Blog Archives

Well, There Goes That Idea

Of course, right after I make the resolution to post more, things happen that will make that tough to do for a little while.

There was a death in the family yesterday, my father-in-law. I realize that the impact that his death has on my blogging abilities is probably the least important thing in the world right now, although the Aspie part of my brain is pissed at why this has to happen to me right now. But I know that’s insensitive; I can’t control how my Aspie brain thinks, but I can give it a hard slap in the face when it gets out of line.

Anyways, due to dealing with certain things (funeral, family fallout, etc.), my posting may need to take a hiatus again. Hopefully not months like last time.

Take care, and well wishes for everyone out there.

Advertisements

Bad News is Bad

 

images

Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than hearing about someone else’s bad news. Most normal people have trouble with this also, but my reasons are particularly aspie-ish. It’s not the bad news itself that bothers me, it’s the fact that I have no idea how I’m supposed to react.

56158-Doctor-Who-10-laughing-gif-d1CI

Probably not the best reaction.

I really don’t know what to say. I don’t want to brush the bombshell off like it’s nothing, but I also don’t want to dwell on the negatives and reinforce just how bad everything sucks for this person. So most of the time I just get socially paralyzed and try not to react at all, which makes me look wooden and heartless. The best case scenario is when someone else besides me is involved in the conversation, because then I can pretend I wasn’t listening and didn’t hear what’s going on.

23634431

Being oblivious comes off better than being rude.

Then, sometimes my Aspergers kicks in and I just don’t seem to care. It’s horrible to say, but it’s true – often, my first reaction is to figure out if and how the news will affect me. I may be self centered, but that comes with the Aspie territory.

A coworker of mine is currently going through some health problems. As he was explaining the situation to the rest of the staff on the shift, I found myself desperately trying to avoid eye contact, pretending to be heavily involved in my work. What am I supposed to say? I can’t console anybody. I’ll do more harm than good. The situation may involve him missing some time. My thoughts? “Man, this is going to make us short handed. We are going to have to bust some ass to get the work done.” I’m not joking; this guy is gravely ill, and I’m worried about how my work flow is going to change.

What the hell? What is wrong with me?

It gets worse – when he actually started to miss time, I started to get a little pissed off because work was so busy. I was resenting the guy because he had the nerve to get cancer and require chemotherapy sessions.

imagesCAI0QCSH

“My bad. I’ll be back to work on Monday.”

At least I’m self-aware enough to realize how disturbed and callous this is. That’s why I figure it’s better to keep my mouth shut than to tell him what’s on my mind. Still, I can’t deny that my first thoughts are how the situation affects me, as if that is the most important thing. But that’s the reality of having Aspergers – the whole world revolves around you, even when it doesn’t.

This Is My Aspergers

imagesCA6A57NF

I have written in previous posts a little bit about the history of my Aspergers and what it was like for me growing up, but I haven’t really gotten into it in great detail yet. Every aspie is different, comes from a different background, and has a different story to tell.

0201OPEDsahre-articleInline

This is my Aspergers. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

I only became aware of my Asperger-ish tendencies a few years ago when my daughter was diagnosed, but the roots go back to when I was very young. When I was in preschool, I remember bouncing back and forth between friends, trying my best to connect with whoever was within proximity of me at the moment. I tried my best to mimic in order to be accepted; this works pretty well as a child, however I can remember not really having a sense of who I was. I would absorb the traits of those around me in order to blend in.

The defining moment in my young childhood came at age 6 when I was hospitalized for a severe kidney condition. I got sick on the first day of school, was rushed to the hospital, and nearly died. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks, subjected to blood draws and regular dialysis treatments. My family was devastated that I was so sick and scared of losing me.

The thing I remember most vividly is all the cool toys I had in my hospital room.

toy2

Coming up next on Pimp My Pediatric ICU…

Granted, I was only six, so my memory of the experience shouldn’t really be picture perfect. But don’t you think it’s a little strange that I have absolutely NO memory of the horrible medical procedures that my mother tells me I had to endure, yet I can remember with great clarity the Lego kits my dad and I worked on and the inflatable Superman doll that hung in the corner during my entire stay? I think my brain decided that it wasn’t going to connect itself to what was going on, and I must have checked out and gone somewhere else mentally during the rough parts. I still use this skill to my advantage from time to time. I don’t know if the stress caused my brain to adopt an overall emotional disconnectedness – virtually “causing” my Aspergers – or if it was my aspie brain that allowed me to get through it. All I know is that the experience had a profound effect on me and my mental processes. It’s like my super hero origin story.

imagesCAPJBKRL

Able to create soul-crushing social awkwardness in a single sentence! 

As I got older, I began to show more of what I realize now were classic autism/Aspergers traits. I memorized the bus route home from school, including street names; I even helped a substitute bus driver find the correct route on one occasion. I had a very rigid tv routine, watching my favorite cartoons every single day; I knew by heart when each was on and in which order. I would spend hours “racing” my Hotwheels cars, which actually meant lining up 30-40 of them one behind the other and moving them one at a time for a few seconds each. I would throw tantrums if I didn’t win while playing board games with my sisters. I would play ball in the living room by using a mini-bat to hit a foam ball aroud the house, completely oblvious to the risk of breaking things. I often played 2-player sports games by myself, switching between controllers to play both teams; I even kept stats and charted out seasons that I scheduled myself, long before games like Madden featured their own season modes.

looking at fine print

The list goes on…

I actually hid the social aspects of my Aspergers pretty well during school. With the benefit of hindsight, however, the cracks begin to show. Bullies were constantly trying to get to me, only I was so socially clueless that I didn’t even notice. Eventually, thye pretty much gave up and moved on. One of my best friends (even to this day) was with a group of kids who would brutally make fun of me on the bus. One day the other kids weren’t there, so he invited me to his house to hang out. Oblivious Aspie Me said, “Sure!” I continued with my “blending in” strategy, getting along with many types of people but never really connecting to any of them. I had a small group of close friends, but even they were distanced from me; I very rarely hung out with any of them one-on-one.

imagesCAW71AH6

“Thank God you guys are all here! I’m terrified of each of you individually!”

When I went to college, my isolation became official – I’m not exaggerating when I say I did not make one new friend during my four years in college. I tried a few times early on, but I just couldn’t make it work. In my mind, I had nothing in common with anybody at all. I had already figured myself as an outcast. Most of my social interaction came via the internet – where I could be whatever I wanted to be, take my time to measure my responses, and avoid the intensity of face-to-face contact. I actually met my wife over the internet during this time, and somehow she wasn’t completely turned off by my behavior when we met for the first time.

imagesCAZX81MZ

It was slightly less awkward than this was.

At the time, it wasn’t so obvious to my parents that something was up with their son. Autism spectrum disorders weren’t featured as prominently in the news as they are nowadays. But looking back now, and with the benefit of the knowledge I gained while working to get my daughter diagnosed… it’s pretty clear. My childhood is no doubt different from the stories of other spectrum children, but I’m sure it also runs parallel to them in many ways. I worry about my daughter a lot – will she have friends? Will she be happ? Will she be successful? Looking back on my story gives me a sense of peace. If I made it this far in the face of this challenge, then the potential of my daughter is limitless.

Flippin’ Out

images

My wife and I know that we can usually expect an aspie explosion from our daughter on days when she has a social-heavy event. So why can’t I ever see the same thing happening with me?

friendly-people-600

Hi there! We’re the people who will ruin your day long after you’ve dealt with us!

Today the family went on a hike through the woods with my daughter’s nature club. We had a good time, although near the end my son started getting a little tired. I honestly didn’t feel too stressed about the whole thing, but I’ll admit I didn’t feel quite “settled” during the afternoon. During the rest of the night, I felt myself getting easily irritated by every little thing – I threw a fit because I couldn’t find the correct pan to cook brownies in! I had just about had it. For lack of a better way to explain it, I was just pissed off. So I did what we often tell our daughter to do when she needs to de-stress.

I went up to my room.

hiding under blanket

Leave me alone; tantrum in progress…

This must be what it felt like for my daughter to go to school. She’d be completely fine at school… well not completely fine, but you get the idea. She’d get through the day, get home, and have a flippin’ fit on us until we had to send her to her room before she went completely ballistic. Then the teachers would be like “We don’t see any social issues with her, she’s perfectly fine.” Yeah, tell that to the smashed broken toys that are littered around the house because my daughter couldn’t get them lined up in just the right way. I’m an adult, so I don’t end up smashing my stuff, but I can still throw tantrums. Maybe I need the same thing she does: a little time after a social gathering to decompress myself, at the very least to avoid acting like a jerk and getting everyone in my family pissed off at me.

17377452-close-up-image-of-an-angry-lady-grinding-her-teeth-holding-a-knife-on-a-gray-background

Yeah, I’ll be upstairs until the urge to stab me has died down.

Top 12 of ’12

In honor of the culmination of the year 2012 (WE SURVIVED A MAYAN ALIEN ATTACK, OR WHATEVER THAT WHOLE THING WAS ABOUT!!!), this is a countdown of my top 12 favorite posts I made during the past year.

Yes, this is my blog’s version of a clip show.

Enjoy!

12. The Self Aware Aspie  (12/23/12) – how a diagnosis helps an Aspie and others understand their situation.

11. Feeling Out of Place (8/15/12) – I get the feeling that I don’t belong.

10. Friday Night Anti-Socialite  (11/3/12) – I am EXTREMELY uncomfortable at a social gathering.

9. Like I’m Not Even There  (4/6/12) – Nobody listens to my awesome ideas.

8. Perfectionism (7/15/12) – Why can’t everything be right?

7. The Dentist (1/25/12) – I suffer through a trip to the dentist.

6. Dunkin Donuts Ruins My Day (1/10/12) – It’s the little things that drive me mad.

5. Hi, Nice to Meet You. By the Way, I Have Aspergers. (10/15/12) – How does one drop the Aspie bomb?

4. I’M NORMAL!!! (for once) (10/16/12) – I surprise myself with my unexpectedly rational behavior.

3. The Challenges of Being an Aspie and a Parent  (6/28/12) – You think being an NT parent is hard?

2. Unseen Health Risks of Aspergers (2/23/12) – A doctor’s office can be a scary place.

1. Facing the Truth  (8/6/12) – Aspies will save the world!

IMHO

Just a little bit about me, and this blog, FYI.

I write this blog from a number of viewpoints. First, I write as a parent of a child with Aspergers. I have a 6 year old daughter who also happens to be the cutest little girl in the world (sorry to all of you people out there who also have daughters, but it’s true). She inspires a lot of what I write here.

Second, I write as a “medically informed person.” Notice I did not claim to be a doctor, nor did I claim to have all of the correct answers when it comes to medical problems. This blog is not meant to diagnose, treat, cause, cure, or worsen any disease or mental health state.

Third, I write this blog form the viewpoint of a person with Aspergers… presumably. You see, I was never formally diagnosed with Aspergers, but while getting my daughter diagnosed I began sensing a lot of… shall we say “odd, unexplainable behaviors” on my part. I came to learn that Autism tends to run in families, and things began to clear up a bit. After months of soul searching, I finally became comfortable with the fact that I have Aspergers. A diagnosis now would be redundant. A lot of what I write will end up sounding strange and unbelievable, but it comes from my inner feelings as an Aspie myself.

So I wear many hats when I type these posts up. First and foremost, I write these posts because I expect NOBODY to read them. That’s right. I don’t have delusions of grandeur; I don’t expect to be this massive blogger reaching thousands of people, spreading Autism awareness, and making the world a much better place to live in. I’m just using this blog to help express myself, figure out my feelings, and hopefully connect to the world a little better.

Now, if someone other than me happens to be reading this… awesome! Welcome! Don’t be afraid to comment or e-mail me at aspieblogger@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter (@mindofanaspie).

I just ask one thing of you readers – please don’t take what I say as the gold standard of facts about Autism. My posts contain my opinions based on the many aforementioned hats I wear. I may be commenting on something my daughter did, or something I read while reading about Autism research. I may be talking about some private feelings I have about how hard it is to try to fit in with you normal people. But please remember that all Sprectrumites are different. We are all unique. In fact, I fully expect other Aspies to read this blog and claim I’m full of crap. Just try to keep an open mind, and we all might learn something from this.

You Know What I’m Talking About

I just don’t get it.

I understand when I do something weird, like starting a conversation with someone in the middle of an idea. I know that’s strange, but sometimes I just can’t help it. It happens. I get that – you don’t know what I’ve been thinking of for the past 5 minutes, and you need a recap. It’s just hard for me to waste the time catching you up on what’s been flying around inside my brain.

But that’s not it. Here’s the thing.

The other day, my wife is talking about something that she and her mom were talking about. This triggers a thought in my brain about something my mom has been dealing with recently (which my wife knows about). So I ask her if she has heard anything about it. Her response:

“You know, you started that conversation in the middle again. I mean, I know what you mean, but do you realize that you did that?”

So, if my wife admits to knowing what I’m talking about when I start talking in mid-conversation…

WHERE IS THE PROBLEM????

If she gets confused thinking that I’m talking about her mom, then I apologize and start from the beginning. But I know that she will catch on, and I’d rather not waste my time with the other stuff. She should actually be happy that I think she’ll be quick enough to get what I’m talking about.

I deal with these things all the time.

Why don’t you understand?
What was that noise? You can’t hear that?
How was that supposed to help?
Why are you wasting time?
There isn’t a way to do this easier?
Doesn’t it bother you that you are wrong?

And, apparently, I am the weird one.