Archive | November 2013

Sympathetic Crier

I read a blog post today about studies finding that, rather than feeling no empathy at all, those with high functioning forms of autism feel extreme empathy. It’s something that I’ve talked about before. I know that I feel empathy when one of my roommates is having a rough day and I feel just as bad as she does because she’s feeling bad. I feel the pain that she feels. I know that I feel empathy when someone’s crying, and I start crying too. Most people call that being a “sympathetic crier”. In reality, for me, it’s because I feel their pain or joy, whichever is the cause of them crying. I feel what they feel deeply.

In some situations, this makes me a better friend. In other situations, it’s so intense that I can’t function. Even writing this now, my eyes are a little watery.

The trick, I’ve found, to showing empathy when I’ve become overwhelmed by the emotions or when I don’t know how to react is fairly simple. If I can’t help them and show them that I care this very second, I will do something special for them later.

Last week, I saw one of my roommates crying at lunch. She already had friends around her, consoling her, but when I saw the pain in her face, my heart hurt for her. I wanted to say something, but I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what I could do to help. I was lost, and I felt her pain without even knowing why she was crying. I just kept walking and decided that I’d ask her about it in a more private setting later. I feel more comfortable dealing with emotional things in a one-on-one setting, and I feel it’s more polite to the other person. Later that day, I found myself in Starbucks, and decided that, even if I don’t have the words to show her that I did notice and I do care, I can give her something that speaks for me. I got her a Starbucks drink, and made sure they put her name on it. As I was walking to the gate to get back on campus, I saw her walking out. I held the drink out so that she could see her name on it, and I told her, “See that name? It’s yours. So, no more tears, and tell me what was wrong later.” She responded by saying, “Thank you. I been done crying, but I’ll tell you when I get back.”

Even if I didn’t handle the situation immediately or normally, I was able to show my roommate that I care about her and her struggles. She understood that giving her something and giving her time before she told me what was going on was my way of caring about her.

I’ve found my own special way of showing those I love that I care about them. It’s not always easy, but it is possible. You can find your own unique way to show that you care too. And because it’s unique to you, it makes it all the more meaningful.

Empathetic,
Allie.

Link to the post I read today:
http://seventhvoice.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/new-study-finds-that-individuals-with-aspergers-syndrome-dont-lack-empathy-in-fact-if-anything-they-empathize-too-much/

Link to my other post about empathy and emotion:
https://thatawkwardkid93.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/love-8/

This entry was posted on November 19, 2013. 2 Comments

Deadlines and Motivation

Deadlines are important. It helps to keep the focus on the goal ahead. With people that have Asperger Syndrome, this is unnecessary in some areas of life and completely necessary in other areas of life.

Unnecessary: Areas that cover obsessions and idiosyncrasies. Those with AS need no help in focusing on something that they have “tunnel vision” for. If it means that their room is clean to their standard and something they’re comfortable with, they don’t need much outside motivation to keep it clean.
Necessary: Any subject in school that they have no interest in (a.k.a. most classes) and things they do not want to do. If someone with AS has no interest in something, it’s a bit more difficult to motivate them to do things. If someone with AS doesn’t want to do public speaking, it’ll take forever to get them to buckle down and get things done.

For my accounting class, I have deadlines. These deadlines, however, are not set on “Allie”. They are set on “normal person”. I love numbers, and this accounting thing just comes naturally. So, of course, I am way ahead of where I should be. An example? I’m doing work that is due in February 2014.

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Because it came easily and I liked it, I just kept going and going and going. Eventually I ended up in the place that I am now. Way ahead of schedule, and the teacher asking me to slow down so that she can have all the materials ready for me for the next chapter. *sigh* I understand why she needs me to slow down, but I fear losing motivation. That’s why I’ve made it as far as I have in this short amount of time. I’ve not given myself breaks. I’ve been focusing on my work and ignoring everyone else. And I love what I’m doing. I like using the technology I have to make notes for myself, like this:

Ch. 14 Federal Tax Adjustment

I do not need deadlines for my accounting class because I’m going to go through it like that. *snaps fingers* Deadlines or no deadlines. I do, however, need deadlines for making my Christmas gifts because, while I do enjoy knitting, I lose motivation for completing the projects easily.

Reward systems are also good. They work hand-in-hand with deadlines to motivate Aspies to get unwanted work done. The Medic is learning that cookies and chocolate are good motivation for me. The more I do, the more cookies I get. It seems a little silly (ok REALLY silly), but it works. I’m excited about all the cookies and chocolates I’m going to get. I’m also motivated by imagining how much everyone will like the gifts that I’m knitting for them.

Motivated,
Allie.

This entry was posted on November 15, 2013. 3 Comments

Vlog

Yesterday was the 2-year anniversary of my joining wordpress and starting my blog. To do something special for my readers, I decided to make a little video. Please excuse the terrible video and audio quality. I don’t have very good equipment. Please enjoy my silly little video! 😀

This entry was posted on November 13, 2013. 2 Comments

Controlled Change

Just a quick update-like post this time.

Almost nothing is more satisfying than being able to control the change in one’s life. Yesterday, I moved into the room of one of my original roommates and closer friends here at Job Corps. I requested to move there, and moved the next day. It’s refreshing and comfortable to be living in the same room as someone that I’m comfortable with again. The other two roommates are interesting girls, and barely ever there. As for their cleanliness, it’s average. Not too bad. I’ll probably still end up cleaning the room every weekend like in my old room, but that’s a good habit to have anyways. A good Aspie friend told me that my recent experiences, once I am more in control of the changes in my life, would help me to know that I can do it again in the future. Even if it’s tough and stressful, I can do it. It’s encouraging to know that. And you, my readers, can do it too. Life is a journey, and you should never stop learning and growing.

One Step Forward,
Allie.

This entry was posted on November 7, 2013. 1 Comment

Changes, Changes, and More Changes

Since I came to Job Corps, the number of my roommates has changed. From three to two when one changed rooms. Two to one when one got terminated from the program. Then two friends moved in to make it three roommates again. Then, in one day, two of my friends moved into different rooms, and a complete and total stranger moved in; three to one to two. And another stranger moved in last week. Currently, making it three roommates.

This is a lot of change. Most of it happened over time, but in the last three weeks, the changes were close together, and they got to me. I’m not comfortable living with a stranger. And I’m most definitely not comfortable with having no prior knowledge of them moving in. Both of these new people that have been thrown into my private living space were thrown in before I knew what was going on. “A new girl is moving in today.” And ten minutes later, she was moving her things in. What kind of a warning is that? Hardly the kind to allow me to prepare myself mentally.

Change without warning, and changes that invade the space that I go to for quiet and rest are just difficult to adjust to. I do. But it’s not always pleasant or quick. In honesty, I felt betrayed, by I don’t know who, for having my space invaded like that. I like my little box. I like being in a room with people that I know, people that I’m comfortable with. When you live with a person, they learn your idiosyncrasies. They know when to ask you about things and when to leave you alone. They know when to say something and when to just stay quietly by your side. It’s stressful to have to teach these things to a new person every few weeks.

Now, it took around a week for me to accept the newest stranger as someone living in my room. But I still don’t particularly like it. I have no control over who is put in the room. I have to accept it. But I don’t have to like living with these people. All three of my current roommates are nice girls, and I can’t hate them. I like them as people, but that doesn’t mean that living with them is easy. One of the new roommates is neat and quiet and clean. The older roommate is noisy. She’s always yelling about something; something she’s read on Facebook, a text she’s gotten, or yelling on the phone. I hardly think it’s necessary to yell while you’re on the phone with someone. And the newest roommate is sloppy. It is not necessary to get water and toothpaste all over the bathroom while washing your face and brushing your teeth. And it’s even worse when you don’t clean up after yourself. We’re all over the age of 18 in the room, and I’m not their mother. I shouldn’t have to clean up after them.

I realize that change is a constant in life. And I will adjust to changes. It just takes longer for me to adjust to some things, especially things that make me uncomfortable. I’m adjusting and putting up with the changes. But, goodness, I can’t wait to be able to control who it is that I live with. Thankfully, The Medic is really good at talking me through these things and showing me logic when my brain gets muddled from the stress of big changes like these. He makes it easier to deal with these big changes.

Still Adjusting,
Allie.