Hey guys, welcome to the channel, this is Erik Johnson, I want to talk about my story with Asperger’s, and tell you how I discovered I had Asperger’s really late in life. I was 47 when I found out, and I’m going to tell you how I found out in a minute. But first, I want to start back at the very beginning of my childhood, and just give you a couple of indicators of my Asperger’s, and we’ll go from there for Late Diagnosis of Asperger’s.
When I was eight years old, I started rocking on the floor, back and forth, while my parents and I watched TV. I don’t remember exactly why I did it. I knew that my dad had a temper, that was kind of scary, and maybe I didn’t feel safe. So, I just felt a tendency to rock back and forth. I discovered that it was soothing.
During that time, I also started to create shows and stuff when I went to bed because my bedtime was very early. I remember just singing and touching myself, exploring myself, trying to find pleasure, because I wanted to feel good. So I’ve had that since I was eight years old. I don’t know what happened. But I started rocking back and forth.
In grade school, I kept getting in trouble with the teachers. I remember just really, really bad teachers. I mean, they were violent. I remember getting hit by a teacher. One teacher grabbed me by the hair and pulled me up, like literally lifted my body off the ground by pulling my hair because I wouldn’t let a certain kid sit next to me. I was very bullheaded, and my dad was bullheaded, and eventually we didn’t get along when I became a teenager.
But we’ll get to that in a minute. I just remember feeling very alone, and feeling like my best friend was myself playing games by myself. I had a huge imagination, and I could do repetitive things that other kids couldn’t do. They would get bored or whatever. I could ride my bicycle in the driveway in circles, literally. I mean, we had a short driveway and I could do that for two hours just riding in circles.
Luckily, we had a great view of the water, the Puget Sound in Washington State. So, one direction on my bicycle, I would look out and see the water and I loved tugboats and freighters and I loved seeing the smoke rise from their smokestacks. I was always enamored with smoke, I love smoke. In fact, I played with fire.
My parents were very strict and they didn’t let me touch matches. So when friends came over and they had matches or something, it was a big deal to start a little campfire in a hidden section of our yard. But I just loved fire for some reason. I love the smoke. I love the process of lighting the fire, the lining up of twigs. I just loved the orchestration of starting a fire. And it was risky, so there was a lot of excitement around it.
I also started to spy on my neighbors. I was obsessed with knowing what they’re doing and watching them perform their daily routines inside their house without knowing I was watching. So basically like what’s that called? voyeurism. So I was basically a Pyro and a Voyeur lol. Not too good of a start. I mean, they basically say those traits are associated with a sociopath and mass murderers. I didn’t kill anyone, don’t worry. So basically, I spied on my neighbors, started little fires, and played with myself and I rocked a couple hours a day.
When I was 12 years old, I was really stimming a lot. I was rocking but I was also tapping a lot. It got to the point where I would have to go get kitchen utensils, and start drumming with those wooden spoons on couch arms and I would play along to my sister’s music. I loved music, I loved my dad’s music also. My dad listened to the blues, I loved that. He also listened to Linda Ronstadt and the Bee Gees, this was in the 70s. So I listened to that.
Then friends turned me on to the Rolling Stones, but my dad didn’t like that because they’re too wild. So he confiscated my Rolling Stones. And then confiscated my kiss album that a friend gave me and a Queen album, I believe. So I was trying to discover my own music and my dad was preventing me from doing that because it was wild rock and roll.
So I listened to my sister’s Go Go’s, I remember playing on the couch with the wooden spoons to the song, We Got the Beat by the Go Go’s. Eventually I was tapping so much, my mom decided to just get me a drum set, I really wanted to drum. It was like a stimming heaven to get a drum set. And from that point on, I rocked, and listened to music after dinner every night. I also discovered hard rock and heavy metal, when I was 12, and that blew me away. I just thought it was magic. You know, Iron Maiden made me realize that you could be a warrior. They were like warrior theme songs, basically, with really wild guitar solos and stuff and It just blew my mind. It made my imagination explore things even more.
When I was 17, I discovered alcohol. That was probably the next best thing in my whole life, because I felt 17 years of stress and anxiety lifted off my shoulders with the first drink of alcohol. So now I had alcohol, I had music, and I had rocking, and those things stayed with me for many, many years.
In fact, I just quit rocking after 40 years this January. So that’s why I started this channel and started my blog, addictionfreed com because this is a journey I want to share with everyone. I’m not stimming anymore, I got up to stimming 14 hours a day and, I was self isolating really bad.
So alcohol was very magical, very magical. I could stay up all night on it. It gave me a certain energy because I was unhindered. All the anxiety and stress lifted off of me when I drank. The buzz was magical. I could stay up all night and I was manic. I was so excited about life. I would run around and talk to people that I normally wouldn’t talk to. It just gave me liquid courage and it made me open up.
Because under my dad’s rule, I couldn’t be myself. And at school, I had people that, you know, I was bullied. Even my friends in school teased me. Then when I got home, my dad would berate me and force me to do homework and force me to eat all my dinner, and he was starting to physically attack me a little. I mean, not a lot, you know, probably only two times out of 18 years, but still, his rage was so scary.
I knew I could see his anger coming. I could hear it coming. Because he would literally be breathing so hard through his nostrils that he sounded like a raging bull, and I knew that my time was limited. I knew that my days were up when he was that angry.
So self esteem wise, I was beaten down and I could care less about education and the system. All I wanted to do was be a rock and roll drummer. So eventually I dropped out of high school – there was nothing my parents could do about it.
But before that, I want to tell you two more things that are kind of Asperger’s related, I loved the Fourth of July because I could collect fireworks and I would rather just line them up on my floor and take pictures of them like a little colorful army than light them off. I still have pictures posing in front of my fireworks, which is kind of an Asperger’s trait because they like organizing. They like colorful things, and I just love the labeling on fireworks.
The other thing is I collected stamps, I loved stamps, I love the little colors. I used to collect stamps from around the world. Some stamps were just so cool, really bright colors. Then the other thing I really liked was diesel smoke.
So whenever, even regular exhaust, I used to smell the exhaust from cars. And I just loved the smell of diesel because our sailboat had a diesel motor. I used to just smell that diesel smoke, and I loved the sound of the diesel motor. And it would knock me out. I would sleep listening to the diesel motor as a child as my dad would sail the boat around the harbor.
So I really liked noises, certain noises, other noises were very annoying, like people chewing around me. Sudden loud noises like glass cups hitting the table or forks hitting plates. I just couldn’t stand that.
So when I was 17, I dropped out of high school. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I just had a very low self esteem. And I didn’t like hanging out in groups, I had a couple best friends and I would only hang out with them one on one. When other people came around, I would have to leave. I couldn’t handle groups.
Then the alcohol got worse. Then I just would hang out with my girlfriends, and I would ignore my friends and it was basically just alcohol and a girlfriend – and I had music. I was listening to music. Then when I didn’t have a job, I would stay home all day. I would rock when I didn’t work. And then when I did get a job, it would be like a cooking job or a dishwashing job.
I started washing dishes when I was 16. I worked my way up to line cook when I was 18. I had fun with that. I liked the repetition. You know, I liked flipping burgers. I liked it. You know, I never made it to chef because the alcohol eventually took over and nearly killed me. I had a heart attack when I was 32 because of alcohol related things. I tore up many friendships and relationships. I quit over 80 jobs. I got fired from jobs. Alcohol was just taking over.
When I started to work from home six years ago, I was stimming 14 hours a day. Luckily, I quit alcohol when I was 36. But when I quit alcohol, I was still isolating. I didn’t really want friends anymore. All I had was music and stimming.
And music has been there ever since I was eight years old. It’s been like my best lover ever. Music took me to worlds I could never imagine and actually physically affected me. I remember the first time I discovered tears of joy by listening to songs that just took me over the top.
That’s the other thing is I had emotional outbursts that I couldn’t control. So if someone made me upset – if I felt like some unfair action was taken against me, I would have a tantrum, I would hit things, I would stomp my feet. I couldn’t let it go. I would hold on to grudges for years.
And I always remembered the bullies and what they said to me, and I wanted to get them back. I have wanted to get my dad back ever since I was five years old and he spanked me really hard for picking up fiberglass in a boat yard. I wanted to get everyone back. But the only thing that really happened was I isolated to the point where my sanity was deteriorating.
Late Diagnosis of Asperger’s
So last year and a half ago, I didn’t know anything about Asperger’s. I knew a little bit about autism from the movie Rain Man. That’s it, and then a year and a half ago, my fiance, who I’m still with today, said that I was talking about trains one day and she had read an article about signs of Asperger’s. She said, Yeah, you know, guys with Asperger’s, they like trains. That’s one of the things that they really like.
I remember growing up just loving trains. In fact, when I was 20 years years old, I hopped trains with a couple friends. We made it from Seattle, Washington down to Roseville, California. That was the best time of my life, even though I got really homesick, and freaked out and had to leave them and go back home.
But on the ride home, I actually took a freight train all by myself all the way back to Eugene, Oregon, and slept in the engine, the third engine, there’s no engineers there and I literally had the engine unit all to myself. It had heat, it had water. It was a tremendous time. But for someone with Asperger’s, all those different changes, you know, hopping trains is very dangerous. I was stressed out because my friends were drinking. That was one of the times when I stopped drinking.
So anyways, my fiance was like, you know, they love trains, and they love little lights, and they love certain sounds, and I really think you might have Asperger’s. So I started researching it and felt tremendous relief. I really felt like I discovered freedom. I felt like I truly discovered myself after 47 years, 39 years of stimming at that point. I was like, Oh my gosh, all of this makes sense. I have Asperger’s.
Then I did an autistic test and I scored on the lower end of the autistic spectrum, and I almost cried because I finally had a title to all of my characteristics, my personality, all the failed relationships, all the isolation.
Towards the last couple years of drinking, when I was 34 to 36, I was isolated in a dark room, getting drunk twice a day, not eating anymore, because I didn’t want it to ruin my buzz. And I was going out fast. The only friend I had was like, dude, you’re gonna die in a year, and that didn’t stop me.
The only thing that stopped me from drinking was I was shamed by a skateboarder guy that came into my room. He was my girlfriend’s friend. I was naked in bed shaking from alcohol withdrawals, and he picked up my girlfriend’s guitar, started making funny songs about me and I was so angry, and I couldn’t get up and kick him out of the house. I was truly defenseless. I was shaking, naked and angry.
I was destroying myself. At that point, I knew it was over. I knew the alcohol was done. I knew that. I knew that girlfriend was over, and I left that whole environment. And I just picked up my life.
Then the current fiance turned me on to spirituality. So we started meditating. We actually went to Peru and did Ayahuasca and I started to unravel all the addictions because I realized that they were coping mechanisms and I didn’t want to run for myself anymore. I wanted to truly discover who I am.
I’m approaching 30 days now without stimming, and I am not running with music. I am not running to any addiction right now. Not even sure. Not sugar, not music, not fapping, not fidgeting, not tapping, not pacing, not whistling, not picking scabs off my legs.
I’m literally sitting still because I want the true Erik to come out. So this channel is about my journey. And I just wanted to tell you that I am so happy that I self diagnosed. I have a lot of traits that other Asperger’s people have. I love music. It’s like heaven on earth. If you were to ask me what was the best thing about this life, I have to say music besides finding God, you know, the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit came into my life a couple years ago and that was the biggest high I ever felt because it was pure love. They call it agape love. It was pure agape love, it came into my heart, and it broke me down, I cried for four hours the first time the Holy Spirit hit me. It was while listening to a Christian heavy metal song. It felt like it was my True Father hugging me with unconditional love that I have never experienced from another person in my life.
I knew from then on, that I wanted to be a Christian, and to unravel all of these addictions, and to really become the true man I was meant to be. So thank you guys for watching. Leave a comment if you have any Asperger’s or autism. Do you want to quit? Are you stimming? Tell me what’s going on. Share this video, we gotta get it out. Because this is a mission of mine. This is the real reason I’m alive.
God showed me that 40 years of stimming is my story. Because it’s enough time to almost destroy myself. But just enough time to save myself and help others because I was a self centered, narcissistic alcoholic addict who just wanted to please himself because I have been in fight or flight since I was a little boy.
You know, I was in fight or flight because of my dad because of the bullies in school because of the teachers because of even my friends. Even my ex girlfriends, we’d get into these huge fights and I would hold grudges for months. And everything was just beating me down and making me bitter and jaded. So I am very glad, very glad that I am on the upward swing. I know what I am now. And I’m excited to see where this goes. So thanks for watching guys. We’ll talk to you soon.
Here’s more Resources for Asperger’s and Addiction
Erik C Johnson