Column: Aspergers a shared struggle

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Since joining the Courier staff back in February, I have been very open and honest about my views on sports, especially here locally, and I have even shared some of the personal struggles I have dealt with so far in 2015.

At the same time, their have been some things about me I have kept from you, the readers, and the many people I have interviewed for the different stories which has appeared in the sports section until now. There is something about me, I feel it is time for me to share with you, the readers, who make my job so enjoyable each week as I tell the stories of the various sporting events here in Cannon County.

Back in 2006, I earned a bachelors degree in Radio-TV Journalism with a History minor at MTSU. Later that fall, I moved to northeast Georgia for my first job in the print journalism business. However, during the eight months there, I made some stupid rookie mistakes, and on Memorial Day weekend in 2007, I was let go and I moved back to Murfreesboro. To tell you the truth, it was not a fun time for me after moving back home. I was very depressed, and I felt my career was over.

At the same time, I was seeing a therapist, who helped me deal with my depression after losing my dream job. After a few sessions, in which we dove into the challenges I faced growing up, especially my love of sports and the lack of social interactions with others. My therapist determined I have a high functioning form of autism called the "Aspergers Syndrome."

For those not familiar with this form of autism, here is a quick overview of some of the challenges those with it, including myself deal with on a daily basis. For example, I have a hard time looking people in the eye. I understand looking people in the eye is one of the keys to have a successful conversation with someone, but for me it is really hard for me to do. However, I do not mean to be disrespectful, especially those who I interview like players, coaches, and others who I quote for the various stories in the Courier. It is just something, which goes along with the autism.

Some other issues, which those who have come in contact with me during the past few months might notice include obsession with a specific topic like for me it is either sports or history. Which for this job is great, but for example, trying to find a girlfriend it is really difficult. However, I am working on trying to branch out with different things in my life, so I can develop more relationships with people.

There are a couple of more issues, which is a challenge for me, but it is something I am working on getting better since my social skills are about as good as a young child, include I tend in conversations focus on myself instead of others, and in turn they are usually one-sided. Again, I am not trying to be disrespectful toward other people, and anybody who knows me understands I try to help those around me. Plus, I hate talking about myself instead I much rather be there for other people who need either support or just a friendly person to talk to about life in general.

Luckily, I have found a boss who has understood what I am going through on a daily basis. After taking a break from writing for a couple of years, I met in 2010 current Courier publisher, Ron Friar, and he hired me to write sports for the Murfreesboro Post, which I did until May of this year.

However, back in February, he needed somebody to cover sports here in Cannon County, so he asked me to do it. Honestly, with everything I have dealt with this year, which I had already discussed in a previous issue, writing for this publication and dealing with you guys has helped me so much to get over everything. I cannot thank him and you enough, because it has meant so much to me. So, I hope you will get a better understanding of what I deal with on a daily basis with my Aspergers.

However, I do need to ask a favor, please do not feel sorry for me, because I am just a guy living the dream of telling stories about sports here in Cannon County. I am here for you, the readers and the various people I cover on a daily basis. That is all.

Read more from:
Aspergers, David Hunter
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