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Showing posts from October, 2012

Authentic Aspie Moment: Playing with scissors

Before I start, yes, there is a 'Playing with scissors part 2'. And I'm not even counting when I cut off my own fringe as I think most small children have a go at that kind of thing...?

In this Authentic Aspie Moment, I was displaying two areas of thought which, when combined, have much the same effect as combining baking soda and vinegar. I was focusing very strongly on the expected outcome of my actions, as well as failing to understand the consequences of failure.

I expect many a grand disaster was based on the same combination. For me, it signalled an event which would be infamous amongst my friends and family for many years.

When I was a little girl, only about 5, we lived next door to another family with a daughter around the same age. Tracy and I had very little in common, but in the way of small children, we got along well enough to play and be counted as friends. I was more imaginative and daring, she was quieter and more sensible. She was also trusting.

One day,…

Self image: I am what I am...aren't I?

I wanted to bring up the touchy subject of self-image. Touchy because I, like many aspies, am uncomfortable talking about how I see myself. I'm much more used to listening to what others think about me and how they see me.

You see, with aspergers you learn not to trust yourself. For goodness sake, you can't be trusted! How many times have you stared, transfixed, when you should have looked away? How many times have you dodged in perfect time with the poor person trying to step past you? How often do you get things wrong? Plenty, would usually cover most bases.

So, although aspies have a very, very clear self-image, it usually stays locked up, safe and warm, inside. If you bring it out, even to loved ones, you risk losing it altogether, as you find out you were wrong all along.

A small example would be, you think you suit the colour yellow. I love yellow and, for years, I loved wearing it. No one told me I looked like I had jaundice when I put it on and looking in the mirror to…

Aspergers, the part-time disability

Before I start receiving hate mail, this is not my view! Obviously, aspergers can't be switched on and off, or even turn itself on and off. Sometimes it seems to, especially when stress levels rise, but that's not what I mean by this post.

I'm talking about when people close to you, whether family, friends, best beloveds or co-workers, who know about your aspergers, give you credence for it one day and expect you to behave normally the next. Those occasions when you're as aspie as you were the day before, but for whatever reason, they expect you not to behave like you are, because it's not convenient.

This is one of the major downsides of having a hidden disability, which often occurs in people who can function at a high level a lot of the time. You're already looking okay because you can manage all kinds of everyday tasks. Those of who us who are adults have had to incorporate our daily lives into our aspie-ness, making one support the other as much as possib…

There's nothing wrong with you!

How often have we heard that? Or, as the parent of a child with aspergers, heard that there's nothing wrong with our child that some discipline wouldn't sort out.

Aspergers doesn't leave physical signs that people can tick off on their disability checklist. If you know what to look for, you may be able to spot a fellow aspie at ten paces - there is such a thing as aspie-dar. Otherwise, you're left wondering if a person is on the autistic spectrum or just out to drive you crazy. (It should be noted, some people are just out to drive you crazy and I'm still undecided if there are more of them than there are aspies in the world).

Girls with aspergers possibly suffer less from being threatened with discipline, as aspergers in girls is often harder to diagnose. In my experience, girls tend to suffer on the inside in a way that doesn't always show itself on the outside; or at least, they don't display their suffering in a way that makes people think there may be…

Putting it off until tomorrow... extreme prevarications and procrastinations

How many times have I used the word stress? How many blogs have covered the aspie need to avoid stress? How often have I said that aspies should take any measures necessary to make their lives as stress-free as possible? The answer is: a lot.

So why is it, when stress is such an enormous issue, that people with aspergers bring more stress on themselves by not doing things when they need to be done? Putting things off, important, essential things, as well as smaller, less vital tasks, creates stress and worry. The stress and worry caused by putting things off impacts on the aspie's state of mind and emotions, making them feel worse. They become even less likely to do the necessary tasks and the cycle of stress escalates.

Mad, isn't it? Why would someone do that to themselves?!

A small example. A reply to a letter needs to be written and there is a time limit for writing it. There it sits, on the desk, waiting to be done. It's a necessary task, a little job that only I can d…

Authentic Aspie Moment: I chopped it up!

I wanted to share with you an event where I displayed a staggering amount of literal thinking. Even now, I look back and think: Did I really do that?

My neighbour, a very organised, tidy person, was having a clear out and kindly asked me if I would like a big unit (a long, wooden cabinet she had used for her TV) that she had in her living room. I went over to look at it and realised it would be too big but she was so excited about me having it and keen for it to be taken, that I felt I couldn't refuse. I didn't know how to refuse, you see and didn't want to upset her.

Also, she said if I didn't take it, she was just going to chop it up and take it to the dump. I thought, in that case, it won't matter if I end up getting rid of it.

She dropped it off a little while later. I made sure it was the wrong size before deciding to get rid of it. Yes, too big, so out it would go. I called the local charity shop and they came the next day.

I was worried about them coming and…

Expectations and the harm they can do

I was planning this post on expectations and, I have to be honest here, every time I thought about it, I was reminded of the times I have let people down. So, that kind of proves my point before I've even begun!

Expectations can be the enemy of the aspie peace of mind. Like my earlier post about my school days and in the post where I talk about the various jobs I've had, expectations play an important part not just in life events like school and work, but also in our inter-personal relationships.

The expectations of other people define us in much the same ways as how they talk about us and to us. Again, referring to an earlier post about self esteem, expectations of us doing badly can be as much a factor as when people hope or assume we will do well.

Let's look at negative expectations first and get them out of the way. These are the ones we tend to get from people who don't really mind if they hurt our feelings or who care more about the thing we will do wrong than o…

Aspie: child vs adult

I've been thinking a lot about my childhood self and how things have changed since then - how I have changed. It made me wonder how I could describe the difference between having aspergers as a child and what it's like to be an aspie adult.

I think I can sum it up in one word - responsibility.

As a child, however your aspie nature presents itself, you have little or no responsibilities. I would say that the big one for most aspie children is the need to go to school. The strain of school, the damage it can do and the way that stress can exaggerate the behaviours of aspergers, is often the reason why a fair number of parents decide to home educate their autistic spectrum children. (I'll go into home education more in a later post, as it is a very good way to look at aspergers and the effects of normal school).

So, to an aspie child, school is enormously important. It comprises a large part of their daily lives, and even if they enjoy it, school is something which has to be…

Aspies don't like surprises!

Interwoven in so many of my posts and comments about aspergers has been the notion of aspie reactions to life, the universe and everything. It always seems to be reactions, have you noticed that? The aspie, in defence as usual. This is because we don't often expect the outcomes we're presented with, so we do end up defending ourselves against yet another surprise.

This is why aspies don't like surprises - every blooming day has them and they're very rarely nice. I don't mean that every day I open the post and I've won the Reader's Digest draw or there is a bunch of flowers from a secret admirer on the front step. Neither do I mean that people shower me with unexpected compliments or the cake turns out better than expected.

No, I mean the kind of surprises that are small enough to act like bullets, slipping through the mithril vest of aspergers and into the defenseless heart.

The sort of surprise that happens in conversations with people who should know bett…

SELF-ESTEEM! Can you hear me shouting yet?

I cannot emphasise this enough: self-esteem is fundamental to aspergers in adults. Yes, it's very important to aspie children too - who isn't in need of some self-esteem, aspie or not? But for the aspie adult, it underpins every single negative feeling and thought process they have ever had. I'm not exaggerating.

You can be a fruity-loop aspie, like me, who loves to shoot off and do creative things without a backward glance and only half an eye on the consequences. You can be a super-introvert and only talk to those you trust the most, always conscious of yourself and your surroundings. You can be living in happy oblivion, just thinking you're a bit odd, like Great Uncle Horace, and it never did him any harm. You can be any version of aspie you like and self-esteem is with you every step of the way, like a small dog after your biscuits.

I mention my own version of aspie-ness first as, to the untrained eye, I am probably the least visibly affected by self-esteem issues.…