If research literature on the psychosocial impact of this condition can be relied upon to provide some generic descriptors of the lived experience, I might conclude that I was wholly to blame for the majority of negative experiences in my life. By blame, I don’t mean that actions were intentional or malicious. I just mean that I was not equipped with the tools to function effectively in social settings.
Obviously, it’s not wise to self-diagnose on the basis of preliminary academic research, but in the absence of any other explanations or support, there’s little else I can do, other than continue to bury my head in the sand. Thinking back to university, for example, I can draw clear parallels with findings in the research literature. Over the years since then, I have attempted to avoid such situations by largely withdrawing from social settings — a coping strategy also identified in the literature.
I have written much about “the gaze” over the years, but it turns out that this is also an avenue of research. Thus, what I have long identified as a personal flaw may in fact be intrinsically linked to the condition. But I’m not particularly interested in research for the sake of understanding myself. What I’m really trying to get at is how to overcome these issues: to discover what normal or appropriate interactions look like, in order to be able to replicate them and correct course.
I may be coming at this thirty years too late, but I want to learn how to function effectively, without forever withdrawing back into myself, cutting myself off and talking to myself through writing, all of which I understand to be unhealthy and counter-productive. A new mission of self-exploration.