I am Aspie Wan Kenobi

Hint to Aspies everywhere: Talk less. We talk a lot. Admit it. It’s often because we think our special interest is fascinating (but it might not be to everyone else … trust me, no one I know thinks the Nazi period is as endlessly fascinating as I do) and it might be because we can’t bear to let a silence stay silent. Either way, talk less. People will think you’re less different. Trust me.

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People with Asperger’s Syndrome should be Debt Collectors for a living

The new job is so far going superbly well. My fatalistic side is still waiting for something to go wrong (cat is staring at me) but I don’t know if that’s because the last job was so horrendous or because I’m being realistic. I’m not used to jobs going this well for this long. Perhaps it just means I have found a job that suits me (cat is still staring at me).

It’s a Call Centre job, but it’s not a big call centre. Maybe about thirty of us in total. I sit on a bank of desks with one other person – who I coincidentally worked with at the last job (still staring at me), though the bank could seat eight. The light isn’t too bright, the room is dark brick (not staring anymore), I can wander off for a break whenever I want, my attention is focussed on my computer screen (I love computers almost as much as my children) and each call is different – but not so different that too much information floods my brain and overwhelms me.

I can just get on with it. My manager is laid back and can hear me all the time – and yet leaves me alone, because clearly the way I work yields results. I am improving consistently week after week, to the point that today I hammered everyone else on the team, beating their figures by £300 (ca. $600).

It amazes me that somehow the debtors talk to me and listen to me and converse with me. I am so calm at work that they can hear that and they can also tell that I understand being in debt. What amazes me most of all is that when people start giving me aggro, I just don’t care. I really don’t. It does not bother me one bit. They started yelling and the moment they hear me say “Yeah, ok, I understand” instead of reciprocating in kind, they stop. It’s madness. They can tell I don’t care – and I really, really don’t care about them getting angry. MENTAL! But also brilliant.

There are no egos or control freaks at this place, and no time for them either. They just don’t get employed. I LOVE THAT. They also get rid of crappy people who drag the team down … so far, I’m nowhere near being a crappy person who drags the team down. I actually kick ass on my team’s behalf, and consistently come third in the figures.

So far, so good! Amazing!

Yes, there has been a dip in posting …

… due to the new job. It’s going well so far. I haven’t go into trouble yet. Miraculous. The training was murderous. Boring as hell, most of it nonsense, in a hideously bright room, crammed full of way too many people, but I got through it somehow.

A lot of self-control. Forward planning. Regular breaks. Plenty of alone time. And sneaking into the room early and turning the lights down.

Like a ninja.

Wise Aspie Elder

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Apparently I am one. Awesome! Or, as the yoof around my neck of the woods say, MINT!

Like I said right at the start of this blog, my whole aim is to tentatively speak for others who can’t speak for themselves. This includes young people who don’t know how to describe themselves, not just little children, and also parents etc who want to understand their Aspies better.

The reason I’ve included plenty of stories and anecdotes is to help people understand how I’ve got through certain situations.

I wish I’d had a Wise Aspie Elder around when I was a kid or teenager, but I tell my own children that if the only good thing to come out of me having this condition is that I help someone else, so be it!

Solutions: auditory sensitivity

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Some Aspies have sensitivity to sound – I do. Smells don’t bother me at all, but some sound can make me feel sick. If I’m in a city or somewhere similarly noisy, I usually wear my headphones and play a podcast on my phone, etc. Alternatively I use ear plugs – these are great if you can stand them in your ears. There are two types available: some are smooth, with a plastic outer layer/coating. I can use these. Another type, that seems to be most common, particularly on planes or in the travel section of shops, has a much rougher outer layer that I cannot stand. The plastic ones don’t expand much if at all, but the rougher ones seem to swell up in my ears until my lugholes feel like they’re about to burst.

Another alternative, as not everyong likes putting stuff into their ears, is to follow Jett Travolta’s lead: he used to wear the type of headphones that only cover the outside of his ears. See here for an example. It was interesting to see a boy of about twelve at work this Summer (while I worked in a quiet corner of a theme park) wearing very similar headphones. He was causing himself problems though – he wouldn’t take them off, but they were so big that the ride harnesses wouldn’t fit over them. He therefore couldn’t go on any of the rides he really, really wanted to go on. Meltdown alert!

Sleeping Awesomeness

Last night: two cats on me, same positions as last time, and EVERY SINGLE quilt in the house (two doubles, three singles, plus a couple of fleece blankets). Oh yeah!

Both kids are away this weekend so I have every duvet in the house on my bed. It’s fantastically awesome: all that deep pressure and weight.

Temple Grandin discusses deep pressure and its effects on Autistics here. She developed a machine to squeeze animals in the slaughterhouse in order to calm them down … and I’ve wanted to have a go ever since I found out about it.

Auditory sensitivities – ie problems with hearing

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Three emergency vehicles whizzed past me yesterday, all within an hour of each other. The noise is hideous, though I know it’s necessary. The first siren made me wince. The second made me wince and shut my eyes. The third made me feel nauseous.  Each turned my stomach over. I don’t know how I can explain that certain sounds cause me pain. Some even make me angry, which is very strange.

Last year, my central heating was playing up (as usual), involving the pilot light in the boiler going out. As the system runs according to the temperature registered by a thermostat – ie it turns on when the temperature in the house drops below a certain level, and turns off when it’s above), it did not turn off. I didn’t realise this at first: all I could hear in my peripheral hearing was a low, very quiet humming noise (the pumps vibrating against the pipes, a sound usually insulated by the water in the pipes). It actually made me angry. It was so weird. It made me feel like I was going mad. I started becoming irritable and snappy before I realised what was happening. I turned the heating off altogether for a while, then relit the pilot light (it wasn’t that cold) to rest my ears.

They were overwhelmed by this noise that wasn’t even audible to the other people in the house. I was the only one to notice it and it made me feel sick, angry and slightly insane.

Crying babies and Autism

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This little girl has a tragic condition. She cried a lot after birth due to severe pain and was diagnosed with Infantile Osteoporosis at 15 weeks.

I cried a lot as a baby. I was also in pain (though of course I am not comparing myself with this beautiful little girl in any way) and couldn’t tell anyone, a different sort of pain. Asperger’s Syndrome will not end my life early, but has caused me a lot of pain. This little boy was very similar.

Take a moment to think about the pain just being alive inflicts on your Autistic person. Life can cause real physical pain as well as emotional pain.