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ROXY6
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08 Jan 2013, 4:45 am

Hi all,I am new to this site,but just looking for support and a better understanding.I have been in a relationship for 15 years and am very much in love with my partner of 37 years old, we have three children together our eldest of 12 he is on the spectrum and has some learning difficulties.I have always found some of my partners behaviours strange at times...some days he would be over the top happy not a care in the world and then a few days later he would run away from everyone in the house and have headaches and just want to be alone to the point where we knew not to go near him. its been like this for years.Early days in the relationship i thought it was me he ran from but he told me he needs time out it was him.Sometimes he could be very hurtful in comments he would make and never understand how some of his comments where hurtful he said he was honest.For years he has told me the only reason he is alive and has not killed himself is because of me and the kids,he depends on alchol to take the edge off yet he never seems drunk just the odd drink here and there through the day to get him through,he has been doing this since he was 15 and moved out of home.He was bullied as a child and spent all his time keeping away from his own family and people in his bedroom,he kept clear of being in family photos.Nine months ago i noticed he was always complaining of pains and aches then he had a panic attack where he ended up going to hosiptal because we thought he was having a heartattack...Then his doctor put him on antidepressants.He went from a man that never slept and was always on time to the point of rushing the whole family around to a man that could not get out of bed he slept 16 hours a day most days.When he was awake it was like he was not there at all...then he overdosed i found him in time and he ended up in hosiptal he was told Aspergers and personality disorder...now he trys get back on his feet but he is sick of looking for hobbies which always become obsessions to make him happy, I really worry for him and find it so hard to be happy when the person i care for so much is so unhappy.



Ramba_Ral
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08 Jan 2013, 11:40 am

depression is difficult to manage. Everyone has a high period (moments of were your not as depressed as before.) and a low period (were living just doesn't seem worth it.)

What I've done to sort of forget the depression is find a hobby that makes me mindless or do something that requires thinking of some form like 3D puzzles... then again i have no spouse.
I can only suggest that he find a hobby he wouldn't mind obsessing over..like the family car needs to be fixed or making play equipment for the children.



rickskyscraper
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08 Jan 2013, 2:19 pm

Roxy6,

You just described ME! In some significant ways I have been on your husband's road for most of my life. I have been on the wrong side of the bottle at times and have even asked permission to end my own life. Childhood was a misery, Hell really. But, I'm here to tell you that there is hope. I find hope everywhere I try to see it...it takes practice.

What has kept me going in the lowest of low times is my wife. She is the only person who is anywhere near me internally. It sounds like your husband is very isolated and angry...they go hand in hand. Tell him you'll never give up on him. I'd guess he feels like he's failing. Failing is the beginning of suceeding, we must see what does not work, sucess is in the place we have not yet reached...but it's there.

So, what gives me hope? Striving to help people who are lost, and seeing people awaken to life and hope. As I feel better my own work gets better and I find real happiness in my obsessions, not just a frantic need for distraction (or focus). It has a way of grounding me.

Has he been on this forum? Invite him, show him that there are 70,000 people who are in some way related. I'm sorry if this has been too personal. And this is my first post on the forum.

Peace and blessing to you and your family



VAGraduateStudent
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09 Jan 2013, 4:09 am

It sounds to me like he needs to read about other adults with Asperger's. I would suggest John Elder Robison's books. He wrote a couple, but the one I'm thinking of is "Look Me In The Eye." He has a good perspective. And it's truly enjoyable to read just as a regular book.

I'm gonna tell you right now you can't take special interests away from an aspie- it's pretty disastrous for mental/emotional health. It could be that he's trying to be more neurotypical by not letting himself do aspie things. But some things are helpful! Special interests can help tremendously to manage stress.

Like the other poster said, some things are fine to obsess over. And really, as long as the obsession isn't bad enough to run you into debt or hurt anyone, what's the harm? If someone spends most of his free time putting together model planes, for example, maybe that downtime helps that person be a better husband, father, and employee. It's better than being depressed.

And I'm certainly no doctor, but it sounds like your husband is either not used to the dose of meds he's on or he needs something adjusted. You guys should talk to his doctor. Anxiety/depression meds for aspies should take the "edge" off so that the person can function, but aren't supposed to make them non-functional or take away any aspie advantages.



ROXY6
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09 Jan 2013, 7:43 am

With the depression he cant find any hobbies he just cant be bothered this worries me because he always needed his hobbies so much,he has headaches all the time.Since he has been told aspergers he said he has no intrest in reading about it and i have found he has distanced himself from our eldest boy on the spectrum.Thankyou all for your replys i have found them very very helpful..i hope the depression lifts soon for him and he can start to feel happy again



syzygyish
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11 Jan 2013, 8:20 am

Hi ROXY6,

I am bipolar, and from what I have read,
this describes your husband perfectly.

I don't think anti depressants will work.

I am taking a drug called Esitalo (TM) escitopram (as oxalate)
and my GP tells me it is a Mood stabiliser...
NOT an anti-dressant

I don't get the High highs or the Abyss lows, anymore
There also no side affects for me, from this drug,

it's worth investigating

Also,
I was CRUSHED by my diagnosis with Aspergers Syndrome!
There was Nothing worth living for!
All my hopes and dreams of finding a partner and finding a place in society...
:cry:

He has you and them
:D


_________________
Be kinder than necessary for everyone is fighting some kind of battle
-Jaleb

some

people say eyes are the windows into the soul
but aren't hearts, minds and souls
the window into which you should look?


zemanski
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12 Jan 2013, 6:47 am

Antidepressants are a bit hit and miss with ASC people - we tend not to respond to allopathic medicine in the same way other people do so it is worth speaking to a doctor about dosage - I take just 1/3 the dose of my antidepressant, on a normal dose i can't function at all and my GP is happy for me to take that and to adjust my dose up to the normal dose when I'm stressed at my own discretion. I'm on it for life even though I'm no longer clinically depressed as my IBS becomes unmanageable and I end up in hospital if I go more than 5 days without it.

Also remember there are many different types of antidepressant - many people on the spectrum respond better to the SSRIs (prozac type antidepressants) than the more traditional ones - it may be worth asking to try something different.

Bipolar may be a comorbid (additional condition) for your husband but high levels of untreated stress and anxiety in a person on the spectrum can induce symptoms of bipolar, adhd, etc. so even if there are clear traits it may not be clinically significant - worth asking about though as the medication is very different.

Timeout is essential and your husband cannot do without it. His sensory systems will be easily overwhelmed under stress and he needs to be able to calm himself.
You could create a space together for him to do this where he can relax and be quiet - maybe put some adjustable lighting in the bedroom, and decorate it to his tastes.... You can also share some of his downtime with him if you set aside special time just to be quiet together - my partner and I share a lot of our downtime. That's partly because we lived in one room when we were first together and had to learn to cope somehow - nice now we're older, we just sit together, sometimes reading or on the computer, communicating only if one of us laughs or groans at something and then just for a few moments. It's time that helps us stay close too.

Hobbies - your husband needs to focus on something, hyperfocus is part of being on the spectrum.
Almost all of us have an abiding interest, sometimes it can last a lifetime, sometimes you move from one special interest to another quite quickly. Mine happens to be autism but it used to be child development and I can trace that back to young childhood where I would set up classrooms and "teach" any other children I could get to submit to my demands. I have other fascinations and interests but that central theme is definitely a long term one.
My father and father-in-law both work very differently - they find a fascination, like sailing or watch repair, or virus cracking, or photography, and they do it to death - they dive in headfirst, buy all the equipment, research the topic, develop the skills, conquer the mountain..... and then get bored and have to sell up to start something new. My son appears to have elements of the 2 - a central theme but moving on within it fairly quickly compared with me.

However you do it, it has to be done, it is like the need for timeout and it causes untold stress and anxiety if something interferes with the progress of a special interest. In education we are now learning that the best way to engage an autistic person is through their fascinations be that quantum mechanics at 5yrs or shiny, spinning things (beyblades) at 20yrs (I'm talking about the same person here, he is now at university studying physics), if you can find a way to share an interest even on a superficial level you may find it makes his world a much less lonely place. Hobbies that get him out of the house might be good to encourage - birdwatching is the sort of thing you might be able to share with him or building and flying model aircraft could lead to him finding like-minded people at a club. I know someone who likes board games and joined the university club - now he runs it and has never felt so good about himself.

Unfortunately, the harder he is finding life, the more need your husband will have for the timeout and the hyperfocusing and it can be very difficult to live with. If you can view it as his search for relief from his over-intense world, and that it is a essential form of self-medication for the depression he is experiencing it can be a little easier to accommodate. It is also useful as a strong indicator of his state of mental health - if he becomes more inflexible and obsessive in his interests he is probably feeling high levels of stress and anxiety, rigidity and the need to control become more difficult to manage under stress. It is a way of stabilising the environment to cushion yourself from the difficulties, reducing the stress allows greater flexibility and hyperfocus is a way of reducing stress. Unfortunately, when it becomes obsessive beyond the usual AS fascination in combination with mental health problems it can add to stress too so other ways need to be found to manage the depression and anxiety.



zemanski
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12 Jan 2013, 8:40 am

ROXY6 wrote:
With the depression he cant find any hobbies he just cant be bothered this worries me because he always needed his hobbies so much,he has headaches all the time.Since he has been told aspergers he said he has no intrest in reading about it and i have found he has distanced himself from our eldest boy on the spectrum.Thankyou all for your replys i have found them very very helpful..i hope the depression lifts soon for him and he can start to feel happy again


You are right to worry about your husband's lack of interest in his hobbies - when everything is too much for him even to find a way to hyperfocus on something positive he is definitely in need of help.

Part of the problem is almost certainly adjusting to his diagnosis; he will be seeing himself from a whole new angle and he will be doubting his whole life and trying to answer that ever desperate plea, "Why me?"
He may also be thinking he is to blame for your son's problems and that he should never have had children - can you imagine how desperately wrong that must make him feel? And how bad he must feel about being your son's father when he probably loves him so intensely?

Of course, he is wrong to be thinking this way, it's the depression doing the thinking - you know he is a good person and someone who is loved and appreciated, and that people on the spectrum have strengths as well as difficulties to pass on to their children and are in a unique position to be able to guide them to find a path that suits them, but you can see how, especially as he was already suffering from depression when he was diagnosed, he could fall into such bad patterns.
He definitely needs help to deal with this - he needs to understand that if he wasn't someone with all those good qualities someone like you would not care for him so much and have chosen him to build a family with. His family, and you in particular, are the core of his stability and if he is blaming himself for passing on his difficulties to his son that could undermine his whole world.
You might ask about cognitive behaviour therapy alongside medication, and perhaps look at mindfulness based stress relief which you can do through a manual (you could both do it) or with a therapist.



Rudywalsh
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17 Jan 2013, 9:34 am

I have bouts of depression and stir up all kinds of emotions from feeling inadequate to regrets, it’s like bi-polar, a Jekyll and Hyde affect. I also find myself being not very nice to my wife verbally, I can’t help it, having autism doesn’t help.

When your husband is hurtful towards you, he doesn’t mean it, it’s because he is in pain himself and trying to vent to you how he feels.

Your husband needs to direct his thoughts somewhere else, his attention needs to find focus on something he knows and likes. His mind needs to be nursed away from whatever it is that’s making him depressed. Sometimes doing the same things all the time provokes boredom, which creates depression. Change can be good, it stimulates the mind and provides newness, a new found sense of worth, something different to think about.

When your husband feels fine, take in everything you think is making him feel this way and use it to your advantage. When your husband feels down, try and work out what made him feel down, it could be something simple like not looking forward to meeting certain people.

Alcohol is good for nothing except for polishing silverware. Alcohol is a depressant; it’s not good for the mind, especially when combined with medication.

You and your husband are strong people, three children and fifteen years together is a testament to your strength.



VAGraduateStudent
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17 Jan 2013, 3:50 pm

I agree with everything zemanski and Rudywalsh said. I think step one should be to get your husband to a psychiatrist who sees patients with Asperger's. Once his depression has been addressed professionally, the other stuff should be easier to sort out.