Is this real?

I read an article today on cracked where it made fun of people with self diagnosed Asperger’s, calling them “ass burgers” and saying how people latch onto this diagnosis cause it allows them to be spoiled brats and have everything be not there fault.  How its only real if you get a diagnosis.

I am sure, for some people that is true.  There are some people who will latch onto any passing fad.  What I have a problem with is the fact the person writing this article seems to assume that people aren’t diagnosed only because they are faking it.  That getting a diagnosis wouldn’t take a large amount of time and money.  That it doesn’t take friends and/or family coming forward and giving anecdotal evidence to support the diagnosis.

For some, like myself, it is difficult, because I have parents who don’t believe in Asperger’s, despite knowing other people who’s kids have it.  They think its a lack of discipline.  They “know” I don’t have it, because there was a 20 question check list for Autism when I was 4, and when they checked off 18 of the 20 items, the two that were left were among the “one of these two must be checked if its autism” type questionnaires. Basically I didn’t qualify for the full on autism, therefore I must be fine.

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 4.  I was given Ritalin once, my mother didn’t like the zombie effect and threw it out.  They never tried anything else.  Yesterday my mother told me there is no such thing as ADHD, the children just aren’t being disciplined properly.  I am 30 and I can’t sit or stand still.  I can’t focus on someone speaking, I lose everything I pick up and I still have problems with intense boredom, combined with too much energy.  But its not real.

There are moments when I read these articles like the one on cracked and ask myself, is it real?  Am I making it up?  I have health anxiety (hypochrondria), is this (aspergers) just another thing I have convinced myself I have?

What the people who write for cracked don’t understand is that moment.  That moment when you read an article on aspergers in girls, where it talks about not giving a shit about your appearance, or being able to fake the social skills, not being able to distinguish voices when people are talking, or walking into things, or not understanding a lot of social cues, or having problems with the phone cause you can’t tell if you should shut up.  When you read about the obsessions people have, like your 20 year obsession with reading, or the 16 years you have been devoted to harry potter, and you realize this is you.  That moment when it clicks and you get this rush of relief, because for once in your life you realize its not just you.  The fact your cried at the glasses store because it was super bright, and loud, and you had just taken the metro which is all weird lit and loud and blinding colors isn’t that odd.  That some days are good, and some days the tick of a clock, or a watch, or that leaking faucet, a flickering light will set your teeth on edge.  That you cringe at the idea of saying goodbye to some people cause you hate change, and that knowledge that they will go in for the hug and you don’t touch people, you don’t like it. That someone cleaning your room will upset you for weeks, because everything was moved just a little bit, and its all just wrong.  All of this is something, there is something that explains this, and no you are not broken.

And then you question all of it, maybe you are just a broken person with anxiety and maybe its all just in your head.  You question this all over a stupid cracked article probably written in an hour for today’s click bait article, and it makes me angry.  Angry at them for doing it, and me for falling for it.

ComicCon Day 1-Sensory Hell

So despite making the guy loosen my wristbad bwfore he atttached it, its still tighter than I would like on my arm. So I can  constantly feel it even when I am not moving. At the moment I am getting ready for bed and cringing at the thpugth of trying to sleep with this monstrosity on my wrist.

During the event I had a major lighting problem with them beaming this ultra bright light i my eyes that started giving me a headache by the end of the day.

I almost tripped twice, and wrenched my knee a littlw sranding up. Oh and I have a strangely irritated toenail but I am hoping this will all be better in the morning. Completely packed meala this year so I dont have to stand in line, which makes me very agitated and there seemed to be enough seatng dor breaks. I have a good schedule planned out and with the exception of one activity falling through everything is on schedule.

Overall Status Post Day 1 : SURVIVED!

Bruised, not Broken

So a week later most of my bruises are in the turning yellow phase of healing.  With the except of a particularly nasty shin pain I think I am on the mend.  That I will need to give a week or so more and then I might actually have to hit the doctors.

I am once again reminded that dyspraxia is a thing.  I had 3 point contact with the stairs when my other foot completely missed the stair I was aiming for.  To make matters worse, I haven’t heard back about the job, so I probably didn’t get it.

Interviewing is hard for me, better in person, because I can try and interpret visual cues if people want more information. On the phone, I have no idea if I was clear, if they want more, if they are physically backing away from the phone bored to tears by my story. One of the few interviews I have had going so badly has put me into a bit of a tailspin, and I have basically been recouping for the last week.

I will try to update a little more regularly now that I am back up and a little more to fighting strength.

Listen to Me, Don’t Humour me

Listen to Me, Don’t Humour me- Word Vomit and it’s Complications.  Originally this was going to be two posts but I couldn’t quite manage where one stopped and the other began.

I know for a lot of people, the problem with Asperger’s is knowing if someone is interested in what you are saying.  I didn’t always know.  I have read books, I have watched tv shows, and know enough about people leaning away, and looking towards an exit to gauge if someone is trying to get away.  Not if they are interested or not, but if they literally want to leave. Most of the time.  There are two problems with this technique.

  1. Word Vomit – Just because I know you want to leave, sometimes doesn’t allow me to let you leave.  If I am telling you a story, or sometimes just talking about my special interest, I can’t stop.  Sometimes it’s worse than other times, but I can recognize someone trying to escape as I give them a step by step detail of my theory of horcruxes, but unless you literally say something to stop me, I can’t.  When someone does this it’s awkward after, and I often feel friends don’t leave the acquaintances bubble for fear of being sucked in.  Actual friends just cut me off.  I guess that’s why most of my friends have similar personalities
  2. Humouring-  What I can’t tell is if you are interesting  or are humouring me.  Basically if you are not giving me the “I want to chew off my own arm to escape this conversation” face, I assume you are interested. The more often I discuss a subject with you and you don’t indicate you want to escape, the more frequently and often I discuss a subject.  As a result, unless you are crazy obsessed, or willing to put up with crazy obsession, most people don’t last long.  The downside of being Canadian is that most people are too polite to cut you off or randomly change the subject.

Overall being only slightly better at reading bodies than faces means I don’t know what an interested person looks like, just one trying to flee.  I won’t even get into how hard it is for me to look interested.  That is a subject for another entry.

 

I don’t listen…I write lists

Most people in the world are audiovisual learners.  They can go to a classroom and be told what to do, and do it.  I forget, or even more often don’t listen in the first place.  Not intentionally, sometimes I don’t hear well cause other people are talking, or sometimes I am given too many instructions at once and I only get the first or last few.  If you interrupt me with new audio input mid task, I completely forget what I am doing most times, and even if I don’t, I forget everything else that was on the list.

For this reason when I need to do things, or am given multiple instructions, I need to either take them down in a list, or be given one containing all my tasks.  The god news, is that writing everything your boss says down apparently comes off as very professional and responsible.  Nothing I am assigned is ever forgotten.

Going back to listening.  I live in a bilingual city, where in school I had “listening” tests in french…I barely passed that component of my exit exams.  It’s hard to explain that yes, I got 40 on that test, but I doubt I would have gotten above a 70 in English, and I am  a native speaker.

While this is one of the few things that has never really impacted my work, it more impacts my social life, where people feel that forgotten details are a sign of disinterest in what they said.  Combined with my hyperfocus, being the periods where I had 110% of my attention on you and can replay a conversation verbatim from 15 years ago, it emphasizes it even more. For most people they assume I remember what I think is important and forget what I don’t. The worst part is, sometimes that is the case.  But most of the time whether or not I listen, or remember what someone says depends on how “on” I am that day, and that’s one thing I have never really tried to explain, even to myself, until now.

Big Bang Theory-Autistic, not Broken

I was never particularly fond of the TV show big bang theory.  Mostly because anything with a laugh reel sets my teeth on edge. Also because people like to “mock” me by comparing some of my autistic traits to those of Sheldon Cooper.

I know a lot of people who know of this show think Sheldon is on the spectrum.  There are those who point out that Sheldon is obviously autistic, and there is something wrong with him, and those who say they actually have children with autism and this isn’t it.  The problem as I see it is that as a whole people see things as black or white.  They don’t do shades of grey well, and can’t seem to understand what a spectrum is, and how you can be more or less functional than another person with the same diagnosis.  But I digress.

The biggest continuing problem I have with big bang theory is that while they represent Sheldon as someone with autism traits, they act as if there is something wrong with him.  Like wrong as in it needs to be fixed.

In recent seasons he got a girlfriend, moved in, basically completely mainstreamed.  The implication here is that there was something wrong with the way Sheldon was before and that he is better now.  More upsetting is the implication that the way he was acting was basically a choice, and once he chose to, he could overcome all his problems and become normal. So those of us with spectrum disorders could you know, just choose to stop being so weird and get over it.

I don’t care that Hollywood doesn’t understand how these things work, but they need to stop representing mental health issues that they don’t understand as things that are easily fixable. The last thing we need is another source of misinformaton telling the neurotypical what they always secretly suspected, if we just made an effort we could be just like them

Crying

Anyone who has melted down has probably cried in the middle of a store somewhere, or walking down the street to a book shop.   My problem with crying is that I do it primarily when I am frustrated.  Not when I am sad. This means that 98% of the time I cry when I am frustrated.  The other 2% often comes from over empathizing with fictional characters.

I do not however cry when I myself am sad.  That being said, I do not often feel sad.  Usually my reaction tends towards disappointment, anger, or sometimes a complete lack of processing when I am given bad news.

This evening I was told that the man my grandmother has been dating, 25 of the 30 years of my life, has cancer.  We knew he was unwell for the last year, and his recent rapid decline made this a possibility, and yet due to the lack of rush in testing, and his own doctors assessment of acid reflux, I at least assumed he would be fine.  He isn’t and the pain he feels when eating is from a tumor pressing on his esophagus.  While the x-rays thy took a week ago didn’t show any lung cancer, apparently an endoscopy and blood work did.

So my mother came out, tearful, delivered the news, and I continued to make dinner.  After a few minutes she went into the living room to watch TV, giving me an odd look.  While I believe this news to be tragic, there isn’t anything we can do, we won’t know how bad it is until he goes for CT next week, and we live in another province.

I actually stopped writing this for an hour because I had to call my cousin, because I just realized that no one had probably told her, and that well she needed to know. That was the most awkward conversation of my life.

I have no idea what really to do now.  I don’t do well with new situations, and with my mother grandfather he had a heart attack, and died within about 2 days.  This is going to be very different…

Adapt

This is the one word that I hate the most in the English language.  It’s something my mother said to me from a very young age, usually when I have having a fit about something changing. This could be anything from a new pair of shoes, rearranging the furniture, to a sudden schedule change.

To some of us, change is, and always will be the enemy.  As an adult I have learned to, while not adapt, accept that sudden changes will occur.  This doesn’t stop me from having that moment where I want to have the same “tantrum” I did when I was five, but I have learned that expressing that at 30 is frowned upon as childish.  It is assumed at 30 that I can’t cry in a store when I go to pick up my father’s Christmas present and they no longer sell it.  I have been told I should have better control than that, and I am generally ignored.  This now leads to me basically trying not to cry, which, sometimes, if I am lucky, I can.

Other days if I am tired, or hungry, or if its just been a long day, I am crying because after taking an hour to pick out new glasses frames the lady behind the counter says no they are too big and walks away.  FYI, i got the frames, I love them, and I still don’t know what her problem was, and ya, this happened over a year ago.

There is nothing worse at one of these moments than someone telling you to adapt, if I could just adapt that would be wonderful, why didn’t I think of that.  Well I did, and my hyperventilating lungs, and overflowing tear ducts just didn’t get the message.  And now, to make things worse, I am humiliated, by being told to adapt, get over it, and grow up.

Ultimately I did find something for dad for Christmas, but it wasn’t what I wanted to get him.  Which still bugs me.  But I got him something he won’t hate, so it’s all good.

Wanting a Hug

So what I would kill for right now is a hug. Tight and warm. But it won’t be happening.  99% of the time I don’t like being hugged, touched really either. The only way I have managed to enforce the stop touching me thing is by making sure everyone know I don’t like it and not to. But on nights like tonight I regret that,  because I don’t know how to get what I want and there will be no spontaneous gestures forthcoming.

Good Intentions

When I started this blog, my intention was to talk about Aspergers and my realization that this fit me.  As time goes by, I realize more and more things about myself that can be attributed to the diagnosis.  I have however spent significantly more of this blog discussing my health anxiety, what I have come to learn is the psychologists word for Hypochrondria.

That said, I don’t think these things are necessarily unrelated, I tend to get fixated on my ideas.  While I also suffer from social anxiety, it is sadly, quite easy to hide yourself away from the world.  Not doing something, though I understand makes things worse in the long run, can in the intermediate make social anxiety go away.

The problem with health anxiety is “No matter where you go, there you are” Recently due to my realization I have had all of these “stroke like” attacks while lying in bed in an odd position.  One I maintain after waking up, checking my phone and falling back asleep, and while reading for extended periods after waking, in fear of having another one I have been popping right out of bed.

I have also been sleeping on my right side, which has been fairly unpleasant to do long term.   I am torn between my desire to be the kind of person who gets out of bed, and gets stuff done, and my fear that like when avoiding social contact to alleviate social anxiety, in the long term, this will ultimately increase my anxiety.  I may have to bring it up with my therapist next week…The therapist I still haven’t mentioned the whole aspergers thing to.  In my defence it took 8 months and 2 therapists for me to just blurt out that I am a hypochondriac, so they weren’t focused on generalized anxiety but still.

Finally I wonder how much of what I have is Aspergers, and how much of it is an anxiety, ocd combo, where my health anxiety makes me think I have aspergers.  Once again, my whole anxiety thing makes it hard to see what I do have and what I don’t.