Me and my (possible) Asperger’s Syndrome

aspergers_syndromePart one…one of many…I guess…

Before you begin, please note that:
Please do note, once more, that this is a personal blog and all expressions are purely my own. My own thoughts, ideas, likes and dislikes. My preferences. My ideas. Mine, mine, mine. I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do not want to insult anyone in any other way. I created this blog to express my own thoughts, feelings and all. This post contains a part of my own view on living with (not officially diagnosed) Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). Thanks!

Feeling different sometimes. Feeling like an outsider, trying to catch a glimpse of what feels like a totally different world. Trying to peek over someone’s shoulder, hoping to learn a bit of how that person experiences things, sees things, does things. Trying to understand what you see, hear and smell as well. Use your senses to the fullest, hoping to be able to cope, to deal with it. You want to learn and you want to remember because you never know when it might come in handy.

long beard  brown hair man head expression isolated on whiteThat is what I do, each and every day. I try to see people, see their faces, when things are happening with them (they can just be in conversation with others, doesn’t have to be serious, just day to day stuff). I try to see their facial expressions, to hear bits of what they talk about so I can link them together. I observe people. I observe situations. I try to memorize how people look during certain conversations, how they act while talking. When I talk with someone myself, I hope to be able to understand the other better because of all these observations I have done. I hope to recognize his/her facial expressions, to see their emotional part besides just hearing the words they say. And when I need to talk to someone that I don’t know or hardly know, I only hope they won’t see right through me. A small voice in my head begs to go unnoticed, so I won’t have to explain myself. And I always hope I don’t have to ask the other for clarification of any sort. I don’t want to seem “stupid”. I know I am smart, I know that much, but there are situations I just can’t seem to understand what is going on. I find it hard, at times, to read a person’s face. That is why I really dislike making phone calls. When I need to call someone, I try to let GF do it when possible. Only when it’s a call to someone I have known well for a long time I am less reluctant to pick up the phone. Even though I can’t always read and/or understand a person’s facial expressions, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see it.

It is hard to explain to people, friends and/or loved ones, that you are a fake. Because that is what I am, how I see myself. My feelings are real, the words I say are made up in my mind first but in social situations, I try to be a copycat when I don’t have a clue of that to do. So I try to imitate the behavior that I have observed in others. Sometimes I get it right, but when people act upon it differently than I have experienced, I am at a loss again. And sometimes people look at me in a weird way and I know then that I chose the wrong option. So I make a mental note and hopefully if this situation would present itself once more, I can choose some other observed behavior.

It is weird now, writing about this all. It feels like I am opening a book that is about me, but never been read. I never thought of opening it seeing well, it’s me. And I never knew what was different about me compared to the average people. I will not call them normal people, as no one is perfect and many of us have our own differences and quirks. When I read about Asperger’s Syndrome and see how many people are affected by it… When I read that here in the Netherlands, 1 out of every 400 people has it… Well, I know I am not alone. Of course, many people affected by AS also have another “disorder”. In my case, I might have Bi-polar II. But that’s still not tested. I also should note that at the time of writing this, my results/diagnose on the AS tests are still unknown (at least to me). But after a lot of reading, and of course all that I already know that was different, I do know that chances are that I will score high on the AS test. But I think it’s only fair to mention that all I blog about at this moment is all still “unofficial” as far as the diagnoses go. I only have a diagnose now for hyperactive/impulsive ADHD.

So while I am writing my blog, while I am putting digital words on digital paper, I am slowly giving you an insight in the book about my life. And at times, when I am just writing anything that comes to mind, I am also discovering things about myself. It is very scary to admit that you are different. OK, you can just casually say that you’re weird or different when you’re with people that know you. But the average person will only joke about it, because they know they are average (or in their own eyes “normal”). I can also joke about it, but it is hard to make such a joke when deep inside you know you are different. You know you are being tested to see how your differently wired brain works out compared to the average folks. You know for sure that your wires are crossed, maybe malfunctioning or not connected at all (figure of speech here), but you have a certain need to add a name to it. It sounds better when you can tell a friend that you have AS instead of only being able to say you don’t get it all, you feel stupid and at times even crazy. When you can give all (or some of them) your differences a name that can be Googled and that people are able to recognize, they are more likely to “understand” it better. I guess it is hard for someone who is not directly involved with a person with AS to fully understand it, but if they wish to know more, they can research it now because they have a reference, a name. They know you are really experiencing certain difficulties instead of “just being a pain in the @$$”.

Because I sometimes think that people I come across (so they hardly know me) think that I am joking on them. That when I make a remark about something that really is inappropriate in that situation (but I think I am saying a wise/good thing at that time), that I am just “pulling their leg”. That I am trying to be funny. And there are times that people laugh about what I say. I often feel hurt about it, because that reaction tells me that I didn’t say the right thing (again!) and I just try to laugh along. In the end I am just happy if, after the laughing has died, they don’t ask me to elaborate what I meant. That way, I can easily draw back and just observe and hopefully learn from this all.

So one side of me wants to tell people that I (not officially, yet) have Asperger’s Syndrome, part of the Autism Spectrum. Because that would explain a part about me, about why I react differently in certain situations compared to “average” people. Well, people who have heard/read about it will know a bit at least. Most people would have to Google it, just like I had to… But you know that people care, or are at least interested, when they take the time to look it up, to dig into it. Maybe to understand you better. Maybe because you told them something which they never had heard of and just had to read about. But at least they will look into it, which could bring some better understanding into this world. It is hard for someone with a mental disease to “come out of the closet” (this is my opinion!). When you open that closet door, which can be quite frightening to say the least, you can never predict how people will react when they “see” what’s hidden inside that closet. When they find out a bit more about you on a very personal and maybe even private level. Maybe it can lead to a better understanding. It could even lead to a closer friendship because your friend might appreciate your confidence and see that you have taken a step to deepen the relationship, to make it stronger, more intimate (in a NON sexual way). But it could also push people away from you.
And that is the point the other side of me is arguing about. What is you tell it to someone and he/she starts to use it against you? What if, when you come out, people might see you as a person with a mental illness? I know that AS is a form of mental illness (don’t be mad if the words I use may offend you; as mentioned before, English is not my native language and sometimes I get lost for words)… What I mean is, what if they then only see the illness and not the person suffering (at times) and/or living with it? There are people who like to stereotype others. And after the movie “Forrest Gump” came out, it gave the viewers an insight into life with autism. So to many people, Forrest Gump became a stereotype of autism. But the autism spectrum has well, many aspects and Forrest is just portraying a small part of that. I think Tom Hanks did a great job. But some viewers just watch the movie and don’t do an other research into the subject. And I don’t want people to stereotype me. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me because of what I have. I have been living with it all my life so far/ And yes, it has been hard. And YES I have been bullied, taken advantage off and I did get myself in situations where people were laughing at me in my face. They thought they were laughing with me, but it was always because of me at those times and I never understood why…

But I don’t want people to feel sorry. I’d rather see them researching the illness. That they became “inspired” to find out more about AS (or the Autism Spectrum, globally) to see how they can “help”. Because when people you care about know more about what AS really is, they can help you to find your way through difficult (social) situations. When you are lost for words during conversation they won’t push you to answer, or when dealing with “outsiders”, they can fill the gap for you. They will find out you take thinks literally. That it is very hard to read in between the lines. I can only read in between the lines when I really know the person that is sending that “hidden message”. People that care will also know that you either reply on face to face contact (I really need facial expressions to understand the situation/conversation a bit better) or you find it extremely difficult. Someone with AS might seem to look at you, at your face, but is really looking at your forehead and not to your eyes.

I started to read Tony Attwood‘s “The complete guide to Asperger’s Syndrome”. I do find it very interesting, but it’s hard (for me) to read. There are so many notes in between the text, informing the reader of the source, that makes it difficult. The information is very well put into it, but I think I need to read something “easier on the eye” first before I can really read his book.

So I am now reading a “For Dummies” book called “Asperger’s Syndrome for Dummies”. It’s less “clinical” than Tony’s book and I find it both really interesting and easy to read. It’s a little less confronting than Tony’s book is. So if you are new to the subject, I would advise the Dummie book to start with.

If you think you have AS, don’t hesitate to contact your GP about this. He/she can refer you to the right people to help you. I am not a professional, so my advise is: check with your own doctor. Don’t feel the need to be ashamed or anything. I too was a bit “scared” of getting a diagnose because well, it does make it official. But on the other hand, knowing what you suffer from can also help you to cope easier. You can read about it (as I am doing), you can join an online forum or a local group to talk about it. It can help you to find out who you really are.

I think I wrote enough for now. Thanks for checking my blog! Please feel free to comment and remember that I never allow spam to be posted so don’t waste your time!

Have a good day everyone! Be strong and think positive!

LW Rode roos

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~ by Lonely Wallflower on July 30, 2011.

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