Full disclosure: I do not have a background in psychiatry, psychology, counseling, or social work. I have a well-established background in first-hand, lived experience with Asperger's. What follows is my treatment of Asperger's to the degree that it affects me, which isn't how it affects everyone on the spectrum. Mental health professionals reading this may have a quibble with what I have to say about Asperger's. If you do, quibble away.
A few words about words. Notice that I stop at "Asperger's." As it affects me, I quibble with---no, I bristle at---the words "disorder," "disease," and even "syndrome." I prefer to say I have "Asperger's Nature," or that I'm an Aspie. And I really like the word "neurodiversity." Asperger's has complicated life for me only so far as the neuromajority bristles at people like myself because we're different from them. We're different to the degree that since they're the majority and they wield the power to define, they define us as disordered---and some in the neuromajority suffer from the disorder of feeling threatened by those designated "The Other." No one can make me feel disordered without my consent. I deny that consent. I'm unique and special. Asperger's is not a label with a stigma attached to it. It's a name, and I own it.
Back to Asperger's. It is not mental illness. It is not a disease. The psychiatric community disagrees on how to classify it. Recently a panel of researchers moved to remove the classification of Asperger's from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and to include it in the heading of autism. As of 2013, those diagnosed with Asperger's will be designated high-functioning autistics. I call Asperger's as I have it a cognitive condition. I don't experience the world the way most people do. I process information and the world around me differently. I'm challenged with unspoken social rules and cues. I've become good at reading people---not infallible, but good---but when I was younger I was utterly clueless about facial expressions and body language. I have sensory issues. Even on overcast days I need sunglasses. At my train station, I can hear the train approaching the bend before anyone else. I cannot wear clothing made of certain fabrics, and I can't wear turtleneck tops. Jewelry begins to bother me after a while. When riding the subway I have to hold my ears (other passengers look at me like I've got a pacifier in my mouth). If I attend social events involving a lot of noise, movement, and flashing colors, I need a place where I can retreat for some quiet time. I'm gullible and I take things literally; I don't catch on readily to comments made jokingly. I have a very strong sense of justice. I couldn't multitask to save my life. I communicate with animals very well. I've got great attention to detail and focus is a strong point. I'm deeply loyal. Aspies get a bum rap for being cold and unfeeling. Quite the contrary. I feel emotions deeply, so much so that I feel overwhelmed and I shut down, which may make me seem unfeeling to others.
That's my offering---one Aspie's blog to the rest of you. It's written in hopes that some day we'll be accepted as people at one far end of the human spectrum, and not shunned as "The Other."