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.

-- Freder.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't I tell you that there were tons of folks out there on the spectrum? The idea back in our youth was that if people could hold a job--or on some cases, lots of jobs- and get themselves dressed and fed, they were OK.....that's still the view of a lot of people, despite evidence to the contrary. It's kind of like the era of the white picket fences, families with 2 parents and 2.5 kids, where the moms wore pearls when they cleaned and cooked. It wasn't OK to want anything else because the world of leave it to beaver and father knows best was perfect. Except that child abuse and marital discord were rampant, and many of those pearly moms suffered from extreme depression, and lived on Valium, cigarettes
    and booze. No one talked about depression then-as a state of mind or a medical condition. I'm sure millions of women-and men, but women are my current example--wondered desperately "what's wrong with me?" the "good old days"
    weren't always so hot. Little by little we learn about these things, and as we do, as you eloquently point out, lives are explained and improved. I've always thought Charlie Brown--who I just adore-embodied the depression that no one talked about. But you make a pretty good argument for the source of Charles Schultz' genius. I won't take you up on your bet. My serious. Folding. Cash. is in short supply.


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