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, May 27, 2011

Loneliness....a repost because it is That good

....On Loneliness and Aspergers Syndrome
(originally posted the first week I started blogging...January 28, 2010)
On son thinks that the lack of friends is a fair trade-off for marked intelligence. I don't necessarily share that view.
Being alone in a room full of people, stranded on a deserted island, cast onto the open sea in a boat without oars, standing at a podium in an empty auditorium, straddling the precipice of depressions abysmal abyss, silent screams in the dead of night...I know of loneliness.
How often I thought God had spat me into the wrong universe. And He forgot to give me the universal translator. Forgive my repetition, but the closest analogy is to find yourself in a foreign land where you don't speak the language and can't find a dictionary...You don't know how you got there...and cannot even formulate a plan to get to? get to? Where?
Or being separated by a pane of glass from everyone around you, always an onlooker, always one step removed...the painful part? You see them interacting with ease and try as you might, there is no way you can ever reach them. Or figure out how they do it.
Oh and they seemed so comfortable with themselves and in their own skin. They knew who they were, what they wanted, had goals and the means to reach them......the pain and sometimes, such loathing. I wanted to be like that.
I was truly fortunate to have so many siblings. I always had someone to talk to, to do things with. I often think the main reason I had children was because I wanted someone to always be with and who would accept me just as I am.
Childhood friendships seemed to form and dissolve like the seasons. High school was a little easier because I had aunts who would buy the beer and I was a pretty good sidekick. I deeply appreciate those high school friends...more than words can ever say.
Every relationship is a push me- pull me. Protecting my privacy...oh, I am a master builder of walls, and wanting a confidant, someone to hang with and share my inner tumultuous workings. Its a struggle fraught with consternation.
I made great strides when my eldest was born because it gave me a common denominator to talk about with other people. I joined the universal group of motherhood and immediately my world expanded. It thrust me out of my shell and there was always something to talk about or a question to be be asked or an antic to share.
When my second son was born I joined an even more elite group..mothers of children with disabilities and that..and that really challenged me at first. And I wasn't sure i would be a member in good standing. But I rose to the challenge. And these mothers, these mothers are a very special, exceptionally strong breed apart. And I couldn't be more happy to be a member. My youngest has drawn out such hidden, untapped strengths that I never knew I had. I am so grateful for both of my boys. And a prouder mother could never be found.
There is less loneliness in my life these days, much, much less. But it is easy to reminiscence and feel that lostness. The times when I just wanted a kind word to justify my existence. A smile that said "you are accepted here". Or a even a nod of the head that said, "you're ok".
No one knows me. Does anyone ever really know another person?
And yes, I have the ability to form friendships and keep them. I have realized their great value in my life and actively work to keep in touch and up-to-date.
I have many people that i care about and that care about me...and I am letting them in...slowly...on the secret that is me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm Not Autistic, I Have Aspergers

I have never really been comfortable saying that I am Autistic. For some reason, in my head, I have Only had Aspegers and "mild autism". Autism denotes Rainman and Aspergers is Bill Gates and Einstein. I didn't want to be in the former group.
So, I went to this conference a couple weeks may have heard about it. Anyway, it kindof slowly dawned on me that, yes, I am autistic. And, if you have noticed, a number of my posts now group both together both words Autism, Aspergers. Its a not-so-subtle attempt to wrap my brain around the moniker.
I used to think, that I had "sporadic" or "intermittent" autism in that I only really considered my self an Aussie when I got emotional and lost control of what my body was doing or had serious verbal issues.
Yeah, having lived with my...unique way of thinking and doing things, I just considered myself to be an oddball, eccentric and a wee bit strange with some comorbid PTSD, anxiety and phobias. Okay, so the comorbidities are Part of my Autism...I get it, now. And Aspergers is one part of the multi-faceted autism spectrum which covers a very wide range.
I cannot have Aspergers without being autistic. Starting to get it.

In many ways, if I were to dwell and look back, behind me at the past...I actually feel...better about having the autistic label then the mental illness, schizo disorder, manic-depressive, and other mental illnesses that I have worn, periodically, throughout my years.
Autism somehow, implies that I am okay just the way I am. I am no longer "damaged goods" or worse yet, someone who is acting out in erratic and uncontrolled ways in an attention seeking ploy and faking and pretending.
Man, I have been sooo hard on myself. Attribute it to my intelligence and strong logic, but I could find no "sane" reason as to why my emotions, my verbalizing and my body movements were sporadically completely out-of-my-control. It made no logical sense and I thought I had some strange and warped subconscious thinking going on that was causing me to "act out". Seriously, I beat myself up unrelentingly and vehemently for my autistic behaviors and mannerisms, because I did not know I was autistic. I cannot impress enough how deeply troubling and extremely frustrating it is to be aware of ones own words (or lack thereof), emotions and physical body completely run amok and have absolutely no control..whatsoever of ones own actions. To say it is truly agonizingly frustrating is a severe understatement and I would wish such a malady upon not my worst enemy.
I will say it again because I operate and understand logic...I felt like such a malcontent, mental defective, idiotic, seriously needy and way warped ogre due to the outward expression of myself and how I presented myself to the outside world. I could rationalize my behavior by most simply, looking at my parents and there extremely odd ways. And, yeah, I did not see my father as autistic either only as one severly depraraved individual with anger issues. So, actually, this news of my autism and aspergers is quite liberating. Yet another self-loathing behavior neutralized...another wall fall down, one more big stick to put back in the closet...or better yet, to burn never to be raised again.
I'm really not as bad of a person as I thought. Going to the conference and seeing people interested and totally accepting of autism definitely had an effect on this aspie.
In a strange a very strange way...having the label of "autistic" makes me sooo much more normal. and I can like who I am even more

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 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 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 has to find what works and helps. Aspie is what Aspie has to do.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Diet Sucks..Gluten-Free and Sucking It

Even before I started my gluten-free diet, I really ate and liked a very limited amout of food,. Now, being completely Gfree for over a month now and having lost 20 pounds...Let me tell you...
The list of foods that I regularly eat is minimalistic, at best. I am actually going to list these items because, quite frankly, I need to expand my dining choices.
Here goes: bread and peanut butter (breakfast every single day :)
Ore Ida waffle french fries (seems like they are lunch every single day) plus hoards of ketchup (remember that is a vegetable in some strange circles. And I do eat tons of it)
apples, bananas, orange and cranberry juice, diet pepsi, coffee, teas, chicken (mostly that precooked broasted stuff from the grocery store. It is delish and downright cheaper than buying one to cook up) lettuce salad, tomato, spinach, carrots, onion, sweet peppers,corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes, other organic fruits when I can find them
hamburger, and most other red meats, and salmon
cheese (I love cheese. Now you see why I can't give It up...I would starve to death and turn into a waif) Mostly corn chips and cheese for snack or dinner.
GF choco chip cookies
Rice milk and Chex cereal almost every evening, bedtime snack
SNICKERS fun size bars
Activia yogurt every day
white rice
chop suey vegetables
hideous GF cornbread
the snickers and choco cookies are my only desserts thus far.
And honey, seriously, thats about the extent of it. It is really easy for me to shop for myself. Short list and all.

There are just sooo many foods that I do not like or tolerate. Did I mention that I am also on a low fat diet due to my gallbladder surgery last year? That cuts things down considerably.
I am allergic to egg yolks, wine, garlic. I dislike pork, lamb, sausage is not GF.
I cannot tolerate the texture, smell or taste of any beans.
I miss my pot pies and all floury stuff like bread, biscuits, crescent rolls, cake, donuts, etc.
I miss gravy and really must try the GF flour to see if I can't make some to go over my chicken.
Anyway, this eating heaps of fries everyday has to go. Man, they taste so absolutely fabulous but I need to find more choices.

I take a multi-vitamin every day along with some B complex, because i realize they are really,really necessary.

Gosh, that looks pretty darn sparse. Anyway, just thought i would take a looksie and see where i was at. Yeah, time to expand my choices here. G'day

Sometimes I Do Sneaky, Fun Stuff..that no one knows about...(till now)

So I went to this conference last week,,,really I did. And I did a number of little things that were downright fun and still tickle me and make me giggly inside if I think about them.
So, I thought I would share....
You know, you are not supposed to touch a lot of stuff. Most things that hang out in hotel lobbies like, paintings, art, plants, sculpture, water fountain (damn, I should have touched time).
I'm not sure if it is a "real" rule or just something frowned upon or if I just think it is against the law...not sure. Anyway, it felt simply mischievous and nefarious, wicked good to do.
Once, in the infamous glass elevator, I was about to get off on my own floor and hit all the buttons on my way out. Yeah, I really don't get out much and breaking the "law" even minorly is a big step for this prudent Aspie.
In the lobby, they had a variety of plants. Some I knew to be plastic and others, well, I wasn't so sure. So, when no one was looking, over in the back, there were tables full of potted greens that looked like wheat grass. So, I went over and grabbed hold of them...plastic. Good imitation though.
I also touched the bromelaids that lined the outside of the bar. Those were real...nice.
Okay, then, the first time I went to use the restroom...Dang, it was sharp and very upscale with pretend gold faucets and marble-like floors and walls. Man, the swinging wooden inlay doors even were of top-quality, heavy-duty and not falling off the hinges.
So, after I washed my hands and wiped off on the paper towels, I could find no wastebasket...and I looked everywhere. Boy, was I stymied and could so not figure this one out. No one else was in there so I was on my own. Finally, I simply gave up and threw the paper towel under the cloth sink skirt and called it good.
It wasn't until my second trip in that I observed the woman in front of me use one of those "holes in the counter top with wastebasket underneath" thingies. OMG, yup, I felt like a dope but not dopey enough to retrieve my paper towels that I had disposed of the last time, under the sink.
I attempted to steal small bars of "complimentary" soap off the cleaning ladies carts, twice, but both times was thwarted due to the fact that cleaning personal are hiding them much better and they no longer lay on Top of the cart. Damn.
Then...omg, I woke up in just a giggly mood that second morning. As I went into the ballroom, I snuck up behind my buddy, grabbed her chair and shook the hell out of it for a few seconds. I don't know what possessed me there, either, it simply had to be done. Resistance was completely and utterly futile, I swear. Plus, I think somewhere in my warped little mind, I knew she would be okay with that. She was. And I got another chuckle. Dang, that was fun!
And then there was the time I moved the car in the parking lot and "dared" her vie text, to try and find it :) I enjoyed that very much as well.
So that accounts for my out-of-character, fun-loving and downright silly moves. Small things are Big was fun to play.

A Positive Aspie Day...this Is funny..Aspergers

A semi-typical Aspie day...
So,I went to the grocery store early this morning after dropping Younglink at school. Immediately, upon entering, I smelled intense cleaning fluid, like, Mr. Clean, is my guess. It was pretty darn strong but then, I noticed the floors. Wow, they were almost shiny and I had never seen them so clean before. So, this clean floor factor weighed heavily in my mind and thoughts.
I turn the corner at the bakery section and run into an acquaintance from Younglinks school..another parent who I do popcorn day with.
We exchanged the usual, mandatory pleasantries of "How are yous?"
And then I unceremoniously and with no censorship exclaimed, "Did you see how clean the floors are? OMG,they smell great, don't they?"
Okay, so she got just a mildly odd look on her face but didn't really skip a beat when she said, "Why, I hadn't noticed."
I am so glad I work with her at popcorn day, because she knows I am Aspie. She has never really seen me in my Rainman, blurt out whatever is on my mind mode. But she is a big girl and she dealt.
As I walked away I chuckled to myself. See, this is what happens when I agree to stop censoring myself. Whilst I become more comfortable with myself, my autism shows quite a bit more.
Its all pretty new for me..taking this risk of not being so self-restrained and dressing in muzzle and straitjacket every morning when my feet hit the floor.
I thought I would try this "freedom" thingy and be more comfortable with myself and my processes. I decided to step out more than I ever have. And, yes, I am taking it slowly, but it feels down right gratifying.

The other thing I did which was totally out-of-the-box and out of character...I went to a local public meeting, which was filmed and all. Before God, the camera and about 16 people, I stood up, heavily in the midst of a panic attack with my heart pounding out of my chest (you know, I have had them, panics, so very often, I should be quite used to them and the unsettling feeling, so I dealt) and stated my plea for "I voted" stickers. Because other districts hand them out, it promotes voting and dammit, give me my sticker!
I am not sure what exactly possessed me, but this seemed an inviting issue to tackle.
Did I mention I flew solo? That I went completely by myself and I was fine with that?
On the way to the meeting, I gave myself an out and said that I would simply attempt this and if I positively could not do it, than no harm done. But I Was going to attempt this!
And I gloriously and without a twitch, stood up, looked the board chairman in the eye and pleaded my case.
I guess I won't know till the next election if the stickers will start flowing or not..but I can sleep at night knowing I made my case known.
And yes, if stickers do start showing up on election day, well, I will get ALLLL the credit. I deserve it.
Yeah Baby!!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another Reason I Go Non-Verbal..Voluntarily

There are times when I find myself in selective mutism...and i cannot get out. Looking back, there are also times that I voluntarily, with good reason go non-verbal.
One reason that I will not talk, at times, is my brain is miswired and if I go to say "good morning", even to someone that I normally say that emotions will pour forth in a semi-violent and uncontrollable manner.
Sometimes, I am aware that the emotations are lurking directly below the surface and I know, I Know, that if I say a single word, any word at all, it needn't be about what is causing this emotional uproar, I will have an emotional break down immediately.

Been there, done that, Do Not like that.

It makes no sense from the outsiders point of view and I usually do not feel like explaining why that is taking place. (Most of the time, I seriously may not even know)
I tend to sing at home and frequently, when I start and get it going, the first couple of songs or so, I have to just let ...emotations express before I can get back to a semblance of order and enjoy my little singing venture. More often than not, that is simply what happens with this Aspie.
Verbalization is such a complexity and I am really just starting to understand, comprehend and be okay with my emotional expressions due to their erratic, unpredictable and often, uncontrollable nature.
There are definitely times, where I have to decide whether it is worth the embarrassing emotional display in order to speak and get a point across.
Yeah, for this Aspie, the emotional center is often directly tied to my verbal center.
In the informal and poorly funded study, where I observe the NTs, this is far from usual. Their verbal centers and emotional centers are definitely not as connected. They seem to keep emotations far from their lips, easily within its own compartment which they can access or not access at will, for the most part. Oh, to have such a grasp!

I feel like I have taken a lot of beating, much strife, from myself if not from others, regarding my verbalizations or lack thereof. Its kindof nice and reassuring to discover the whys and howcomes.
Verbalization...its complicated...quite

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fear of Being Alone, Monophobia, Isolophobia, Agoraphobia

As long as I can remember, I have been afraid to be by myself. whether it be in my own home, on the road, or at a different location.
So I searched the internet and found this on What phobia is the fear of being alone?
Answer: The phobia related to the extreme fear of being alone is known as Isolophobia, Autophobia or Monophobia.
The phobia can manifest itself in several different ways. Some people experience a constant fear of being alone. These individuals feel that hey must consistently be in the company of others. In this form, the phobia can have a huge impact on the individuals quality of life and may require years of therapy. Other people only experience the extreme fear of being alone when triggered by some sort of stimuli. This stimulus may be related to a traumatic event in their past that has been linked in the mind to being alone. In a way, it is a defense mechanism. That fear is created to avoid ever finding yourself in a similar situation to that which caused so much suffering in the past.
Monophobia- is an acute fear of being alone and having to cope without a specific person, or perhaps any person, in close proximity.
Monophobia is often seen as part of the agoraphobic cluster. "Fear of fear" (fear of a panic attack) seems to be a component of the agoraphobia but there are many other factors that lead to the avoidance central to the disorder and not all agoraphobics experience panic attacks. People with agoraphobia often suffer from a "cluster" of phobias,as mentioned and Monophobia may be one. Generally agoraphobics find it very difficult or impossible to carry out certain activities. These could be going into crowded or public places, lifts, public transport or simply anywhere away from home where "escape" or immediate access to help is not possible. They will also fear standing in queues, going on bridges or sitting in any place where they feel "trapped", such as at a hairdressers or dentists. A companion is often sought and rapidly becomes essential. There can also be additional fears, predominantly "social" ones such as fear of blushing, trembling, talking, eating or writing in front of people and of being stared at. (Okay, they have me to a T on all counts here :)
It can be seen from this that agoraphobia tends to reduce self-confidence and the belief that activities can be carried out alone. It can be a short step from here to a belief that being alone at all is not safe. A person suffering from panic disorder might also believe that he/ she will die or collapse or do something terrible when panic strikes and this too might make having a trustworthy person present seem as if it is essential, so leading to monophobia. Some people with social difficulties might also believe that a trustworthy companion is vital before they enter social situations.
Some monophobic people who have few typical agoraphobic or social symptoms, retaining the ability to function in virtually any situation as long as they have somebody with them at all times. In fact the "pure" monophobic may be indistinguishable from the general population, perhaps even more outgoing that most, when accompanied by a trusted companion.
Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that the monophobic persons feeling of being unsafe, is probably the main focus. This has been seen to occur out of severe self-doubt.
As with any anxiety disorder, monophobics cannot be talked or bullied out of their problem. The anxiety is not trying to cause them harm, it is mistakenly trying to help them, wrongly, that they are in terrible danger when alone. This anxiety does not have a lot of sense, it is operating on the intellectual level of a young child rather than an adult and the way to prove to it that being alone is not dangerous is by experiencing the fact, not talking about it, as with a child. This means working out a structured recovery program where the person is left alone for gradually increasing periods. Medication may be needed.

Well, thats what was written. And I can agree with the vast majority of it.
Next post...I will deal..I will go there

Self-Restraint, Self Control and Aspergers

I didn't realize it, till last week, but I wake up in morning and put on two straitjackets. No, make that one straitjacket and a muzzle.
From the get-go, I start monitoring and censuring my verbalizations and my erratic, unpredictable body movements. One would think and ponder why I would need to do this not only on the outside of my home amongst peoples, but also, most definitely within my own secure environment.

The first answer that springs to mind, I have kids. And kids mimic parents. If mom screams at spiders and dad throws chairs you will probably have a child who turns in to an adult who screams and throws chairs. Look it up. It happens...common knowledge.
So, I didn't want my boys to "pick up" and imitate mommy and her ticky little dances and talking off the top of her head to herself. It just seemed very prudential, practical, necessary.
Thus I have lived in a state of perpetual self-restraint and self-censorship. And it has pretty much felt like a cage with shades and blinds. I mean, how can i be happy and comfortable with who I am if i am so afraid to show my true self? Really?
Another factor would be..hmmm, a bit tougher here...I..don't want to embarrass my self. I know what looks stupid and mental and I didn't want to see my self behaving in ...hmmm, autistic, spastic ways. Yeah, I didn't want to embarrass myself.
How can one like oneself when the majority of existence is spent hiding and covering the mirrors?
So, at home, my haven of safe, I was anything but free.
The whole going out in public, everyone can understand relatively easy with half a brain. Public embarrassment, saying and blurting out the wrong things, ticky dances are simply not acceptable behaviors..I get that.

Funny thing happened last may have heard about it:)
I went to an autism conference and from my own judgement the vast majority of peoples at this whole hotel were educators and peoples familiar with Aspergers and Autism. And I felt really, really free.
I mean, where else could I have left the straitjacket and muzzle at home and gone skipping down the hallways when I felt like it? Where else would I have felt comfortable, pilfering party favors, asking strangers for strange things and not feel at all self-conscious? Where else could I have asked complete strangers if I could touch their pretty shiny things? (See previous post on Magpie Syndrome..yeah, I am still stuck there. I don't get out much and there were Lots and Lots of pretty shinies :)
I know of no other location where I could freely and out loud be Aspie. And I graciously and with humbled pride easily announced it to everyone I met. Never before, cupcake, never before. I found it incredibly freeing and liberating.
I have been known to laugh out loud, not often and it highly depends on the company and amount of alcohol I have ingested, but it can happen. However, I have never (except with my Partner) rip-roared laughed and chuckled, oh chortled (dic: to make or utter with a gleeful chuckling or snorting sound) in the presence of any one else ever. Omg, it was a riot. I just let it all hang out...I kid you not. And even more astounding, I wasn't embarrassed.

Man, I really let myself go and I saw myself in brand new ways. And I didn't realize how much energy and effort I was putting into self-restraining every word and motion from the moment i got up in the morning until 2am when I went to bed at night.
You see, even home alone, I felt ashamed which is even a more appropriate term than embarrassed as it implies a certain degree of shame and self-loathing. In a strong way, I was denying who I truly Aspergers, my Autism. I have been so self-conscious and hidden, even to me. There were just so many barriers, layer after layer of them that I had been incorporating over the many years.
But then, I got to experience who i really am...and Honey there ain't any going back.
I refuse to go back into the dark, in the recesses of the closet, back into that cage-like, muffled existence. I refuse to be ashamed or embarrassed at that which God made in such perfection. I simply will hide no more, especially from myself. I am allll good. I am Aspie

101 Reasons Not to Talk...Going Non-Verbal..Aspergers

Last week, as I was walking with a friend of mine, I very off-handedly and off-the-cuff stated half-jokingly, that there are 101 reasons Not to talk. Whilst it was an exaggeration, there really are a couple dozen valid Aspie-headed reasons not to say a word.
I realized that one of the main reasons that I do not, as a rule, ask personal, socially acceptable questions like,"How are you?", "What are you doing?", "what do you think?" is that if I ask a question, say, "What do you think?" then that ..opens me up to get that same question asked back at me. Its a socially acceptable custom I noticed years ago. And I avoid that at all costs.
Its like, I am very inquisitive and curious as to how those neuro-typicals operate and think, but in order to find that info out..I have to take a huge risk and I might very easily, be put on the spot and the question mimicked back. Don't really want to go there.
As an example...I don't recall ever asking someone, "What are you thinking?" other than my Partner of 17 years. Before I even asked, I had to seriously contemplate whether it was worth it to ask when it might rebound. I took that chance and thankfully, it did not bounce back. Whew.
"What are you doing?" is a big toughie as it feels like I am invading someones privacy, sanctity, space and private world...OH, that's right...nt's don't live in little secure, predictable fortresses like I do..Note-to-self :)
I am finding that the average NT frequently likes to share thoughts, inner musings and such with a much greater frequency than I ever imagined. Its like, with some people, the door is always open. Hmmm, as opposed to the Aspien way of the door is always shut and "Don't you dare Knock" attitude is often present:)

What I consider as serious, heavy-duty personal questions (How do you
feel about that? and "What do you think about that?) are nothing more than average NT social questions. So, you can see why this Aspie has been rather seriously hampered in the social graces and everyday inquiries and banter.
Plus, if I ask.."How are you?" , they might really, really tell me and it could be they think ill of me or there is a huge family drama going on or they might solicit my advice on their intimate personal problems or tell me something graphic or otherwise, upsetting. Too Much Info. Plus, factor in the, sometimes I really don't care and I am trying to be polite. Hurdles and Obstacles in the form of verbal banter.
Questions are huge challenges and full of potential problems. So, except for friends and the perfunctory "How are you?" I tend not to ask them too often.
And its none of my business. Ouch, where did that come from? I guess rejection and rudeness is also a potential that concerns me. I mean, how many times, in my sweet, family of birth, did I ask something and was told to "Shut Up" and that it was none of my business?....far too often.
So, thus is one of the Biggie reasons that I do very little inquiry and why I am quite careful in who I ask what to:) Just wanted to share....peace out

Oh, too funny, as I write this my radio is playing No Doubt and "Don't Speak". How appropriate :)

Feeling Safe...Aspergers, Autism

I have noticed that I have been using the word "safe" quite a lot in some previous posts. So, since I "go literal" and mean exactly what the dictionary says, and since Most Nts have individualized and highly subjective dictionaries of their own that they use...allow me to explain myself....

Safe: free from danger, damage, harm

(and why is it such a big deal for me?)
I feel safe at my home. I feel safe in my own yard, but venture outside of that perimeter, well, anything can happen and safe level drops considerably.I feel safe in my own home, but only when someone else/ another family member is home with me. (a separate issue that I am working on). I feel relatively safe within my own vehicle. This last week, I felt safe in a strange, foreign environment, to a large degree for hours on end. The latter would be a big first for me.
I feel somewhat safe at my sons school, going for walks in my woods, going to the grocery stores and other local businesses...relatively, somewhat with the biggest unpredictability factor being people.
The more people that there are at any given location, the more likely it is that I will be unexpectedly accosted. (For the uninitiated the dictionary states accost: to approach and speak) I never know who will accost/ speak to me...people talking to me often, though, not necessarily always (I have a number of friends who speak to me and I welcome it and experience no fear) cause me to physically and mentally tense up, go on point, get defensive and basically, stress out. Its just the way it is. I feel that i have covered the whole people talking to me and why it is a stress in some recent, previous posts, so I will not rehash here.
New and strange locations are the biggest offenders as the variables are completely unknown and anything can happen at any moment. So, it surprised me that I felt so almost completely safe during my recent venture. And I really, really like feeling safe. Its nothing but a warm, comforting glow that engulfs and stabilizes. I think it is pretty cool that I get to periodically experience what most people feel on any given day.

One huge factor is the company I keep. Wherever I go with my Partner (and we have traveled quite a bit throughout the US) I experience a stronger level of safe than if I were alone. On my little tripy, I was with someone who I also deeply trusted. Environment..the company I keep is a very large indicator of how safe this Aspie will feel.
I realize now, that feeling safe is a given for most...and that my level of feeling that some people, new environments, different smells and unusual feels are dangerous is outside the normal scope.
I am aware that most NTs walk around wearing a degree of comfortability and that they don't worry that behind a closed door lurks anything other than the safe and familiar. I understand that when someone walks towards them they do not recoil or throw up defensive walls or start searching for the exit. And that every knock on the door is not an intruder, a threat, an may just be someone handing out free cookies and milk. Who would have thought?
Its a strange and unpredictable place out there...but its not quite as dangerous and menacing as it was a couple of weeks ago...
Home is safe but once I step outside that door, past the end of my driveway, anything and everyone can happen and the entire ballgame changes. Call it social anxiety, agoraphobia, fear of peoples, general anxiety, whatever, its just the way it is

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, 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, 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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Visual Thinker, Conversation, Communication...Autism, Aspergers and Me

So, I went to this conference lest week :) And on the 3-4 hour drive back home, I was actively engaged in a conversation of many parts, particulars and subjects.
Later that night and the next day, I was recalling the talk and picking out what was said and looking at it.
The most unusual and unexpected thing happened and I will attempt to accurately explain it here.
As I worked to remember a subject discussed, say, when my friend asked me what my ideal job would be..I saw us pulling into a local store, exactly where she asked the question. In a "slippery" reality way, I was there.
The same thing happened as I recalled the entire rest of the conversation.
I asked her if she wanted to stop and visit my family, on US 31 near the 28th street exit. We talked about all the different places I lived by the veterans cemetery and Riverside park in GR. My hospital stays were at Alpine Ave exit. I brought up special interests, the Holy Grail and my friend, Bob, sitting at Wendys eating fries and burger.
As the landscape became more diffuse...all the way from Muskegon/ Whitehall to the Hart exit there really are no major recall is more fuzzy. Like, we talked about dogs, pets, neighbors, relationships, kids..all within that blank area. I can recall the things we said but definitely, not as clear. Much, much harder to remember and put in chronological order.
Once we hit Ludington, a city with many buildings and landmarks, once again...clarity. Imaginary friends, visual thinking, my reality, nursing homes, elderly versus children with disabilities.
That is so funny and odd. I do better at memorization with a moving and changing landscape. That would explain why Eldest, my almost non-verbal aspie, converses most when we are walking or driving.
I'm just guessing but it seems our brains work differently when sitting still in the same room as opposed to in motion.
I have never read anything about this subject in books or caught it on the internet. Very interesting.
Obviously, if I had any doubts that I was a visual thinker...they were erased.
My mind, very subconsciously, as I had made no conscious effort to do so, was scanning the horizon, my immediate environment and linking my location with what was being said.
It must be some sort of aspergian "memory tool", because I am easily, very easily able to recall almost the entire 4 hour conversation.
I cannot ever remember being aware of this feature in any way, before this past week. And to have it be so...thorough and specific. I mean, just think of the length of the talk....How many people can recall entire conversations that are that long?
Part of me wonders, what would it have been like...would i have been able to remember so well, if the we were not on the road and the scenery was constantly changing? Would it have been the same had it been a different companion?
It wasn't an earth-shattering sharing of very important, vital information...No, nothing more than a friendly chat.
I find this very interesting and downright fascinating. See, every now and then I am amazed, astounded and very impressed with how my Aspie mind works. This would be one such occasion :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Travel, Hotels, Glass Elevators, Revolving Doors, Adapting

So six of my last ten posts have started with, "So I went to this conference last week...". And probably the next 20 posts will begin in the same fashion...
So, I went to this conference last week. Change and new things can be quite challenging.

At the hotel, within the first ten minutes, I was presented with three rather fearful and scary scenarios. Yes, three in those first few minutes.
The first threat was the automatic revolving door. I am familiar with the non-automatic kind. You know, the ones in which you control them all by yourself. Those I understand and have experienced.
Upon arriving at the front of this hotel, it was quite clear that this was no average non-automated model. It may have even said Automatic on a sign, either way, I was startled to the point of coming to a complete and abrupt stop. Luckily, I was with a small group of seasoned travelers and had they not kept moving, i surely would have stood there for a spell...just trying to comprehend it. Was it safe? How did it work? What if I got stuck? Is there another entrance?
Yes, there were a couple of other single, normal opening doors off to each side. I don't remember clearly but i think I took the side doors in and out for the first half dozen times or so.
All I kept thinking about was Will Ferrell as Elf and how he played, running and screaming in the revolving door until he got ill and threw up,only to jump back in the door again. It looked much less menacing on the tv screen.

Moving on to hurdle number two. As we were checking in, I noticed that there was a glass elevator in the lobby. Dang, but i am sure they have another "normal", enclosed model somewhere for those of us who are afraid of heights. My companions informed me, Nope. So we piled in.
I took the position of being in intimate contact with the number board, the farthest away from the glass and muttered obscenities under my breath the entire way up to...wait for it...the second floor.

Whew, I thought my challenges were over..until I looked down the Open Hall that led to our room. By Open I mean it was like an open-air walkway with a four foot high wall on each side and nothing but air and a clear view to the lobby below. No, not fun.
Since there was no way around this one Either (yes, I say that with a bit of exasperation and disbelief) I walked directly down the middle away from both edges and not looking down or off to the sides.
Enough already. I mean, new places are mountains enough but pass through the three challenges was quite overwhelming.

Okay, so I stayed there two nights and two and a half days. During that brief time period...everything about these three changed.
I am Aspie and I adapt. The key to a successful life is in the ability to be flexible and adapt.

The first half dozen times riding the elevator nothing really changed...but the next day...I figured the elevator must be relatively stable. So each time I used it, I ventured a little farther away from the number board and started peaking around. And each time, I felt a wee bit more secure and safe so that on our last day there, my friend and I got in the elevator along with some other lady who was going to the fifth floor. And I had to convince my bud that we really should ride it all the way up. And we did. Granted, I stopped looking down half-way up but I did it. I set about to challenge myself to overcome, deal and adapt. I succeeded.

The revolving door was a similar situation. On my own, I was able to check it out a little more thoroughly. I would covertly watch people going in and out and kindof figured out how to probably do it right without injury. So I did. And I kept doing it until it became downright fun. I kept finding myself doing this little dance, this skipping to get on it. I did have to self-restrain myself because secretly, I wanted to go round and round until someone threw me off, but I did not muster the courage for that one..too many people in the lobby.

The elevator and door which were clearly huge problems when I first met them, became playthings. I actually looked forward to them with the door coming in first place.
Now that darn walkway...well it never got comfy cozy or turned into a plaything but I did get used to it enough not to worry or dwell on. I probably continued to stay close to the center of the path, (I stopped paying attention so I'm just not sure) but I did catch myself lightly glancing over the sides and admiring the art on the walls on more than one occasion.

So, this Aspie was downright pleased with her "performance". I figured the conference would go one of three ways. Either it would go really, really bad...really, really good...or somewhere in the middle. It went really, really good.

Social Gatherings, Memory and Aspergers

It goes without saying, that my memory is quite different from that of the average neuro-typical. I do not immediately pick out the important things that need to be remembered. Its challenging for me to distinguish between what is important to remember and what is flotsam and unnecessary.
I had occasion to be a guest at a large dinner party where I engaged in multiple conversations with different people.
A number of points here.
One, during the "gathering" I attempted to put name and occupation to faces. I found that that only worked for people that i actually engaged in conversation for more than two sentences. Plus, there were these two chickies that both had long, light brown hair, were those skinny types and had very non-descript faces. I couldn't even tell you who was who or even there names. They blended together and looked so similar, in my mind..they were and are nothing but a blur.
Two, in order to even have a chat with any one person, they had to be seated very near me. Anyone at the end of the table was completely lost in the lights and sound.
Three, after the event, I replayed various conversations in order to try and pick out what I needed to remember. I was working on compartmentalizing, putting names, to faces, to important talking points.
I would pick a person that I talked with, go over the entire conversation, as much as could be remembered and file away the important things for future use. I would create a mental "memory file" with a picture of the person, family and occupational info and anything else they may have said that I might need later, like where they were born, tattoos, favorite this or that, etc.
Its like that whole dinner and all the words and peoples were one huge, chaotic heap in the middle of the floor and I had to go through, piece by piece and separate, compartmentalize each person and their words.
I think NTs do this naturally. When talking with one of them, they probably automatically can pick out what is important and know where it is located and put it with the appropriate person who said it. I cannot. It takes a concerted amount of effort to go through this heap.
For example, I told K that I would send in my sons prosthetic for her to see once it was done being worked on. I needed to remember that. Another one, B said she would be sending me recipes in the email via a mutual friend. And B is the gluten free one who has two kids and will be working with the peer support new group. Big J was amused by my comment of "I hope no one will watch me eat" and proceeded to stare at me as a joke. This may come up in some future conversation. L is a special ed teacher who has a daughter Els age and I can't remember where I know her from so I should pursue that. This person and that person had two kids. That one was from Indianapolis and those three are homegrown spuds. This one has a relative born with one hand, like my youngest. That one works at the high school while the one over there is at the alternative school. That one is pregnant, the other is getting married for the third time.

Looking back, they seem like such little mundane things but what if I had forgotten I told K I would send it in? What if I thought that one was the one from out of town? Or that this one is the one who is single and not with the two kids? Overall, I didn't make many promises to keep, but I really didn't know that until I replayed the conversations a number of times.
I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten, failed to pick out important points in a conversation and seriously regretted it or got reamed up and down for being so forgetful.
People like it when you remember that their favorite stone, ring is sapphire or that they have a cute lizard tattoo on their ankle or that they would love nothing more than a tattoo of Jesus on the side of their neck.
NT's like it when you remember birthdays and important dates, things you promised or said you would do. And memory, a cohesive one anyway, does not come naturally to me, but if I think about it, go over chats a few times, I usually can pick out the important points and put them in a place where I can locate them later.
My internal organization system, if you can call it that, has been self-developed. It works for me. :)

Smell and Aspergers

I didn't realize this..until I found myself on a trip, away from home and in a strange, new location...but...
I Smell Everything
I, literally, go around and smell things and environments. When I got into the car with my travel companions..the smell of peoples was overwhelming. There was hairspray, perfume, deodorant, sweat, a whole lot of different things going on to the point that I was very unnerved and questioned whether I could make a three hour journey with so many strange and foreign, well, alarming odors. It did diminish as the trip wore on. I got used to it and adapted.
Next stop was the hotel where I would be staying for a couple of nights. Right away I noticed that I was curious/ apprehensive about how the room would smell and i was relieved when it was just fine.
I found myself smelling everything, from the bedding, to the towels, the new soap, the water, food served to my companions, drinks, etc.
And not only was I smelling things but environments as well..every new restaurant, restroom, meeting room and location.
My Eldest son, who also has Aspergers, had always, as long as I could remember, overtly smelled everything and I found it to be...rather queer, unsightly and downright embarrassing so I think that is why I put my need to smell underground. I really did not care to look that silly and out-of-place.
So, once I discovered that I did this..and, quite honestly, I never knew this until last week, I wanted the reason, the rational, the why.
In thinking about it, I smell in order to: a) figure out if my environment is safe, acceptable, comfortable, free from danger, poison and other unpleasantries. b) discover what I can safely touch. I notice that I do not touch unless I smell and realize that it is okay and will probably not harm me. c) in order to tell what is real or not. Say, artificial flowers versus real ones or the wonderful smell of real leather as opposed to irritating fake plastic furniture and such.
Smells are orientating..I found myself gravitating toward flowers that smelled familiar when I ventured into a brand new, large store full of odd, unusual and somewhat threatening odors. The scent of the familiar was very comforting and reassuring...downright calming and peaceful.
I love standing outdoors and just engaging, experiencing the variety of scents of nature, the flowers, the trees, the soil, the leaves...its a cacophony of pleasantries, familiarity and home.
Throughout the summer, I fill my home with freshly cut flowers, herbs and even aromatic tree branches. And in the winter, I utilize the grocery store flower selection quite liberally and it is more common than naught, to find flowers in my home.
I will no longer castigate Eldest for his overt nostril flares. I finally get it. Its a good thing :)

Vacation, Clothing, Packing & Getting ready

When going on vacation, away from home, it takes me quite awhile to get ready. I start at least a week before with internet surfing to try and find photos of the locations that I will be staying, the hotels, the surroundings, area sights and attractions and restaurants, most notably, if they have Wendys and Burger King nearby. I also tend to print out various maps so i can find my way around.

Then I start making list, upon list of what I need to bring from the everyday things like toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, all my daily needs. The next list is composed of those extra things that I take or use everyday or almost everyday, nail clippers, tissue, hand sanitizer,vitamins, various medications, motrin, benadryl, allergy meds and the like. Another list, I use to keep track of all the munchies and food items I need to bring with the homemade stuff needing to be made only a day or two before. Some I have to purchase at the store and others I take off the pantry shelf and put in one place so I can visually see what I already have. I always bring my own water for drinking and teeth brushing, so I have to figure out how much will be enough without having too much to carry. My pillow and blanket are another automatic "must bring".
I rely on previous trips and experiences to provide me with a good idea of what I really do need and what is simply unnecessary, so I continually go over those experiences in my head to help me decide what to bring.
The day before I leave, I can safely pack some clothing: two different pairs of jammies, one for if its cold and the other in case it is too warm, basically a short sleeve shirt and a long, one pair for each night. Socks and pants can also be packed.

Then...then we get to the challenging part....what to wear during the day. On this occasion, I am going to a conference and told it is "casual"..yeah, like I have any clue as what an NT means by "casual". Casual, at home and around town is sweatshirt and jeans..but what is "casual" at a conference? And spoken by an NT? Hmmm, that was a tough one.
Well, I had to figure what kind of mood I would be in. I didn't want to go with the flashy "notice me" bright and obnoxious shirts that I own, nor did I want to go with the humorous, teen-age, amusements that I wear to my sons school for popcorn day. You know, the Elmo shirt, SpongeBob and the Looney Tune ties and shirts would have to stay in the closet.
I really, really wanted my superhero tees because they simply make me feel better and a wee bit invincible and more self-confident, and those could be worn under my shirts. So I figured both Superman and the Clan of Supers could come along. And they did.

Next, the actual shirts...tough call there...I settled with one solid color that I knew would be acceptable in any situation and then two stripes, one pretty wild and one tame. (Geez, does it seem like I personify my clothes? More on that later)
But what if it was chilly in the banquet/ meeting rooms? Then what? So, it was time to pick and choose sweatshirts to go along. I didn't realize that I had gotten rid of a lot to the second-hand store lately and my supply is actually quite low. I figured the hoodie was out, too casual and it can get really warm if the room is high temp. That left a couple of solid colors and the rest had various slogans and sayings. Tough call. The solids were too plain and I had to find ones with slogans, locations that I was comfortable with. If it was a popular vacation spot, say, one of my "Niagara Falls" sweat shirts, that had the potential to attract people and they sometimes inquire and complete strangers will start talking to me about how they went there on vacation too. So I settled on a couple of ones that I was comfortable with...a red Canada and a dark blue Hard Rock Cafe.
Did I mention that it took me all morning to do this? Simply pick, choose and pack my clothing? And some things did need washing and drying and "ironing" which means throw it in the dryer with a wet washcloth.

Then shoes and coats were last on the list. I was all set to wear my leather boots up until the last minute when I figured they, also, would call too much attention to myself and may be inappropriate. So I decided to wear the merrells and bring my glow-in-the-dark vivid green brooks tennis shoes if I became comfortable enough, plus they really dd feel the bestest.
Anyway, so, finally an hour or two before departure time, I had my ensemble, second-guessing myself most the day and going back and recheck the closet for possible substitutions.
I ended up with one med-large suitcase, 3 shirts and a sport coat on hangers, one large garbage bag for blankie, pillow and shoes, a small case for all my toiletries (damn, I hate that word but can find no other) and my backpack, chock full of things I may need at a moments notice, pen, paper, snacks, water, MP3 and such. I was good to go.

So, we arrive at our destination and all 12-14 peoples in my group went out to dinner. During dinner time conversation, the subject of how long it took me to pack came up and I said how it had taken me the entire day to pack my clothes. (I was with a group of Special ed/ Autism Professionals and that was very clear...wait for it). And someone asked me how many changes of clothes I had brought (for a two-day event) and I said...Well, 5...maybe 8? And the looks on the faces of the peoples...priceless. They all maintained composure, no one rip-roared laughed but I could tell by the wide eyes and the sudden Stop, that what i had just said was highly unusual. I give my companions sooo much credit for not exhibiting facial expressions of aghast or "OMG, you have got to be kidding me" or outright laughter. Me, I honestly, did not know that what I had said was unusual in any way, shape or form.
It must have been the caliber of my companions...I was very impressed with their composure and how they handled the situation...seriously.
So, quite suddenly, I was aware that I was different than these NT's, but it was okay. I was not embarrassed in the least. So, I want to figure this out, so I ask my friend, to my right, "Well, how long did it take you to pack?" And she replies, "thirty minutes."
Now, it was my turn to be aghast. I think my jaw probably dropped because I had a hard time believing this.
I questioned further with.."So, you just pick clothes out of the closet and throw them in?"
I went on to explain how, previously, I had packed one set of clothes for each day I was to be gone and on the last couple of days I was left with two choices, neither of which felt right or that I was comfortable with. And I was soooo uncomfortable that I learned to pack extra.

Obviously, NT's do not have the same relationship with their clothing as this aspie does.
Later on, I remarked how NT's are born with enough skin and that I was not and my clothing was like my protect layer, my outer skin. I express myself and protect myself by my clothing and each piece has some meaning or "feel" to it.
Funny, I relayed this story to my Aspie son and he chuckled in agreement. "Yeah, they just don't get it."
It is odd, how NT's put most of their energy into relationships and socialization with other peoples but this Aspie, anyway, puts an equal amount of energy into inanimate objects, such as clothing, music, knowledge in order to try and feel some degree of comfort, safety and protection.
You have to wonder....

A Typical Conversation...Talking and Aspergers

I went to the grocery store, the other day, and ran into someone that I know pretty well. She is someone that I like and who would appear to be harmless and quite safe.
We greeted each other with a wonderful hug and then the problems began...we started talking.
Immediately, I notice that my whole body tenses up, especially my chest and my throat. I start my routine of trying to control any tics or erratic body movements.
I start going back, in my memory, to everything I know about her, when was the last time we had talked and what the subject matter was. Since she is a fb friend, I was scrolling through her statuses, what she has commented on, her interests, looking and searching for talking points...What do I say? What is she going to ask?
I guess widespread anxiety would be the most fitting term, or subtle,subdued and unseen panic would be the terms to describe how I was feeling.

So I started out by mentioning my week, and she filled in her current work status...and then she asked about my family, the little guy and partner...and I kindof thought that was it. (From the get-go, I tend to wonder how long any convo is going to be and hoping for a short one) Then, her face got kindof funny, hmmm, serious and inquisitive and she asked about Eldest, in a very polite and nonthreatening way.
Twice in the past week, people have inquired and the following reaction was par for the course: Immediately (the most obvious and noticeable symptom) my eyes get "wild" and they go above, beyond and all around..its like I am trying to escape and keep my emotions in check...yeah, I lose all eye contact for awhile. Then I find the words, the script that I have previously used, and I start reciting. Of course, I am struggling even more to control the body movements at this point and my eyes, are really the only thing that prove to be impossible to contain. She continues asking questions about this subject and the first thing that jumps in my head is the dream I had last night where a taxi brought Eldest home and he came upon the porch and whilst I was inside, he stood on the porch crying uncontrollable and then I realized this and went out and embraced him. Shit, I said that out loud, now to escape that one and move on quickly....There were a few questions about him, very appropriate questions from someone who genuinely is concerned but that did not help my anxiety.
Then the next few minutes were all about, how do I get out of this? How can I nicely end this conversation and get on with the task at hand?

There were more pleasantries and then I was free to leave.
Seriously, the majority of conversations are like this. I do have friends with whom I am more comfortable to varying degrees but from my 5 minute talk with Younglinks teacher in the morning, to the words I may exchange in the hall with this person or that, talking is very stressful. And after conversations, I am physically and emotionally tired.
I guess, I never really realized my physical symptoms of what made talking a rather unpleasant task,at times, until the past couple of days when I actually engaged in a long conversation in which it was not in the least uncomfortable. I experienced freedom and actual enjoyment in a very long conversation and it allowed me to see what was stressful in most talks, what is running through my head and what strategies I use to deal with this minor (to the NT) facet of everyday life.
So, this is my aspie life..