Symptoms Shifting in a Positive Direction

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MathGirl
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13 May 2011, 1:16 am

This is something that has happened to my AS during the past year or so as my self-esteem slowly went up and as my self-awareness increased. Perhaps this account can offer some insight into how to cope with AS better, but what I really hope to get out of sharing this is some questions and perspectives from your point of view.

- Difficulty approaching people and sustaining conversations. Initially, I never knew what to say to people if I ever had to approach them. Now, I can just formulate questions in my mind and fire them at people I deem as knowledgeable enough to answer my questions. I also have no trouble just coming up to somebody and saying what is on my mind as a way to start a conversation. I also don’t have as much trouble sustaining conversations anymore as I have in the past. Although my conversations with my friends tend to be very repetitive (we get stuck in loops talking about the same thing over and over again), I can talk on the phone with them for hours and actually enjoy it.
- Not being able to be social for prolonged periods of time without having a burnout. I had this problem in the past and still do sometimes among NTs. The thing is, even though most of my friends have AS, I actually crave socializing now. I don’t get stuck in these obsessive negative loops of thought about whether I did something wrong during a social interaction as a few of my aspie friends have described to me (i.e. a sour aftertaste due to social interaction). I can actually go home after socializing for a while and work on something productive, although I might be exhausted due to sensory overload ONLY. I do get obsessive flashbacks after social experiences... however, these flashbacks are vivid and pleasant to experience, like daydreams or stims. They do not cause me anxiety or distress.
- Tactile aversion. I am getting more and more comfortable with people touching me. I wonder if some issues related to tactile aversion have something to do with trust – once you get more comfortable around people and form a sort of a protective shield around yourself, the aversion might partially go away.
- Being a self-contained person. I have become the polar opposite of this… I am now actually eager to share myself with people. I am open about my motivations, my quirks, my goals, and my feelings.
Overall, I have become much more open to people and don’t avoid contact with them as much as I used to. I have become more emotionally expressive and it feels more natural for me to share the things that are on my mind than ever before. Sometimes I have difficulty figuring out why other people with AS have these issues, since the reason why I had these issues in first place was because of my low self-esteem and insecurity in a world where I barely knew my place.

This is what I believe has changed about me that has enabled me to become this way:

I have come to see my AS as one of the most positive things about myself. After gaining respect among the members of my support groups, I began seeing myself as a member of this secret group that has these unique characteristics. If anyone has ever commented on my behaviour, I have actually considered responding “I’m an alien”. Somehow, this new perception of myself has led me to want to show others who I really am – a unique, complex, and interesting person I see myself as now. Even though I rarely disclose the specific label to people I meet in non-autism-related settings, this newly-formed overall self-concept forms a sort of a protective shield around me. There are no boundaries for me anymore; I have become fearless and unstoppable.

I still often become disappointed in aspects of myself, especially when something happens and someone rejects me. When that happens, I try to point out the specific problem I think I have and bring it either to my counselor or to my close friends. Sometimes I end up spending days in reclusion trying to analyze what that person might have perceived in me as being wrong/repulsive. Once I find out that this characteristic is related to AS, I immediately start feeling good about it. I still sometimes wonder if I have some character flaw that repels people away from me, because I have even had a few people with AS who were supposed to be understanding about it cut me off abruptly. But overall, I feel quite confident with my self-knowledge at this point.

I wonder if you have had any immediate thoughts while reading this. No specific questions spring into my head at this point as I’m very tired… Just wanted to put this out there.


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Brainfre3ze_93
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13 May 2011, 7:36 am

I'm starting to notice this as well with my own behaviour. Early on, I'd difficultes starting conversation I still do, but it's not as inhibiting as it once was. As for burnouts, I only get burned out when there is a lot of people talking at once in the same room.
It's great to see improvments in everday lives, and to see how far we come.


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flybirdfly
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13 May 2011, 10:51 pm

]I am finding this more and more about myself as well, in large part due to you and others. It has been a very gradual process, but I am certainly more uninhibited in approaching people and talking to them than I was a year or two ago. I still however have a long way to go to get where I would like to see myself, but I think I am steadily moving in the right direction. I've had very little practice with social interaction as it just doesn't come naturally to me, and as I get more experience interacting and talking to people, it becomes easier, and what AS symptoms I may have fade.

I still feel so far from "normal" as I don't really engage in meaningful conversations and interactions like my peers do at the workplace where I started working. In addition to experience, I think self-confidence and identity have improved my ability to interact with them, as I'm more comfortable with who I am, and I understand a little more clearly how people perceive me, so I think I'm able to present myself better. I'm not sure how far I will progress, but I'm certainly not going to limit myself.



MathGirl
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15 May 2011, 11:15 pm

Brainfre3ze_93 wrote:
I'm starting to notice this as well with my own behaviour. Early on, I'd difficultes starting conversation I still do, but it's not as inhibiting as it once was. As for burnouts, I only get burned out when there is a lot of people talking at once in the same room.
It's great to see improvments in everday lives, and to see how far we come.
Yeah. It all comes with practice and lots of it.

flybirdfly wrote:
]I am finding this more and more about myself as well, in large part due to you and others. It has been a very gradual process, but I am certainly more uninhibited in approaching people and talking to them than I was a year or two ago. I still however have a long way to go to get where I would like to see myself, but I think I am steadily moving in the right direction. I've had very little practice with social interaction as it just doesn't come naturally to me, and as I get more experience interacting and talking to people, it becomes easier, and what AS symptoms I may have fade.

I still feel so far from "normal" as I don't really engage in meaningful conversations and interactions like my peers do at the workplace where I started working. In addition to experience, I think self-confidence and identity have improved my ability to interact with them, as I'm more comfortable with who I am, and I understand a little more clearly how people perceive me, so I think I'm able to present myself better. I'm not sure how far I will progress, but I'm certainly not going to limit myself.
I'm glad that the group was helpful to you. It helps to know that you can always improve. I personally don't see this as "symptoms fading", I see it more as gaining confidence to be able to share yourself with other people. Keep working on it! :)


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