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doloras
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13 Aug 2007, 1:15 am

I have known quite a few people with AS or at least something similar in my life. The only kid who got picked on more than me at school was formally diagnosed. I have one acquaintance who's also formally diagnosed - you wouldn't actually know it most of the time, except that he doesn't understand the concept of personal space unless constantly reminded, and cannot follow directions even to another room in the same house. My best friend/ex is also kind of interesting in that way - extremely stubborn to the point of obsessive and simply doesn't understand how normal people's minds work.

Now, I would have never put myself in the same category as those people - and I know perfectly well that there's a fad for self-diagnosing with AS among a section of rampant idiots. For a start, I had always heard that being unsociable and not getting the concept of jokes was an essential part of the package. I have an extremely weird but active sense of humour, and I like making friends (although I'm not good at it because I tend to go off on long insane rants about things which intrigue me). I understand how normal people's minds work, although I find it very difficult to simulate that behaviour myself.

Which is why I'm quite diffident about making this post, because I certainly wouldn't want to impinge on someone else's special space. But I am increasingly thinking that if I'm somewhere on "the spectrum" it would explain a lot.

I taught myself to read at the age of 3. At school, I was always in trouble for some kind of loud, antisocial behaviour - at the same time as being frantically advanced up the grade structure, in part perhaps because they were desperate to make me someone else's problem. :) I was a maths prodigy up until the age of about 15, when - for some reason - I lost interest in it altogether. After that I got me one of those PhD things in literature (!). I'm now a political activist and semi-pro musician, with a subsidiary obsession in learning languages. I have been with my wonderful and extremely neurotypical partner for about four years now, and am constantly amazed by how she puts up with me.

Here's something I recently wrote on another blog:

Being sociable does not come naturally to me. I have learnt enough social skills to be able to make a phone call, succeed in a job interview, to be able to make friendships and even to start (and maintain) a relationship. But I really do have to make an effort at it. I have always ended up "trying too hard" as a consequence.

My horrible feelings of shame come when I feel that I have failed, that people have seen that I am not like them and that they will now hurt me in some way. Because my experience is that when I act in a way which is natural to me but not a generally accepted reaction, I get a violent or shaming or depriving-of-nice-things reaction. It's not shame as much as "you stupid girl you've done it now they're going to get you RUN RUN". (It's flight rather than fight because it was repeatedly drummed into me that physical retaliation never, ever works.)

This happens because I am continually working in a way which is unnatural to me to attempt to blend in. I am not naturally someone who is snarky and witty in conversation. I just do that because it's a way to participate in social interaction without giving anything away. I find conversations very hard unless (a) the other person is making all the effort, (b) it's on a subject which is important to me.

One thing that I've never learnt is to deal with disagreement, anger or hostility. My natural reaction is to run away, but I know that this usually makes things worse. The scary thing is that things which come absolutely naturally to me provoke this reaction from people.

What was vitally important to me as a child was to avoid punishment, which seemed to come from being myself. But then I tried too hard to do what was appropriate and that got punishment (or ridicule) as well.

What does come naturally to me? Singing, reading, writing, being energetic and boisterous. I don't want to be a musician or a writer for profit or for fun, but because I want to learn how to translate my interior world into a form that other people can understand. The words and music are so powerful and pleasurable inside my own head that I want to see whether I can show them to other people. I am so incredibly happy when I manage to get through to people. Particularly "normal" people. (The weirdos and geeks generally get it quite easily!)

I mean, I do want to be social, to make connections with people. But to me, that means understanding how people work. I find it extremely difficult to "take people as they are" - I want to understand people's operating principles. I am only now realising that this tends to creep most people out. Most people jealously guard their interior world. I have always wanted someone (trustworthy) to share mine.

I think I finally have to accept that my brain is simply wired differently to most people. That way I can stop punishing myself for it and begin attempting to work with it and around it.


In summary: it may well be that - having had it literally beaten into me in places - I may have learned enough social skills to get by, but it never feels really comfortable. I would love someone to understand and appreciate my internal world, but the effort of translation from my private language to that of society is a daunting and perhaps impossible task. I am now considering whether seeing myself as somewhere on the spectrum (towards the NT end) would help me understand and accept myself better, and whether - in short - this is a place where I might learn something.

In other words: hello. I hope I don't get chased away.



Tim_Tex
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13 Aug 2007, 1:24 am

Welcome to WP!

Tim


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Flagg
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13 Aug 2007, 1:31 am

RP: Dude, your fine. Grab a beer from the fridge and some food if you are hungry. I've got Battlestar Galatica to watch before I go on my next contract so feel free to join me.

OOC: Your fine here if you feel like you belong here.

Welcome.


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Cadzie
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13 Aug 2007, 1:41 am

Well Doloras, I often felt as I should not be, and for a time in my teens I figured I couldn't not shock people, so then I made it work for me. Now that I'm older, it's not cute anymore, and I still have trouble as I don't preform for anyone any more, as I try and I fail often, like I've been talking to this woman in my religion, and she's a little older then me, single so I figure I would get to know her, but for a moment in the car, she says to me, when we were alone, "I don't wish to lead you on, because well there's somethings that bother me" well I was glad she was honest, but at the same time sad as this always happens, and I figure, if things are starting off like "well we can still talk.." she said that and I was like... to me it seems like she'll later just say no to a relationship. and here I am, left thinking, why me? I'm polite, honest and kind, yet none of that seems to matter? because I'm different all those hidden qualities don't matter at all



iceb
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13 Aug 2007, 4:09 am

Glad to meet you Doloras.

No we won't chase you away :)


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dawndeleon
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13 Aug 2007, 4:24 am

You wrote:

"My horrible feelings of shame come when I feel that I have failed, that people have seen that I am not like them and that they will now hurt me in some way. Because my experience is that when I act in a way which is natural to me but not a generally accepted reaction, I get a violent or shaming or depriving-of-nice-things reaction. It's not shame as much as "you stupid girl you've done it now they're going to get you RUN RUN". (It's flight rather than fight because it was repeatedly drummed into me that physical retaliation never, ever works.) "

Sounds like my life. I am also in a relationship, in fact, married for six years now. He is also an aspie. Its not easy by far and i do get upset when i hurt his feelings. We are starting to understand each other with this forum. It has really helped us to become closer.

I used to fight first, and tended to get in trouble for hitting and biting my mouthy sister. I never realized i was different, but boy did everyone else! You are in a great place. Sounds like you are doing quite well in life.

I think aspies are just drawn together... We just tend to find each other. Who knows, my friends might be that way too.



doloras
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13 Aug 2007, 5:27 am

As to AS people finding each other - my last partner - and now best friend - definitely had a more difficult time dealing with the world than I do. We understood each other very well, and we still do, more than anyone we've ever known. But - if we were both indeed on the spectrum - it manifested itself in almost opposite ways. Neither of us particularly wanted to socially network, but I at least could understand why it might be of advantage and would attempt to make the effort. I babble and go on and on about my obsession of the moment; she prefers to make non-verbal sounds or remain silent. I would snoop and pry and try to find out other people's secrets, in order to try to understand them; she wouldn't even tell me basic information half the time because it never occurred to her to do so. And we would both go into meltdown (I believe it is called) - but again in opposite ways. I would scream and rant and throw things - she would go catatonic. You can see why that didn't last.

On the other hand, my current partner is almost defiantly neurotypical - I am continually amazed at why she puts up with my strange mental blocks and obsessions, and she replies "because you never, ever bore me". And thankfully I hardly ever feel the need to throw things around the room any more. :oops:

I am doing quite well in life, thanks. My big problem at the moment is that, as I say, I am kind of serious about my politics, but am beginning to realise that learning to network and to initiate conversations with strangers is a big part of that. And I'm sure you can all imagine it's a scary, impossible task - and virtually no-one around me understands why that might be.



Trigger11
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13 Aug 2007, 9:35 am

Wow! I must say that much of your blog excerpt resonated so perfectly with me. I may have to plagiarize some of it, if you don't mind? You've put things down in word form I have found a very hard time getting out in such an eloquent manner. I too try to express through music much of what is in my head and otherwise unintelligible to outsiders. Welcome!


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larsenjw92286
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13 Aug 2007, 9:51 am

Hi!

Welcome to Wrongplanet!

Yes, you are!

I hope you enjoy posting here!


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richie
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13 Aug 2007, 5:10 pm

Welcome to WrongPlanet Image



doloras
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13 Aug 2007, 5:20 pm

Trigger11 wrote:
Wow! I must say that much of your blog excerpt resonated so perfectly with me. I may have to plagiarize some of it, if you don't mind? You've put things down in word form I have found a very hard time getting out in such an eloquent manner.


Well, I mind being plagiarised, but I don't mind being quoted at length with proper attribution, and you are more than welcome to do that. Your appreciation gives me a lovely warm glow. For you to say that means that I have succeeded at what is most important to me - and reassures me that I may well be in the right place!

Quote:
I too try to express through music much of what is in my head and otherwise unintelligible to outsiders.


Several groups I've been involved in have issued their own compilation album of compositions by members. Has this been tried round these parts?