Archive | November 2011

High School Nightmare

High school may be difficult for the average teen, but it’s quite a bit more difficult for someone with AS. How I dealt with being in HS and having AS is completely different from the way others deal with it. Because of this, I have asked one of my friends, from my own HS, that has AS to talk about how it was for him.

Me: “Describe for me how you felt when you transferred to my HS.”

Kendrick: “When i transfered to soledad i was scared and nervous because i felt like im alone here besides from my sister being there. After she left i some how developed five friends for the rest of high school but i knew deep down i would never be like my friends ‘normal’.”

Me: “Did you know that you had AS when you moved to Soledad or did you find out later?”

Kendrick: “To tell the truth i believe i knew since i was in 7th or 8th grade. But i remember after i found out i tried to not believe it.”

Me: “Was it in HS that you came to terms with the fact that you have AS?”

Kendrick: “Ummm to tell u the truth idk i dont even think i really have come to terms with it but if i had to pick a grade i would say senior year.”

Me: “I see. Just because you had not come to terms with it, however, does not mean that the issues went away. Tell me some of the biggest issues you had because of AS.”

Kendrick: “The biggest issue i had was with english class and writting papers which i still have the problems as we speak. And my social skills”

Me: “The average problems of teenagers in HS is that they don’t fit in with certain social circles, but they usually find one they fit into. What about you? Do you feel it took a really long time to find your own little niche?”

Kendrick: “To tell the truth my group of friends werent really composed of any of that we just kept things real.”

Me: “Even after you found your group, did you feel sometimes that you did not belong there?”

Kendrick: “No i never really thought about it.”

High school, for me, was wonderful and hellish at the same time. It was a wonderful experience, getting to know more people and beginning my betterment journey. It was a stressful time with the pain of being disliked for no apparent reason.

I would become so excited about making a new friend that I would forget to watch what I was saying. I would say something stupid, strange, or offensive without intending to and that new friend would simply walk away. I, being a female and always having been sensitive, would cry in the shower so that my family wouldn’t hear me or cry myself to sleep. Rejection hurts. Rejection just made me feel more like a “freak” and like I would never fit in, no matter where I went.

That lonely feeling never went away, but it came less and less frequent over time. Being more careful and watching myself more carefully made making friends and not scaring them away easier. I made friends that accepted who I was and liked me because I was different. Readers, if I have any, Asperger Syndrom will never go away. The problems will be there forever. They can, however, be made easier. Talking to others with AS has helped me to come to terms with the fact that I have it. Talking to my friends about what it’s like to have AS helps them to understand me a bit better. Conversation may not come easily, but maybe trying to explain things or write them down will help you to deal with feelings that you have, help you realize that some things aren’t your fault.

 

Sincerely,

Allie.

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Work

I work at a gym, which is a curious place for an Aspie to work. I am constantly having to go out of my comfort zone and attempt conversations with complete and total strangers.

My duties are as follows: cleaning, office work, and instructing new members on how to use the equipment. The cleaning is perfect for me because I, like most Aspies, have OCD. Some office work is like second nature to me. The filing, inputting data, and organizing are things that I enjoy. The alphabetizing and numbers are comforting to me. The public relations part of office work is unnerving. I have to be able to talk to anyone and everyone in person as well as over the phone. I have to give the right information for the questions asked. Instructing people on how to use the equipment is also difficult. These people I instruct are new to me. I haven’t had sufficient time to get to know them before I am jumping on a treadmill or elliptical and going through the steps of how to use it. I am entirely uncomfortable with having to wrap my arms around a body to measure the bust, waist, hips, arms, and legs of a person I just met.

With however uncomfortable or difficult my job is, I love it. I love the fact that I can clean to my hearts content. I love that I am the only one that files things, so no one has a chance to mess up the filing system I have set up. It calms me to clean equipment and reorganize the weights in the weight room. The repetitive nature of my job is wonderful for the nature of an Aspie. But what is it that I love most about my job? I love that the difficult parts of my job, having to do with people, is helping me to better myself. I can talk to a stranger more easily now than when I began this job 6 months ago. I have become better at coming up with conversation starters that people will most likely be able to relate to. My job is practice. It goes to show that the old saying, “Practice makes perfect” is indeed true.

Practicing,
Allie.

This entry was posted on November 16, 2011. 26 Comments

Family

Family dinners, graduations, birthday parties, etc. Life in public tends to be more stressful and uptight than life at family gatherings. For someone with AS, however, even family events with people that one has grown up with and has become most comfortable with can be awkward and lonely events.

For instance, I am with my family at this very moment. My Grandparents, a few of my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins have traveled to one of my Uncle’s houses. My parents, siblings, and I have also traveled to my Uncle’s house. Some are in the kitchen preparing an early Thanksgiving, some are watching football, and yet others are reading or talking. It is a relaxed atmosphere. There are people around that love me and care about me, yet, somehow, I still feel a bit lonely and awkward every once in a while. I can’t seem to find the right thing to talk about with someone that I have known my entire life. I can’t seem to find a place where I fit. In my own family, I still don’t fit in.

Will this feeling of being lonely and never being able to fit in ever go away? Most likely not. Can I do my best to ignore it? Possibly. Talking to someone like me, someone that has AS, helps me to know that I’m not the only one that still feels out of place when around family. It helps me to know that other people deal with it and survive family events. Focus on the positives. Focus on that one good conversation that you had while making food with your aunt. Focus on the joking around that made your uncle smile widely. Focus on the love in spending time with family and the awkward, lonely parts will seem insignificant.

Thankfully,
Allie.

Break the Awkward Ice

Asperger Syndrome (my definition): It is an underdevelopment of the social part of the brain.

Most “Aspie’s” (people with Asperger Syndrome) have not been diagnosed, but they still feel the pains of being an Aspie. Asperger Syndrome is a high functioning form of Autism. Yes. That means it is a form of retardation. The retardation of an Aspie only affects the social part of the brain. Aspie’s often excel in other parts of the brain.

I have Asperger Syndrome. The signs of it showed up in infancy, but my Mom and Dad did not have an explanation or name for my behavior and habits. In childhood, they reasoned it away with the fact that I was a child. When my behavior continued into my pre-teen years, however, my parents could no longer do that. After a VERY frustrating day, my mother typed into a search engine the words “social dyslexia” and found, for the first time, light at the end of my awkward tunnel. Many links to websites having to do with Asperger Syndrome opened her eyes to what it was that I had been doing all my life. The way she tells it, there were 25 or so qualifiers for AS and my behavior fit 18 of them.

Here are a few:
-Not pick up on social cues and may lack inborn social skills, such as being able to read others’ body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking.
-Dislike any changes in routines.
-Appear to lack empathy.
-Be unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech. So your child may not understand a joke or may take a sarcastic comment literally. And his or her speech may be flat and hard to understand because it lacks tone, pitch, and accent.
-Have a formal style of speaking that is advanced for his or her age. For example, the child may use the word “beckon” instead of “call” or the word “return” instead of “come back.”
-Avoid eye contact or stare at others.
-Have unusual facial expressions or postures.
-Be preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about. Many children with Asperger’s syndrome are overly interested in parts of a whole or in unusual activities, such as designing houses, drawing highly detailed scenes, or studying astronomy. They may show an unusual interest in certain topics such as snakes, names of stars, or dinosaurs.
-Talk a lot, usually about a favorite subject. One-sided conversations are common. Internal thoughts are often verbalized.
-Have delayed motor development. Your child may be late in learning to use a fork or spoon, ride a bike, or catch a ball. He or she may have an awkward walk. Handwriting is often poor.
-Have heightened sensitivity and become overstimulated by loud noises, lights, or strong tastes or textures.

Around the age of 14, Mom finally told me. I cried. I didn’t want to be a “freak.” I wanted to fit in with people my age and be “normal.” I felt so alone in the world. My journey as an Aspie had begun. I started to watch myself and my behavior and prevent myself from doing non-normal things. I learned and memorized social rules. It was a long journey. I still hit bumps here and there, but I can see the difference in my life, then and now.

Thinking about Aspie’s and myself, I wondered what I could possibly do to help other Aspie’s that don’t know about it or don’t have someone like them to talk to. My decision to create this blog is my way of reaching out to help those that are screaming, to a seemingly empty world, “Help me!!” I’m here to help.

Hopefully,
Allie the Aspie