The biggest influence in my life has been my wife. A clear sign of this was when I gave my speech at our wedding. I wasn’t nervous through the wedding, as everything was planned and should have carried out as planned. Some bits that were likely to ruin the plans were getting me frustrated and angry, but it was nothing I wasn’t prepared for. The speech, however, definitely didn’t go as planned. When it came to me doing my speech, I had practiced it a couple of times just to make sure I was able to do it just glancing at the notes I had written down. I didn’t expect any kind of reaction with my speech – my job was to thank everyone for coming, thank the caterers, and thank my wife for marrying me, before telling her how much I love her and saying a bit about how we met. What confused me was that I started crying. I couldn’t understand why I started crying because, as my best friend had said, I am like Spock: I don’t do ‘getting emotional’. The only way I can describe my experience of this is like a computer suddenly crashing. It took me by surprise, as if my brain had just fried.
This is one of the biggest changes my wife has helped me with. When we met in 2001, I was cold – although I tried to meet her needs for hugs and affection. But as the years went on, I started crying at happy and sad films, and now find I cry really easily at these films – yet real things still don’t often cause me to cry or get upset. My wife encourages me to socialise – to not be a hermit – although at the same time, she isn’t overly social, so we don’t go out often. She talks to me about me and teaches me to not just focus on me, but also to focus on her. I believe that, for anyone with Asperger’s, being in a healthy relationship can help you make changes to those parts of you that you need to work on, because you put effort into learning to put someone else first, and to see how you can meet their needs. It isn’t easy to transfer these skills to the real world, to being the same with others, but you are taking the first step. I definitely feel I probably come across better with others now because of my relationship with my wife.
My wife has given me the strength to believe in myself as a person; she accepts me for who I am and helps me to accept myself. Some aspects of me may be areas I would like to change and wish were different – and they may change, as I continue to develop – but I accept myself for who I am now, and I know I have at least one person on my side. She may get frustrated with aspects of me from time to time, but she accepts me for who I am. I think everyone else in my life also accepts me, but my wife understands me the most, and is willing to do things like make me a den when I need it; she will also pull me up on behaviours I need to stop.
My best friend has also helped me develop. He will challenge me and drag me out to be sociable – and he defined the roles of our relationship as ‘Kirk and Spock’, which is a very accurate description of us. He also shares in many of my interests, and is curious about learning more and making discoveries. He has also somehow managed to remain a friend for over half of my life, through many life transitions.
Look Into My Eyes: Asperger’s, Hypnosis, & Me by Dan Jones, is available in Paperback and for Amazon Kindle: http://apn.to/prod/1542551196