Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Lurking Fear
I was spending my second night in a row out on the couch on my porch, with Honey sitting on me and Pooky trying to, reading Asperger's Syndrome and Anxiety by Nick Dubin, and thinking, how could I possibly convey the deep connections and revelations that I'm seeing here without just quoting passages to the point of copyright infringement, when I suddenly had an insight.
Quoting, quoting, quoting. One of my biggest problems, first pointed out to me by an old ex-girlfriend, is that I'm almost incapable of expressing myself in normal conversation without quoting,
But, quoting someone who is not exactly a friend, but whom many of my oldest friends will recognize in the words:
I would bet you "Serious. Folding. Cash" that Charles Schulz, the lamentably late creator of Peanuts, was an Undiagnosed Aspie.
It's in almost every strip that he ever created for the series, and it's also in the sheer dedication of will whereby the strip was his life and his life was the strip, to the point that his first wife divorced him over it, to the point where the notion of anyone else taking it on or continuing it after his death was almost physically repellent to him.
It's especially in the classic strip, later adapted for one of the television specials, in which Lucy, below her sign reading "Psychiatric Help Five Cents," diagnoses Charlie Brown as having "The Fear of Everything" -- and Charlie Brown literally blows her over with his cry of:
Furthermore, I would bet you that the number of adults walking around out there with undiagnosed Asperger's is potentially astounding.
It wasn't an accepted diagnosis until something like 1993 -- no one was making that diagnosis when I was a little kid, and it wasn't even a glimmer in Mr. Asperger's head until, I think, the early fifties. Something like that.
Peanuts could be a rallying cry that more attention needs to be brought to the diagnosis -- not just to improve the lives of children who suffer with Asperger's, but to explain the lives of some us who always knew that something was wrong -- but never had a word for it.