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I Am an Aspie, Watch Me Script!
So, here it is. I am 43, and I just learning who I really am. Here is my story, a brief version.
I went through most of my life being "different." I was the quiet girl that everyone thought was stuck up. I was that girl that did not get the jokes that everyone would tell. I was the girl that "escaped" reality, into my books and music, slipping away from all that was hard to understand. Sarcasm? I had trouble with that too. My feelings were easily hurt. Too many people? I started having mild panic attacks. Of course, back then, no one knew that this was anything more than being weird or a snot.
Books were easy to understand, and I found I related, in my own way to some of the characters. My favorites were Island of the Blue Dolphins, and Castle in the Sea, by Scott O'Dell. I was lured in by the isolation, the girls in the books always seemed to live in.
Music, as I grew up, was a way for me to express my feelings. I could always find lyrics that fit my mood. When something was causing me stress, heartache, anger, etc, I could escape into Metallica, Slaughter, Queensrÿche, or Europe.
I found that I would latch onto a musician/band and learn as much as I could about them. As a pre-tween and tween, it was Duran Duran. To this day, I still know useless information, like (Nigel) John Taylor, bass player, was born on June 19, and his nickname was Tigger. As a teen it was Slaughter. I had fan club membership, and a scrapbook full of magazine articles, quotes, etc. (Sadly, my first year of college, my sister decided to toss it all into the garbage, while I was away. I was devastated, and no one understood why). Get me talking about any of these musical fixations, and I could go on for days!
I never made friends easily, probably because of what I stated above. When I did, though, I tried to be the best friend I could be. Unfortunately, I had very few friends that stuck. They always had expectations. I could hold a facade of being "OK" for a while, but eventually it started to crumble, and of course, they could not handle the real me.
As I grew up, these traits manifested in more obvious ways. Well, obvious NOW, haha. Nothing "went away." I did not "grow out of" anything. I just adapted. I am still, and always will be, that girl.
Social anxiety started becoming a predominant trait. Even interviewing for a job became too intense. But I am an adult, so I have to adult. I cannot go hide in my room with a book, right? So adult, I did.
Family events became so much more uncomfortable, because, again the expectations of how an adult female should interact were high. Going out with friends was difficult, because it is so public, and all the scripting in the world, doesn't keep a good conversation going. I always felt like I was the one who had to keep those conversations going but could never read their expressions to see if I was doing ok or boring them. By the end of a night? I was beyond exhausted. Romantic Relationships? HA! We won't go there. I am single for a reason, hahaha.
Being a homebody is stressful to me too, though. I feel like I am constantly letting people down. I am ok with running to McDonald's and having a cup of coffee with a "friend" but no one seems to want to do that. They want me to go out, come over, etc. But see, at McDonald's, when my coffee cup is empty, I can utilize that as "time to go."
Talking on the phone: Dear God NO! I absolutely hate talking on the phone. With the exception of my mom and my son, it is superbly uncomfortable. My inability to read body language and facial expressions face to face is bad enough, you have no idea what it is like to try to read them over the phone! Here is a hint: you can't. Most people do not get that either. That 20 seconds, silence where the conversion pauses, and you switch topics, in a phone conversation? Yeah, it is like an hour of trauma, for me.
I analyze everything. As I said earlier, script out conversations, and how they should go, prior to having them. If they do not go as I planned, I get caught up, and my brain kind of shuts itself off. I then have to scurry to figure out what to do next. It is overwhelming, at the moment, but afterward, I sit for hours, while trying to fall asleep, replaying what happened. Where did I go wrong, how can I fix it? etc.
Ahhh, but social media... So much easier to communicate through text and such...
I am an overly emotional woman. Things hit me deep, that an average bear can shrug off. Another social issue, when you realize that most people do not consider their words, in a conversation; and what is meant as a "joke" penetrates into my heart.
There is so much more, but this is long enough, right? So here's the meat:
I was diagnosed several times, with "Anxiety Induced" fill in the blank. Finally, in about 2009, I was diagnosed with Chronic Anxiety Disorder and Depression. Meds never helped, and actually, made me feel worse. They made me ill, and made me angry, and made me want to sleep. I could not function, so I came off them.
Now, 8 years later, I can see why those meds did not work. As I walk through the rigorous process of getting my son's unofficial/official dx of ASD turned into an official dx, I came across a wonderful Parent Support Group. As they helped me navigate through the unending hoops and questions of my son's dx, they also helped me realize that I fit the Female Aspie Profile.
So much of what I have lived with, the being "different" and being "weird," the social anxiety, depression, etc, put me within that range. They gave me information and links, books to read, their own stories so that I could look further. There was even an unofficial "quiz" that is one of the many they give you for the official dx. The outcome?
I AM AN ASPIE!
I am ok. I finally can look back at my life and say "Ohhhh! That is why!" As I continue through my life, and an oddity in my personality rears its exceptional head, I no longer get too bent out of shape. I simply smile and say, "Because Autism." Then I look to Heaven and say "Thanks, Jesus, I love you, too.
So, yeah, I am an Aspie. I will script. I am different. I am ok with that, now.