I keep reading about the opinions of parents of autistic children and they seem to really hate their kids. They spout words like “I love my amazing kid” but then they say “Aspies are SO manipulative”.
I’m an Aspie and I don’t even know what that means. Being an Aspie means the opposite of being manipulative. In order to manipulate someone, you need to have an understanding of behaviour and having a social disorder means you don’t! Duh!
What I think is that these parents are the manipulators. They want you to think that they are great parents, devoted and martyrs, but they actually want you to feel sorry for them for having such an awful, abnormal child. I was on the receiving end of that. One of my parents learned to exaggerate and even lie about me in order to earn sympathy.
An NT friend of mine attended a support group for parents of Auties, and felt the same way. These parents were backslapping each other on being heroes with their “manipulative” children. What she told me made this support group seem like a Hate Group.
These parents are not heroes. They are manipulators and attention seekers. If they think their lives are hard, imagine being trapped inside a body and brain that make you feel like such a freak and so confused that sometimes death seems like the best option.
When a transgender person feels they are trapped in the wrong body, they are rightly given sympathy and help, and it is illegal to hurt them. Autistics are trapped wrong bodies too.
When Autistic people kill themselves, they are escaping their parents too, remember.
I’m not great at change. I don’t think many Aspies are. Plenty of non-Aspies aren’t good at change either. It occurred to me the other day that when I prepare myself for change, I can cope without getting that sick feeling in my stomach. I don’t get anxious. When I say “prepare”, I mean it might even be as simple as telling myself that while plans are in place, something might happen to change them. That way, I’m ready: a possible change is part of the plan and therefore not unexpected.
This could work with older children and teenagers. Instead of worrying about a meltdown in case a routine is thrown out of whack, tell them that their routine might get thrown out of whack on this one occasion. Explain why a change might occur, the causes and effects. Plan how your Aspie will handle the change.
An example of this is when we go out for the day, I might say to one of my kids: I’ve got this and this sorted out, I’m going to do this and this, but if THIS happens, I need you to deal with it. I’ve planned all the things I’m responsible for so this one thing will be yours.
You could tell your child: we are going here to do this, but if the car breaks down before we get there, you will read your book until it’s fixed and we’re on the way again. Your list of jobs for the trip are: sit quietly, nap, read book if we stop for any reason … etc, or whatever is right for your kid.
And then afterwards, when a change has occurred and they haven’t freaked out/panicked/had a meltdown, point it out. Congratulate them. Show them that they now know they can handle unexpected change – a step forward!
I’ve been slightly obsessed with Farmville for a couple of years, like many millions of people. I make no apologies! I love the game. It relaxes me and distracts me. It decompresses me better than nearly anything else. But … this year I began to become bored with it. Whodathunkit?
Suddenly and for no reason I can give you, I decided to learn to crochet. The only problem is that I can’t stand wool. However, I found a blog by a lady who uses other materials to crochet with. My first creation was an awful rug. It’s rubbish but I love it. My second is a denim rug – yes, denim! It’s currently the length of my arm from my fingertips to my elbow but I plan on it being HUGE.
The thing is, crochet is the very last thing I would ever have thought I would be interested in. It’s bizarre. I’ve never been the least craft-y, but here I am crocheting and upcycling all over the place.
It makes my Aspie brain so happy to crochet! The repetition, the pressure of the pulling of the fabric … I don’t know what exactly, but I LOVE to do this now! And not only that, the strangest thing happened: I put my denim crocheted rug to stand on it in certain places in order to flatten out lumps and it was sensory heaven. The material isn’t rough when it’s cut up and crocheted and for some reason the soles of my feet feel like they have been yearning to feel this rug under them my whole life.
So, the moral of the story is: try new things. I thought crochet was for old ladies with lace and wool but now I’m addicted to it for decompression and sensory yumminess!
I can’t say for sure that this has never happened to me before. If it has, I didn’t notice and don’t remember.
I do a bit of local history work now and then. I own a set of very old photographs of buildings in the little town I live in that people love to see and reminisce over. I occasionally receive invitations to show and display them, most recently at an exhibition of many old photographs of a similar nature. I was there from about 10am until 3pm.
It wasn’t too crowded and the flow of visitors was fairly steady but spaced out. I talked to a lot of people, answered questions, listened to stories about the buildings in my photographs. That was it for the duration.
I was worried about how I’d cope as far as stimulation went. I could easily wander off and have a quiet moment whenever I needed to, and most of the people were already known to me or knew of me, so they were friendly. They were also older, so there was no great racket or rowdiness to worry about.
I was uncomfortable, to be sure, but it was the kind of discomfort I feel all day long at work or in company, the kind I simply tolerate as part of life.
It wasn’t until I got outside that I realised how much the day had affected me. I knew when I had reached saturation point. I knew when I had had enough, so I packed up my photos and my kids and we left. When we got outside, I couldn’t see. I had to hold on to my daughter to steady myself. It didn’t last long, but for a few minutes, I was so overstimulated by the noise and people and lights that my senses were overwhelmed to the point of my eyes not working for a few minutes. It was incredibly strange. I wasn’t scared, though perhaps I should have been. It didn’t last long enough to panic and, strangely, usually when I’m overstimmed, I’m snappy and grumpy but that didn’t happen.
I’ve never heard of this happening to anyone else before and I’ve never read of it. Well, I say that and remember that I used to shut down all my senses in one go when I was a baby at airforce plane shows – that is, I’d apparently do the equivalent of passing out. Hmm. So maybe it’s just an derivative of that?
It’s been a month and I’m still at the same job. Miracle. It’s not been without its difficulties but I’m hanging in there. I have been having panic attacks since the first week but like I said in my last post, I have been determined to make it work so I have tried various ways of self-calming. I’ve been sat at my desk literally screaming on the inside, desperate to just run out and drive home, but I haven’t let myself do it. Unfortunately, emotions don’t vanish just because you want them to, just because you drive them down into yourself. I started to wake up shaking. That was a new one. One day I woke up shaking, from a nightmare about murdering a rapist by kneeling on his neck. I do not normally dream about anything negative, so this was a shock. Add that to the shaking, and I knew I was in a bad way, but I still tried to go to work. Three or four miles down the road, I realised that I was actively wishing to be in a car crash so that I wouldn’t have to go to work. This is ridiculous – my job is fine, the people are fine, the only problem is the sensory over-stimulation which I can overcome (can’t I?) by wearing ear plugs. Either way, I do not WANT to suffer from this panicky crap anymore. I found myself asking, “Is this how I’ve got to spend my life?! Dominated by irrational emotion?”. I’m so sick of it, and the morning I wanted to be in a motor traffic accident instead of go to work I knew I had to do something.
I turned the car around and went to the doctor. I lied to work and said I had car trouble (which ironically I actually did have, later in the week, hey ho), and told my doctor how frustrating it is to be ruled by irrational emotion and unnecessary panic, and how I need this job to work, and how I WANT this job to work, and that I’m too young to suffer like this all the time, and that I’m just getting myself back on my feet, and she doubled my dose of anti-depressant. She has also referred me for CBT to find ways to control the panic attacks. She didn’t think I was crazy or stupid or malingering.
Things are a bit better, now that the dose is kicking in. I’m not waking up shaking or having nightmares. I’m still internally conflicted about work but I can control it without crying all the time. I’m still socially anxious and it shows, but then I never fit in anywhere. At least my fight-or-flight instincts aren’t triggering for eight hours a day.
We shall see.
I had such plans for this blog … and then I forgot all about them.
Anyhoo, I have another new job, the fourth in six months. You know from previous posts about the Monorail driving and the Debt Collecting. I spent three hours in a poky little office for a garden centre who, so I was told at the interview, wanted my two degrees and computer knowledge and language, just had me make coffee and mess around with Photoshop. Also, the room was a tiny little firetrap that made me want to scream with claustrophobia (and I’m not claustrophobic), but sharing a room with three other women filled with electrical equipment and mud was not what I signed up for. So, I moved on again.
I’m not used to changing jobs this much, but I’ve literally walked out of the last three, so I am hoping beyond hope that this new one is a keeper. I need stability and an income. I’m working in insurance now, in a large, busy, bright office, so I’m not sure how that’s going to work out. I’m taking steps to look after my Aspie-ness and I’m determined to make it work. I wear ear plugs to and from work to lessen my auditory stimulus levels, and sun glasses on all my breaks. I don’t look up too much and take off for walks outside at breaks.
As a religious person, I pray a lot for support too. I’ve been close to crying twice but fortunately I’m not monitored to the point of Nazism like at the debt collection agency so I can take comfort breaks when I need to.
I could really do with hearing from you guys about how you cope with work. What strategies do you use??
It’s so tiring and sometimes I get spectacularly fed up with it. Life is so freakin’ hard. I’ve been reading this post this evening, questioning what authenticity is. It hits the nail on the head. We live in a world in which the mantra of a million girls’ magazines and Disney is “Be Yourself!”, but My Self doesn’t fit in and people don’t like it. So what am I supposed to do? I get too tired to act “normal” some days so people think negatively about me – and rarely talk to me again. People do not like Aspies and that’s a sad fact. At least, they like the ones who try to fit in all the time, but if you are an Aspie who struggles with that and simply is not physically capable of fitting in all the time, you’re excluded and disliked. You’re weird/a loner/horrible/miserable etcetera. Put yourself on the receiving end of that and think about how it feels: the world tells you to be yourself and when you do it hates you.
I was coping badly with work – again, not the work itself, but the over-stimulation, something I thought I was able to deal with. I hit target after target after target, and yet my manager was pretty difficult to deal with. I don’t know if she is the bitch she claims to be or if it’s just me not able to cope with work. I don’t know. I ended up walking out. Not good. They wanted me to lie to people, for one thing, and that’s not something I’m going to do. They call it creative language, but I call it lying. Telling people things are going to happen that aren’t, acting as if Debt Collectors had powers they don’t … I can’t do it! I didn’t need to, I was smashing my targets without compromising my integrity.
So back to the start again. Terrific, but it means I can write again for a while – including an expose about debt collectors. LOL.
In this podcast, Tony mentions the migraines that result from too much social interaction and stress – am currently in the middle of one. He also uses a phrase that I think sums up a lot of Aspies, particularly those of us who are older and have learned to fake and/or carry out real social interaction: “The mask of competence”. I wear one! My real self wants to stay at home and never speak and play Farmville and write books at Nazis and read stuff about being a Mormon, but I know that in order to get through my life at the stage it is currently at, I must interact with people. Sometimes my mask of competence slips and I make mistakes. I still don’t know what to do half the time. I got in trouble just yesterday for doing something against the rules but socially acceptable. I sometimes feel like I can’t win. I wonder if my migraine is a reaction to the new job and constant social interaction, coupled with the stress of realising that it’s always going to be like this. My mask is exhausting to keep up. How long can I keep it up? How long can you? Should I have to? Why shouldn’t I? Should I just shut up and get up with it?