Thursday, September 18, 2014

Best Practices

To start off, referencing last month's post, Casey ended up in and out of the hospital the past five weeks. She got over the initial ailments (thanks in part to free birth control which helps with the cysts), but the antibiotics for the non-cyst issues gave her something called c diff, which is very bad. She's on the back end of an even stronger medicine. After this, we shouldn't have to worry about it. However, prayers are definitely appreciated for her to recover and for nobody else to contract it. (Have you tried being ultra-hygienic with a toddler? It's next to impossible.) Related to the toddler, Dante will be three in just a few weeks! The past two and a half years with him have been an awesome, exhilarating roller coaster and we are so happy to see him growing up.

Now, I'm beginning to read something that may make you wonder. It is titled The Journal of Best Practices, written by David Finch. Perhaps the title itself will not cause you to wonder, other than trying to figure out the "for what" to which the practices refer. I suppose if I include the subtitle, that may be of some assistance. A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband. But it sounds like a great read, right? I mean Casey and I are almost to our four year mark, so I should still be learning to improve as a husband, right? Yeah, definitely. What's that? The Asperger Syndrome? Oh, yeah.

Have you watched NBC's show Parenthood? Well, one of the main characters has it. In case you're not aware, Asperger Syndrome is a higher functioning form of autism. Usually seen with higher intelligence and lower social abilities. Another character in the show (played by Ray Romano) at one point is learning about the syndrome and is reading off descriptors. I cannot remember his dialogue but it would have been something similar to this: "Socially inept....blunt...highly focused on certain topics...hyper literal...unempathetic..."

As he was went on learning, he suddenly realized, "I have Asperger's." As I watched and listened, I realized, "I have Asperger's." Now, in this age of WebMD and the self-diagnosing hypochondriacs, I knew that even with the four self tests I would administer through that night, I still would need a professional opinion. Thus, Casey and I discussed the possibility with a licensed counselor.

He agreed.

This was last November. We have not seen the counselor since December, but I have attempted my own behavioural modification. For instance, if I know I am going to begin hyper-focusing on an issue, I have lavender essential oil to calm me down. If I need to perseverate on a topic, I grab my bike and go for a long ride and wax eloquently to God, since I know that most humans would rather not be trapped in that one-sided discussion.

However, and now I return to the book, I need assistance with things related to marriage. For instance, I have an impossible time emotionally empathizing with anyone, even Casey whom I love. I might be able to logically understand what is bothering her, but the emotional side? Not a chance. I also have a tendency to be blunt and lacking of a social filter. Honesty is a wonderful thing, but so is tact and grace. 

Therefore, I sought out resources. I discovered the book. I also will start attending behavioural therapy when another counselor. I would appreciate your support not only for myself, but also Casey and Dante as I get everything figured out. It's not going to be an easy road, but having an explanation is almost cathartic. 

4 comments:

Matt Stafford said...

I've always appreciated your honesty and bluntness. I tend to be a little too guarded with my comments and wind up being dishonest by default by not speaking when I should. I recall times in Frontline when you were unfiltered and unempathetic. Now it makes sense. It's good to know the "why" so that you can work on strategies to strengthen your relationships. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your life and struggles with others. Thanks.

barbhnm said...

Thanks for your openness in sharing this! I know the relief in finding out "what is wrong with me?" From a more physical aspect. After quite a few tests, kidney stone surgery,etc., we discovered that I am lactose intolerant. "What?" was my reaction. However, I now think this may be the missing piece of the puzzle. Sure there are times That I can only think of what I cannot have, like ice cream, sour cream on my enchiladas, and so on, but I now have a strong belief and joy that I can be healthier than I have been. I also believe that perhaps I can do something with this teacing degree that I am finishing soon...at my age! I am praying for you in this journey and Casey in her health!

Karl said...

Matt, you and our Frontline adventures were some of my first thoughts when I found out. Thank you for your encouragement now and over the years!

Karl said...

Its definitely nice not having to wonder anymore! Thank you for your prayers and your help, and I hope you start enjoying almond milk or whatever you guys find!