Level of function seems to be such a complicated thing. Maybe it isn’t complicated and I just haven’t figure it out yet, but right now it seems awfully complex. According to my therapist, I am “high functioning.” Or at least, I am in certain areas. I am in a long-term relationship, I am capable of having friendships that last on the scale of years, I clean myself and do chores and take care of the cats without needing another person watching over my shoulder all the time, etc etc etc. Unfortunately, even with my relative good relationship abilities, I still have huge problems in the social arena. I know that my black & white thinking tends to be inaccurate, but I still have to struggle with it. I can have real difficulty in controlling my emotional states.
A few weeks ago I was talking to my mom about my recent diagnosis. I also mentioned my suspicion that someone else we both know may be an undiagnosed Aspie. He has a rigid adherence to routines, well beyond their functionality. He has always had some level of social awkwardness. He is a deeply analytical thinker. The list goes on. In any case, it’s enough to form a suspicion. My mom’s response was (and I am paraphrasing here), “He can’t have Asperger’s! He’s funtional!” So apparently my mom thinks that all aspies are non-functional, and if a person can hold down a job and have a few friends, they can’t possibly have Asperger’s. I highly doubt my mom is the only person who thinks that too.
So to combat that idea, I provide you with a link to famous people who have or may have had Asperge’rs. Many of them are not only functional, but also incredibly gifted with amazing accomplishments. Asperger’s also gives people some strong gifts, and when we can learn to work within our strengths we can often be anywhere from entirely functional to downright amazing. Thus far every job I have tried to hold down has played to all my weaknesses, rather than capitalizing on my strengths. I have not even tried to work in quite a while because of it. However, I am hoping that I will be able to change that, and find something that is very good for me, and I have even been making some progress in that arena.
“Functional” is a strange word. It’s hard to categorize aspies. And I think, for the most part, that’s ok.