Sunday, November 18, 2007

Asperger's and Depression - Part 2

In my last post, I introduced the idea of depression in Asperger's, made a few lists and cited a little bit of research. My apologies if I became a bit clinical. To the people who have told me to keep this blog personal rather then following established research, I am listening.

In this post, I will be explaining some of the entries in the lists of the previous post.

Social Troubles related to fitting in.
This should be fairly self explanatory. Despite the appearance of being loners, Aspies often suffer from loneliness. Their poor conversational skills often make it more difficult for them to make and keep friends and to have a social life in general. This leads to loneliness and loneliness leads to depression.

Guilt or Regret over Past Actions
There is some truth to the phrase "this is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you". When an Aspie is stirred to the point of outburst and/or meltdown, they can temporarily lose control. When this happens, invariably something is broken, or something best left unsaid is said. At worst, someone may get hurt or a friendship may be damaged.

The aspie will agonize over this for a long period, often years after the event. The event does not have to be particularly nasty or even large to warrant long term Aspie guilt. often, I will continue to blame myself for conflicts which others, particularly the victims or aggressors, have long forgotten. It is quite a surprise to me that they no longer think about the event however it still usually isn't enough to make me lose the guilt. Carrying an ever increasing amount of guilt around constantly is a fast road to depression.

Miscommunications and Misunderstandings
Aside from the obvious connection with loneliness, miscommunication has the ability to provide the aspie with a great deal of depression. This has happened to me quite often in the workplace, particularly during discussions with the CEO or upper management.

The problem is that people in upper management roles tend to joke quite a bit at other people's expense. This isn't just true for my current employer, it is true for just about every employer I have ever had. I think it's probably a management thing rather than a person thing.

In one recent case, my employer stated that he "did not like paying for services we had not received". Unfortunately, since my employer at the time was fully responsible for preventing those services from being provided, it was a catch 22 and I was powerless to act. I took this to mean that my employer was very displeased with my handling of the whole affair and was blaming me for the problems. Naturally, being something of a perfectionist, I became very depressed.

My employer later corrected me claiming that they had not blamed me. They then use pretty much exactly the same words and unfortunately I couldn't discern any new meaning (despite my employer's obvious belief that they'd fixed the issue).

To this day, the incident still causes me great internal issues despite my employer having completely forgotten it.

Fatigue or Tiredness
Aspies often have sleeping issues because their minds are in constant turmoil thinking over (and translating) the events, gestures and cues of the day. Despite claims to the opposite, aspies do in fact read non-verbal cues but they don't tend to process them until well after the conversation.

Sleeping problems can be worsened by the use of medications to control the Asperger's condition. in particular, drugs such as Ritalin are known for side effects which include sleep deprivation. I'm not going to come down either side with medications - there's no clear winners or losers. If you need them and if they work for you, great. If they have side-effects that you can live with... fine... just make sure that you consider the less visible side-effects (ie: sleep deprivation is a visible side effect but it could lead to depression - which isn't immediately "visible").

More to come
There's still a lot to be covered, but again this post is getting long.

For those keeping a list, I'll try to cover the following in my next post.

  • Very good long term memory

  • Obsessive compulsion

  • Obsession with completeness, order and patterns

  • Difficulty reading of other people's body language expressions and tone

  • Unusual world view/Paradigm

  • Overwhelming feelings and thoughts

  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks


Zach Lassiter said...

Odd, I kinda made a post on how the 'system' just makes people more depressed:

The Blog of TheZach: Existance Sucks

L. Sheldon said...

Is it possible that when your boss said "I don't like paying for services we have not received" s/he just meant that they don't like the situation that they felt compelled to create and that it had no reflection on you? In other words, they didn't like the situation but felt there were no alternatives; they were just trying to commiserate a little?

I just thought I would mention it since I know I have the exact same problem of relaying these things over and over again. Sometimes it helps if I can give myself some kind of solution.

Gavin Bollard said...

In retrospect, I'm certain that's what the Boss said but it's such an unclear statement to me that there's conflict in my mind about it - even though I think I know differently.

I tend to choose my words very carefully and would avoid anything as ambiguous as that.

aspiemom said...

thank you for your post my 16yr old son is an aspie and reading your blogs is giving me new insight to him and how i can help.

D L Bray said...

Great information. I'm pretty sure my cousin and her daughter have AS, but need to learn more about it before even considering bringing up the thought.