So... after posting about the various women I have met in the last while who were obviously on the spectrum and not diagnosed, I realised that there was one thing in common with each of these encounters.
These women had an intensity about them, which I found completely seductive. Mainly because it's something I instantly recognise in myself. I spent years of my life in search of intense experiences - not such a good idea, you can imagine where that led me. They were in search of one-to-one conversations with somebody who was interested in what they had to say. They tended to monologue, were bad at listening, and in one case, had rampant echolalia!
But when I say the encounters had something in common, it was my reaction. In all these cases, I immediately knew these women as I know myself. My former self. I recognised the desire to conform socially, particularly in a work environment. The anxiety that comes with knowing that you are not quite meeting the grade socially, and you can't seem to fix it. The desperate need to make that connection with somebody else, and explain all about your special interest, and why it's so important and, well, interesting.
In my earlier post, I talked about seeing things going wrong, and wanting to help, but not being able to. But in terms of my own personal response to them, in the end, I backed away. I found their intensity slightly scary, because it was so familiar, and their anxiety set off my own anxious response.
Maybe part of the problem was that I didn't want to be reminded of who I used to be, before I finally gained some meaningful self-awareness, a way of explaining me to myself that made sense to my core. It was like seeing myself through others' eyes, in all my ignorance of what was driving me.
Maybe there are some things we should never see.