Disorder or Anomaly?

Anomaly is a word that is not frequently used, but I kinda think it needs to be. The definition here is a good one, but I think it can be described a little differently. You might call it “an exception to what is commonly perceived”. An anomaly is not right or wrong, just different. It is just “on the margins” so to speak.

I think I made a mistake when I decided to declare myself autistic. Autism, as the experts have proclaimed, is a disorder of broad magnitude. They call it a spectrum disorder, but I kind of think it just lumps too many people into the same pool! Until that changes, I have pretty much decided to stop saying “I am on the autism spectrum”.

I think I will just say I am “on the margins”, or maybe “outside the mainstream”. I realize I am on the margins of society in several regards. My mental anomalies are part of that description.

One of the reasons I call myself an Aspie instead of Autistic is the very definition of Autism. The full term is Autism Spectrum Disorder. Disorder, as shown here, is an impairment of personal functions. That is usually defined as a disability. I just don’t think of Aspergers in those terms, especially now that I have lived with them for so many years. Yes, there are some things associated with it that makes life difficult, but the source of the difficulty is typically social rather than physical or mental.

I like to consider that being an Aspie is more of an anomaly. I am just different from most in the mainstream. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. I understand that, given herd mentality, many think that “different” is something to be avoided, or something to be fixed. I just don’t see it that way.

Aspie traits are something like a blip on a radar screen of mainstream mentality. It shows that I am different from others around me. Different, not defective. I don’t have a disorder that needs fixing or even analyzing. It is what it is, I am what I am. Living outside the mainstream for almost all of my life has made me what I am, and I think I turned out pretty well, if I don’t mind saying so myself.

4 thoughts on “Disorder or Anomaly?

  1. The problem with any “label” is the narrowness of its definition. We like everything to be in easily defined, commonly understood boxes.

    Usually that is too simplistic for reality. Much of our current problems with partisanship, for example, comes from trying to apply too broad a label to those who hold different opinions.

    Your decision seems wise: a step away from a generalization of your situation that implies disorder to a more specific description that is easy to visualize.


    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Bob. I think you are right about putting too many people under the same label. Trying to paint everyone with the same brush results in many errors. I know there were some bad players that planned and instigated January 6, but everyone who voted for the narcissist didn’t do so for the same reason. When we can manage to all the various issue, we might be able to return to some normalcy.

      In the same light, when the public hear the word autism, they in no way think of those with Aspergers. It is just too wide a group to be put under one label.


  2. As a teacher I saw character traits rather then disabilities. My favorite trait was the intellectual, fixity, quiet person. My classes were filled with them.
    In the 1970’s major universities chose shock treatment to “work with” non verbal, autistic children. My sister, who worked in one program, and I had some very heated discussions….My university chose to center on the positive side of the traits and move forward.
    If I remember your story right you used to be upset about being pegged for an engineer. You were lucky in some ways. You gained a great education because your character traits – focused, quiet, intellectual-were recognized and pushed forward. It happened during a time when others with your intellect were pushed down into insanity or ignored or picked on.
    That you took your intellect and moved it into interpersonal communication is huge. You have proven, if given the opportunity, a character trait can be a base- but is not a be all end all.
    As my son moves from physicist to leader I often remember your story.


    1. Thanks, Janette, for your examples and insight. Electroshock! Wow! Yeah, I was an engineer for half my corporate life before I found my true calling. I think Einstein should have proved that Aspies, which he was, have a lot to contribute. Yeah, I like the idea of calling them character traits, instead of a disorder.


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