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Willow

What Is Aspergers Syndrome? by WillowHope

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Willow

I wanted to write this for my site, rather than copy and pasting the usual 'garb' from other sites, which never quite seem to get it right.

 

"As a person with Aspergers, I will try and explain what it is – but, having always had Aspergers (obviously), I can’t really do much comparing with a ‘normal’ or ‘NT’ perspective. I don’t really feel that it is something that a person has, because there is little to be done to medicate it – it has to be something separate and targetable for that, surely? Aspergers is wound into my DNA, my personality – every action I take; it’s who I am.

 

On the whole, Aspergers makes life a little harder – sometimes almost impossible, but it’s there all the time, and whilst on occasion I may seem perfectly normal, the whole thing is being carefully thought out an planned in my head; it’s an act – one which I’ve spent a while examining ‘normal’ people in order to put together.

 

I want to write this, because I don’t like the usual definition, which is everywhere you look. It’s right, to an extent, but it’s a non-personal view, more than likely written by a ‘normal’ person.

 

At the core of Aspergers, is a very distinct difficulty (and at times inability) to be social. This difficulty makes it so much harder to do so many necessary things. It’s necessary to go to school, but with that comes an expectation to make friends, and even if you don’t or aren’t pressured to, there’s always a need, at some point – usually on a regular basis – to work in a group. It was always something I dreaded, especially when for whatever reason, my final grade would be impacted by my ability to work in that group. I work best alone, where I can get things done in the most efficient, logical way, and to the highest standard. I know that other people won’t execute things to the standard I would. I know that. Even if it’s not true sometimes, I feel like it is, and it’s a chance I don’t want to take, and hate being forced into. Even when you take that part away, as if I could cope with it, you are still left with the awkward silence that would happen if I didn’t talk to the group, and communicate my ideas to them.

 

Beyond school – which believe me, is a living nightmare for a person with Aspergers (and not just because of the social aspect, but I’ll get to the other reasons in a minute), you have work, parties, family get-togethers – even answering the door, shopping, ordering food and health appointments. Any situation where you have to (or are expected to) talk to another human being can be so scary and nerve wracking. At its worst, it can push me into a panic attack. But of course, most of these situations are vital, and can’t be avoided. If a person with Aspergers doesn’t have anyone to help them with these things, they can end up neglecting themselves through their anxiety towards anything social.

 

Another important thing to mention is social ‘rules’. I guarantee you that almost everyone with Aspergers will have no idea what is meant by social ‘rules’ or understand this so called ‘etiquette’ at work or school, which for some reason, everyone else is silently aware of. It genuinely feels like all of this was explained to everyone else in a neat little book which they were able to read through at a very young age, and we never got a copy of it. If we break these rules, or etiquette, we’re left feeling red faced when everyone else is gasping, or giving us funny looks, only for us to realise that whatever we did was totally unacceptable – yet we were never told we couldn’t do it and now we’re in trouble!

 

Whether or not you know you have Aspergers, you have this feeling in the back of your mind, somewhere, that you’re just really different, and until you get diagnosed, you have no idea why – and you mentally beat yourself up for not being able to just ‘be like everyone else’. The questions ‘Why can’t you be more like X person?’ or ‘X person doesn’t have a problem, so why do you?’ or ‘Everyone else is happy about this, why can’t you be?’ are questions we get asked a lot, and we just don’t know the answer, again, until we get a diagnosis – but even then, we feel bad for ‘blaming’ it.

 

There are things that other people can physically do, like take a walk to town on their own and buy something in a shop; or take an exam in a crowded room with a ticking clock as the only background noise; or have a drink with friends at a local club playing the latest dance tune at full volume – which we can’t do because something mentally stops us. Yes, our bodies would do it, but we can’t make our minds let it happen.

 

Which brings me onto sensitivity; a lot of people with Aspergers are over sensitive to something, whether it be touch, light, sound etc, or an unfortunate combination. For me personally, but I know a lot of other people who are the same, I am over sensitive to touch, light, textures (food and clothes) and sound. This means that when I’m exposed to something which I’m oversensitive to, I will panic. Usually I will have the urge to run away from whatever it is as fast as possible, and if I can’t I will end up having a panic attack – which can be very debilitating. For me, one of the worst and most frequent things is sound. I can hear noises which either other people can’t, or it doesn’t bother them because it’s so quiet – yet to me, these noises are incredibly loud, and can often drown out things which I know are definitely louder. I hate the little hum that comings from things on charge, or the ticking of a clock – both of which, if I’m having a particularly bad day, can drown out someone stood in front of me talking. I will miss chunks of their sentence because I couldn’t un-focus from the clock ticking away in the background (this was a problem in school as I would miss large parts of what the teacher was saying because I couldn’t stop hearing pencils tapping, clocks ticking or people chattering – and I would get into trouble for not paying attention, though when they repeated it I would always know the answer).

 

As for sensitivity to clothes – this can be an awkward one until you’re an adult, because of things like school uniform, which is compulsory (in the UK at least), but also because parents have a tendency to want to dress you a certain way. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve literally ripped an item of clothing off because it made my skin feel like it was on fire. With anything that I’m oversensitive to, it just sets off a burning rage inside of me and it forces my arms to straighten out and my fists to clench up (which is also something that happens when I have a panic attack) – which of course looks a little odd in public, and I know this, and I hate it, but I just can’t help it.

 

A sensitivity to touch is annoying when in a crowded place; a crowded place is bad enough because of the potential social aspect, not to mention the noise, but it also opens us up to being brushed past and jostled by the crowd. A light touch can be painful for someone with Aspergers and the place where contact was made can feel like it’s burning, or bruised for a long time after the touch happened. I know I would prefer a heavy touch to a light touch, so with hugs, a tight squeeze is a lot nicer than a light cuddle.

 

Of course there are lots of different things which we can be oversensitive too, but you get the idea. On the flip side, there is under sensitivity to certain things, which can be dangerous. For example, I know a lot of people, myself included, are under sensitive to the temperature of water. For me, at least, I cannot tell the difference between really hot water and really cold water – the feeling is the same, it feels like it’s burning, but hot water actually does burn, and I don’t realise it fast enough, and putting it under cold water just hurts as well! Being under sensitive to pain is also dangerous for obvious reasons.

 

Being awkward in social situations is awful, but a lot of our other symptoms make it clear, somehow, to ‘normal’ people that we’re different, or vulnerable, which can often open us up to bullying (and often people take advantage of us, which can be severe in worst case scenarios). Plus, a lot of people with Aspergers are really intelligent, which I guess puts us in the ‘geek’ category, and even when a ‘normal’ person is a geek, they usually get bullied to some degree – so to be a geek with Aspergers is just a nightmare. As nervous, shy people, we don’t really feel that we can stand up for ourselves either – at least, I never did, which only made things worse. And despite what you’ve read, a lot of people with Aspergers are in fact very emotional people, and when that emotion comes out as tears because you’re being bullied, well, as you can imagine, it doesn’t help the situation.

 

I’ll stay on the subject of emotions, because I feel like it’s always explained wrongly. I for one am very emotional and I do care a lot about people; the only problem is that I don’t really know how to show my emotions in the right way. I care a lot for my parents and my brother, and even my extended family, but I don’t really show them; I don’t even miss them that much when I don’t see them for a while. It’s just easy for me to shut that part away when we say goodbye. I feel like when I leave a place, or a person, it or they stop existing until I’m there or see them again. Of course I know that this isn’t the case, but it’s how my mind processes it. Though, the exception is my fiancé, I can never be apart from him for long, as he is vital and I cannot be okay without him and I do show him that I love him. As for handshakes, cuddles or other methods of showing an emotion through a physical act, I dislike it most of the time (except for with my fiancé, but even then we sometimes have issues) because I’d rather not be touched, so people instantly think I don’t care or am a ‘cold’ person. I’m only really comfortable with my fiancé, my Mum and my brother.

 

Something else which we can struggle with is changing from sad to okay again when something has upset us. When I get upset about something or angry or argue etc., I can’t feel okay again for hours, sometimes a whole day or two. Even if the situation is resolved, I just keep thinking about it when it wasn’t resolved and it upsets me over and over. A lot of people, ‘normal’ people, would be fine again once a resolution had been reached, and so they don’t understand at all why I might still be upset by it. That is something which often annoys me – how ‘normal’ people don’t struggle with what I struggle with, so they have no idea why I would struggle, just because they don’t; and so of course, to them I’m just over reacting. Sometimes I do over react, but in my head it really does feel that bad, and my feelings aren’t stupid: it’s how I feel – whether you would feel that way or not should not determine whether or not my reaction is justified. Opposite to this is when a ‘normal’ person does struggle with something that a person with Aspergers does, but only mildly – yet they tell us that everyone struggles with it, as if that justifies them telling us that we’re overreacting. It’s frustrating because I know they’re trying to make me feel better, but at the same time, all it does is make me feel worse because they’ve failed to understand how hard a time I am having, because they once went through something similar and were fine with it. Everyone is different.

 

Another large part of Aspergers which is always mentioned is obsessions/interests; I have and have had many obsessions over the years. The thing that separates people with Aspergers obsessions from ‘normal’ people’s obsessions is their near inability to break away from it to do important things, like eat, wash etc. They also go above and beyond to find out or collect as much as they can to do with their obsession; of course this isn’t always the case, I have ‘light’ obsessions or obsessions which I feel don’t warrant a collection of knowledge or items. I get obsessed with TV shows, but all that really means is I will watch all of the episodes back to back in any spare time I can possibly allow, until they’ve all been seen. Yes, I sometimes forget to eat or shower – but this was worse before I got engaged because I lived with my Mum and she would bring me food and I wouldn’t have to break away for anything! Now I have to get things ready, cook or wash clothes etc.

 

Along with collecting things to do with an obsession, people with Aspergers tend to ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ to other people, who usually don’t care. This just means that they find any reason to steer a conversation towards their interest, and once they get there they struggle to stop talking about it – and also struggle to see that the other person is bored. On reflection, we often realise that we probably went on a bit too much, but it’s too late then – and the next ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ will leave us too ‘one track minded’ to think about how we might be doing it again. Sometimes, I can see myself going too far and manage to shut up, but not often. Luckily for me, my fiancé shares a lot of the same interests and so we both ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ on each other for hours and don’t notice/care!

 

Of course, in the midst of all of this, is the feeling of loneliness. We know we can’t make friends easily, and we know we don’t really like having a friend when we do get one, because it can be very hard to work for us to maintain the friendship – but it doesn’t stop us wanting it. Maybe because it’s what is seen as ‘normal’, and we want that for ourselves, or maybe because we would like to share our interests – though, finding someone like that is difficult. These feelings, mixed with the confusion about our differences (which, no matter how long you’ve known about Aspergers, can always be hard to process, and we tend to get angry at ourselves a lot for not improving or forcing ourselves to do something) and the anger which is sometimes just there, unexplainably, we often tend to suffer from depression. It’s not always there all the time, but when it comes back we feel so lost. For me, my memories of being depressed span back to when I had a nervous breakdown caused by a lot of bullying and failing to attend school (despite my high grades). It was a dark time for me, most of which I spent asleep because I felt it was easier – a habit I’m still trying to break years later. But when I feel depressed again, I get scared that I’m going to be stuck again, like I was before.

 

This loosely relates to routine, again, another thing which is always mentioned with Aspergers. I was in a routine of sleeping a lot to get away from being so upset – and when I get upset again, my reaction is to sleep. Routines are what help me get through things. A lot of people with Aspergers have routines, and sticking to them helps them to feel better – similarly, breaking the routine can make us feel terrible. And, if we’ve broken a routine ourselves, through being depressed and not feeling like we want to do anything, it makes things so much worse and we punish ourselves for our failure – when this happens to me I end up in a vicious cycle which is incredibly hard to break out of, but to start, I always write down a routine and if I stick to it, I can usually start to feel okay again.

I like to eat the same things a lot – every Monday we’ll have beef etc. It makes shopping easier and I like knowing what will be for tea – and I’m in a routine of knowing what and when to cook depending on what day it is. It’s just a comfort. Everything else can sometimes feel so difficult, so having a routine to rely on is nice. For some people, their routine can be very in depth and detailed for the whole day, and they do this every single day – deviations from this, through external, uncontrollable factors can be very upsetting, because we’re relying on the comfort of familiarity. Again, panic attacks can happen when routines are broken.

 

Similar to this is unexpected things in general, even if they don’t ruin a routine, they’re still not welcome. If someone calls round to see us without ringing, even if we were just watching TV or a film and it didn’t matter to us that much, in our heads, that’s what was happening for the next hour or however long. Once something is set in our minds, it can’t be changed without causing a least a little discomfort, but again, it can end up with a panic attack or meltdown. I try not to take anything seriously until it’s too late to change – but like I said, someone turning up out of the blue isn’t something you could have ever predicted or planned for, so no matter what you were doing, you weren’t expecting this, and it’s just hard to get your head around and feel okay with it straight away, or quick enough.

 

I can never tell you fully what it is like to have Aspergers. You cannot filter out your normal way of thinking to understand what situations would be like from our point of view. It’s not just the things I’ve listed; I could never list everything for you because Aspergers really does affect everything, even if I don’t notice, everything I do, I do because I have Aspergers – just like everything you do, you do because that’s who you are, you wouldn’t do it any different because then you’d be someone else. I wouldn’t want my Aspergers to go away, because then I’d be someone else. I know I’ve struggled a lot at times because of it, but it’s so deep in the fabric of my being that if it wasn’t there then I wouldn’t be this person. And I like who I am. The people who bullied me made me stronger, and made me want to be something special, so they couldn’t ever say that they’d won.

 

It is hard, but I wouldn’t change it; I’d change you, so that you can have a better understanding."

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Sofi

Well done, Willow. I like this a lot and I can relate to all of it, I think. Although, I don't have Asperger's Syndrome, I know HFA is very similar to it and I can tell it is by relating to almost all of this. I think it is just due to my big developmental delay as a child, and learning difficulties, that led me to being diagnosed with autism, rather than AS.

 

I also like who I am and I'd never change who I am or take away my autism, because, as you say, then I wouldn't be me and I'd be someone else completely. Autism affects almost all parts of my life in one way or another, but that's okay. I can live with it. I've known nothing else, so this is 'normal' for me...  :D I am starting to think having understanding friends is so important with something like AS/autism.

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Toran
I wanted to write this for my site, rather than copy and pasting the usual 'garb' from other sites, which never quite seem to get it right.

 

"As a person with Aspergers, I will try and explain what it is – but, having always had Aspergers (obviously), I can’t really do much comparing with a ‘normal’ or ‘NT’ perspective. I don’t really feel that it is something that a person has, because there is little to be done to medicate it – it has to be something separate and targetable for that, surely? Aspergers is wound into my DNA, my personality – every action I take; it’s who I am.

 

On the whole, Aspergers makes life a little harder – sometimes almost impossible, but it’s there all the time, and whilst on occasion I may seem perfectly normal, the whole thing is being carefully thought out an planned in my head; it’s an act – one which I’ve spent a while examining ‘normal’ people in order to put together.

 

I want to write this, because I don’t like the usual definition, which is everywhere you look. It’s right, to an extent, but it’s a non-personal view, more than likely written by a ‘normal’ person.

 

At the core of Aspergers, is a very distinct difficulty (and at times inability) to be social. This difficulty makes it so much harder to do so many necessary things. It’s necessary to go to school, but with that comes an expectation to make friends, and even if you don’t or aren’t pressured to, there’s always a need, at some point – usually on a regular basis – to work in a group. It was always something I dreaded, especially when for whatever reason, my final grade would be impacted by my ability to work in that group. I work best alone, where I can get things done in the most efficient, logical way, and to the highest standard. I know that other people won’t execute things to the standard I would. I know that. Even if it’s not true sometimes, I feel like it is, and it’s a chance I don’t want to take, and hate being forced into. Even when you take that part away, as if I could cope with it, you are still left with the awkward silence that would happen if I didn’t talk to the group, and communicate my ideas to them.

 

Beyond school – which believe me, is a living nightmare for a person with Aspergers (and not just because of the social aspect, but I’ll get to the other reasons in a minute), you have work, parties, family get-togethers – even answering the door, shopping, ordering food and health appointments. Any situation where you have to (or are expected to) talk to another human being can be so scary and nerve wracking. At its worst, it can push me into a panic attack. But of course, most of these situations are vital, and can’t be avoided. If a person with Aspergers doesn’t have anyone to help them with these things, they can end up neglecting themselves through their anxiety towards anything social.

 

Another important thing to mention is social ‘rules’. I guarantee you that almost everyone with Aspergers will have no idea what is meant by social ‘rules’ or understand this so called ‘etiquette’ at work or school, which for some reason, everyone else is silently aware of. It genuinely feels like all of this was explained to everyone else in a neat little book which they were able to read through at a very young age, and we never got a copy of it. If we break these rules, or etiquette, we’re left feeling red faced when everyone else is gasping, or giving us funny looks, only for us to realise that whatever we did was totally unacceptable – yet we were never told we couldn’t do it and now we’re in trouble!

 

Whether or not you know you have Aspergers, you have this feeling in the back of your mind, somewhere, that you’re just really different, and until you get diagnosed, you have no idea why – and you mentally beat yourself up for not being able to just ‘be like everyone else’. The questions ‘Why can’t you be more like X person?’ or ‘X person doesn’t have a problem, so why do you?’ or ‘Everyone else is happy about this, why can’t you be?’ are questions we get asked a lot, and we just don’t know the answer, again, until we get a diagnosis – but even then, we feel bad for ‘blaming’ it.

 

There are things that other people can physically do, like take a walk to town on their own and buy something in a shop; or take an exam in a crowded room with a ticking clock as the only background noise; or have a drink with friends at a local club playing the latest dance tune at full volume – which we can’t do because something mentally stops us. Yes, our bodies would do it, but we can’t make our minds let it happen.

 

Which brings me onto sensitivity; a lot of people with Aspergers are over sensitive to something, whether it be touch, light, sound etc, or an unfortunate combination. For me personally, but I know a lot of other people who are the same, I am over sensitive to touch, light, textures (food and clothes) and sound. This means that when I’m exposed to something which I’m oversensitive to, I will panic. Usually I will have the urge to run away from whatever it is as fast as possible, and if I can’t I will end up having a panic attack – which can be very debilitating. For me, one of the worst and most frequent things is sound. I can hear noises which either other people can’t, or it doesn’t bother them because it’s so quiet – yet to me, these noises are incredibly loud, and can often drown out things which I know are definitely louder. I hate the little hum that comings from things on charge, or the ticking of a clock – both of which, if I’m having a particularly bad day, can drown out someone stood in front of me talking. I will miss chunks of their sentence because I couldn’t un-focus from the clock ticking away in the background (this was a problem in school as I would miss large parts of what the teacher was saying because I couldn’t stop hearing pencils tapping, clocks ticking or people chattering – and I would get into trouble for not paying attention, though when they repeated it I would always know the answer).

 

As for sensitivity to clothes – this can be an awkward one until you’re an adult, because of things like school uniform, which is compulsory (in the UK at least), but also because parents have a tendency to want to dress you a certain way. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve literally ripped an item of clothing off because it made my skin feel like it was on fire. With anything that I’m oversensitive to, it just sets off a burning rage inside of me and it forces my arms to straighten out and my fists to clench up (which is also something that happens when I have a panic attack) – which of course looks a little odd in public, and I know this, and I hate it, but I just can’t help it.

 

A sensitivity to touch is annoying when in a crowded place; a crowded place is bad enough because of the potential social aspect, not to mention the noise, but it also opens us up to being brushed past and jostled by the crowd. A light touch can be painful for someone with Aspergers and the place where contact was made can feel like it’s burning, or bruised for a long time after the touch happened. I know I would prefer a heavy touch to a light touch, so with hugs, a tight squeeze is a lot nicer than a light cuddle.

 

Of course there are lots of different things which we can be oversensitive too, but you get the idea. On the flip side, there is under sensitivity to certain things, which can be dangerous. For example, I know a lot of people, myself included, are under sensitive to the temperature of water. For me, at least, I cannot tell the difference between really hot water and really cold water – the feeling is the same, it feels like it’s burning, but hot water actually does burn, and I don’t realise it fast enough, and putting it under cold water just hurts as well! Being under sensitive to pain is also dangerous for obvious reasons.

 

Being awkward in social situations is awful, but a lot of our other symptoms make it clear, somehow, to ‘normal’ people that we’re different, or vulnerable, which can often open us up to bullying (and often people take advantage of us, which can be severe in worst case scenarios). Plus, a lot of people with Aspergers are really intelligent, which I guess puts us in the ‘geek’ category, and even when a ‘normal’ person is a geek, they usually get bullied to some degree – so to be a geek with Aspergers is just a nightmare. As nervous, shy people, we don’t really feel that we can stand up for ourselves either – at least, I never did, which only made things worse. And despite what you’ve read, a lot of people with Aspergers are in fact very emotional people, and when that emotion comes out as tears because you’re being bullied, well, as you can imagine, it doesn’t help the situation.

 

I’ll stay on the subject of emotions, because I feel like it’s always explained wrongly. I for one am very emotional and I do care a lot about people; the only problem is that I don’t really know how to show my emotions in the right way. I care a lot for my fiancé, my parents and my brother, and even my extended family, but I don’t really show them; I don’t even miss them that much when I don’t see them for a while. It’s just easy for me to shut that part away when we say goodbye. I feel like when I leave a place, or a person, it or they stop existing until I’m there or see them again. Of course I know that this isn’t the case, but it’s how my mind processes it. Though I can never be apart from my fiancé for long, as he is vital and I cannot be okay without him. As for handshakes, cuddles or other methods of showing an emotion through a physical act, I dislike it most of the time (except for with my fiancé, but even then we sometimes have issues) because I’d rather not be touched, so people instantly think I don’t care or am a ‘cold’ person. I’m only really comfortable with my fiancé, my Mum and my brother.

 

Something else which we can struggle with is changing from sad to okay again when something has upset us. When I get upset about something or angry or argue etc., I can’t feel okay again for hours, sometimes a whole day or two. Even if the situation is resolved, I just keep thinking about it when it wasn’t resolved and it upsets me over and over. A lot of people, ‘normal’ people, would be fine again once a resolution had been reached, and so they don’t understand at all why I might still be upset by it. That is something which often annoys me – how ‘normal’ people don’t struggle with what I struggle with, so they have no idea why I would struggle, just because they don’t; and so of course, to them I’m just over reacting. Sometimes I do over react, but in my head it really does feel that bad, and my feelings aren’t stupid: it’s how I feel – whether you would feel that way or not should not determine whether or not my reaction is justified. Opposite to this is when a ‘normal’ person does struggle with something that a person with Aspergers does, but only mildly – yet they tell us that everyone struggles with it, as if that justifies them telling us that we’re overreacting. It’s frustrating because I know they’re trying to make me feel better, but at the same time, all it does is make me feel worse because they’ve failed to understand how hard a time I am having, because they once went through something similar and were fine with it. Everyone is different.

 

Another large part of Aspergers which is always mentioned is obsessions/interests; I have and have had many obsessions over the years. The thing that separates people with Aspergers obsessions from ‘normal’ people’s obsessions is their near inability to break away from it to do important things, like eat, wash etc. They also go above and beyond to find out or collect as much as they can to do with their obsession; of course this isn’t always the case, I have ‘light’ obsessions or obsessions which I feel don’t warrant a collection of knowledge or items. I get obsessed with TV shows, but all that really means is I will watch all of the episodes back to back in any spare time I can possibly allow, until they’ve all been seen. Yes, I sometimes forget to eat or shower – but this was worse before I got engaged because I lived with my Mum and she would bring me food and I wouldn’t have to break away for anything! Now I have to get things ready, cook or wash clothes etc.

 

Along with collecting things to do with an obsession, people with Aspergers tend to ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ to other people, who usually don’t care. This just means that they find any reason to steer a conversation towards their interest, and once they get there they struggle to stop talking about it – and also struggle to see that the other person is bored. On reflection, we often realise that we probably went on a bit too much, but it’s too late then – and the next ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ will leave us too ‘one track minded’ to think about how we might be doing it again. Sometimes, I can see myself going too far and manage to shut up, but not often. Luckily for me, my fiancé shares a lot of the same interests and so we both ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ on each other for hours and don’t notice/care!

 

Of course, in the midst of all of this, is the feeling of loneliness. We know we can’t make friends easily, and we know we don’t really like having a friend when we do get one, because it can be very hard to work for us to maintain the friendship – but it doesn’t stop us wanting it. Maybe because it’s what is seen as ‘normal’, and we want that for ourselves, or maybe because we would like to share our interests – though, finding someone like that is difficult. These feelings, mixed with the confusion about our differences (which, no matter how long you’ve known about Aspergers, can always be hard to process, and we tend to get angry at ourselves a lot for not improving or forcing ourselves to do something) and the anger which is sometimes just there, unexplainably, we often tend to suffer from depression. It’s not always there all the time, but when it comes back we feel so lost. For me, my memories of being depressed span back to when I had a nervous breakdown caused by a lot of bullying and failing to attend school (despite my high grades). It was a dark time for me, most of which I spent asleep because I felt it was easier – a habit I’m still trying to break years later. But when I feel depressed again, I get scared that I’m going to be stuck again, like I was before.

 

This loosely relates to routine, again, another thing which is always mentioned with Aspergers. I was in a routine of sleeping a lot to get away from being so upset – and when I get upset again, my reaction is to sleep. Routines are what help me get through things. A lot of people with Aspergers have routines, and sticking to them helps them to feel better – similarly, breaking the routine can make us feel terrible. And, if we’ve broken a routine ourselves, through being depressed and not feeling like we want to do anything, it makes things so much worse and we punish ourselves for our failure – when this happens to me I end up in a vicious cycle which is incredibly hard to break out of, but to start, I always write down a routine and if I stick to it, I can usually start to feel okay again.

I like to eat the same things a lot – every Monday we’ll have beef etc. It makes shopping easier and I like knowing what will be for tea – and I’m in a routine of knowing what and when to cook depending on what day it is. It’s just a comfort. Everything else can sometimes feel so difficult, so having a routine to rely on is nice. For some people, their routine can be very in depth and detailed for the whole day, and they do this every single day – deviations from this, through external, uncontrollable factors can be very upsetting, because we’re relying on the comfort of familiarity. Again, panic attacks can happen when routines are broken.

 

Similar to this is unexpected things in general, even if they don’t ruin a routine, they’re still not welcome. If someone calls round to see us without ringing, even if we were just watching TV or a film and it didn’t matter to us that much, in our heads, that’s what was happening for the next hour or however long. Once something is set in our minds, it can’t be changed without causing a least a little discomfort, but again, it can end up with a panic attack or meltdown. I try not to take anything seriously until it’s too late to change – but like I said, someone turning up out of the blue isn’t something you could have ever predicted or planned for, so no matter what you were doing, you weren’t expecting this, and it’s just hard to get your head around and feel okay with it straight away, or quick enough.

 

I can never tell you fully what it is like to have Aspergers. You cannot filter out your normal way of thinking to understand what situations would be like from our point of view. It’s not just the things I’ve listed; I could never list everything for you because Aspergers really does affect everything, even if I don’t notice, everything I do, I do because I have Aspergers – just like everything you do, you do because that’s who you are, you wouldn’t do it any different because then you’d be someone else. I wouldn’t want my Aspergers to go away, because then I’d be someone else. I know I’ve struggled a lot at times because of it, but it’s so deep in the fabric of my being that if it wasn’t there then I wouldn’t be this person. And I like who I am. The people who bullied me made me stronger, and made me want to be something special, so they couldn’t ever say that they’d won.

 

It is hard, but I wouldn’t change it; I’d change you, so that you can have a better understanding."

Thanks willow you are a unique special wonderful lady I don't really know what else to say

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mary

Willow, that was amazing to read as it sums up so much of what I've been trying to explain but no one ever seems to really understand.  I guess they won't fully understand because they can't separate their thinking enough to be able to see it from an 'AS / ASD' point of view, but you've put it in such a way that it might make it a little easier for people to comprehend what it's like for us, even if it's just a little insight.

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Buffwyn

That was amazing. 

Also... No one ever told me there was social 'rules'! I completely understand with over sensitivity with hearing. It's been written on my school record that I need to be told 5 mins before a fire practice so I don't run away from the bell. I can also hear electric...

I feel that you really said what most websites and books don't

 

Willow, do you have any suggestions on what I should do because at the end of class a bell goes. I jump at it and start to panic. Sometimes people giggle but it gets really frustrating because it's not my fault.

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Willow

@Buffwyn Are you allowed your phone in class? If so, set alarms on your phone that will go off 2 or 3 minutes before the end of each class, or any other time that the bell always goes off every day. Have your phone in your pocket or somewhere on your person, and have it on silent so all it does with each alarm is vibrate. Then when you feel that, you know to expect a bell soon.

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RiRi

I like @Willow's suggestion. I would like to ask a question to @Buffwyn though. Does the staff (e.g. teachers, etc.) at your school know that you're on the spectrum? If so, perhaps ask them if it's okay to do what Willow suggested, as I know some schools don't allow phones. Or perhaps ask if you can use noise canceling earplugs. I've heard there exists earplugs which you can put, but still hear what someone's saying, they don't cancel out the noise completely. You can use those kind of earplugs when the phone begins to vibrate so that the bell doesn't startle you. Or if they don't allow phones in class then memorize around what time the bells ring for each class and put on the earplugs/cover your ears before the bells rings. So that it doesn't scare you. The issue here could be that the bell itself scares you (how loud it is) or just that it takes you by surprise. If it takes you by surprise then Willow's suggestion alone will help, but it it also scares you then the earplugs might help too. 

Edited by Makelets
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Buffwyn
On 4/4/2016 at 7:15 AM, Makelets said:

I like @Willow's suggestion. I would like to ask a question to @Buffwyn though. Does the staff (e.g. teachers, etc.) at your school know that you're on the spectrum? If so, perhaps ask them if it's okay to do what Willow suggested, as I know some schools don't allow phones. Or perhaps ask if you can use noise canceling earplugs. I've heard there exists earplugs which you can put, but still hear what someone's saying, they don't cancel out the noise completely. You can use those kind of earplugs when the phone begins to vibrate so that the bell doesn't startle you. Or if they don't allow phones in class then memorize around what time the bells ring for each class and put on the earplugs/cover your ears before the bells rings. So that it doesn't scare you. The issue here could be that the bell itself scares you (how loud it is) or just that it takes you by surprise. If it takes you by surprise then Willow's suggestion alone will help, but it it also scares you then the earplugs might help too. 

 

On 4/4/2016 at 7:04 AM, Willow said:

@Buffwyn Are you allowed your phone in class? If so, set alarms on your phone that will go off 2 or 3 minutes before the end of each class, or any other time that the bell always goes off every day. Have your phone in your pocket or somewhere on your person, and have it on silent so all it does with each alarm is vibrate. Then when you feel that, you know to expect a bell soon.

Thanks both of you! I'll try it tomorrow

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Aspergolfer

Good explanation of Asperger's, Willow!:) I also have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which cancan produce conflicting impulses as far as social interaction goes. Sometimes I want to be left alone, but I HAVE to greet the person next to me, or I'm lonely, but CAN'T talk to anyone.I've learned to deal with it over the past 42 years, but that doesn't mean it's gone. As far as Obsessions, my username says it all, I'm OBSESSED with golf! I know the history, the Rules,  and have a long list of tournament wins in Special Olympics in Kentucky. I have 11 consecutive Regional championships, three straight State Championships, and a Silver Medal at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in Princeton, New Jersey. Not bad for being legally blind! To me Asperger's is my big advantage, I'm proud of it because of the obsession and dedication to golf it gives me. I work at a country club also, Bardstown Country Club, www.bardstowncc.com. I've been there nine years, and I am the head of the cart department. 

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Dr-David-Banner
On ‎28‎/‎03‎/‎2013 at 4:39 PM, Willow said:

I wanted to write this for my site, rather than copy and pasting the usual 'garb' from other sites, which never quite seem to get it right.

 

"As a person with Aspergers, I will try and explain what it is – but, having always had Aspergers (obviously), I can’t really do much comparing with a ‘normal’ or ‘NT’ perspective. I don’t really feel that it is something that a person has, because there is little to be done to medicate it – it has to be something separate and targetable for that, surely? Aspergers is wound into my DNA, my personality – every action I take; it’s who I am.

 

On the whole, Aspergers makes life a little harder – sometimes almost impossible, but it’s there all the time, and whilst on occasion I may seem perfectly normal, the whole thing is being carefully thought out an planned in my head; it’s an act – one which I’ve spent a while examining ‘normal’ people in order to put together.

 

I want to write this, because I don’t like the usual definition, which is everywhere you look. It’s right, to an extent, but it’s a non-personal view, more than likely written by a ‘normal’ person.

 

At the core of Aspergers, is a very distinct difficulty (and at times inability) to be social. This difficulty makes it so much harder to do so many necessary things. It’s necessary to go to school, but with that comes an expectation to make friends, and even if you don’t or aren’t pressured to, there’s always a need, at some point – usually on a regular basis – to work in a group. It was always something I dreaded, especially when for whatever reason, my final grade would be impacted by my ability to work in that group. I work best alone, where I can get things done in the most efficient, logical way, and to the highest standard. I know that other people won’t execute things to the standard I would. I know that. Even if it’s not true sometimes, I feel like it is, and it’s a chance I don’t want to take, and hate being forced into. Even when you take that part away, as if I could cope with it, you are still left with the awkward silence that would happen if I didn’t talk to the group, and communicate my ideas to them.

 

Beyond school – which believe me, is a living nightmare for a person with Aspergers (and not just because of the social aspect, but I’ll get to the other reasons in a minute), you have work, parties, family get-togethers – even answering the door, shopping, ordering food and health appointments. Any situation where you have to (or are expected to) talk to another human being can be so scary and nerve wracking. At its worst, it can push me into a panic attack. But of course, most of these situations are vital, and can’t be avoided. If a person with Aspergers doesn’t have anyone to help them with these things, they can end up neglecting themselves through their anxiety towards anything social.

 

Another important thing to mention is social ‘rules’. I guarantee you that almost everyone with Aspergers will have no idea what is meant by social ‘rules’ or understand this so called ‘etiquette’ at work or school, which for some reason, everyone else is silently aware of. It genuinely feels like all of this was explained to everyone else in a neat little book which they were able to read through at a very young age, and we never got a copy of it. If we break these rules, or etiquette, we’re left feeling red faced when everyone else is gasping, or giving us funny looks, only for us to realise that whatever we did was totally unacceptable – yet we were never told we couldn’t do it and now we’re in trouble!

 

Whether or not you know you have Aspergers, you have this feeling in the back of your mind, somewhere, that you’re just really different, and until you get diagnosed, you have no idea why – and you mentally beat yourself up for not being able to just ‘be like everyone else’. The questions ‘Why can’t you be more like X person?’ or ‘X person doesn’t have a problem, so why do you?’ or ‘Everyone else is happy about this, why can’t you be?’ are questions we get asked a lot, and we just don’t know the answer, again, until we get a diagnosis – but even then, we feel bad for ‘blaming’ it.

 

There are things that other people can physically do, like take a walk to town on their own and buy something in a shop; or take an exam in a crowded room with a ticking clock as the only background noise; or have a drink with friends at a local club playing the latest dance tune at full volume – which we can’t do because something mentally stops us. Yes, our bodies would do it, but we can’t make our minds let it happen.

 

Which brings me onto sensitivity; a lot of people with Aspergers are over sensitive to something, whether it be touch, light, sound etc, or an unfortunate combination. For me personally, but I know a lot of other people who are the same, I am over sensitive to touch, light, textures (food and clothes) and sound. This means that when I’m exposed to something which I’m oversensitive to, I will panic. Usually I will have the urge to run away from whatever it is as fast as possible, and if I can’t I will end up having a panic attack – which can be very debilitating. For me, one of the worst and most frequent things is sound. I can hear noises which either other people can’t, or it doesn’t bother them because it’s so quiet – yet to me, these noises are incredibly loud, and can often drown out things which I know are definitely louder. I hate the little hum that comings from things on charge, or the ticking of a clock – both of which, if I’m having a particularly bad day, can drown out someone stood in front of me talking. I will miss chunks of their sentence because I couldn’t un-focus from the clock ticking away in the background (this was a problem in school as I would miss large parts of what the teacher was saying because I couldn’t stop hearing pencils tapping, clocks ticking or people chattering – and I would get into trouble for not paying attention, though when they repeated it I would always know the answer).

 

As for sensitivity to clothes – this can be an awkward one until you’re an adult, because of things like school uniform, which is compulsory (in the UK at least), but also because parents have a tendency to want to dress you a certain way. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve literally ripped an item of clothing off because it made my skin feel like it was on fire. With anything that I’m oversensitive to, it just sets off a burning rage inside of me and it forces my arms to straighten out and my fists to clench up (which is also something that happens when I have a panic attack) – which of course looks a little odd in public, and I know this, and I hate it, but I just can’t help it.

 

A sensitivity to touch is annoying when in a crowded place; a crowded place is bad enough because of the potential social aspect, not to mention the noise, but it also opens us up to being brushed past and jostled by the crowd. A light touch can be painful for someone with Aspergers and the place where contact was made can feel like it’s burning, or bruised for a long time after the touch happened. I know I would prefer a heavy touch to a light touch, so with hugs, a tight squeeze is a lot nicer than a light cuddle.

 

Of course there are lots of different things which we can be oversensitive too, but you get the idea. On the flip side, there is under sensitivity to certain things, which can be dangerous. For example, I know a lot of people, myself included, are under sensitive to the temperature of water. For me, at least, I cannot tell the difference between really hot water and really cold water – the feeling is the same, it feels like it’s burning, but hot water actually does burn, and I don’t realise it fast enough, and putting it under cold water just hurts as well! Being under sensitive to pain is also dangerous for obvious reasons.

 

Being awkward in social situations is awful, but a lot of our other symptoms make it clear, somehow, to ‘normal’ people that we’re different, or vulnerable, which can often open us up to bullying (and often people take advantage of us, which can be severe in worst case scenarios). Plus, a lot of people with Aspergers are really intelligent, which I guess puts us in the ‘geek’ category, and even when a ‘normal’ person is a geek, they usually get bullied to some degree – so to be a geek with Aspergers is just a nightmare. As nervous, shy people, we don’t really feel that we can stand up for ourselves either – at least, I never did, which only made things worse. And despite what you’ve read, a lot of people with Aspergers are in fact very emotional people, and when that emotion comes out as tears because you’re being bullied, well, as you can imagine, it doesn’t help the situation.

 

I’ll stay on the subject of emotions, because I feel like it’s always explained wrongly. I for one am very emotional and I do care a lot about people; the only problem is that I don’t really know how to show my emotions in the right way. I care a lot for my parents and my brother, and even my extended family, but I don’t really show them; I don’t even miss them that much when I don’t see them for a while. It’s just easy for me to shut that part away when we say goodbye. I feel like when I leave a place, or a person, it or they stop existing until I’m there or see them again. Of course I know that this isn’t the case, but it’s how my mind processes it. Though, the exception is my fiancé, I can never be apart from him for long, as he is vital and I cannot be okay without him and I do show him that I love him. As for handshakes, cuddles or other methods of showing an emotion through a physical act, I dislike it most of the time (except for with my fiancé, but even then we sometimes have issues) because I’d rather not be touched, so people instantly think I don’t care or am a ‘cold’ person. I’m only really comfortable with my fiancé, my Mum and my brother.

 

Something else which we can struggle with is changing from sad to okay again when something has upset us. When I get upset about something or angry or argue etc., I can’t feel okay again for hours, sometimes a whole day or two. Even if the situation is resolved, I just keep thinking about it when it wasn’t resolved and it upsets me over and over. A lot of people, ‘normal’ people, would be fine again once a resolution had been reached, and so they don’t understand at all why I might still be upset by it. That is something which often annoys me – how ‘normal’ people don’t struggle with what I struggle with, so they have no idea why I would struggle, just because they don’t; and so of course, to them I’m just over reacting. Sometimes I do over react, but in my head it really does feel that bad, and my feelings aren’t stupid: it’s how I feel – whether you would feel that way or not should not determine whether or not my reaction is justified. Opposite to this is when a ‘normal’ person does struggle with something that a person with Aspergers does, but only mildly – yet they tell us that everyone struggles with it, as if that justifies them telling us that we’re overreacting. It’s frustrating because I know they’re trying to make me feel better, but at the same time, all it does is make me feel worse because they’ve failed to understand how hard a time I am having, because they once went through something similar and were fine with it. Everyone is different.

 

Another large part of Aspergers which is always mentioned is obsessions/interests; I have and have had many obsessions over the years. The thing that separates people with Aspergers obsessions from ‘normal’ people’s obsessions is their near inability to break away from it to do important things, like eat, wash etc. They also go above and beyond to find out or collect as much as they can to do with their obsession; of course this isn’t always the case, I have ‘light’ obsessions or obsessions which I feel don’t warrant a collection of knowledge or items. I get obsessed with TV shows, but all that really means is I will watch all of the episodes back to back in any spare time I can possibly allow, until they’ve all been seen. Yes, I sometimes forget to eat or shower – but this was worse before I got engaged because I lived with my Mum and she would bring me food and I wouldn’t have to break away for anything! Now I have to get things ready, cook or wash clothes etc.

 

Along with collecting things to do with an obsession, people with Aspergers tend to ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ to other people, who usually don’t care. This just means that they find any reason to steer a conversation towards their interest, and once they get there they struggle to stop talking about it – and also struggle to see that the other person is bored. On reflection, we often realise that we probably went on a bit too much, but it’s too late then – and the next ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ will leave us too ‘one track minded’ to think about how we might be doing it again. Sometimes, I can see myself going too far and manage to shut up, but not often. Luckily for me, my fiancé shares a lot of the same interests and so we both ‘word vomit’/ ‘info dump’ on each other for hours and don’t notice/care!

 

Of course, in the midst of all of this, is the feeling of loneliness. We know we can’t make friends easily, and we know we don’t really like having a friend when we do get one, because it can be very hard to work for us to maintain the friendship – but it doesn’t stop us wanting it. Maybe because it’s what is seen as ‘normal’, and we want that for ourselves, or maybe because we would like to share our interests – though, finding someone like that is difficult. These feelings, mixed with the confusion about our differences (which, no matter how long you’ve known about Aspergers, can always be hard to process, and we tend to get angry at ourselves a lot for not improving or forcing ourselves to do something) and the anger which is sometimes just there, unexplainably, we often tend to suffer from depression. It’s not always there all the time, but when it comes back we feel so lost. For me, my memories of being depressed span back to when I had a nervous breakdown caused by a lot of bullying and failing to attend school (despite my high grades). It was a dark time for me, most of which I spent asleep because I felt it was easier – a habit I’m still trying to break years later. But when I feel depressed again, I get scared that I’m going to be stuck again, like I was before.

 

This loosely relates to routine, again, another thing which is always mentioned with Aspergers. I was in a routine of sleeping a lot to get away from being so upset – and when I get upset again, my reaction is to sleep. Routines are what help me get through things. A lot of people with Aspergers have routines, and sticking to them helps them to feel better – similarly, breaking the routine can make us feel terrible. And, if we’ve broken a routine ourselves, through being depressed and not feeling like we want to do anything, it makes things so much worse and we punish ourselves for our failure – when this happens to me I end up in a vicious cycle which is incredibly hard to break out of, but to start, I always write down a routine and if I stick to it, I can usually start to feel okay again.

I like to eat the same things a lot – every Monday we’ll have beef etc. It makes shopping easier and I like knowing what will be for tea – and I’m in a routine of knowing what and when to cook depending on what day it is. It’s just a comfort. Everything else can sometimes feel so difficult, so having a routine to rely on is nice. For some people, their routine can be very in depth and detailed for the whole day, and they do this every single day – deviations from this, through external, uncontrollable factors can be very upsetting, because we’re relying on the comfort of familiarity. Again, panic attacks can happen when routines are broken.

 

Similar to this is unexpected things in general, even if they don’t ruin a routine, they’re still not welcome. If someone calls round to see us without ringing, even if we were just watching TV or a film and it didn’t matter to us that much, in our heads, that’s what was happening for the next hour or however long. Once something is set in our minds, it can’t be changed without causing a least a little discomfort, but again, it can end up with a panic attack or meltdown. I try not to take anything seriously until it’s too late to change – but like I said, someone turning up out of the blue isn’t something you could have ever predicted or planned for, so no matter what you were doing, you weren’t expecting this, and it’s just hard to get your head around and feel okay with it straight away, or quick enough.

 

I can never tell you fully what it is like to have Aspergers. You cannot filter out your normal way of thinking to understand what situations would be like from our point of view. It’s not just the things I’ve listed; I could never list everything for you because Aspergers really does affect everything, even if I don’t notice, everything I do, I do because I have Aspergers – just like everything you do, you do because that’s who you are, you wouldn’t do it any different because then you’d be someone else. I wouldn’t want my Aspergers to go away, because then I’d be someone else. I know I’ve struggled a lot at times because of it, but it’s so deep in the fabric of my being that if it wasn’t there then I wouldn’t be this person. And I like who I am. The people who bullied me made me stronger, and made me want to be something special, so they couldn’t ever say that they’d won.

 

It is hard, but I wouldn’t change it; I’d change you, so that you can have a better understanding."

You may be interested to discover that many N.T.'s suffer stress when exposed to another culture abroad. Even breakdowns have been known. Probably because all the social rules and patterns are suddenly turned upside down. My point I guess is it's really little wonder people on the spectrum have meltdowns or social anxiety because interpreting social inter-action is a nightmare.

 

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HP_Wuvcraft

Willow, you're the bees knees.

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Aspergolfer

Willow is the bomb.com

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Nesf
16 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

You may be interested to discover that many N.T.'s suffer stress when exposed to another culture abroad. Even breakdowns have been known. Probably because all the social rules and patterns are suddenly turned upside down. My point I guess is it's really little wonder people on the spectrum have meltdowns or social anxiety because interpreting social inter-action is a nightmare.

 

Yes... with the difference that when one is abroad and not in one's own culture, people will tolerate and forgive you for your social mistakes because you are a foreigner. This is not the case if you are making social blunders in your own country. In some ways in it easier to be an Aspie in a foreign country. Though if you have lived in the country for a while, people still notice.

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Dr-David-Banner
6 hours ago, Nesf said:

Yes... with the difference that when one is abroad and not in one's own culture, people will tolerate and forgive you for your social mistakes because you are a foreigner. This is not the case if you are making social blunders in your own country. In some ways in it easier to be an Aspie in a foreign country. Though if you have lived in the country for a while, people still notice.

I find there is a mix of reality and paranoia in my experience. For example, I know I really do act in ways which aren't considered "normal" but sometimes I just feel I've done something wrong when I may not have done anything. I never really know.

For example, over the last 2 weeks one of my female friends has been a bit "off" with me. Instead of giving me her usual odd slap and occasional joke, she's gotten a bit frosty. However, her friend tells me she has boyfriend trouble so it may be nothing to do with me at all. Or maybe it is? I think there's a good chance I have some degree of narcissism as I often seem to put myself as the focal cause of any behaviour I witness which seems "off". I get confused.

"It is natural for a person with Asperger to communicate literally and verbally; that is, to not use and not interpret non-literal language (manners of speech, imagery et cetera) and non-verbal communication. This has partly to do with being attached to truth, to what is real, to being unable to pretend and lie. For another part it is caused by having a wide associative horizon and therefore seeing several possible interpretations to a given non-literal expression and not knowing which is intended, while a normal person with a narrow associative horizon only sees one interpretation to that expression (regardless if this is the intended) and is thus unaware of the interpretation problem. And while the one interpretation assumed by the normal person may well be different from what the speaker intended, normal people are generally so loose and unconscientious in their communication that they don't even notice the other person has misunderstood them, so that there appears to be no problem."

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Gone away
32 minutes ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

I find there is a mix of reality and paranoia in my experience.

I know you are putting that across as your experience but I wonder.

I've noticed that when I learn something (even if its erroneous info) its hard to unlearn/modify.

When a succession of people have treated me badly I see a pattern and expect it (I've learned this will happen). Often people initially warm to me and then distance themselves once they realise I am different and sometimes eventually become frosty to the point it I find very unpleasant. With this recurring pattern in mind,  I might assume someone has an issue with me, when perhaps they might not. I don't think thats paranoia, its just learned behaviour that has become cyclic. I guess the only way to interrupt the cycle is to ask them if I've caused offence. I've spent 5.5 hrs in a office today that was like a dying funeral parlour. Got the impression people may have an issue with me. Now thats paranoia, fact, or they are just a strange self serving antisocial bunch ... I'm not sure yet

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Dr-David-Banner

I now have a huge body of texts in Russian which are direct translations of the works of Hans Asperger. I stumbled upon them from the other website.

аутистические психопаты в детском возрасте доц доктор ганс гаспергер руководитель лечебно педагогического отделения.

Austistic psychopathy in childhood -  Doctor Hans Asperger, head of the educational treatment department (dated 1943).


It appears to be pretty interesting reading. Maybe it's available in other languages - I don't know as I was doing an article on the Russian HFA autism site and then came across the Asperger texts.

It recently came to light that British Psychologist Lorna Wing had had no idea of the recent connections of Asperger to the Nazi regime although I ask myself surely it was obvious? The bottom line is a lot of Asperger's work had been carried out before the Nazi regime took over this kind of research. This was a society where you could get shot by firing squad for just being caught listening to foreign radio broadcasts so who can say if Asperger was forced to play the Schindler game.

Where we are now is there is a paradox for sure. For me, growing up at school in the 1970s, there was no available diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome at least till 1989. The text I now have are the ones Lorna Wing would have read before she brought Asperger Syndrome into the diagnostic evaluation. All this research came from war-torn Germany (as did the V2 Rocket and nuclear physics research). Anyway, you will notice modern psychology has been very much distancing itself from Asperger for some time. I recently read a comment which stunned me as it was stated any psychologist who even mentions Asperger's as a diagnosis can't be rated very highly. Yet, this is easily said after 3 decades of borrowing from the original studies.

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Dr-David-Banner

I rebooted this thread rather than start yet another and, as it relates to AS, I added my thoughts on the original study papers. These I have to read. I also commented there was no diagnosis here in the 1970s. In the UK we were massively behind. For now I am still in a position to get feedback from mothers of autistic children in Russia where smaller provinces lack support. I never expressed my view that psychiatry and drugs are over-stressed as I'm really a foreigner to them. At a very quick glance the original papers appear to be concerned with the fact the Asperger children were performing very poorly at school. They were bullied. The team of clinicians methodically tried to determine why the children were slow. It was then noted they approached subject matter differently. The actual AS we did have was Lorna Wing's findings based on these papers. They were being translated from German in the UK around the late eighties. They may well be available online in English but I just found the research in Russian. Odd too I recently met a young Russian girl who suffers bouts of severe depression and we chat sometimes.

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Dr-David-Banner

I haven't found this source for Asperger in English yet. The Russian one I have is translated from the German. Dates are 1933. It is long-winded. Not sure why they use the term "psychopaths" but maybe the German definition differs. All this material refers to children and all fairly tolerant of non standard behaviour. The study is very academic with quotes. Kind of boring so far. However it has many pages. It is what Lorna Wing would have read. 

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Dr-David-Banner

With some digging these texts must be online in English. What bothered me was assertions research has moved on so the Asperger papers are supposedly historical relics. If so, why was there no diagnosis available prior tp 1989? What other research was there? The original research is looking at how lack of connection to environment creates learning deficits. It shows AS as a very positive trait so long as the education process is adapted. 

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Dr-David-Banner

First time so far I had to disagree with Asperger. He correctly analyses family environment but seems to blame the children for conflict. The problem for me is children can't accurately articulate their experience so Dr Hans had to look at it all as a judge. He tried to speak for the children. Some of it makes disturbing reading in cases where the children were hated by others in the class and had to be protected. Asperger depicts them as disconnected from their surroundings and that they stand out as different. It is way too early for me to pass any judgement. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr-David-Banner

Studying the case of Fritz who was a six year old boy sent to the Vienna clinic of Asperger. This boy was too disruptive to be taught in mainstream school. Reminded me of John Lennon who was problematic at school. Fritz banged on walls or jumped about when forced into group activity. He was poorly built and clumsy. He failed standard IQ tests but they found he had maths abilities. He needed no teacher. At age six Fritz instantly replied 80 when asked to state two thirds of 120. It became very clear the autistic children were very remote from reality, disconnected but very clever off the scale. Fritz lived in 1933 and the war started in 1939. The origen of AS is pretty old.

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Dr-David-Banner

On the other forum I came up with a simple question, triggered by these papers. Why is there hardly any research done by autistic people? It's been totally left to neurotypicals to decide how autism works and what defines it. Asperger as I read him doesn't come across as autistic himself (as was speculated). The children too aren't mature enough to speak for themselves. You get the odd maths genius on the spectrum but such people are too busy doing maths even to get diagnosed. I only know of one autistic researcher into Aspergers. Sure, a few of us here do research our situation but we are shy to take the bull by the horns and challenge so many misperceptions. Yes, Asperger did a great job but he seems kind of frustrated at times.

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Dr-David-Banner

Still reading. I am looking for something in these studies made by Asperger and his team. I now know the reason Asperger often equated the autism he observed with "grim sadism" is as follows. Some of the children could become aggressive and attack others when pressured to follow rules. Or Asperger felt the children enjoyed it if the teachers got angry. His team learned to apply patience and to bond with these children. Much of the emphasis is on learning. These kids weren't surviving in normal schools. Scrawly hand-writing was noticed as part of the motor issues. So my impression so far is the origen of AS lies in education. Schizophrenia is included in the autism diagnosis. Asperger refers to withdrawel and isolation from reality but realises specialised education can be successful. The children are graded as to the severity of the autism they have. 

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Aeolienne
On ‎3‎/‎29‎/‎2013 at 4:39 PM, Willow said:

At the core of Aspergers, is a very distinct difficulty (and at times inability) to be social.

...

I for one am very emotional and I do care a lot about people; the only problem is that I don’t really know how to show my emotions in the right way. I care a lot for my parents and my brother, and even my extended family, but I don’t really show them; I don’t even miss them that much when I don’t see them for a while. It’s just easy for me to shut that part away when we say goodbye. I feel like when I leave a place, or a person, it or they stop existing until I’m there or see them again. Of course I know that this isn’t the case, but it’s how my mind processes it. Though, the exception is my fiancé, I can never be apart from him for long, as he is vital and I cannot be okay without him and I do show him that I love him. As for handshakes, cuddles or other methods of showing an emotion through a physical act, I dislike it most of the time (except for with my fiancé, but even then we sometimes have issues) because I’d rather not be touched, so people instantly think I don’t care or am a ‘cold’ person. I’m only really comfortable with my fiancé, my Mum and my brother.

...

Of course, in the midst of all of this, is the feeling of loneliness. We know we can’t make friends easily, and we know we don’t really like having a friend when we do get one, because it can be very hard to work for us to maintain the friendship – but it doesn’t stop us wanting it. Maybe because it’s what is seen as ‘normal’, and we want that for ourselves, or maybe because we would like to share our interests – though, finding someone like that is difficult. These feelings, mixed with the confusion about our differences (which, no matter how long you’ve known about Aspergers, can always be hard to process, and we tend to get angry at ourselves a lot for not improving or forcing ourselves to do something) and the anger which is sometimes just there, unexplainably, we often tend to suffer from depression. It’s not always there all the time, but when it comes back we feel so lost. For me, my memories of being depressed span back to when I had a nervous breakdown caused by a lot of bullying and failing to attend school (despite my high grades). It was a dark time for me, most of which I spent asleep because I felt it was easier – a habit I’m still trying to break years later. But when I feel depressed again, I get scared that I’m going to be stuck again, like I was before.

How did you manage to form a relationship serious enough to lead to engagement if you can't make friends easily? I've only had one relationship in my entire life, between the ages of 37 and 40 (I'm now 43).

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Dr-David-Banner

Something else I found: Asperger distinguished between repetitive and then scientific "special interests". This explains how modern psychologists mixed it up. You see, the repetitive special interest is like train-spotting. This existed in Austria just the same. Or any note-taking or jotting of dates. Such as number plates or tram numbers. This sub group led modern psychologists to assume aspergoids accumulate lots of data and facts but show no understanding of the actual subject. Well, false. Asperger clarifies the other group differs from the train-spotter group and these latter do actual sciences. These actually prosper as anatomists or chemists or engineers. They go beyond recording data and observing trains to a more analytical subject approach. Yet Asperger states this latter group is a minority but does quote a case of one child who caused an explosion doing experiments. The funny thing I notice with Asperger is he keeps deviating from positive to negative portrayal. When he highlights the special abilities of the children he does a really good job. Then he will go the other way and be pessimistic. Such as describing removal from reality, sexual deviations, selfishness or other negative traits. He notices every characteristic. In short the special interests were also distinguished between information collectors and autistic academics.

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