Fifth of Asperger’s Ten Traits – “… people aren’t as open or trusting as we are”

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“5) We learn that to fit in we have to “fake” it. Through trial and error, we lost friends. We over-shared, spilling out intimate details to strangers; we raised our hand too much in class, or didn’t raise our hand at all; we had little impulse control with our speaking, monopolizing conversations and bringing the subject back to ourselves. We aren’t narcissistic and controlling – we know we are not, but we come across that way. We bring the subject back to ourselves because that is how we make sense of our world, that is how we believe we connect. We use our grasp of the world as our foundation, our way of making sense of another. We share our feelings and understandings in order to reach out. We don’t mean to sound ego-centered or overzealous. It’s all we know. We can’t change how we see the world. But we do change what we say. We hold a lot inside. A lot of what we see going on about us, a lot of what our bodies feel, what our minds conjecture. We hold so much inside, as we attempt to communicate correctly. We push back the conversational difficulties we experience, e.g., the concepts of acceptable and accurate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, stance, posture – push it all back, and try to focus on what someone is saying with all the do’s and don’ts hammering in our mind. We come out of a conversation exhausted, questioning if we “acted” the socially acceptable way, wondering if we have offended, contradicted, hurt, or embarrassed others or ourselves. We learn that people aren’t as open or trusting as we are. That others hold back and filter their thoughts. We learn that our brains are different. We learn to survive means we must pretend.”

Used with permission from @everydayaspergers. Originally published in Samantha Croft‘s -now former- blog, Everyday Asperger’s, as The Ten Traits.

The early period of my assessment and diagnostic of Special Learning Difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger’s (Twice Exceptional, yay… 😊) was the hardest…

I oftentimes felt like a convulsing, unborn breech baby, arriving into what would prove to be an unwelcoming world in a most peculiar way, unsure to go into the light, or stay in my unspacious, rocking wombcraft…

Having lost a managerial job because I didn’t ‘manage’ to do three people’s jobs, of which two have fallen out to undue workplace stress, and the third was the area manager’s acting butler, I arrived to my next station, just to realise that my curse of being “too educated and overqualified” followed me, obviously…

“Drama queen” because I shared my honest opinions and concerns, “victimiser” because I raised concerns of unfair workloads, “arse” because of being sincere, “with an overly attitude” because I expressed my frustration for being bullied, just to mention an average page from the “Diary of an unsuspecting Aspie…”

But one of the most intriguing happenings was the “why have you gone cold?” after being told that “you ask too many questions, be more confident…” episode.

As Samantha so brilliantly put it, “We share our feelings and understandings in order to reach out. We don’t mean to sound ego-centered or overzealous. It’s all we know”. As a consequence, I was sharing feelings and understanding, literally trying to reach out, genuinely thinking that it’s what’s expected of me, just to be quite sharply “advised” to show more confidence and do not seek approval for everything…

It felt really humiliating and inconsiderate, but I swallowed my hurting dignity and did the only thing I know, i.e. if it’s not one than it must be zero, and went quiet…

Guess what, after a week or so, the same person asked what happened, and why have I gone “cold silent”? Is anything wrong? I said, no, but since I was told that I talk and ask too much, I respectfully obliged and gone silent… “Oh but that’s not how that was meant” came the excuse…

In the end, we clarified that my mind comprehends only yes/no, black/white and one/zero, with not much in between, which when my Autistic Traits were diagnosed, made much more sense to my environment.

Did my environment adapt at all after my assessment? I must surprisingly say that yes, to some degree, for which I am thankful.

But overall, it’s me who’s learned that in order to survive, the show must go on…

 

 

Fourth of Asperger’s Ten Traits – “We still question our place in the world…”

Brain my World

“4) We have comorbid attributes of other syndromes/disorders/conditions. We often have OCD tendencies (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), sensory issues (with sight, sound, texture, smells, taste), generalized anxiety and/or a sense we are always unsafe or in pending danger, particularly in crowded public places. We may have been labelled with seemingly polar extremes: depressed/over-joyed, lazy/over-active, inconsiderate/over-sensitive, lacking awareness/attention to detail, low-focus/high-focus. We may have poor muscle tone, be double-jointed, and lack in our motor-skills. We may hold our pencil “incorrectly.” We may have eating disorders, food obsessions, and struggles with diet. We may have irritable bowel, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other immune-challenges. We may have sought out answers to why we seemed to see the world differently than others we knew, only to be told we were attention seekers, paranoid, hypochondriacs, or too focused on diagnoses and labels. Our personhood was challenged on the sole basis that we “knew” we were different but couldn’t prove it to the world and/or our personhood was oppressed as we attempted to be and act like someone we were not. We still question our place in the world, who we are, who we are expected to be, searching for the “rights” and “wrongs;” and then, as we grow and realize there are no true answers, that everything is theory-based and limited, we wonder where to search.”

Used with permission from @everydayaspergers. Originally published in Samantha Croft‘s -now former- blog, Everyday Asperger’s, as The Ten Traits.

The world…

Big, scary, noisy, out there, too close, too much…

I remember as a child, that most comparative sentences from my environment started invariably with “Why don’t you …” and ended again, invariably with “… like all other children?” And it wasn’t really the question which bothered me after getting actually used to it, but the “all other” part, which left me wondering about my disgraceful, shameful and guilty inadequacy, which sent me on a consequentially disastrous warpath against myself…

And literally no one, not one single soul, ever slowed down their pursuit of “integrating” me into their world, a world which kept asking me to prove my worth before any chances of acceptance, even trying to police me out of the only place I felt safe, the world of my thoughts…

Today’s no better…

You see, “the world” pragmatically feels entitled to the “us” and “them” divide, but practically denies someone’s right to the “me” and “them” existential paradigm. You are accordingly expected to coerce yourself into becoming either one of “us” or one of “them”, either in “our world” or “their world”, of Oceania, Eurasia or Eastasia, always at war with one or the other…

But do you really “have to”?

Samantha brilliantly left her question unanswered, leaving one to literally “wonder where to search”. Well, I’ll go no further; I’ve found my ultimate refuge, my world…

I’m autistic. Which means my self is my world

And in my world, no “they” are welcome.

Because “they” always claimed to come “in peace”, but left me torn in pieces…

 

In case you’re not a (piece of a) puzzle… (update 1)

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I know for a fact, that many Neurodivergents, weren’t really happy about what has become the public logo-face of Autism, the “puzzle piece”.

And I was wondering what in the world could have been its ‘source of inspiration’, since besides the sometimes puzzling effect the presence of a Neurodivergent has upon Neurotypicals, our lives are as perfect and complete as an unbroken picture for which even the Louvre would be an unworthy place…

Having said that, I’ve thought of something else, another “logo” which represents a view of how I feel in this world which wasn’t designed for me, maybe as colourful and rich inside as Joseph’s coat, yet unseen and uniquely different, awaiting for the world to realise that circles don’t have angles, and what us rectangles think about, and conceive in our quiet corners, can’t “normally” fit in the bubbly world of Merry Go Rounds…

Let me know what you think, again 🙂

Third of Asperger’s Ten Traits – Escape Artist, from the World into my Box…

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“3) We are escape artists. We know how to escape. It’s the way we survive this place. We escape through our fixations, obsessions, over-interest in a subject, our imaginings, and even made up reality. We escape and make sense of our world through mental processing, in spoken or written form. We escape in the rhythm of words. We escape in our philosophizing.  As children, we had pretend friends or animals, maybe witches or spirit friends, even extraterrestrial buddies. We escaped in our play, imitating what we’d seen on television or in walking life, taking on the role of a teacher, actress in a play, movie star. If we had friends, we were either their instructor or boss, telling them what to do, where to stand, and how to talk, or we were the “baby,” blindly following our friends wherever they went. We saw friends as “pawn” like; similar to a chess game, we moved them into the best position for us. We escaped our own identity by taking on one friend’s identity. We dressed like her, spoke like her(/him), adapted our own self to her (or his) likes and dislikes. We became masters at imitation, without recognizing what we were doing. We escaped through music. Through the repeated lyrics or rhythm of a song–through everything that song stirred in us. We escaped into fantasies, what could be, projections, dreams, and fairy-tale-endings. We obsessed over collecting objects, maybe stickers, mystical unicorns, or books. We may have escaped through a relationship with a lover. We delve into an alternate state of mind, so we could breathe, maybe momentarily taking on another dialect, personality, or view of the world. Numbers brought ease. Counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging. At parties, if we went, we might have escaped into a closet, the outskirts, outdoors, or at the side of our best friend. We may have escaped through substance abuse, including food, or through hiding in our homes. What did it mean to relax? To rest? To play without structure or goal? Nothing was for fun, everything had to have purpose. When we resurfaced, we became confused. What had we missed? What had we left behind? What would we cling to next?”

Used with permission from @everydayaspergers. Originally published in Samantha Croft‘s -now former- blog, Everyday Asperger’s, as The Ten Traits.

When I first watched “Boxtrolls” I had no idea what to do with it…

It was one of those instances of a disturbing deja-vu, a pervasive sense of not exactly having seen, not even having been, but rather being still there, here…

And I realised it is the story of me, the great escape artist, escaping not from some box into the welcoming wide open, but from an unfriendly and oppressive “wide open”, into a world where everyone is entitled to the box of their own choice, size, colour, smell…

A world where everyone has a similar, nevertheless unique “box”, where no one criticises the other box tenant for their choice, where the “world above” is of less importance…

As I see it, our individually unique boxes are exactly what makes us fit together. We may not like physical contact and closeness, but in our perfect boxes we are closer than one could imagine, we communicate, we hear, we “feel” each other in inexplicable ways, respectful and sensitive to the openness or unopenness of someone else’s box.

In my box-world it doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you love your box, my box, our boxes; because regardless of how similar the boxes are, inside is comfortably “hiding” a perfect universe’s uniquely autistic inhabitant.

You don’t need to shout, you don’t need to knock, you don’t even need to “understand”. Just respectfully wait by the box you want to better know, until its inhabitant who knows you’re there, comes out, hoping that by that time, you may have hopefully decided to accept and respect whosoever you’ll see…

“autism: […] the future of our society depends on our understanding it.”

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Over a lifetime spent with mostly futile attempts to drift with the flow, I’ve discovered a mostly disturbing quality of my mind, namely the “finding the needle before seeing the haystack” capability, which made me a persona non-grata at meetings where those having an interest in hiding matters, oftentimes forbade me of taking notes, or even a notebook and pencil, because even though I am unable to see any “bigger (especially false) picture”, I can identify key words/concepts which my mind uses to profile the real picture with its oftentimes dreadful consequences.

A couple of hours ago, I’ve been delivered via St. Amazon a copy of Silberman’s “Neurotribes”. As my “religious” routine is to read first the title, copyrights, ISBN, etc page followed by the back cover, I have found the following, most distressing statement:

“What is autism: a devastating developmental condition, a lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more – and the future of our society depends on our understanding it.

Now, one of the advantages of a(n oftentimes identified as mainly) male Asperger’s binary thinking (yes/no, black/white), is an eerie capability of identifying absolutes, ultimate type of words or statements, axiomatic effects of a perceived completion of premises necessary in order to postulate them. And while these could be frightening for example to the clearly disadvantaged counterpart of a debate, from a purely contemplative perspective of judging deductive reasoning, its pure perfection becomes compelling.

Nevertheless, as undesirable as it would be contemplating a nuclear explosion from within, the same must be said about the above highlighted statement. Why? Because from here and now, the future looks and resonates nothing less than an Armageddon riding the Apocalypse for a socio-globality which still considers autism a “historical anomaly”, clarifying on a quod erat demonstrandum level, that there’s virtually no reasonable understanding of autism. Should there be any, searching for illusory “cures” in order “to stop the autism epidemic” would have become long ago shamefully obsolete.

Why have I written this post? Because I have become genuinely frightened at the idea of a future dominated by a neurotypical majority which is about to unleash through its deliberate ignorance, a chain reaction of wrong decisions about me, without having at least spoken in a meaningful way with me first. But even worse, the same majority seems even further ignorant that its wrong decisions shall have an effect not only on me and those alike, but as the quote’s author suggests, on society and ultimately the world as we know it.

Has the author of the quote gone mad writing such belligerent statements disturbing our state of -the art- denial?

I’ll leave it to your further inquiries, reminding you only that Silberman’s book has won “The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015”, with someone writing the aforementioned quote in bold, on the back cover.

And the Prize’s motto seems to be “All the best stories are true”…

#Autistic canaries in the neurotypical coal mines – World Autism Week

Aspie Under Your Radar

Coal Miners Canary Trinidad, CO Coal Miners Canary Trinidad, CO

Woo hoo! World Autism Awareness Week is now officially underway. It goes from today till the 2nd of  April, whereupon Autism Awareness Month picks up and rolls on through the month of April.

So, yeah, big trigger warning for lots of us.

A lot of folks say that we don’t need autism awareness, we need autism acceptance. I think we need both. People outside the neurodiversity community are so woefully behind the times, so vexed and misled by inaccurate, flawed, harmful, dangerous information about this “epidemic”… I’m fine with all the awareness we can get.

‘Cause we’re not there yet.

Not even close.

There’s always that talk about how autism is a source of suffering, and I’d just like to say a few things about that. Autism is NOT a source of suffering. Our environment is — sensory and social.

The obnoxious scents. The…

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Second of Asperger’s Ten Traits – Overwhelmed Innocence

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“2) We are innocent, naive, and honest. Do we lie? Yes. Do we like to lie? No. Things that are hard for us to understand: manipulation, disloyalty, vindictive behavior, and retaliation. Are we easily fooled and conned, particularly before we grow wiser to the ways of the world? Absolutely, yes. Confusion, feeling misplaced, isolated, overwhelmed, and simply plopped down on the wrong universe, are all parts of the Aspie experience. Can we learn to adapt? Yes. Is it always hard to fit in at some level? Yes. Can we out grow our character traits? No.”

Used with permission from @everydayaspergers. Originally published in Samantha Croft‘s -now former- blog, Everyday Asperger’s, as The Ten Traits.

It’s so complicated to write about one’s self, as it feels like those haunting times when belittled and patronized, you were forced into believing that standing out is never outstanding, that the biblically endorsed parental beating you were about to receive -again- was “justified” by your “gullible stupidity” in believing that the worthless toy you traded your brand-new toy for, it’s of equal value… And your attempt to save yourself by honestly saying that your “friend” told you so, just increased the number of blue stripes on your butts…

There you were, 11 years old, not really understanding why your maths teacher keeps slapping you and calling you an idiot for not understanding his lessons, unimpressed that you’ve found faults in the theory of a finite universe, which you can’t mathematically explain, but asked the simple question: “if this line would be the end of the universe, what’s the other side of the line made of?”

Because it’s hard to believe that your “best friend”, whom you’ve just saved from his self-destructive path, offered him a share in everything you had just to see him fulfilling his potential, finally left with your spouse, taking your apartment as well…

One of those days you suddenly realized that life on this planet sucks, and your only true “friend” lives right there, within the walls of your uniqueness, and the “us and them” has been irreversibly reduced to “me, and I don’t care who else”.

(to be continued…)