’t look good on billboards and donation requests. Basically, we don’t bring in the charity money like cute kids do.
I think the main benefit of an adult diagnoses rests in having a way to describe myself. Before being diagnosed, I never knew how to make people understand. It makes things easier to have a terminology to fall back on, not just externally when interacting with NTs, but also internally, to better understand myself.
What sort of van are you looking for?
My resources are pretty thin, so I’m not picky. My only requirements at this point are that it be mechanically sound, road-legal and not leak in the rain. Beyond that, if I have a choice, I’d prefer a standard-length cargo van with no high-top and painted basic white for stealth.
If I should find myself with even greater breadth of choice? I like boxy vans – older Fords or the newer Chevys. If I have a van, I want it to look like a van, not someone’s version of a big sports car.
Why do you want to travel?
On the surface I suppose my answer is the same as anyone else’s. I want to have experiences. I want the freedom to roam where I will.
Going a little deeper – I’ve never really felt myself to be part of the world around me. Yet, at the same time, I love observing the world – its patterns and processes. Life fascinates me. I want to wander, observing and recording the things I see.
What do you do for a living?
For now, we are a one-income family. My wife is a teacher at a college, and we live on her income. One of the negative aspects of my autism is that I find it very difficult to hold down a normal job. This is actually the hardest part of my condition because it’s so limiting and so hard for NTs to understand.
I can do stuff. I can communicate. I can even seem normal for short periods of time. Because I was diagnosed late, I spent my childhood and young adult life – prompted by abuse and fear – scrambling to slap together imperfect mechanisms for hiding my true self. It’s like keeping a car running with duct-tape and bits of wire. It may work, but it’s not exactly factory spec.
People see the car and say “Well, that seems to run fine. Why can’t you drive cross-country in it?”
What they don’t realize is that it’s good for a few miles but then pieces start falling off. That’s basically me. I’ve been able to interview and even hold a job for a while, but then pieces start falling off, eventually leading to a total breakdown. Worse yet, every time this happens, my tolerance for it lessens. Now I have a hard time not having an anxiety attack just interviewing for a job.
This blog, my YouTube channel, and other things in the works, are my attempt to work around my issues. Of course, it can take a long time to develop an actual income from such things, but I’m hopeful.
Okay, so those were some questions I received and, hopefully, answered. Thanks for sending them and please keep them coming. Don’t be shy. I’m a big believer in the asking questions, and I’m happy to answer them.
Take care, be safe and, as always…
EMBRACE YOUR WEIRD!