Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Asperger's And The Canadian Forces

People keep coming to the blog, to search for help regarding Asperger's Syndrome and The CF. My advice for Aspies: do not join, unless they are trained in dealing with the shortcomings of Aspies, and/or they find a way for Aspies to blend in. Read the remainder of my blog entry for my personal experiences.

My entire military life was in the reserves. For the most part, we are part-time people, but there are times when reservists serve full-time. Usually that occurs during military training courses.

I do not know for sure that I have Asperger's Syndrome, but I suspect that I do. I personally found it very hard to live in the CF. There were several nights when I lay in bed, on base, wanting to kill myself.

In the CF, they do not like to explain themselves very often. They like giving details on how things ought to be done, because standards are important to them, but they hate having to justify anything. The truth is that that is normal human nature, but even more so in the CF, and I assume even more than that, in other militaries.

The way that they do things is often foreign to the outside world, because of the closed nature of the group. They do not have to answer to real world pressures, so they could afford to do weird things like keep people cooped up inside, or feel a sense of ownership when thinking about another person's life, or even using a separate language when dealing with a certain class of people.

In the outside world, a common question that Aspies might have is "Why do other people not like me?". This is a very valid question, and for the most part, it is because of people skills. If you have difficulty getting people to like you in the outside world, where there are many free thinkers, then how will you do it in the military, where people do not understand that there are differences, and where they assume that the established way is the best way of doing things, because following orders is always best?

Think about how long it took for coloured people to be treated as equals in the military. That is a visible difference that makes absolutely no difference. There might be cultural norms associated with skin colours, but people can change their cultural norms. If that is how difficult it is to change with a visible difference then how will you be able to survive, when you have a hidden difference that most people do not even knows exists?

If you absolutely must join the military, then bear these things in mind.

  • Join the reserves, so that you can quit any time. You will need to hand in your equipment, and go through and exit process, but the reserves does not require any signing contracts for ordinary soldiers.
  • Join, when you are studying in high school, and/or college, so that your time in the military can count towards both graduations.
  • Join a combat trade, or a non-combat trade that interests you. Do not join any other. A combat trade will have a lot of people in training that you can rely on. A trade that interests you might keep your spirits high, even when you get involved with bad people.
  • Join a unit that will allow you to have lots of practise with your trade. For example, joining a combat unit, as a supply technician may not necessarily give you all the training that you need.
  • Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below. I am not an expert, but I can tell you my perspective, experiences, and opinions.

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