Prepare to enter the wild and wooly world of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by intellignce, quirks, social difficulties and downright strange and oddish behaviours.

People with Aspergers generally are high functioning in everyday life but have great difficulty connecting with others due to the inability to read faces, body language and subtle verbal clues. They also tend to take words literally and have a hard time multi-tasking.

Oversensitivity to touch (clothing has to be soft and often the tags removed), light (do not leave home without the sunglasses), sound (loud noises and noisey places are avoided), taste (many Aspies have quite a limited diet and are frequently very picky eaters) and smells makes the everyday existence more of a challenge.

Fasten your seatbelts and come on in...
To find out more about what Aspergers is..please check out my earliest blog entries

Friday, April 29, 2016

Honesty...a dangerous game

To write how one Honestly feels, is truly a dangerous game. For who amongst us dares such intimacy within ourselves? Dares such revelation and soul bearing? Who sees themselves for who they really are? Minus masks and walls?


 It's a strange, sick game we play, pretending to be what others want of us. Looking into the only mirror we know...the one held by another and slightly slanted, arguably skewed, but we want people to like us, accept us, so we transform ourselves into pretty, little make-believe selves so someone will love us and never see our warts of insecurity.
We portend to be real, to be genuine, but, alas, most are naught.
 Dare I say I no longer care what anyone thinks of me? Of my manner? Of my dress? What kind of tiny minority does that slide me into?
 We deny and hide our hurts, insecurities and fears...so that they may forever loom and grow larger, devouring us in our sleep.
 Ha, and I storm into closets, beat the shit, beat the fears and tears till they run rampant out of the darkness and into the light where I analyze, come face-to-face and yell and scream and beat them into submission, into dust. I deal with my fears and that makes me a threat. I don't deny truth and it is more than most can bear. So, I growl and bear some more.
 My dirty laundry hangs, in my front yard, flapping in the breeze for all to see. Turn away if you must. Walk away so your fears don't grow large and impatient and want to join in the airing.
 I build myself a pedestal, so I can see how far I've come.
 I can look back over the garbage dumps, the fetid sewers, the oozing slime of my youth. I can see over societies well worn road of the mundane, the trivial and their river of denial. The emotionally stunted zombies who walk by as if emotions, feelings and bad childhoods don't exist. They are everywhere.
Everyone walks with pain, some large, some small, most of it invisible to eyes, but it's there.
Society has ass backward rules, looks the other way, as long as you pay your taxes and go to church, you needn't notice the starving and the poor. You needn't open your eyes and see the children suffering with incest, beatings and hunger. Nope, everything is okay here.
 Who ever speaks about how lonely they feel? How much they crave love, affection and someone to listen? Who says aloud how much they hurt?
 Just walking wounded in pretty coats.
 Maybe most are not hurting...but shouldn't they be helping the ones that are?
 Just walk away, carrying your sack lunch and pretend that man on the sidewalk isn't hungry.
 The artist and poet can be all fluff and butter or the truest in their unpretty wretchedness in words and pictures of the unpleasant realities.
 Who doesn't want a pretty, petty, rosy picture? Instead of realizing that the sewer is overflowing and needs to be covered up...again.
 The stench is stifling.
 When I scream at night, it isn't so others will hear me...it is so I can hear some truth. Madness is a casual stroll amongst weeping buildings. If you listen for the deafening sorrow, you just might get real.
 As I pour out my heart, people turn their heads and quicken their step. It must be nice to live in such a fantasy world where bad things don't happen to good, innocent people.
 We are all innocent. We are all our parents prey, there insecurities, flaws and fears. Just some of us wear it better. Some grew up with a flower on the pillow, not sleeping naked on the floor.
 You don't want to hear...how easy it is to make a sad, hurting person feel better. It's too easy, simple and completely out of your reach.
 Smile. Look at someone when they are talking. Ask how you can help. Send a card, a short message, thinking of you, hope you are doing ok. Ask them how they are and don't look for a pat answer. Be willing to hear something other than marshmallow fluff.
Be kind. Be nice. Nicety is sooo underrated. Speak softly and slowly. Dare to talk about how you really feel.
Life hasn't been so kind to some of us. We, like you, just want acceptance and the ability to talk about large parts of our lives that we have been forced to hide and deny. Make it okay for us to speak our truth. Do not judge. Try and understand. Listen.
We seek connections from a very disconnected, confusing place.
I grew up surrounded by people that actively worked to trick and hurt me. Yeah, that left wounds and no clue as to how to trust.
I was told and treated as if I was a liar and a leper. That stings. Listen to me.
I was segregated, pushed away, treated like a pariah. Sit close.
I was routinely told I couldn't do anything right. Nothing was ever good enough. Give me a compliment, even a very small one.
Acknowledge me. Realize I have been severely wounded.
And I am working on healing. I need calm, lots of quiet, tons of rest and time to debrief. Just be there. Give a damn. Listen. Offer to help.
It's quite simple, really.
You wanted honesty.
If you read this whole tirade, I thank thee.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Laughter

I rarely laugh spontaneously. I caught myself laughing out loud as my silly puppy was attacking the water flowing out of the hose with vigor. She was getting herself completely soaking wet and it was hilarious.
A couple of days ago, I bought myself the new Lego Jurassic Park game and started playing. It reminded me of the first time I had ever seen a Lego game...firing at something and it bursting, breaking into small Lego pieces. It was at my friend, Amy's house and I could not stop laughing. I miss Amy. She moved away. One of the really fantastic friends I've ever had.
Laughter is an emotional response that is rarely natural for me. And, quite honestly, I have difficulty controlling the loudness, the timber of my voice. I've been told more than once to quiet down, or I remember the times I couldn't stop laughing and hurt someone's feelings in retrospect.
Maybe part of it is that I don't often get the jokes being told. Or I'm quite serious and find few things funny. I seem to notice if someone's laughing it's oft at someone else's expense. A lot of "humor" is deprecating and malicious. Yeah, I see things from a unique perspective.
Aspergers seems to feel like a very self-contained...wanting to self-control as much emotion as possible. Sigh, it feels like I've been put down and made fun of for my used-to-be spontaneous Outbursts of glee, extreme happiness and raucous laughter.
Hearing myself laugh...was foreign, odd. Maybe it was easier because I was alone with my puppy and no one else was around. It sounded..genuine, like from deep, down within myself in a place I had not tread.
Hmmm, fear, again rears it's ugly head. That perpetual, incessant fear of being made fun of and the remembrances of the hurt it caused me.
Sometimes it feels like Aspergers is trying to keep emotions, movements, words in check, 90% of the time. Quite disingenuous but socially acceptable. 10% of me is still free, uncontrollable and passionate. Not a healthy ratio by any means.
I'm spending a few days alone. I can only imagine what other intriguing bits of truth I'll find out about myself.

Asking questions

I probably have over a thousand questions, that I will never find answers to, because I cannot format and articulate the question in a way that will procure an answer.
  At times, I feel it is the saddest, most frustrating part about having Aspergers. I have so many questions...if I could just find the right words and correct sentence structure And a person that I could trust not to laugh and make fun of me.
It makes me incredibly sad really, that something so simple for most, is near impossible for me. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent searching on the internet with useless terms and best guesses before I figured out what I was actually seeking.
I've seen the responses, all my life, where I'd ask a simple, naive question and the recipient just laughed, rolled her eyes or thought I was joking. And it's like, I have to pretend that I'm okay with that...not asking questions, not completely understanding the people, customs and routines around me.
I guess I'd rather be thought of as aloof and keep my mouth shut, than a stupid idiot and ask juvenile questions.
It's like, everyone has this book with answers, but me...and I can't figure out how to convince someone to look up the answers for me.
I cannot convey the largess of this conundrum...but this is a start.

Making weird, odd noises

Making Strange Noises...Theres a word for it...Vocal Tics & Aspergers

For quite awhile, I have been searching for the word or term for my various odd utterances...those moments were words escape me and I produce a series of vocalizations, grunts, animal noises, or otherwise strange sounds that are not words. Things such as aarrgh, which I call my pirate sound and tht, tht, tht, tht, in which it sounds like a rapid fire machine gun or phewsh, which is more like a cannonball hitting the water. These are some of the sounds I produce when I get stressed and my word/ verbal center shuts down or short-circuits and I am reduced to mere utterances.
Well,I finally found the name for it: Vocal Tic (also similarly verbal tic or phonic tic)- an involuntary sound produced by moving air through the nose, mouth or throat; VTs include throat-clearing sounds & sniffing to grunts & verbalizations of syllables & words, utterances of inappropriate or undesired statements or obscenities.
There are two types: Simple- single sounds-eg. throat-clearing, barking, sniffing and Complex-verbalizations- expressions of words-eg. coprolalia (from Greek kopros "feces" + lalein "to talk", involuntary swearing or the involuntary utterance of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks), echolalia (repeating of the persons own words), palilalia (repeating ones own previously spoken words)
VTs frequently change and vary in severity and over time remissions and exacerbations are common.
Whew, now that makes some good sense. That is what I have from time to time. I seem to only have vocal tics when I am stressed out or feeling strong, conflicting or overwhelming emotion.
I love it when I find the proper term for things and it drives me nuts when I fail to locate it. Every thing has an appropriate term and once i can find that term, it all makes sense. Its like I keep trying to build this house of cards and if I can't find the word, I can never get to the top...that one level just refuses to stay in place and support the next. Dang, thats a very strange analogy but it is the immediate visual that I experienced..somewhere, deep within my head, it makes sense :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

To Drive or Not To Drive,

Driving, Intersections and Traffic Difficulties
I am one of the Aspies who can drive, but many cannot. For awhile, I was quite stymied why some people with Aspergers are unable to drive...then I tried teaching Eldest. My son is 19, and does not drive. Granted, the last two years have been spent in prison preventing all vehicular use. I did work with him when he was 16 and 17 years of age, in a large empty parking lot.
He was absolutely terrified to simply sit behind the wheel. For me, it was an exercise in patience and positive reinforforcment. I kept my voice to a monotone, low and calm. It must have been 30-40 minutes before he gathered the courage to start the car. We traveled a good 10-15 miles per hour that day, making turns and using lots of brakes.
I can see now, why driving can be difficult and sometimes impossible. First off, a vehicle is a powerful, complex beasty. There are a dozen subtle steps to actually start and move a car. Things most dont even think about. The seat is odd, unusual and adjustable. It takes a bit to find the "sweet spot", the position which fits "right".
Once moving, the feel of moving without ones own body and volition, is quite unsettling and feels somewhat out of control. It seems like the car is in control. There is a certain amount of time that needs to take place before driver and car can feel as one, or at least on the same side working together. I believe that took me many, many moons.
The sensations of a car running, can be intense. The feel of the gas and brake pedals, plus the intensity with which to appropriately use them appropriately takes time. Engine noises and the subtle changes in motor sound keep hearing on alert. The smell of the heater and air conditioner, in addition to environmental odors, vie with smells of the engine burning up or breaking down...okay, the latter is due to owning nothing but junk, barely running cars most of my life. I smell for radiator or brake fluid, excess gas and exhaust, or the burning rubber of a belt gone bad.
The way that the engine sounds and vibrates changes with speed, road conditions and weather. When the windows are down, the side view mirrors make a variety of whistling sounds.
Tires change their vocalist ion depend on whether the road surface is bumpy, wet, covered with leaves or snow.
On the road, on streets shared with other cars, apprehension and anxiety grow within, with each passing car. The factor of unpredictability, for oneself is multiplied by every car on the road, because they, the other cars, are each an unpredictable variables. There are no clear cut parameters, each driver is different and a possible threat.
Intersections are a challenge, because each has it's own rules. Traffic lights change at different times. One is allowed to turn right at a red light at certain intersections, as long as the negative sign is not present, that negative sign, hat says do not turn on red, can be anywhere within the busy, congested intersection filled with posts, lights, peoples and other distractions. There is no uniformity as to where these signs may be. It might be eye level or it could be higher on a sign post. Intersections are sources of consternation and confusion.
Being a visual person, my eyes try and capture all movement. At intersections I can get very distracted. As I drive, and objects, peoples and signs whizz by, my brain is unable to put on blinders, or filter out the unnecessary. It becomes very tiring and quite stressful quickly. Over the decades, I have learned to put "soft blindes" on, in the sense that I try and unfocuse from the scenery and sights. I keep my main focus on the road I am on, and keep in mind my destination ad route. Everything else, the beautiful blossoms on the apple trees, the cute doggie, the flock of starlings...all those distracting sights I have to ignore. I remind myself quite frequently when I am driving to pay attention to the task at hand. You will never find me with cell phone in hand, behind the wheel....neither texting or talking be I.
Frequently, I do talk to myself to remember where I am going. I've learned that post it notes are grand and tend to write out destinations, if there are more than one. You really don't want to know how many times I have driven right past the store I needed to stop at.
I often drive in silence,without the distraction of radio. My boys have learned to talk little and not at all when I say, "Hush, Mommas driving and needs to focus." They understand and usually needn't be told twice.
I grew up in a large metropolis and experienced anxiety te majority of time that I drove. Now, living in this small town with four streetlights, I am much more at ease. Driving is easier here, on these streets I have patrolled for lo these 17 years. I am mighty fortunate.
Driving is very complex and complicated. It can cause great anxiety and uncertainty. When Eldest is released, I am prepared to teach him how to drive on the road. I am extremely qualified to be his driving instructor...I know how he feels.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Inside the Autistic Mind, a repost

Inside My World

Sometimes people say the same thing over and over and fail to ever really explain what they mean.
Frequently, I have been know to say "that I live in my own little world". I think that deserves an explanation. Lets' go there....
I live largely within a world of thought, memories, possibilities and emotations. Its like living in a very large room that is filled with loops, streams, fragments and spheres. At times, it seems very crowded and different shapes vie for my attention. Frequently one of these small floating arenas engulf me and I become engrossed, almost trapped and have a hard time escaping whatever thought or memory has captured my attention. Each shape contains either large or small bits of information. Mostly, I sit back, within myself and am analyzing.
Frequently, I am sure it appears, that my eyes have glazed over and it appears that "no one is home". At those times I am all inside...sometimes pondering, sometimes escaping whatever reality is outside of me and taking place.
Various things, such as "what was that conversation about yesterday" "can I remember it word for word?" "what was meant by thus and such" "did I convey what I needed to?" "when I said thus was I heard?" pertain to previous, mostly recent, conversations. Often, hours or days later, I find things that I missed in the conversation..sometimes very important things.

I have very little interest and awareness of the world outside of myself. I have a very narrow lens and rarely notice things, people, situations, words or ideas, that do not pertain directly to me. I have no interest in false gods, celebrities, current tv programming, popular culture, the latest novel, gossip of any kind, predicting the future or where I want to be five years from now, who is dating who, what the most popular song was in 1952, the latest diet or exercise craze, fads of any kind, and hypothetical what ifs.
The majority of my waking life is consumed with how to get through it, my home, my castle, my friends and my family and keeping myself functional. That takes up about 98% of my every day. Seriously, I wish it were only some bad joke but the vast majority of my day is actively engaged in basic functionality.

Words are mutable things of varying caliber, degrees and with a plethora of meaning depending on context, stress, the particular speaker and the spirit in which they are said....very complex. I can easily spend days analyzing a five-minute conversation....easily. For I do want to understand and comprehend..it just doesn't come easy.
Having to spend so much effort figuring out the words, leaves little time for glances and observations regarding facial expressions and body language. I am simply too focused on the words.
And, yes, most people speak at a normal rate of speed that is far too fast for this and other aspies. Either my word processing program is running too slow or I am actively engaged in trying to remember everything that I need to say and searching for pauses in the chat.
I can spend hours planning a five minute conversation for, say, the next day. I have to figure out my points, what is important and put it in a presentable cohesive, easy-to-understand manner.
Lost in thought...yeah, I am frequently there but it has purpose.

So say that I live in this very large room with floaters. I stand in the middle. There must be a door here somewhere for a connection to the outside. Sure, there is one over there on the right. One small doorway that opens to a very narrow, steep, twisty-turny hallway that is about a mile long. (Yeah, I am usually pretty hard to reach.) Every now and then someone ventures down the hall and knocks at my door...Most of the time, I simple do not hear the knock.The depths, focus can prevent that. Sometimes I do and ignore it. I think, most often, people arrive at the door, sense the...depth and treacherousness of the hallway and fear actually knocking. Can't say that I blame them...it is a most unusual stride to the door.

When I venture out...my view of the world outside of myself, outside of my physical home...
To be honest, its a war zone...a chaotic, ever-changing, daunting and somewhat dangerous place full of unpredictability, unspoken expectations, unwritten rules and a constantly changing landscape of mountains and pitfalls.
I constantly seek safe zones and safe people. When that doesn't work, I resort to using pre-approved patterns and manners of walking, behaviors and mental games to get me from point a to point b.
Stepping outside is sensory overload, pure and simple. Its an assault of the senses, a mental maze and all systems up and running, a time of high alert.
The highest variable is people."Who will I run into?" "What will I say?" "What will they ask?" subject matter, mood, will I be able to read them?
Some days I avoid most people..other days I seek them out.It just depends.
Mostly, life is a wicked game of survival..figuring out the bare minimum of what needs doing outside and staying mostly in. Venturing out requires a great deal of pre-planning and effort.
Little things are big things for the aspie. As an example, one of my current dilemmas is something so small,so simple, so not-an-issue for the nt that I hesitate to mention as I am sure it will induce ridicule and absurdity on some level. I can't find a pair of socks to buy that doesn't feel like sandpaper on my feet. I had a dozen pair of the most perfect of socks, all cotton, black, medium weight and they fit and felt just right. Well, I went and wore them all out, getting holes in the heels and had to start pitching them in the garbage. When I was down to one or two pair, I went to the local store where I had purchased them to stock up. Lo and behold, they no longer exist. While they carry the same brand, they have introduced lycra and form-fitting alterations that pinch and do not feel right. I spent that day going to every store in town in the simple and futile attempt to locate a damn pair of socks that i could wear with ease. They no longer exist. My search continues....Yeah, I want so much from life...a damn pair of socks..and no where to be found.
The everyday task of cooking a meal is a complex endeavour. First off, I have to figure out what everyone wants and is willing to eat. Then the grocery list and actual shopping. Being in the kitchen, cooking a meal is a multi-step event that needs careful planning. I frequently talk to myself to help keep me on task and remembering what the next thing is to do. There are also three separate timers that help guide me and keep me from burning and overcooking things. More than once, our smoke alarm has signaled "dinner ready". The average meal probably takes me twice as long to cook and is just another stressful event to try and muddle through.

I like my world inside, mostly due to its low-stress and somewhat predictable nature. I don't have to perform and pretend to be normal. The sometimes overwhelming stress of outside reality will literally throw me into my space so deeply and with great fervor, that its like being locked into a closet. It gets dark and I can't find the door handle to get out even if I wanted to.
The predictability, the patterns I create are so that i can actually have moments, yeah maybe a moment or two where I don't have to actively think. Because the majority of my life, my everyday life, is spent in the thinking process, just trying to get through the day. This is so not a normal, neuro-typical existence....it is so much more work. Some day, I hope to convey that in a depth, meaning and way that doesn't sound so self-pitying and depressing because it is an important point.
You have no idea the sheer amount of work, effort and stress that is required for this aspie to get through an average day. It truly is impossible to fathom. I have great admiration for those aspies who can actually hold down and maintain a job, even a part-time one.
As for parenthood, knowing what I know now,I probably wouldn't have done it. It has not turned out very well. I think my kids suffer needlessly do to my inability to be outside my head and much more aware of who they are and what their needs may be. My focus is so extremely narrow, my introvertedness and hermitage like existence has not allowed me to see their weaknesses and areas needing assistance. My central focus of survival has not helped them in any way, shape or form and having kids was not a really good decision.
But here is where i am....this is what needs doing.

And people ask, I kid you not and this is rather novel...People ask how they can help an aspie. (And I would like to take these requests, mold them into solid form, like a small statuette and set them upon the mantel because they are priceless) So I am going to answer...You keep knocking. And if the door doesn't open, you try again. You don't give up. You make your voice and your physical presence known and available. You listen. You hear. You do not embarrass or make fun of. You do not put the spotlight on. You allow the aspie to be themselves with subtle guidance through the murky waters. You understand or are willing to try and understand that the world is a very scary, overwhelming place and that even simple, mundane tasks require great effort and thought. You realize that your own speech (that which you say when talking to an aspie), is frequently, like trying to decipher a foreign language. You talk slower and listen harder. You are aware that the aspie speaks in a language all their own and try and learn it. You can somewhat grasp the reality that an aspie needs lots of downtime and opportunities to process information. Please don't always expect an immediate answer. You get the idea that emotions and stress can sometimes have a more noticeable, dramatic effect on the aspie. And that Tics Happen, no big deal, just part of being Aspie. Be patient. Be kind. Its really that simple.

Magpie Syndrome, Stealing Pretty Things, a Repost

Magpie Syndrome and Aspergers,Autism..Stealing

So, I went to this conference last week..and I found myself admiring pretty, shiny things, mostly other peoples bling and baubles. When seated with others from my..party, I often found my eyes seriously gravitated to their necklaces and rings to the point where I had to either consciously self-restrain myself from touching or I would ask to see said pretty shiny things. Most people proved to be pretty okay with allowing me to touch their goods with one woman even going so far as to remove her ring and let me play with it for a moment:)
This got me thinking...
So, upon my return home, I scoured the internet to see if there was a correlation for Aspergers/Ausitm and pretty shinys and/ or if the obsession with all that glitters was a psych or "named" syndrome.
It took me awhile to stumble upon "Magpie Syndrome" and, even then, only on an obscure, single website,"Urban Dictionary". I wasn't sure Urban Dictionary was a legit site, so I search wikied it and it seems legit.
Here is what it says:
Magpie Syndrome- an irrational affinity for shiny objects. When a highly shiny object is seen by the sufferer it often may induce a compulsive need to claim it and several minutes of staring at said object. This will later end in the sufferer pocketing the object to add to his/ her collection by a sunny windowsill at home. If a shiny object is outside of a sufferers grasp it will usually result in a strong, though usually short-live obsession over it.
Okay, so it is somewhat tongue-in-cheek and it is a site where individuals submit words and definitions but it really,really fits.
I find that it is irrational and definitely obsessive to the point of distraction and nothing else matters, albeit momentary or temporarily.
Just yesterday, I was picking up my phone and the tech helping me had on a bright, shiny necklace with a semi-familiar symbol on it. After a few minutes of figuring out when it was appropriate to ask, I did. Of course, I do not touch things directly upon a person like that, but I was able to do the second best thing and overtly stare at it as she described what it was.
My son, my eldest with the Aspergers, has this to an even higher degree. Back when he was quite young, 4 or 5, we noticed bright, shiny, expensive small things missing from the house...jewelry, crystals, things like that. He had been pilfering items that were sparkly. So, as biological mom, I gave him more than one good talking to but the behavior persisted.
It became quite clear that this was something that was obsessive and outside his rational control. My ways of coping were to simply start going through his room once in a while, locating the stash and returning them to their proper place.
His pocketing never stopped. And I lost a number of very expensive items to his Magpie Syndrome.

Anyway, I would be most to curious as to if other Aspies, Autistics have the same symptoms