Skip to main content

When life seems unreal



Sometimes being on the spectrum is like living half-in and half-out of the real world: surrounded by unreal people with strange, glimpsed motivations, left to figure out the plot at the same time as being a part of it.

Like a TV town by the sea, my own life seems populated by stereotypical characters who have their roles to play and know them off by heart. I have a role too, but I don't ever seem to quite learn the lines or know which door to leave by and when to come in on cue. Rather like the innocent niece or nephew on Murder She Wrote, sooner or later I find myself under suspicion, hoping for a kindly Aunt Jess to bail me out and explain it all away.

It's not just the people who can seem unreal: colours boost or fade, impressions of a familiar room change as the light is adjusted behind the scenes and not by any switch I can reach. Shadows disappear in a harsh light or gather in new places - how did I never notice before that dark gap between the cupboard and the door?

The light caught in the window, reflecting through this morning's rain, takes on a quality reserved for mystical waking moments, as if I never saw rain before.

I know people are real, I will have seen the gap before, I can look at rain and see water. But there is a kind of side effect, like an overspill, from using so much energy dealing with people in a way that makes them want to deal with me.

If you look at something hard enough you might start to see it differently, and so it is with people. If you watch them to see what they do, to see what you should do, to see how they seem to feel and if it relates to you, they become more than people. In the moment, they become A Study in People, and when you study something you're likely to get good at it.

Except that people are different. You study one, you hope to know them all. It turns out you know one, and then usually get it wrong.

Studying has the ironic effect of separating you from people at the same time as involving you with them. You are close enough to study but might forget to interact: being human, being yourself, is secondary to understanding human.

It turns out that studying yourself is much more reliable. Other people change all over the place and are unpredictable, whereas with yourself you know exactly how unpredictable you are and often see it coming. Knowing yourself first and others second means you can plan ahead too. So if the other person turns out to be difficult, scary, inconsistent, undefinable, you can leave the reasons with them and worry only about your own reactions, reasons, motivations.

You see lists there? The ways people confuse are endless, and the ways you can work out your own self are also many. Can you see how trying to cover both might end up in the type of overspill where others, and the world around them, seem less real, because your focus cannot cope with the constant moving between What are they going to do? What should I do? Where am I going next? What will happen when I get there? What should I do then? Why am I upset?

Also unpredictably, people turn out to be amazing and kind too. You tend to find these ones by focusing on being yourself and diverting the lens away from working out what everyone else is doing and why. By being yourself you find out who likes you as you are, and not because you behaved the 'right' way and kept your mouth shut/opened it at the 'right' times.

As for the unreal moments, I've come to accept those too. It can be quite good fun to be the innocent niece or nephew - they always win in the end. And that dark gap between the cupboard and the door? Life always has those, it's just part of the scenery.

Amanda

 A Guide to Your Aspie

 How to talk to your Aspie



My books and writing blog, with free stuff

Find me on Facebook.and Twitter!

Visit me on Patreon to see new work first

Popular posts from this blog

A Guide to your Aspie

So, you have your new aspie and are wondering what to do with him/her. Depending on size and gender, some of these instructions may need to be followed with caution but we are confident that you will be able to get the best out of your aspie for many trouble-free years to come!

(Disclaimer: we are not responsible for any physical, emotional or financial harm that may come to you when following these instructions. Once unboxed, your aspie is not eligible for our guaranteed swappage and refurbishment policy. Please have a good look at the aspie through the window provided before unboxing).

1. Unbox carefully and without making physical contact with the aspie. Pull down the box using the flaps provided and allow them to step free by themselves.

2. Allow your aspie free rein, to explore their surroundings. For ease of capture, we recommend not unboxing in an area that is too large or too small. Open fields would not be suitable, unless you are a long distance runner. Small rooms are to b…

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…

Spotting an aspie adult

Have you ever wondered how to spot an aspie adult, at a distance, without having to get too close? It would be so convenient, wouldn't it? To be able to detect the aspieness before you are drawn in, before there is any danger of becoming part of their mad world and waking up one morning, trying to work out where it all went wrong and what happened to all your socks.

Bearing in mind there are always exceptions that prove the rule, here is what you should look for.

In the supermarket I often wonder if I have spotted a fellow aspie. Walking along the aisles, it's easier to people watch than shop, usually because I've forgotten what I need. The supermarket is a good open space where you can spot aspies as they grapple with the complex practicalities of staying alive by food shopping.

The walk: Yes, from a distance or as they pass by, the walk is a dead giveaway. It seems to veer towards extremes, either a fast paced booster effect from A to B, or a meandering wander with no vi…