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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hmmm

Time for a long walk in the dark woods. Reevaluation on a number of fronts. Later

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sometimes I Like Having Aspergers

There are moments, minutes, sometimes even hours, when I revel in the amusement of my Aspergers. I mean, how many peoples can thoroughly enjoy imaginary relationships and find comfort and care in mythical, personal interactions without another physical body present? I can take vacations without ever leaving the house.
The other day I was at the grocstore (a neologism for grocery store, thank you Bob) and I was mesmerized by this little bird flitting around the produce section. I mean, no one else there was able to capture and observe this very small detail. I very much enjoyed just standing there and watching birdie fly from ceiling perch to ceiling light and tritze over, most casually, to the fresh parsley and snag a few bites. The rest of my shopping experience was spent trying to locate little birdie and see what he was up to.
I hate to think that it is us against them, the nts, because we are all in this together. Everyone struggles in one way or another.
Sometimes I worry that I divulge too much "inside information" regarding my inner mechanisms and workings, but then I remember I am trying to enlighten nts and find support among fellow Aspies.
I think about the absolutely fascinating inner world, with it's multitude of rooms full of volumes and the series of doors, windows, defenses and moots. If an nt walked in to my main library, they would be stymied, because all the books are in a foreign language, mine, AspieSpeak.
Everyday I muddle thru, manage to maneuver whilst keeping myself balanced between inside and outside...but sometimes it's quite delightful. I have a richness, a vibrancy that cannot be touched or measured. I am my own person and I cater not to societal norms, fads and crazes. I am free, in that way.
What was it some wiseman said, "if you care what other people think, they own you." See, no one owns me, but me.
I walk my talk and talk my walk. A more honest person you would be hard-pressed to find. I pride my self on always giving my best, trying my hardest.....and I know that, now. I am quite remarkable, my Aspergers makes me so:)

Comfort is a Very Thin Line, Daily Life with Aspergers

Finding comfort...a daily struggle. Trying to find the clothes to match the mood, weather and events of the day. Schedules, appointments all need monitoring, writing out on slips of paper on bulletin boards on the outside and inside, as well.
Eating is a ritual of finding the foods that will actually taste "right" for any given meal. Cause lord knows, if it isn't right, the food will have no taste, it won't sync and the body goes hungry for lack of want. Gathering the food everything has to look just so...lettuce without blemishes, burger properly cooked, bread toasted to the correct color and texture, just the right amount of ketchup or butter...making sure the portions are accurate. I tend to eat a little bit of everything in each bite, so I try and put just enough on my plate, everything in equal amounts.
Chores, deciding what needs doing and what I want to do. It's a balancing, juggling guessing game that I play everyday. Watching for those appointments and wagering as to how much time I need to prep and drive to arrive on time, which for me is about five minutes before the actual time. I like a little slack.
The arrival of Younglink on the bus home. I tend to set at least one alarm so that I am awake, alert and looking for the bus. If I am off doing errands or appointments in the afternoon, I constantly watch the clock and have an inner dialog that continually reminds me to be home on time.
Younglink arrives home. Homework, snack, asking him about his day.
Supper and so on.
Comfort is a rare place indeed...a very, very thin line amongst the woods and stones. A narrow pathway that is extremely difficult to find. A small island in the middle of raging seas. Most days are a series of anxiety and stressors. To escape into comfort, I nap, cease activity and try and forget everything that needs doing, hence the alarm clocks. If I get my chores done, or decide that I have worked enough, I can set an alarm, sit or lay down and immerse my self in the comfort of my own self, my mind and wanderings.
I don't know if most people experience comfort on a daily or semi-weekly basis. I have no clue. How would I know? Comfort is a mighty fine rarity that I thoroughly enjoy.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Privacy and Anonymity

I have noticed that many Aspies, my self and son included, have a need for extreme privacy. At first, I thought it was just me who was escaping the dreaded biological family of insanity and abuse, but my son was never abused. My online Aspie friends were not all abused either. There is a passion for privacy that goes beyond any reason. I thoroughly respect each individuals privacy on their level.
I don't let just anyone into my house or my yard...they are both extensions of me, mine, no one enters without a security check or invite. Ok, kinda joking about the security check, but I am quite selective in who I let in.
I used to use a post office box instead of my street address...for years. I have used aliases from time to time. I have purposely....misled peoples on forms, the phone and in person, to protect this sacred thing called privacy, mine and personal space.
I do not touch other peoples belongings, from the knickkacks on their table to their coats or cars without express permission. I decorated a friends office for her birthday last year. The biggest mighty challenge was in actually touching and moving her office belongings. I had to repeatedly, repeatedly ask her best friend if it was okay to touch or move this or that. Even with permission, I felt like I was doing something terribly wrong. I had to keep convincing myself that I had permission and it was okay to do. Dang, gives me palpitations of wrongdoing just to think about it. Yikes.
Eldest and Meself have both gotten extremely agitated and angered when someone has touched or slightly moved one of our prized gewgaws. I wasn't sure I could handle having a cleaning lady come in and clean because she would be touching all my stuff. Cleaning lady turned out to be a remarkable kind, caring and trustworthy being...whew...,cause a housekeeping goddess, I ain't.
Honestly, it took me years to get somewhat comfortable in the house that Partner paid for and built. I think for the first few years, I minded my p's and q's and secured little spaces that I felt at ease using. I said nothing but agreement whenever she wanted to do this or that, paint this color or buy that couch...because the house did not belong to me. I had no rights, in my own head.
Because I value anonymity, I rarely use anyone's real name. My Partner, Eldest and Younglink are my mate of 17 years, my oldest son and my littlest son, respectively. It took Partner quite awhile to understand and respect my privacy in regards to touching and moving my belongings. Of course, it didn't help that I was unable to Verbalize my needs and wishes. She has learned, mostly.
As Partner respects my things, thus and so I respect hers. It's just common sense and an innate part of who I am.
The most egregious event, that comes to mind, is when I was working for an elderly neighbor couple. I was indoors working with the Mrs. and Mr. went outside, Into My Car to roll up the windows on the pretense that it might rain. I was beyond livid when he said this and quit the job within the week. I felt totally violated and ceased trusting the Mr., like, Forever. You just Do Not ever get into my car or touch anything of mine, Ever. Yeah, I still carry some ire and resentment on that front.
I've noticed that few Aspies use photos of themselves on Facebook, preferring an anonymous scene or pretty picture. When I first started fb, I did the exact same thing. It's just the way we operate. As a member of the Aspergers community (in good standing, I hope) I ask that you take special care with your Aspie friends and their need for discretion and privacy. Please respect their boundaries, even though you may not understand them. In our heads, extreme privacy makes good sense.

Doing the Social Thingy

I had occasion to get together with a group of friends today. I hadn't attended a friendly social gathering since February, Grammas funeral. These peoples, well, they are like my second family, a pair of sisters that Partner and I care for.
Even though I love and adore my sisters, I still felt the old stirrings and bristling of Social Anxiety and took some meds. Just the thought of being in a house full of people's, even ones I adore, sets my flight or fight mechanism all atwitter.
To add to my anxiety, the gathering was taking place in a new setting, a new house. Change and uncertainty are sure fire triggers for stress. Ahhh, in addition, there were two brand new little peoples that would be attending, two new months old tiny human babies. So, I was a bit on edge, unknowing what to expect or how I would react to so much new.
I ended up having a wonderful time. I hadn't seen my friends in over a year, but we all gelled and congealed as if we hadn't been apart. That's what family friends are supposed to be like. That's when you know the affection and caring is mutual.
It will take awhile to get used to this new venue. I really didn't scope out the new house as I found the greatest joy and comfort in rocking and holding the little, bright, brilliant beings. I settled into my little niche, sat back and observed, thoroughly enjoying myself all the while.
I struggled to get into my social mode, but I am glad I did:)

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Very Polite Aspie

Sometime around the age of ten or so, I started calling all adults "Mr. or Mrs." I have always harbored intense respect for my elders. There were a couple of elderly widows who lived on my block. I'm not sure how it came to pass, but I ended up working for and with them, doing chores in the house and yard.
Mrs. Barber, who lived on the corner, was of hardy, peasant stock and could be found raking and weeding her yard almost everyday. She and I spent our time working outdoors.
Directly behind my parents house lived another widow. For the life of me, I cannot remember her name. I can picture her, as clear as day with her petite frame, pretty white styled hair and glasses. She had me helping her with strange and odd tasks, some of which I had never heard of. In particular, I recall helping her clean cupboards and wiping the dust off the tops of cans. I found it extremely odd that anyone would have a can of food in the cupboard long enough to gather dust.
Both women were extremely kind and patient. They didn't seem to mind that it took me a while to learn how to do these very new assignments. Oft times they would have to repeat the directions or repeatedly show me how to do a task. I was quite slow to learn, even then but they never seemed to mind.
Frequently, we would take breaks from working and sit and enjoy lemonade and cookies. I very much enjoyed spending time with these women. I thought it pleasantly odd how they spent so much time smiling and appearing....happy.
Any person in a position of authority; doctors, nurses, policemen, firemen, principals and teachers, all I treated with the utmost respect due to their title and position. It's just automatic for me to think this way.
I have to laugh....I think one of the reasons I was excused from jury duty, a few years back, is because I answered every question from Mr. Prosecutor with, "Yes Sir" or "No Sir".
It used to be that anyone older than myself, was Mr. Miss or Mrs., but as I have aged that has changed. I frequently give my boys the title of Mr. No longer are titles exclusively for older people, but I have been know to address children as Mr. or Miss.
I recall the first time, that I saw an envelope addressed to "Master So and So"... It was a card for my brother from my great uncle. I was impressed with that. As I enjoy using titles, I am also pleased when others use them as well.
I was an extremely complacent child. I tried extremely hard top please my parents, listening and believing their every word, trying to anticipate their wants and needs, figuring out what made them apply, trying to make their lives easier.
I felt so sad at times. I saw my mother struggling, ashamed, hungry, beaten, so very much afraid of her husband at times. I didn't like lying to the bill collectors on the phone, but I did it because mom asked me to. She seemed so helpless at times, my mother. She was so sad and overwhelmed, frightened, locked in very odd, painfully antiquicated beliefs. Anyway...she was so full of emotion...I digress.
I honored and respected my parents at all costs and at every turn...I was such a tool, such a mark, so easy to take advantage of. Dang, this post seems to have a life of its own and is taking many twists and turns as I amble down those dirty, dusty roads of the past.
You know...part of me would love to know why my father did what he did to me. I know it is Not because I asked for it, deserved it or had done anything wrong. I don't know...I used to want to figure out all of life's mysteries but I am less curious these days and more willing to let some things remain unknown...but this, the abuse and incest, I wish I knew why. I'd love an apology. I no longer need it for validation...already have enough of that...but wouldn't it be nice...an acknowledgement, an apology? IDK just flipping channels, writing about whatever surfaces.
I mean, my parents were in sooo much pain, the house reeked of misery. The walls weeped, the doors creaked, the table trembled and shuddered..it was a mess.
I felt their pain and h o p e l e s s n e s s. and I just wanted to take it all away. To fix the poverty, misery and sadness. I tried everything, everything to make them happy. At such a tender young age, I failed to realize that one chooses how one lives and I was trying to erase all their pain and of course, I could not.
I absorbed and took on, a much more formidable challenge than I could have ever hoped to win...at ten.Enough already....enough

Monday, May 14, 2012

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.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Mid-Life Crisis..as Aspies age

Another birthday draws near. I look back at my Aspergian Grandfather and father and see how their autism changed with age. Every year they talked less and showed diminishing affect. It was like watching a glacier retreat, slowly withdrawing into cold silence.
Grandpa became quite engrossed in his special interests. He would engineer and build things. Throughout his life, there was always that one close friend from Poland, who marginally spoke English, whom he palled around with. Gramps was friendly with his neighbors but spent most of his time out fishing or inside inventing. He adored his grand kids and oft one or two of them would spend weekends at their house.
My father, had one close friend for awhile. Then something nefarious and secretive transpired and he was alone....with his wife and all them damn kids. I don't recall him ever having a close friend again. Every year, I watched him grow quiet, sullen, distant and more intolerable of the outside world. He rarely speaks these days.
I sometimes wish all the incest, sexual and physical abuse never happened. We could sit and compare notes about our autism, how crazy the nts are and how we cope. But it will never happen. I see him and am flooded with painful remembrances and hurt feelings. I have little tolerance of being in the same room with him anymore.
I don't hate him. I hate no one. I have forgiven and moved on. But I wish not for the memories...so I don't go there.
Having Aspergers so rich in my biological family...gives me insight and pictures into possibilities for me. It is what it is.

No Apologies, Hypersensitivity

Like the man born with one hand, I make no apologies for the way I was born, I am hypersensitive, more emotional and reactive, than most people. I always have been and I always will be.
My tears and outward displays of emotion are not to seek attention or pity. I have no wish to be obvious or dramatic. It's fair to say that a substantial amount of energy goes into maintaining my emotions so that I appear stoic and robotic. I sequester feelings in the back corner, of the farthest room, with the most complicated locks, in the nether regions of my mind.
Since my appearance lacks affect, most assume that I do not feel. Quite the opposite is true. My emotions are thick, heavy, volital and hyper reactive. For the majority of my early years, I endured round after round of embarrassment and ridicule whenever I became outwardly upset. The only symptom that was allowed "out" was tears, whether I was angry, frustrated, ashamed, or riddled with anxiety, the leaking was all that shown.
I was unable to yell and scream to express anger or out rage, when others hurt me physically or with words. My fear turned deeply inward, as well, lest someone sense or smell it and use it against me. The first time that I ever raised my voice in outrage, was when I was 16 year old. Every feeling was kept within.
I remember sitting with my Gramma, in her living room as she read the paper. She was crying and I asked her why. She said it was because she was reading a story about a lost dog. She stated that maybe she should stop reading the paper because so many articles made her cry.
I'm a lot like her.
I've pretty much given up watching the news, as the sad stories outnumber the happy ones 10 to 1. I have no tolerance for tv or movies where people are screaming or experiencing pain...it hurts me too much. I avoid angry people with a vengeance. When I hear or see parents being unkind to their children in the grocery store, I hurt. I cannot look at animals or people in pain for very long, because I feel it too.
My physical state of health is directly related to my emotional well being. My emotions can be far more intense than most and I make no apologies. I deal with it the bestest that I can.
Just as my pain can be as deep as the ocean, so can my caring and love. I love fiercely, just ask my boys.
Maybe, someday, I'll grow to be more accepting of my emotions. Maybe I'll drag them out of the closet, one at a time if possible (problem is when I feel one emotation, I feel all of them..it's a cluster f***) and air them out in the sun and reclaim the part of myself that has always been unacceptable and forbidden for public fodder. It's like I was born with three legs but had to cut one off lest I offend someone. Deny, deny and hide. I've heard that tune before.
The great "cure" for hypersensitivity is low stimuli and managed stress, otherwise known as being a recluse or a monk. I always thought I'd make a great monk, naturally talented and all...go figure.
I am a very sensitive being...get used to it

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Warm Pleasant Moment

Today, I had a wonderful altercation. As I stopped by the school to pick up my Younglink for his dental appointment, a mutual friend was getting into her car. Instead of just waving and taking off, she got out of her car and asked how I was doing.
She could have drove off, never saying a word or she might have asked about my son, but no, she actually asked how I was doing.
And it was the way that she said it, as if she cared and was genuinely interested in my welfare. I was touched and felt warmth. Little moments such as this are rare gems. I savor each and every one:)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Problems at the Voting Booth, Aspergers and Elections

I just returned from voting. There was one, single question on the ballot:
"Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Manistee Area Public Schools, Manistee and Mason Counties, Michigan, be increased by and the board of education be authorized to levy not to exceed .95 mills ($0.95 on each 1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 3 years, 2012, 2013 and 2014, to create a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings and other purposes authorized by law; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the mileage is approved and levied in 2012 is approximately $$488, 063?"

Really, this is the exact wording. I was positively stymied. Usually, Partner and I go over ballot proposals together, before voting day, so that I know which ballot box to check. With our recent weekend of traveling, we never got around to actually discussing election day.
I was in quite the quandary. I sat and read and retread the proposal, first quickly, then slowly, then one sentence at a time. I didn't understand. There was an oscillating between, "okay, I'm pretty sure this is what it means, so I vote this way", to "omg, every vote counts and what if I am wrong?"
Of course, this inner dialogue was peppered with, "Can I ask someone, one of the election workers, to clarify for me...and how would I word my question so they would understand my dilemma?"
Yup, I sat at the voting booth for a number of minutes, trying to figure it all out. I was wagering whether I should gamble and guess my vote or take the ridicule risk of asking someone to clarify. I finally decided on the latter.
So I formulated my introduction and question. "I am slightly autistic and I don't understand this ballot. Does voting yes mean that taxes will go up and more money will go to the schools?" The election worker was visually stunned. I'm quite sure that she had never had a question clse to this one. She took me aside and started reading me the proposal verbatim, word for word. About half-way through, I stopped her and said that I have read all the words, but I do not understand them. Then I repeated my question about taxes and school money. She had to think a minute, probably regarding the morals and ethics of her election job duties and rules. Finally, she answered my questions. Whew.
I returned to the voting booth and voted my conscious. Now I will spending various parts of my day rewinding this whole election fiasco to figure out how to prevent such stress again. I will look at ways that would have made the situation easier, ie, talking to someone beforehand and reading a copy of the proposal before election day.
Sigh, this is just one example of the everyday stressers that take place in my Aspielife. I feel better now that I can put words to some of my challenges. Little things are big things. Be kind to your local Aspie.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Confusion of having Aspergers...a simple statement



I have surmised that Aspergers is ruled by two specific feelings, Confusion and Anxiety. In trying to figure out a way to explain some of the everyday confusion, I found an example in a very simple text message that my friend sent me.


I had mentioned that we should get together. She texted back, "We will talk tomorrow." This one little sentence, had multiple possible meanings and I am still unsure of which one is correct.



I sometimes run into this friend, whom I will call "Shakira" for anonymity sake, at school in the morning when we drop off our boys. Did she want me to meet her there, to talk? Should I look for her at school or wait in the parking lot for her vehicle?



Was she planning on calling or texting me, sometime during the day? Or was I supposed to contact her? Did she plan on stopping over, to my house after school? Or after dinner? Need I clear my schedule, just in case?



Little things are big things. The majority of my days are spent searching for the best possible answer for small questions and statements. It's my Aspielife. Just wanted to share one tiny piece.