Hi Goth and Spectrum readers,

I read with interest the article by Bruce, The Asperger’s syndrome victim, in edition 97. Especially the part about wanting to create a good impression by giving women in shops cards - Christmas cards with a positive message. I think us Aspie men, and maybe women, can be desperate for companionship. I write poetry and have just gone up to people and given them poetry. I’m not sure why I did this. Maybe I wanted to make a connection. I wanted to be someone popular and respected and liked. Mine was a very eccentric way of doing this. I wish Bruce well in his quest. He sounds really nice and it’s been difficult for him because he has been bullied and found connecting with others hard.

I was very shy at school so I tried to act more tough by going up to other boys and asking them for a fight. My differentness has manifested itself in many different forms.

I would be interested to learn how Bruce gets on in the future, if he ever writes an article again. I felt very different at school. Even the other socially different people would make fun of me. I talked funny as well, I think because I had goofy teeth and children at school would imitate how I talked in a mocking way. But I don’t blame them for this. I don’t hold a grudge because they were nice to me sometimes. But I do understand, I hope, that it can be difficult to let these things go at times.

Sorry to hear about Bruce’s asthma. This probably affected his education. And I have trouble retaining information too. Mine might be a different reason: sometimes I drift off if someone is chatting to me and there is a lot of information to take in. I can’t always remember the details of what I’ve been told.

But I have a girlfriend now, of five-and-a-half years. She is lovely. We go all sorts of places: bottle-fed a lamb, took a donkey for a walk. Go out for meals regularly. I always wanted a girlfriend. I was lucky. Love found me after I stopped trying to find it. I wish Bruce and all the Spectrum readers and you, Goth, success, love and happiness. I thought I’d write to you because I like writing and it helps at different times in different ways to express myself

I have many obsessions. I would be interested if any of your readers knew how to tell the difference between OCD and an autistic obsession.

I write lists a lot to try and motivate me to do things. I enjoy exercising but I feel a need to write about the length of time I exercise for and what distance I do on the exercise bike. But this isn’t a problem, so maybe isn’t OCD? But I might not be motivated to do it so much if it wasn’t part of a project. I count the number of days I exercise, tidy, hoover my bedroom. In the past three-and-a-bit years I have done 641 days. I also count the days I see my girlfriend. I see her three or four times a week. I count each day I see her as a date. At the time of writing I have had 827 dates with my girlfriend, but I love counting these so maybe that isn’t a problem.

What maybe is a problem is having to count and write down the time and date of when I brush my teeth and tongue; I’ve never had great dental hygiene. And I’m trying to do something about that, but I’m scared to go to the dentist. I fear the possibility of having to have fillings or teeth removed. I also worry about contracting HIV from dental equipment. It’s probably irrational but the thought is still there — I find ideas I get into my head can stay there for years.

I feel quite happy a lot of the time but I do get overloads if I feel too much. Before I had a girlfriend, I would feel overload if I spent too long with a woman I fancied. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been oversensitive. Recently, I get overloads if I discuss my diet too much with my girlfriend, as I lack self-control sometimes to resist dessert and alcohol. We both really like cake, but who doesn’t?! Lol. We both go for meals quite often, once, occasionally twice a week and we’ll have dessert. Sometimes my girlfriend will go for a pudding like a crumble or a sponge which is probably less calories than a giant piece of cake. I’m probably on the spectrum somewhere of having an eating disorder: I’m obsessed about my weight and how I look. But I’m six-foot-one- and-a-quarter inches and twelve stone, eleven pounds so probably technically not overweight. The overloads come from discussing my problems with my girlfriend or family. My girlfriend loves these treats but also wants to encourage me to lose weight. She’ll support me in this but I know she loves these things so much and I’m so happy when with her that I want these things too. Plus I don’t want to deprive her. I’d feel bad if I did that.

I’ve been trying to make new friends and it’s mainly via letters. I’m in a bubble with my girlfriend, and then in another with my mum and dad. But I want to break out of it sometimes. I’m quite controlled by numbers. I draw a coin out of a box and the last number on the date tells me how many activities to do. If I draw out a coin with the last number above a five, I try not to draw out any more during that day. My aim is to get to 150 coins drawn out in total. The reason now that I do this is because I have an OCD thing with tearing things up and throwing them away, mainly my writing projects but I’m keeping in mind this target of 150 and I’m not to do this until I’ve reached it. In the past I’ve struggled to stick to things. In a previous incarnation the idea of drawing the coin out was to motivate myself to do the activities but I don’t have that problem as much any more.

In the past and to a certain extent I still do, I had an obsession with the number five.

If I cried five days in a row I would try and change my focus by creating new projects, often writing. It was like the freshness of a new start.

Plus it was trying to deal with adversity. I would often cry because of feeling overload. However, I started writing down when these five days in a row or five times in five days or less occurred. I got too obsessed with crying. I’ve not fully analysed this but it became too important, the crying did and the number five got contaminated. The writing about the times I cried made it seem too real, if that makes sense.

I’ve often liked the number 25 and as an offshoot from this I got obsessed with the number eight because eight days in a month is just over 25% of the days that are in a month. I have what I think a psychologist would call magical thinking and OCD around numbers.

I’d probably better stop there. But I’d love to hear about other people’s obsessions related to numbers and what their thoughts are on anything I’ve written. I apologise if any of it is difficult to follow. I have many obsessions and I feel they are interlinked in some way. I need numbers and structure in my life. Is this OCD or Asperger’s or maybe both?