7 days left until the merge is complete. Today's glimpse into my life is about autism.


Just a few years ago I was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and bipolar depression.

And knowing those two things, if you also understand their influences, will probably explain a lot about Mormon Guy.

The bipolar explains the dramatic ups and downs that you find here. From ecstatic, on-top-of-the-world posts to the lowest of the low. It's just a reflection of my life.

Autism is harder to implicitly understand. If you get it, then you'll probably be able to understand a million things that have been confusing about me.

If you don't, then here's a short rundown. People with ASD come in all shapes and types. Some are blissfully oblivious to the world around them; others can function with extreme difficulty; others seem almost normal until you start to get close to them or listen to what they say. I'm between the second and the last. Universally, though, people with ASD have brains that process information, especially social cues, differently. Most can't read them at all. And the ensuing effects are somewhat severe. You don't understand sarcasm. You can feel totally alone and unloved in a crowd of people who love you. You can't develop long-term relationships even with people who want to try. You're lost in unstructured social environments like social gatherings. Peer pressure and social influence are dramatically reduced - both positive and negative.

And from the outside, to people who don't understand or know, we appear radically different. We say things that seem absurd. We lay everything out on the table when everyone else keeps their cards close to their chest. And we walk over social cues, malign social grace, and seem to have utter disregard for the social norms that everyone else takes for granted... but we can't even see. And because of our difficulty in communicating according to social norms, some people think we're overly confident. Others think we're incredibly arrogant. Others think we're amazing and heroic. In every case, the feeling is a projection of the person watching. "If I were acting/speaking like that, I would be (insert adjective here)." ...instead of an understanding of the factors at hand.

Which means that very, very few are able to see through it all into reality.

I'm not a hero or arrogant. I'm just completely honest and upfront, totally imperfect, completely alone, totally reliant on people who think I'm self-reliant, and mostly unaware of the social constructs that should be shaping the way I communicate.

This - autism - is one thing I've never been able to share here at (Gay) Mormon Guy because the world is so small.

This is why I struggle with loneliness. It's because I have trouble connecting with people on a personal and individual level - same-sex attraction aside. It's also the key to understanding how I deal with SSA. When I faced the thought that I might never be married in this life, it honestly paled in comparison with another, more foreboding thought. What if I never am able to develop lasting friendships? If I'm unable to connect with people in the first place, then getting married to anyone really isn't an option.
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