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Monday, 22 April 2013

Aspergers and Silver Linings

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) Poster

Watched the film Silver Linings with Ethan at the weekend.
Fantastic film, loved it (it's all about people, which is right down my street). I'm not sure whether the main character was meant to have Aspergers, but he certainly had mental health issues, and these included some Aspergers traits. So often, when Aspergers-type conditions are portrayed in the media, the people with these traits are presented as quirky, funny loveable types: dysfunctional socially but adorable for it.
In reality, it's not funny being woken up at 4am by someone obsessed with finding something right there and then and not being able to rest until they do. It's not funny being at a party with your partner and them telling a friend that their dress does nothing for them, in fact it makes their tummy look fat. And it's not funny when your partner dominates conversation with their zeal on a particular topic that no-one else is interested in. But, somehow, when all this is conveyed on a film and it's happening to somebody else, it's really funny and endearing!
Ethan joined in laughing at the guy's funny ways - which is good. It shows he knows the difference between acts of Aspergers and what's accepted as 'normal' in society. But afterwards he was a bit subdued.
Ethan is no-where near as outlandish as Pat in the film but, even so, I think, in a way, watching this oddball guy and his outlandish ways, highlighted to Ethan that he is different. The film was laughing at what Ethan is. Which is both a good and a bad thing for Ethan to experience, I guess. Laughing a degree!
Have started working part-time, now that Oliver, our youngest is going to pre-school for half the week. It's care work, so more of the same. But at least it's something I should be a bit of an expert on by now! And it's nice to feel that I'm doing something that makes a positive difference to people.
Anyway, I was working yesterday (Sunday). Ethan had been up since 4.30am for his work and got home about midday having only managed about 4 hours sleep the night before. He helped Sam with his homework, took the kids out to the park and arrived 15 minutes early at a party that Oliver was at to take over from me so that I could have half an hours downtime before I went to work.
I felt so lucky to have him. He'd been at work all morning, come home to 3 crazy, noisy kids and a messy house (all pretty tough things for someone with Aspergers to deal with) and, with only one espresso coffee to fuel him on his way, had got stuck straight into the childcare role. Coming early to that children's party to socialise, yet more, in a noisy, chaotic environment must have been a difficult choice. But he did it. Because he was thinking of me.
Ethan is capable of empathy. He needs reminding sometimes to tune into it, but he can do it. He doesn't always get it right. Sometimes he just can't be bothered. Sometimes neither can I. But, as much as we can, we try to be the best we can be for each other, within the constraints we have. Not using our past or our condition or our personalities as an excuse, but neither pretending they're not there. And bearing with each other too. We've both done a lot of that over the years!


  1. The female character must have had Asperger, the male character has bipolar.

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