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Monday, 8 September 2014

Aspergers and having a focus

Ah - the double-edged sword that is Aspergers.
Ethan has decided - and I stress, he's decided. I've been going on about his middle-aged spread, unhealthy lifestyle and lack of self-control for years all to no avail. But suddenly, for no apparent reason, he's decided - that now is the time to act. He's on a mission to improve the state of the house and improve the state of himself. In true AS style, he is so determined, so focused - sometimes to the detriment of remembering or prioritising other things that he's meant to be doing - but it's good to see him doing something, motivated, alive rather than slumped in front of the TV or computer once the day is done.
I'm finding myself sometimes having to make three variations of dinner: one version (bland) for the kids, another version (slightly more exciting) for me and another version (minus the carbs, big on protein) for Ethan. Barely a slice of bread or single potato has passed his lips for weeks! Even more impressive, the ice-cream, chocolate, sweets and crisps all within daily site and easy access, haven't been touched. He's not drinking very much or very often. His usual self-gratification and lack of control have given way to a steely self-will.
The other great thing is that the bike that he bought at huge expense a few years ago which has hardly used for the last 24 months, is being used again. He's even found a like-minded friend to go cycling with. And his new-found purpose seems to be doing him good. Whether it's just that - having a purpose, or whether it's this new found friendship in a cycling partner that seems to be blossoming, or the benefits of exercise (which not only gives a release of endorphins but also, essentially, gives Ethan headspace away from chaotic family life) Ethan is easier to be with. I'd even go so far as to say he's pleasant to hang out with! He's got more energy, he's irritated less, he's interacting with the kids more and he's helping out more at home without moaning about it. The essential ingredient to this happy state lasting is that he gets time to focus on his tasks (right now he's happily measuring the front room wall ready for its destruction next week), that he's allowed to maintain his regime of bike rides, gym trips and plates of mackerel for dinner, that he feels supported in his quest.

What I've found in the past is that these phases do sooner or later, fizzle out...I'm praying that this one will last. 


  1. Hi Laura,
    How wonderful that Ethan has got a focus, but I take your point about how long this new world will last. Been there and seen it before! In my experience with Mr H, these fads never last too long, but good luck!
    Hannah x

    1. It's difficult to know whether to celebrate Ethan's new focus or to express my concern for you as I read your words. I can sense your fragile grain of hope which after 28years of being at the 'coal face' I feel almost certain will only lead to you being disappointed and unintentionally hurt yet again. All I can say is we are here for you when this focus vanishes as quickly and as unexpectedly as it appeared. Take care x

    2. What you eat does make a difference. There is a lot of information out there on autism and diet. I just found out my husband has Asperger's-for years I just thought his shutdowns, anger, withdrawal, etc were bad health and I have been researching diet and health issues most of the thirteen years we have been married. He actually is low thyroid-hormone balancing and thyroid meds helped, but there was still so much more than that going on. When my husband eats really well, he still has Asperger's, but his coping ability is better, and there is not such a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows-it's like being on the kids' coaster instead of the Screaming Meanie coaster. : ) Sticking with it is tough, but he does better if I do it with him. I wish I had done it with him the first time he went on a healthy diet years ago because now both of our health has gone downhill and preparing and eating a whole new array of foods is overwhelming. I hope it lasts for you too. And exercising is a bonus. : ) My AH is vehemently opposed to exercise. : D