Annie's Mailbox: Aspie in Pittsburgh
Dear Annie: I am a 17-year-old who was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 10. My AS is mild and allows me to function better than most. However, I have an individualized education program and access to the learning/emotional support system in my school.
Since I have a mild type of AS, my teachers often tell me they "can't see any hint of AS." But they don't realize how difficult it is for me to talk to them -- or anyone -- about my condition.
I see a therapist on a regular basis, and she has confirmed my diagnosis. Could you recommend a support group? This would be extremely helpful to me, especially since I will be leaving for college soon. -- Aspie in Pittsburgh
Dear Pittsburgh: Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder characterized by some degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior. Treatment includes social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, occupational or physical therapy, specialized speech/language therapy and parent training and support.
You sound very high functioning, which is undoubtedly why your teachers question your diagnosis. The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) center has joined with MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome to provide an online support website at aspergersyndrome.org. Please check it out.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been together for 30 years. "Mitch" is a great guy in all aspects, except intimacy. There's no romance, touching or attention. Sex is infrequent and always mechanical and unemotional. For years, I tried everything -- articles, counselors, conferences -- and nothing changes this man. He says he just doesn't have it in him, which to me translates as, "You are not important enough for me to want to change."
Mitch has taught me not to feel any affection toward him at all. I care about him, and we cohabit well together and have other interests, but we are no more than roommates. So now, in my 50s, I'm finished crying about it, talking about it, fighting about it. I am DONE. I told Mitch I no longer wish to have any intimacy with him at all. Of course, he was blown away by this and now has decided he wants to do better. But it's too late. Those feelings are gone. To me it is like having sex with my brother. And then he had the nerve to say I am blaming him for all this. Really? What do you think? -- Washington
Dear Washington: We think it's too bad Mitch ignored your misery until now, but then, some men don't recognize what's at stake until you hit them over the head with it. Is there any possibility that the romance could be rekindled? It would be hard work for both of you and would require that you get over your anger. But it's not impossible now that you have his complete attention. Please consider counseling together. It seems to us that there may be something worth saving.
Dear Annie: When I read the letter from "Head in the Clouds," I knew I had to write. Go! Do it! I, too, had always dreamed of living overseas. When I graduated from college, I jumped at the chance to work in Scotland. It was one of the best decisions of my life, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
Taking the plunge without the absolute support of parents and family may prove challenging, but "Head in the Clouds" will learn so much about herself, including how strong she really is. Go! -- Oregon
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.