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Dr-David-Banner

NT vs Autist Xmas

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Dr-David-Banner

This Xmas makes me think more how isolated you can be with autism. I just saw all my friends doing their Xmas Eve shift in the shop and ready to finish earlier. Some of the women there are in festive gear and what strikes me is how naturally they fit into a social environment. They smile relaxed and easily cope with their work. They have this massive advantage over me that they can communicate socially. And the customers just accept them as normal. In fact, my friiends in reality are not real friends but more "familiars" whom I may lend a hand or chat with. They quite like me as far as I know but all have family of their own (children), a shared home and pets. Everything is so easy. What for me is very alien is, for them, automatic. That is, they know how to smile, communicate and work with others as if it's easy.
For me this is all very strange. I never feel at ease mixed in groups and I don't work well with others. I can come and go but soon need my own space. So Xmas for me will be as last year. I will be with the dog and then buried in text books at night. I have much more time to think in quiet while friends are busy eating together or socialising.
The other day it became clear to me my friends were gradually accustomed to being part of a collective from school. It's something gradually taught and only non NTs fall by the wayside. Maybe as you get older and wiser the awareness of being apart gets stronger?

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Dr-David-Banner

From friends I got the grand sum of two cards. Both of them were small at that! One girl had a guitar off me too which she deserved. I tend to give more than I get except I sometimes get things that just come my way - like a Karma thing.
So, I am in the role of Cinderella. Fortunately the dog adores me so I'm with him now on Xmas Eve. Everyone else will be in groups acting naturally. Sometimes though I wonder if my 2 cards justify the limited socialising I engage in. It's hardly a flushed deck!

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Sanctuary

The type of Christmas you outline is probably quite common among people with AS - certainly those who live alone. There is a lot of pressure to be social at Christmas and this can lead those who lead a more solitary life to feel left out or anxious. However Aspies probably do cope much better with a low-key Christmas than neurotypicals as they are more comfortable in their own company and routines. I think it's important that people observe Christmas in whatever way they wish - if someone really enjoys lots of socialising, present-giving and partying that's fine but if another person wants to treat it as an ordinary day that's fine as well. The worst thing is enforced socialising and jollity. that can be particularly painful for someone with AS but it can also be hard for many neurotypicals. We can end up with the irony at Christmas of two people seeing each other, or giving each other presents and cards, when neither wants to but feel they must because "it's the done thing" - and even though they dislike the ritual each would be offended if the other didn't take part! None of this is to knock the genuine pleasure many people get at Christmas but it should be the one time of year when we get to do what we want, not be forced to do what others want.

As regards your Christmas card total that again is probably not unusual. A lot of people send cards as a sort of empty ritual. Not getting cards doesn't imply being disliked or being forgotten. As you suggest it may reflect not being particularly involved in socialising but someone can still be well-regarded nonetheless. While all this socialising can be satisfying it comes at a price - literally as well as metaphorically - and that is more true at Christmas than at any other time. A "quiet Christmas" doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, has its attractions. 

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Gone home
23 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

From friends I got the grand sum of two cards

Did you send many?
I'm not a Christmas fan myself ... don't like the way people behave differently and all the chaos. Soon be over

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Dr-David-Banner

To be honest, I've been getting new insight into my autism self-diagnosis but it's hard to explain what I felt. That is, my friends in the shop just being natural, dressed in Xmas jumpers, packing customers' bags then being surrounded by family, friends, teams, co-workers. I see it as another world where I can watch but not be a part of it.
It's taken me ages to diagnose autism as it really applies. Let me state self-diagnosis is really tough to do as few people can ever look at themselves objectively from a clinical perspective. Only education allowed me to bridge the gap between autism and gradual awareness.
So the point? I used to just think all people felt like me or suffered similar anger attacks or frustration or total lack of emotion. It took me ages to gradually understand other people are very different. It's the sharing that I notice the most so I notice my friends share their lives and emotions and this is what I see at Xmas.
I have found autism to be a huge mystery. Diagnosis started with a basic tag (Asperger) but then I found you can dig much deeper. Now I think I'm near the point where I have to ask what I gain and what I lose being inward and disassociated. Also not only do I notice the things I described but I often try to put myself into films to imagine how I'd feel or act and that feels strange too.

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Dr-David-Banner

Nicest card I got was from my best friend at the shop. It was a pic of Joe 9O she'd chosen to indicate she sees me as a wacky scientist. This was even for me a bit touching. This girl I always admired as (unlike me) she adapted to normal life but we both share difficult childhoods. So she made herself a nice family and chose an outward path I tended to dig in like a tortoise in a shell and developed an inward path. Yet we are both nice people in our own ways and we are friends.

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Sanctuary
8 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

Nicest card I got was from my best friend at the shop. It was a pic of Joe 9O she'd chosen to indicate she sees me as a wacky scientist. This was even for me a bit touching. This girl I always admired as (unlike me) she adapted to normal life but we both share difficult childhoods. So she made herself a nice family and chose an outward path I tended to dig in like a tortoise in a shell and developed an inward path. Yet we are both nice people in our own ways and we are friends.

When someone doesn't have many contacts at Christmas - or at other times of the year - the ones that do occur take on much more significance. This is even more so when someone makes an effort to personalise a card or a gift as your friend did - it may seem a small act in certain ways but it shows a special sensitivity and is much appreciated. As per your final comments people choose different paths in life - some highly social or conventional, others more solitary or individual - but whichever way they choose the important thing is to be a good and considerate person.

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Dr-David-Banner

My friends have something simple I can't acquire no matter how hard I study. They are employable and "normal". Nobody gives them staring looks or views them as slow or awkward. They don't need to know how to calculate L/C ratios or resonant frequencies - only to pick up practical duties quickly. Also, to communicate and just be normal. I should add, to move quickly and appear serious and professional. I am not sure if they have any idea how hard all of that is for me. I just met a woman on the Russian AS forum who is the same as me. Funnily enough she has the same name as a former Asperclick member "Broken". She says she's never been able to hold down a job in Russia due to being slow and clumsy. It's not like I envy my friends but more the case I think their life is really straightforward. Just being normal is all it takes to have enough money, friends and support. What I do wonder is how badly you tend to do if your functional level is high but your "social survival skills" are absent This coming New Year sure doesn't look that great. The only comfort is I know it's connected to a condition recognised in psychology. My New Year will be spent with the dog as the fireworks are scaring him.

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Dr-David-Banner

Found this on Willow's blog. Not that I visit it regularly but anyway I found this quote:
"I’ve found out that I probably have post traumatic stress disorder, in part as a result of a mentally abusive relationship that I was in for several years, but mostly as a result of mental abuse from my real Dad – from the day I was born really, until recently when I stopped all contact with him."
I rebooted this as by coincidence I too severed relations with my dad and likewise due to abuse. In my case it was physically violent and psychological. Over Xmas I was asked a lot about the freezing out of my dad (who is now maybe not far from death). Some of the family can't understand my cold attitude but the funny thing is part of it came about due to the dog I care for. One day I realised the extent of the love and care I show to animals and then I thought how easy it is to protective and faithful. I think then I realised all of that was missing in my childhood and had to ask why? Actually Brian Wilson had a similar childhood to mine which really struck me when I saw the film. Brian seemed to get worse through the LSD he was tripping out on and then took to his bed for most of the seventies. Sometimes life can be sad so when my dad dies, well that will be the closing of the chapter. There are no winners in such a situation and only unhappiness but in such cases you do bond very closely to animals.

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Sanctuary
15 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

I rebooted this as by coincidence I too severed relations with my dad and likewise due to abuse. In my case it was physically violent and psychological. Over Xmas I was asked a lot about the freezing out of my dad (who is now maybe not far from death). Some of the family can't understand my cold attitude but the funny thing is part of it came about due to the dog I care for. One day I realised the extent of the love and care I show to animals and then I thought how easy it is to protective and faithful. I think then I realised all of that was missing in my childhood and had to ask why? Actually Brian Wilson had a similar childhood to mine which really struck me when I saw the film. Brian seemed to get worse through the LSD he was tripping out on and then took to his bed for most of the seventies. Sometimes life can be sad so when my dad dies, well that will be the closing of the chapter. There are no winners in such a situation and only unhappiness but in such cases you do bond very closely to animals.

If someone has been abused, neglected or more generally disrespected by family members - most of all a parent whom one expects to be caring - then it's perfectly reasonable to cut off contact with them. This can though be difficult to tell to others, especially around Christmas when families are expected to come together. As well as there being a stigma to poor family relationships there may also be a residual loyalty to family (especially a parent) which makes it difficult to be critical of them in public. However strained or completely broken family relationships are much more common than we may think. Ultimately everyone has to be judged on their merits and as we find them and if a family member has behaved badly we can't necessarily stay loyal to them or absolve them of what they have done, although if they show regret for their actions that they can help to build bridges. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Well, typical example today. I am currently very ill and some digging on Google inclines me towards gastroenntirritis. Probably germs in food. I've been sick today and rushing to the toilet every 2 hours. Today I stayed in bed and everyone urged me not to pedal out on my bike to go and care for the dog. Yet I never miss and never let him down. Over time all of that taught me about what it means to be caring although with me the connection is to dogs. So now I rode back and put some heat on. I was almost too weak to ride all the way so it looks like I just need to starve the virus.

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