Pictures of Invisible Disorders

Asperger’s Syndrome, or high functioning autism, and Bipolar Disorder can be difficult to grasp because they are, indeed, invisible disorders. So, how can one go about better understanding the everyday struggles of people affected by these disorders? This week has presented me with a whole host of examples in the form of messy, physical manifestations of messy, emotional symptoms. Let me show you a few.

This is what ANXIETY looks like:

ImageAnxiety is present with both Asperger’s and Bipolar, but this one came straight from the Asperger’s within. We were expecting company. With a child. And Javan was expected to share his toys. So, it made perfect sense for him to attempt to thwart their coming by dumping sand and soil all over our front patio. How could they possibly get past this obstacle?

This is what RAGE looks like:

ImageWell, the effects of the raging were probably more picture-worthy before they were cleared to the side so I could enter the room. Javan had been sent to time-out, probably due to not sharing toys with the aforementioned visiting child. I honestly don’t remember. Upon attempting to open the door to release him from time-out, I found that I could not in fact open said door. It was blocked by every single book that my book-loving sweetheart owns. He dumped. Every. Single. Book.

Another example of rage includes slamming doors super hard. Like today, when he realized we were out of the food he really wanted, and he slammed the refrigerator door so hard that it broke, resulting in 20 bottles of condiments laying in a puddle of homemade salsa and broken glass. And a broken refrigerator door. At least it still closes and seals, though it holds nothing.

Now’s the fun part! Let’s combine Asperger’s and Bipolar and see what the situation looks like. As I’m ordering the dogs into their crate to prevent glass-filled paws and tongues, and as I’m elbow-deep in salsa-and-glass-filled paper towels, Javan wants me to come “open my present.” This is a variation on the Robo Pup game that we’ve played every day for four years. Usually at least five times a day. He hides in the laundry basket, covers up with a blanket, and I receive the best gift of my life. It’s not always Robo Pup these days. Sometimes it’s a cheetah, pig, lion, dinosaur, or alien. Anywyay, how is this a sign of Asperger’s? Because he’s lacking the social awareness that is so obvious to others. The awareness that I obviously can’t and probably don’t want to play right now.  So, as I’m cleaning the mess, I’m also talking over the dogs to explain how he should think about what Mom can and cannot do while cleaning the mess.


ImageYes, I realize that’s a crappy picture and you can’t tell what you’re looking at. So I’ll tell you. You’re looking at the only houseplant I own, knocked off it’s ledge and splayed in the most nook-and-cranny, hard-to-clean place it could find to bless with its soil. Oh, and this one’s right out of the Asperger’s handbook. Lack of coordination is rampant. It also means that the kid gets enough scrapes and bruises and falls flat on his face so many times a day that it’s a wonder we’ve never been accused of child abuse.

This is what OCD tendencies look like:

ImageAwwwww, he’s doing the dishes! Cute, right? RIGHT? We know when he starts his obsession with water, things are about to get real. Potions abound, usually containing whatever liquids he could find in the fridge, water, soap, and occasionally toothpaste. So, ok, he’s just playing with soap and water. I let him. He uses measuring cups and spoons and fills this container from that one and so on and so forth. It’s like math…or something. Until this happens:

ImageHe had helped me make dinner that night. After I set the table, he graced us each with two Cheetos and a mug of noodle soup, the ingredients for which are soap, water, and leftover spaghetti and sauce from the fridge. And getting him out of the way long enough to remove this matter from the table was difficult. He was not about to let all his hard work go to spoil. And, no, OCD doesn’t always go along with Asperger’s or Bipolar, but in our case, obsessive tendencies increase with bipolar mania. Fun times!

So, there you have it folks. An invisible disorder or two magically brought to visibility before your very eyes. I hope it’s helped you gain some insight and understanding!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mark kent
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 16:45:55

    hello,i get your blog.i have aspergers and M.E. married 13 years we have 2,boys and 1,girl.

    our 10 year old boy all so has aspergers.i take part in a lot lot research from universities

    have a lot results.we live in you would like to e.mail chat please do.

    ask me any thing please do,WHAT YOU SAY IS SO TRUE IT IS A INVISIBLE DISABILITY .

    i think most people are very very snotty nosed about autism//aspergers and m.e., PEOPLE SEE



    e.mail look forward too hearing from you

    mark________________________________ > Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 18:59:51 +0000 > To: >


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