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Showing posts from January, 2013

The Emotional Pendulum

Or, to put it more bluntly - aspies are moody.

Seriously moody. I mean, I can say that from the place of experience. I am an aspe, I live with an aspie, I've worked with aspies and, if the magic diagnostic thingamajig could go backwards in time, half of one side of my family would be aspies too.

Let me be more polite, though, for sensitive aspies and their delicate best beloveds. We'll say that aspies have an emotional pendulum. It can sway from one extreme to the other in what seems like a heartbeat and the aspie goes with it, clinging grimly to this pendulum, trusting it with everything, as Life flashes past in startling Technicolor.

The emotional pendulum is not like one on a grandfather clock - it doesn't have to choose between still and in regular motion, though it does often need an experienced hand to set it off in the right time again. It can splutter and falter in mid-swing, holding the aspie at a curious angle, unable to let go but terrified of the view.

It can …

Behind the masks - are people really as they seem?

For as long as I can remember, I've hated masks. This could be because of watching Dr Who from a very early age. Masks and disguises counted for a lot in those early Dr Who episodes, as the BBC budget never stretched far and they needed to show the alien's differences. Usually, this difference was a threat, rather than a simple non-humanoid form. Behind the mask, or behind the differently-shaped face, was a monster. We all knew it, often well before the Doctor and his companion did. These aliens didn't need to be in a Dalek outer-shell to be ravenous beasts or evil super-villains.
Masks didn't have to be physical structures hiding the face either. They could be heavy make-up, meant to show different alien skin tones and features. Or they could be more subtle, the disguise of the person who is not who they are meant to be. And this is where it gets really scary.
For anyone who has watched Dr Who must agree with me here: for all the terrifying aliens and creatures that …

Aspies in Space

If aspies were in charge of a space ship, going on a super-important mission that meant life or death to everyone back on Earth, what do you think would happen? The fate of mankind hangs in the balance and the aspies have been chosen because, for whatever reason, they are immune to the catastrophe that has befallen the rest of the human race. Only we can save mankind, etc.

It would probably start well, with lots of good intentions and checklists. Aspies are often highly intelligent and the geekier ones would love the whole idea of living out the sci-fi dream. Yes, at last, we get to traverse the stars and meet robot overlords face to face. Finally!

Then the arguments would start about whose turn it was to press the trash-chute button. I can guarantee that something like this would be the first sign of instability. It would be nothing major. A small thing, the smell of uncompacted bananas mouldering behind the corridor wall would be enough to set it off.

Aspie Glen in sector 2 would d…

The socially awkward aspie

Okay, why not just say that most aspies are shy? And that the ones who aren't are the exception/ Would it be truer than saying aspies are socially awkward?

I'm not convinced. I am shy, I always have been, but plenty of people are shy without being on the spectrum. My son, when he was young, was the opposite of shy. Sometimes, I would have preferred him to be a bit shy and less likely to burst into groups of people, ready to make friends, no matter what.

Is it truer then, to say aspies are socially awkward rather than simply shy? NO, it isn't. Let me be firm about this: being socially awkward is totally different from being shy or from being too extroverted. I can prove it.

Let's see. If you're shy, you don't feel comfortable making new friends as you worry how they will behave and you don't know what to say. But once you've made friends, you're not shy anymore because you feel comfortable now and don't need to worry as much.

If you're socia…

We all have to live in the real world

Don't we? Do we? Well, unless we have a very undemanding sugar daddy or rich parents, then yes, we do have to live in the real world. It all comes down to money and, whether you go out to work or are on benefits, there are things you must do to afford life itself.

I genuinely think if money wasn't an issue, then lots of aspies would be a lot happier. Imagine them, roaming the fields and glens, at large, free range aspies, their happy little faces beaming under a soft sun. No money to earn, no bills to keep an eye on, no constant worry that they've forgotten to pay the rent. Yes, I like the idea of aspies roaming free and easy. Their groups would never be big, if they came together at all. You would just see them, keeping a safe distance from one another, respecting personal space and daydreaming their way through life.

Still, we'd get bored soon enough. No, honestly, we would. The same applies for those aspies who are quite happy free ranging at home, in front of the …

Didn't you think of that before?!

How many times have I been asked this question? I expect it's a question most aspies are familiar with. You do something, long or short term, it doesn't matter, and before you know it - wham! It's gone wrong and there is always someone willing to come forward and say, 'Didn't you think of that before?'

The situation is irrelevant, as is the calamity which ensues. All that matters, at that moment, is the implied criticism. No, of course you didn't consider the full consequences of your actions. If you had, would we all be standing here in the ruins of yet another plan?

Ahem. Well, if we're completely honest, we might admit that we did think a little bit of it might be possible. We're not complete fools, we do plan ahead quite regularly. But that doesn't mean we expected the pitfall to actually happen. We might have been able to take into account that it might; we just never thought it would. Do you see the difference?

With the kind of aspie mind…

Real life is looming

Yes, next week I'm going back to work. I like what I do, even if some days are better than others. Sometimes, I love what I do. And alongside the money-making endeavours, I'm also looking forward to getting stuck into the writing again. So, why am I feeling hemmed in all of a sudden?

It happens every year. I look forward to being off for Christmas and promise myself that, the next year, I'll have time off during another holiday, instead of just having two weeks at Christmas. Don't get me wrong there - I'm not worked to the bone like some Victorian housemaid who only has Sundays off and half a day every other Wednesday. I work part-time, self-employed and don't work weekends anymore.

Except, if that was all I did, there wouldn't be any problem. But like so many other adults in the sandwich generation, I am the middle tier of a family with teenage children and an elderly parent. I have my own household to run, the usual problems to sort out, as well as the m…

Aspergers, the subtle disability

I admit it, I was going to title this one the sneaky disability, rather than subtle, but I didn't want people thinking aspies were sneaks. Some of us probably are sneaks, I don't suppose there is any reason to suppose we are all saintly little creatures who never put a foot wrong. But that's not quite what I mean.

In an earlier post, I talk about aspergers being the part-time disability, because it allows us so much freedom, then reins us right back in and we're unable to behave as other people would like. Now, I want to look at how it sneaks in, right under our noses, making life difficult even when you don't realise it.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has made bad decisions because of aspergers. In fact, I could very probably say, we have all made bad decisions because of aspergers. It's part of the scenery. Decision-making or pretending to decide and then rushing in, it's what makes aspergers such a creative way to live. Even those aspies who …

A different world...altered perceptions in aspergers

Now, I have to admit before I start, I'm not sure how common some of this will be to other aspies. I know I'm not the only one who sometimes sees the world a different way but I have no idea if it's widespread or not. With that proviso out of the way, here we go.

To put it simply, I sometimes see the world in high definition. No, I don't mean I have a new TV or special glasses. I don't mean the kind of high definition you might get from illicit substances either. In my experience, aspies don't need illicit substances to have an altered perception of reality anyway.

Let me explain. At certain times, often under stress, I will see things differently. There are two main elements to it: a perception of richer depth, colour and meaning in the world or a perception of increased strangeness. We'll go with the strangeness first.

The best way to describe it is to imagine you're driving along a familiar road. Up ahead there is a bridge, with banks built up either…

Inappropriate honesty

'Inappropriate behaviour' - the number of times I heard this when my son was growing up, mainly from his teachers. Now, don't get me wrong, he wasn't doing anything really bad here, at least not the kind of things which always sprung into my mind when they used the word inappropriate. And, compared to me trying to burn down the school, I always thought RT teen's childhood exploits were pretty tame.

I guess the thing is, as a little boy, he kept on with the inappropriate behaviours. He was very inventive and each day would bring some new thing he had done. Some of them were dangerous, some were funny, most were simply annoying - no one can be annoying like an aspie can. Nearly every day, after school, I would stand and listen to his catalogue of disasters, with the teacher talking about him while he stood there, head bowed as he listened.
I had two main gripes with this: that she always talked about my son while he was present and that she always told me what he had d…