What Does Aspergers Feel Like?

feelings-poster-2

It’s a phrase I hear from often at home. It’s a phrase I’ve used myself from time to time. When you hear it, you know exactly what it means.

“I’m feeling a bit aspie today.”

Yeah, totally. We all have days like that. But what does that really mean? What does Aspergers feel like?

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“I LOVE it when he uses the title of the post in the post!!!”

Aspergers is a unique condition due to the fact that no two people who have Aspergers are the same; there are very few unifying symptoms. What one Aspie experiences will not be felt by another, and vice versa. So it may seem pretentious of me to write a blog post about how Aspergers feels. To avoid coming off sounding like a complete asshole, I’ll make this post about how Aspergers feels to me.

To me, Aspergers feels:

Awkward – this is pretty much the default, base line feeling of Aspergers. It always seems like everyone else understands what’s going on except for me. I’m doing my best to keep up, but I seem to do everything the wrong way. And everyone’s looking at me because of it.

Stressful – I’m often very aware of the fact that I’m not quite with it, that I’m a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit into its space. I want to be able to follow along, to get with the beat, to approach some sort of normalcy. But it’s not easy. It takes effort. And when that effort fails, I get stressed that I’ll never be what I want to be.

Carefree – Then again, Aspergers gives me the ability to be blissfully ignorant of the annoyance I’m causing other people in some situations. As long as I’m feeling good and having fun, I can completely block out everyone and not even give a shit about being the weirdest person in the room. It’s these times when Aspergers becomes – dare I say it – fun!

Powerful – Aspergers gives me the ability to do things that most neurotypical people are not capable of. I’m able to think through most situations rationally, setting aside any emotions I may have and avoiding the biases that come with them. I’m able to process information faster than most people, which gives me the illusion of looking smarter – when in reality, my brain is simply more efficient at learning. I also have the ability to burden myself with painful situations and push through without falling apart mentally.

Weak – On the other hand, sometimes the smallest annoyance can seem like the biggest pain I could ever experience. A fold in my sock becomes an immediate emergency. I can’t cope with simple everyday situations that almost everybody else shrugs their shoulders at and moves on. I end up melting down over the smallest thing that doesn’t go my way.

Alone – I haven’t made any new friends since I graduated from high school. I don’t know how. The sad truth is this: I really DO want friends. People with Aspergers (and autism as well) may seem antisocial, but it’s not because we don’t want to be social. It’s because we have no fucking clue how to be social, so we’d rather just avoid the situation instead of failing miserably.

Loved – I can be such a pain to deal with, I know for sure that the people in my life truly do love me and care about me. Otherwise, they wouldn’t bother putting them through the shit they go through to be connected to me. It’s not an easy thing to love an Aspie, or even to be good friends with one. There’s a lot of take and sometimes not that much give. But when someone gets to know me and understands that there’s a person inside who wants to care about people, soemthing magical happens… they actually like me.

Passionate – The things I’m interested in, I jump in full force. I want to know everything about it. I’m competitive, high spirited, I love knowing things, and I love being right. There’s no better feeling than being completely engrossed in a subject to the point where every new detail is a gift.

Bored – The things I’m not interested in, I couldn’t give less of the square root of a shit about. God help you if you want to have a conversation with me about something that bores me, because I’ll tune out faster than you even realize it and two days later I’ll insist that the conversation never happened. And to me, it didn’t… because I was off in my imagination doing something else that I care infinitely more about than your stupid thing.

And lastly…

To me, Aspergers feels like life. This is my life, and these are the difficulties that come with it. Everyone has things they deal with in their life, whetherย you are on the spectrum or neurotypical or whatever you want to call yourself. We learn to live the way we are.

My Aspergers doesn’t make me any less or any more human than anybody else. It just makes me who I am.

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Posted on July 7, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. I enjoyed reading your post, I will definitely be following you and reading some more. I relate a lot to this post. I too have had the same friends since school & now I only have a few and they want to move on in life I start panicking I’ll have no one cause I’m rubbish at making friends. GRRR. I would love to make a new friend & I hope in the future I can meet a friend that’s into the same things as me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Maybe we feel that other people don’t understand Aspergers, so we don’t feel we can relate to them or that they can relate to us? I’ve found my best friends (besides my fiancee, who is very understanding and accommodating of Aspgers) are all Aspies. Even in a full room, if these people aren’t present, I feel alone

  2. Seems like you are describing my son… I know, you re all different but many aspects of your description sounds just like him, or how I see him. I like reading your post and thinking of sharing it with him.., He’s just 14 years old… Maybe later What do you think?

  3. Thanks for posting this extensive picture of what it feels like to live on the autism spectrum. On the one hand, I hear what you say about no two Aspies being alike, but what you described sounds like quite a few Aspies I’ve spoken to. It’s frustrating to be so smart on the one hand, yet have so many challenges on the other hand (sensory, social). I love the paradox you painted of powerful/weak. My hope and prayer is that you and I can educate the world into solutions that will help us be more understanding of Aspies and also more accommodating in relationships and work.

  4. My son and myself both feel like all of these at times. I have co-workers, colleagues, but actual “friends” are so hard to come by as most people annoy me. It does show me that the ones I have I will probably have for life and it helps me appreciate that. Great post and I will be following!

  5. cindy hutchings

    my son is 23 and lives at home with me. this described so closely his personality. i love the perspective he has on things when the rare times come that he decides to share his thoughts.

  6. That’s an amazing post-so true to me as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Great post Jon! I’m found out recently about my condition. So posts like this really do help in trying to understand myself a little better.

  8. so true —- very well said

  9. Hello Jon: Since Aspergers is a neurological, not a psychological or psychiatric problem, no one should ever be ashamed or embarrassed to be an Aspie. It would be like being embarrassed to be left handed instead of right handed. I am an Aspie, and I find some things quite difficult, but others I excel at, often to others’ amazement. I am not a social retard, neither am I the “life of the party” which is fine, as I want to be neither. I would like to be more clued in to others’ feelings, so I didn’t appear uncaring or unaware of them, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. Despite this, there are ALWAYS people who, when you explain your issues, are more than happy to be friends, though the chance you’ll have a million friends is pretty low. I have only one died in the wool friend (besides my wife) but that’s enough for me.

    I would cultivate those things that your Aspergers MAY make you excel in. In my case, I can remember, e.g., phone numbers, and strings of data like no one’s business. Things that are in patterns I do very well with. And, strangely enough, given most Aspies’ social cue issues, when I AM aware of another person’s problems or unhappiness, I am usually the first person to offer help, and I’m pretty good at offering suggestions. I have found that those who I assisted in this manner became, if not true blue friends, at least friends, and that they didn’t give me a hard time about my less than wonderful Aspie issues. And don’t forget-Aspies are not the only ones with problems, which if you think on that when you are experiencing Aspie issues, might make you feel at least a little better.

    Also, I don’t know if you are religious at all, but if you are, you may at times feel as if He is nowhere to be found, but, again, take heart, He is there, but your Aspie nature may be “blocking” Him at times (happens to me all the time.) Good luck!

    • It’s funny you mention remembering data and phone numbers. I’m pretty good at those things, too… but why do I need to remember phone numbers when I’m terrible at using the phone?!?!? ๐Ÿ™‚

      You are correct, though… EVERYONE needs to be proud of who they are – autistics, aspies, or any other group with a funky name. If we can’t start by loving ourselves than we can’t expect others to.

      Thanks for your comments, and keep reading!

    • Lovely response. โ™ก

  10. Leigh Anne Whitley

    This is so me !!! I go next month for testing to get a diagnosis !! They pretty much tell me I’m high functioning . I also have 3 boys 2 are ASD and I lose it when they have a meltdown it makes me so mad!!! All this your explains is so me it is explaining myself!! Is there any place you can talk with aspie like ourselves !!! A good place!!

    • So glad you found my blog! I wish there was a message board or something where aspies could get together, but knowing us it would be filled with self-centered threads and everyone else not understanding what the other people are feeling. ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know if you find one, though, and you can always e-mail me and vent about your aspie-ness – thanks to the blog, I’ve become somewhat of an aspie sounding board!

  11. Exactly hit the nail on the head.

  12. I read your article which has helped me understand the aspie personality i like your honesty. I think the guy in adore has this he is truly amazing .. Reading what you have written has clarified many thing for me.

    Thanks
    Ellie

  13. Thanks for sharing this. My 10 year old is an Aspie. I love him to pieces and adore every ounce of him. I ask him all the time how he’s feeling and it’s hard for him to verbalize it. He is so comfortable in his own skin and tells me all of the time he knows he’s different. I cry and he tells me not to because he likes who he is. I am switching schools for him next year.. he’ll be entering 5th grade and I am terrified he won’t make any friends. He has 2 friends now. The more I understand him and how to aspie mind works I think I can help him. Thanks for sharing.

    • No problem, my pleasure! No need to be terrified for your son and his friend-making abilities; most aspies are comfortable getting along by themselves, and they often make the best friendships when they are not forced and it happens naturally. The easiest way to help him is to be loving and supportive… which I have a feeling is something you are already doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. It’s so strange to me that everyone speaks of those who have Asperger’s as being socially awkward or rude. I have been reading blogs and comments like yours, also, viewing YouTube videos of others. I see nothing, but deep, thoughtful, intelligent individuals. Everyone is so, incredibly self-aware! Each is honest to a fault, with the need to represent himself or herself so authentically, that it takes precedence over admitting his or her weaknesses. I find it absolutely amazing and extremely refreshing, because I don’t see individuals with motives. No one is trying to say, “Look at me! I’m so great”! Each one clearly wants to share in order to educate others, connect with others and help others. Thank you. โ˜†

  15. I sort of understand what your saying Aspergers. . Been Lobo clinic, they say my son might have Aspergers.. U think he does. Just seeing how he deals with things, how he blocks things out and how he plays with your mind. . I have to be that one step ahead sometimes. . He loves art.. Not sure if he still enjoys school though. . He doesn’t get up on time ir get to school on time any more.. He does not sleep/go to bed

  16. I found out that I had aspergers not too long ago and this article has been the only thing that has made me smile since.

    Its made me feel like no person in their right mind will view me as capable ever again

  17. Just read your post, and you couldn’t be more right about those topics. I have aspergers and this is exactly what i feel day to day. It only feel’s right to act this way. And yes we think its not because we have it that we act that way, we think its our own way, our natural way of being ourselves. This is me and im proud of who i am, and nothing can change that.

  18. Reblogged this on A Beautiful Hurricane and commented:
    A good way to learn is to ask the ones who know….

  19. What a great insight you have given and how so very true for all – life ” makes me who I am”.

  20. Interesting article, and yes while no two aspie’s are the same, I think the vast majority will relate to most of those feelings in some way.

    One of the real difficulties underlying all this is in social communication, particular when it comes to feeling ‘stressful’ and ‘alone.’ The stress is caused by not understanding the social signals people give out, which means you have to think harder in social situations and to follow the conversation. Of course being alone is a direct consequence of this too. I also believe many with asperger’s do have a great sense of humour, but people don’t appreciate it because they haven’t learned how to express their humour in a way that others engage in.

    The thing that helped me the most is understanding how the more socially savvy neuro-typicals interact socially, the specific communication skills they adopt, and learning how to apply these into social situations that I also find myself in. When you get these things, you start to find people become drawn towards you. However people with asperger’s need more specific approach to learning these things, and unfortunately this is something the counseling and life coaching communities have largely ignored.

    Another thing that has helped me socially is identifying the skills or expertise I have, and finding people that want these things. I’ve done this myself with music, and I am helping another guy do this with gardening. The great thing about this approach, is that if you find someone who both appreciates your service, and has social influence, you can get to meet loads of their friends too, and you don’t have great social skills to build a social life this way.

    • Im an exterminator, and I’ve “aspied out” on bugs.
      Seems kinda silly, but the customers love it when you can tell them everything there is to know about the bug they are having issues with.

  21. It’s amazing to see their are people who are similar out there. A year ago I had never heard of Aspergers, it wasn’t until my wife discovered it searching for a reason our son is the way he is other than he is just like me. He is being seen and I have yet to be seen but I’m sure we have found out who we are.

  22. I wish to thank you so much, my 8 year old daughter is Aspie, and I have read books about Asperger, but I really feel the need to try to feel and see the world through her eyes, so I wrote the phrase “what does it feel to be an Aspie”?, in google and that’s how I got here. And really I am so grateful, because I love my prima ballerina so much that I would do anything for her, anything,and your words have helped me so much. Let me tell you that I’m writing to you from Honduras, Central America, and english is not my first language, but I will surely follow your blog even if you write it in chinese, thank you, and God be with you.

  23. This explains it so well! Thank you so much. This was spot on!!

  24. Thanks about the part with the socks.

  25. This article described me pretty well.

  26. ืฉื™ ื”ืื•ื˜ื™ืกื˜

    well I wonder . how do you know what other people feel. I dont.
    I’m another aspie from a far away land. and i was just beeing diagnosed .It feels bizzar

  27. Matthew T. Dalldorf

    It feels like being the property of spoiled children.

  28. I recently left a relationship with someone who has Aspergers, and as I go through the various emotions that surface after a break-up, I find myself wanting to understand her behavior on a deeper level. Thank you for explaining your experiences. As I was reading through your list of feelings, I though, “Yup, that makes sense! Yes, she’d probably totally relate to that.” One of the central problems for me was her inability to stay present when I was the one speaking, and particularly when I was speaking about something that she didn’t necessarily care about. When she found what I (or anyone) was saying boring, she did the exact same thing that you described; she completely zoned out and later didn’t remember having the conversation at all. She blamed it on her bad memory, but I remember thinking at the time, your memory is okay, you’re just not present when I am telling you something that you have no interest in. Real listening and true engagement is something that I value. It’s something that I give, and it is one of the few things that I absolutely require in any of my relationships. As a person without Aspergers, I’ve gotta tell you, it’s incredibly hurtful and truly unacceptable to know that someone gives themselves license to mentally leave a conversation whenever they feel bored. When I addressed this with her, she became upset and told me that she is as good a listener as she will ever be, and she deserves to be accepted the way she is. I agreed with her. I think I’m beginning to get how hard it can be for a person with Aspergers to stay engaged and connected in a conversation, but I wonder how someone who struggles with this manages to maintain a romantic relationship or even a friendship. Isn’t listening an INTEGRAL part of any relationship? Even when it’s hard…no, ESPECIALLY when it is. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience.

  29. This is sort of how I feel as an aspie

  30. I really like this article…it describes perfectly how I “FEEL” every day.

  31. Love it. Just love it.
    For the record, it’s how it feels for me too.
    Just harder for me to explain. You did an amazing job.

  32. I don’t care how “amazing” is this illness, I don’t want it. I want to get cured. Now!

  33. Nailed it. And of course that’s easy to do when looking into ones self ๐Ÿ˜‰ But really, your perception of (dare I say it) other aspies is I would think, spot on. Both of my parents are aspies, and my dear nephew as well. I’ve navigated life”seeing” the world quite differently than others might have. It gave me an edge in realizing early on that people’s perceptions are no less valid than another’s. Just a different angle. . But typically arriving to the same destination. I am the “nuerotypical” auntie, who prefers my nephew’s straight view on life to most others company hands down. Being an aspie is also a great gift, you just can’t find a more genuine soulโ™ก

  34. Thank you for writing this. From a mother of a child I needed to see what it’s like inside my son’s head. He is 10. This made me cry, happy and sad. Thank you. And God bless you.

  35. please please can you help me understand??? my cancer plastic surgeon consultant has truly upset me by the way he spoke to me a few weeks ago. I was really looking forward to having a consultation with him, as I thought he would be able to answer all my many questions. But he really shocked me, because as soon as I walked in the room, instead of smiling and asking how I was after the operation, he was amazingly rude and unkind to me, to the extent of asking why I wanted to see him in the first place, (er… because I have an extremely rare cancer, and he is supposed to be the expert!) and him not believing me, every time I told him of all the different doctors and nurses who had told me I would be seeing him. The interview continued like this, with him looking at me as if he wished I could drop dead then and there in front of him, right til I left his room, his last words being ” you have a follow up in 3 months and you WON’T be seeing me then!! And I’ve been upset by the whole episode ever since. But looking back at what I know of him, I am almost certain he is an aspie. If he is, then I can feel sorry for him, instead of feeling sorry for myself. His secretary told me I should have burst into tears, then he would have changed???

  36. You still came off as kind of an asshole. And some of your ASSumptions are incorrect

  37. It feels like nobody in the world even CARES about you…

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