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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.

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Identity, a ramble

This is something I’ve been thinking about for maybe a month or so.  My thoughts are not fully coherent yet and I have not yet figured out a good way to articulate the things that I am thinking, so I don’t know how much sense this post will make.  Still, I figure that I can give it a shot and see how it goes.

I have been thinking about the concept of self-ness and identity.  Specifically, of what exactly that’s made of.  Really, this is sort of a metaphysical, quasi-religious, quasi-philosophical type of question, but part of what inspired it was my diagnosis of Asperger’s, so I figured it could put it here.  Basically, I am wondering what exactly brings about my sense of me, my who-ness.  It’s hard to ask the question because it’s hard to put words to what I’m thinking of.

Ok, so I have a concept of self.  My personality, if you will.  Since getting my diagnosis, I started working on integrating that into my identity.  It is sometimes said that Asperger’s is not something a person has, it’s something that a person is.  What Asperger’s really is (as far as I know, at least) is a neurological difference.  My brain structure is different somehow than the “normal” brain structure, and that does not just impact how I function, it impacts who I am.

Additionally, I have been reading a few books by Oliver Sacks.  He writes some interesting things on neurological problems that impact identity.  Then a few days ago I was at a pagan gathering, and I listened in on a conversation from some people regarding the idea of eternal souls.  So then I started wondering, for those who believe in souls, where do they see the line between soul and body in making up a person’s identity?

I grew up as a very conservative christian, and I am aware of their basic idea of things.  “You do not have a soul.  You are a soul, you have a body.”  In other words, your “self-ness” is only your soul, which just happens to be attached to your body for a while.  Many of them seem to deny the possibility that something as mundane as physical form can impact one’s self.  I don’t know much about what atheists would say to this questions, but I suppose at least some of them would take the opposite stance, that our self is purely a matter of physical form, neurology, brain chemicals, etc.  Nor do I know a whole lot about what pagans would say, aside from the basic fact that there is probably a plethora of opinions out there.  I still haven’t figured out what I think.  I sort of believe in a soul, I guess.  At the very least, I’m not so sure that I am only my body and nothing more, and I don’t really know what other options there are.

Yeah, this wasn’t very coherent.  Maybe I’m wondering where the line is between body and soul?  I keep trying to figure out if there is an atheist version of this question, but I’m having trouble figuring out how that would work.

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