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

Monday, May 9, 2011

Imaginary Friends and Creatures...Aspergers and Coping


The life inside the exclusive, solitary existence called Autism and Aspergers, often denotes the need to develop...unusual coping strategies in order to remain functional.
One such strategy, that I have heavily employed, at certain times throughout my life, has been the creation of imaginary friends and various animals/ creatures/ critters.
My imagination, my "reality" has always been of a very "slippery" nature and highly mutable. I think the vast majority of neuro-typicals see and experience "reality" as something extremely solid and stable, like a rock or a mountain. For this Aspie, reality is more of a whisp, a cloud, an every changing etherical foundation that shifts and transports, nothing even remotely resembling what most call "reality".
There is much truth in the statement, "I live in my own world and just stop by and play in yours." I walk a very fine line and with the simplest of audibles or memories, can time transport at the drop of a hat. Some times, I would like to think that Most times, I can control this, but, most certainly, there are times that I cannot. It is indeed, both a blessing and a curse.
Whilst I can create beautiful, flowing and vibrantly real poetry, I can also be thrown into a chaotic hell of emotional turmoil at some rather ugly remembrances. I often long for the semblance of stability and groundedness which I often seek in my closet friends.

One way my slippery reality and overly creative imagination has helped me..is when I am scared.
Growing up, whenever I did not want to be alone, I always created an imaginary friend who was right there with me when the worstest of things would be happening and having that "friend" made life survivable.
Even when no one would play with me, there was always "someone" who would. There was always "someone" who listened, who cared, who loved me, who I could talk to without reserve...someone who accepted and understood me. It was an extreme survival skill that I learned when I was very young.
Back when I was in massage school, our class had to travel a few hours away one weekend a month. I was extremely anxious, and highly agoraphobic and to calm my nerves and make the trip "doable", I created a vision of an imaginary white horse that always traveled along side me on my journeys. I could see it as clearly as you see your computer. Having my white horse always at my side, keeping pace gave me an "unreal" sense of safety and security...I wasn't alone...I had a traveling companion...albeit an imaginary one.
Even now, though the need has greatly, heartily diminished, I continue to have an imaginary critter to accompany me when I am out on my own and feeling vulnerable, overly anxious or downright scared. Call it monophobia,agoraphobia or simply having a constant, trustworthy companion, it works. The funny thing is, my critter gets larger or smaller depending on my fear level. If I am feeling especially anxious, he is almost as large as myself, protecting me from any perceived or imagined danger. Its how I get through.

I have always lived anything but a normal, neuro-typical existence and the defenses and crisis management tools that I employ are surely atypical and questionable. I don't recommend going around and creating people or creatures, but one must maintain, survive and get by, somehow.
As I write this..it seems really sad that an individual would have to go to such extremes just to feel safe in the outside world. I have found Aspergers to be an exercise in extreme aloneness and isolation...one has to find what works and helps. Aspie is what Aspie has to do.

7 comments:

  1. Hi, Amy,
    I'm glad I came upon your site. I was browsing the web for sings from outer space i.e. another adult who also - still - has imaginary friends, and wanted to know if this is just my oddity or goes with my Asperger's. I remember the horses. They used to run alongside me and sometimes I could even hold on to their manes. I never saw them with the two eyes right in front of my forehead, but still I "saw". The same with human imaginaries. I'm also forty-something, Mom and would-be writer. :-)

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  2. Hi Anjy,
    Very cool! I really debated sharing this much information with outsiders, but imaginary friends are just a part of my life. They make me feel safe when no one else can.
    I "see" them the same way you do.
    I'm so glad you wrote! Not a lot of people write about their imaginarys.
    Thanks Anjy! Amy

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  3. The closest, most trusted people in my life aren't from this world. From youngest to oldest, Sesshōmaru (Inuyasha) Fiore (Sailor Moon) Hiten Raijū (Inuyasha) Ren Maaka (Chibi Vampire) and Howl Pendragon(Howl's Moving Castle). They are my everything. To me, they're completely real. I'm Catholic and believe in god so I see it as, if god made us and we were created in his image, even though we can't create a visible body, why couldn't we create a soul? If you ever want to talk more about it, please feel free to contact me ( I'm a Freshman in High school by the way) I love to talk about them and our ahem... very interesting (perverted) adventures. My mother doesn't believe in them so as a result, there aren't that many people that I can talk about them to. I have aspergers also, so I know what it's like to not trust relationships of this world.

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  4. Hi Christina, very cool and most interesting. You can contact me via amy.murphy.359@facebook.com I'd be interested in your ideas and views! Amy

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  5. I have my own beliefs and friends called Niggies. The scientific term for them is Napien and Napiens for plural. A race of humanoid people and I illustrate them. I think you and I would make good friends :3 The term gets me some heat though, because it sounds similar to another word....I can relate to you greatly <3

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  6. My grandson has penguins. But I fear they are taking over his reality to the negative. He is the most original and fascinating person I have ever met or love beyond all. He is 8 years old .

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  7. Hi Deb,
    Imaginary friends serve many important purposes to the autistic. They help compensate for the extreme aloneness and provide very safe companionship. I always hesitate to interfere in an autistics way of trying to deal with an overwhelming, over sensory, painful external world.
    My Imaginarys were most prominent when I had the most struggles. They diminished as my stress went down. Now, they are virtually nonexistent. It's his coping skill. It may be the only thing that makes him feel safe and okay about himself.

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