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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel


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Book Love
stainsteelrat
I finished the Will Hadcroft Asperger's book last night, or in the wee hours. It continued to be a good read right to the end.

Curiously Will's obsession sort of stretched to becoming a Jehovah's Witness, from a young age, which he still is now. He ended up marrying a woman that was also a Jehovah's Witness, and 20 years his senior. Despite the age gap they are still very much in love, proving what a load of old rubbish the age gap thing can be. Unfortunately the Jehovah's Witness stuff bordered on religious rhetoric at times, and that was my only real problem with the book.

There was a happy ending as he says in the last 10 years or so he hasn't had a suicidal thought, and is happier than he has ever been. It seems like he spent 2-3 years seeing NHS psychologists, and got signed off work for around a year in total. The psychologists seemed to vary in their effectiveness, and he seemed to get on best with the first he saw. A lot of this seems to be about forming a trust relationship - if you can't trust the person helping you then there's not much hope!

Will initially self diagnosed, when reading a book by Dr. Tony Attwood (Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, which I bought last night on the Kindle app). Around that time the mental health establishment began to awake to Asperger's, despite it being identified 50 years ago. Will then read and watched a lot more by Attwood, and became convinced he was suffering from Asperger's. His NHS psychologists had identified a lot of his individual traits, but hadn't brought it all together and identified a condition. He then sought professional help again via the NHS to get a formal diagnosis.

As mentioned previously, Will obsessed about a number of TV series; primarily Dr. Who, but also The Incredible Hulk, The Prisoner, and The Tripods. I didn't obsess about the first two, but did about the third and fourth. The Prisoner of course relates to a person in a strange environment where he's fighting to get out. The Tripods relates to teenagers who are being forced to conform, via the capping, in a strange society. Will could see why he identified with these programmes, in relation to how it felt to have Asperger's.

Interestingly Will always loved writing, which perhaps doesn't seem an obvious outlet for someone with Asperger's, and wrote a couple of successful books for teenagers in the mid-noughties (Anne Droyd and The Century Lodge, and Anne Droyd and The House of Shadows). This was prior to both his self and formal diagnosis, and he could see facets of his condition in the stories, which related to an android being taught how to be human.

So yep, all-in-all a great book. Recommended for anyone really, to learn a bit more about the variability of the human condition. It's certainly a wonderfully honest portrayal. And for anyone with or living with someone that has Asperger's it's a must read.

More on my own personal connections in a friends-only post, when I get some time to write it...

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