Finding that I need help to cope caring for husband with Asperger's. What is needed is a perspective and techniques to accept his behaviors from those who understand the aspie and how hard it can be to tolerate the changing behaviors and other similarities to mental illnesses, even though it is said that it is not a mental illness. Aging is changing him, and stress from being employed may be getting to him. Then, it follows that I am stressed too.
Here is a post from a caregiver from the past, whose writing has helped me reach out today.
My father had what would now be called Asperger's. There wasn't even considered up until around 20 years ago. With the increase in its popularity on TV (Boston Legal and Parenthood), it is being diagnosed more frequently now. As sometimes happens, it may be being over-diagnosed.
People with Asperger's can be very different. Some can be very high functioning and can learn to get along with people. Others can have difficulty throughout life in holding a job or relating to people. The aim of professionals now is to teach people with Asperger's to get along in the world.
There are a few things that are pretty much the same for people with Asperger's. They do not bond with many people. They may bond with one person very closely. Also, they do not read people well. They have a hard time understanding the expressions or intents of people. Smiles, frowns, tears are hard to understand. They do understand chaos, though, because it jeopardizes the control of the environment. Loss of control can lead to meltdown, which can be very traumatic to everyone. People with Asperger's often have the need to control the environment to prevent internal chaos and meltdown.
Asperger's is not really a mental illness. It is something a person is born with. Often people with Asperger's are obsessed with one thing and excel in it. Some people say Albert Einstein and Bill Gates have Apsperger's. I don't believe that, because they were/are such caring people. I just think both of these men are geniuses. Geniuses can act a bit odd at time, too.
My father was able to function during most of his life. He never made friends or bonded with anyone except my mother... and I'm not even sure of that. He was able to work, but shunned social life, dreaded his children, and couldn't tolerate his grandchildren. He was a fabulous mathematician who was into labeling and lists. As he grew older, he became more autistic, withdrawing to a single chair. He became deaf and totally separate from the world. He developed mixed dementia, but we didn't even realize it until they did the brain scans on his final week of life. He was so separate from the world that the dementia didn't make much difference.
But strangely enough, he was kind and content. I miss him now that he's gone. Having grown up with a parent with Asperger's, I do know how important a sense of self control is. Someone with the disorder needs to be able to control what goes on around them. We have to fit into their world, because we cannot expect them to fit into ours. It is very hard for them. As written before, loss of control can lead to internal chaos, which is when Asperger's looks like mental illness (meltdown). Asperger's itself does not lead to a nervous break unless there is that loss."
Please feel free to go on without me, as I cannot bear to answer questions right now. I will be reading.