Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aspies and their obessions

So, you might know that a characteristic of people on the Autism Spectrum is that we tend to get awfully obsessive about things, and we are really good at or knowledgable about whatever those things are.

Most Aspies have one or two. But I was raised by my Grammy and my mom to have a curious, open mind.  So my list is…a bit longer.  Here are just some, in no particular order…

My first and earliest obsession that has led to and leads out of all of these below is, simply, reading.

1. LEARNING.  And asking questions, and seeking answers, and understanding.  About everything, all the time.  I'm a born librarian.  This is also why I LOVE my iPhone and iPad.  Instant access to information!
2. Animals, especially cats and lizards.  But any animal.  I want a huge house so I can adopt every animal in every shelter within a 100 miles.  I can't bear to see an animal not taken care of.
3.  Doctor Who--this is new.
4.  Science--especially medical science, biology, anatomy and physiology, neuroscience, paleoanthropology, genetics, and yeah, this sub list is getting too long.  You get the point.
5.  Beer--drinking and brewing
6.  Supernatural.  The TV show.
7.  The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher.  I like a lot of authors and I am generally obsessive about reading, but I just have this THING for Harry Dresden.
8.  Running.  Especially long distance running.
9.  Having things neat and clean and organized and put away.
10.  Forensic science and criminal justice.
11.  Art and art history, especially 19th century and the Renaissance.
12.  USA history, especially from about 1773 to 1788.
13.  I like history as told through ordinary things--beverages, salt, medicine.  All my favorite non fiction books talk about this--Salt, At Home, History of the World in Six glasses.
14.  Historical reenactment.
15.  Firefly.  Also, duh, the TV show.
16.  Dragons and lizards.

I'm going to stop there as I've just realized what a total geek I am.


Monday, October 21, 2013


I have not heard from Alaska.

I DID pass round one of the Website/Tech training job, yay!  November 1st is the second round.  This is very exciting.

I've decided to go Noble next year with the Guild.

This is my life. Nothing new to see here.


Thursday, September 12, 2013



I'm quite literally playing around with Joomla on my computer because it is a qualification for a job that I am going to apply for.  I have no idea what I am doing.  I'm having to dredge WAY back to when I took a basic web design class in college...and that was over 8 years ago.  Things have changed MUCH since then...and I've never been a techie girl except in being a front end user of what others have created.

But what the heck, right?

I also have a phone interview for a job in Alaska on Tuesday.  So we shall see!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Social Exhaustion

You have probably heard by now that social situations are hard for Aspies, that we get tired, that we have to put so much focus and attention on every situation it wears us out.  You probably have heard the analogies--juggling balls, balancing 5 things at once, etc.  You can probably see how having to focus on quite literally every word that comes out of your mouth every second of every day and can never, NEVER speak freely without saying something wrong because you don't have the ability to read people can be tiring.  You can see how having to handle social situations by rote and behavioral training is wearying because NONE of it is natural, you have to pay attention all the time. And you can never, really be yourself.  

But I was thinking about what that exhaustion feels like analogous to things everyone goes through.

Imagine midterms or finals week or the week you have all five papers due and a test.  Imagine the end of that week.

Imagine the first few months of having a newborn.

Imagine the first week of a new job when you are learning the job, learning people, getting trained, etc.

Imagine having spent 24 hours dealing with international travel--layovers, customs, uncomfortable planes.  

Imagine after you've spent the day doing any sort of physical activity--a race, hiking, whatever.  The kind where all you can do at the end is take ibuprofen and lie in bed.  

Now...imagine how all those feel, and realize that the typical person on the autism spectrum experiences that bone deep level of exhaustion with almost all social interactions lasting more than a few minutes.  A party.  A wedding.  Getting together with friends.  A picnic.  A girl's night out.

And that is when things are going smoothly.  When things don't go smoothly (as they so often don't, people being people no matter what their brain chemistry is!), a meltdown cometh.  

Now with the right people who know and understand you you can relax a little, and certainly some places and some situations are more relaxing than others  I have very good friends who understand my brain and their house is one place besides my own I find refuge, home, family.  But even in those sanctuaries I have to be on my guard. 

I would say that at least 90% of my interactions with people leave me this exhausted.  But here is the catch.  I LOVE spending time with my friends.  I love talking with them, tasting beer and wine, sharing stories, praying, laughing, crying, watching movies.  I wouldn't trade my time with any of those people and the friendship and love we have for ANYTHING.

But, BOY, is it exhausting.  And hard.

So often the best things in life are.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Aspie Survival tip--Get a support system, AKA an anonymous thank you.

And that support system, though of course NTs  (Neurotypicals) can be wonderfully supportive and helpful, really needs  to have an Aspie in it.  Because though NTs try and love and care, they can't possibly understand our brain.  No slight on them, or on Aspies, but it is what it is what it is.

I have an Aspie friend who is my age, we have known each other a long while.  He is not open about being an Aspie like I am, a decision I respect and on retrospect wish I had done (for various reasons that are for another post).  I am not going to say his name, betray his confidence or his privacy. But he and I, well, sometimes I doubt we would make it through this world without each other to vent to and talk to and pray for and just GET the craziness no one but someone on the Autism spectrum gets.  I'm honestly, truthfully, not trying to offend or put down anyone who tries to support and help me who isn't an Aspie.  I'm not.  I know you guys try.  But just like I don't FULLY get what it is to be, well, an NT, you will never fully get me.  It doesn't mean you don't love us, and we don't love you.  It doesn't mean you don't emphasize or try to understand.  But there will always be that disconnect.

So if you are on the spectrum, find someone else on the spectrum you can trust and talk to.  It makes all the difference in the world. 

I could give a thousand examples of things my friend has said that have brought me some sense of yes, you get it, you GET it, so at least I am not alone in this.  He GETs that I can't just let things slide off my back, though I absolutely know I should.  He gets when a situation so unnerves and upsets me I am sick (sometimes to the point of losing my appetite then getting ill from hunger, or shivering with cold though I am always running hot)  about it for hours or sometimes days on end when no one else even remembers.

I just wanted to share one thing he has said that truly helped me recently:

"Now is the time I am supposed to give you empty platitudes.  But you and I aren't wired that way.  So I will just promise to pray for you"

Those first two sentences were like balm to my soul.  Or, rather, my Aspie brain.  They allowed me to be calm and at peace.  Not because things are better.  But because someone gets it.  Someone gets that saying it will get better doesn't make it so.  And...well, so much more.

So my NT friends, give me those empty platitudes, because they really aren't empty in that you love me and care for me and want the best for me and would, I know, do just about anything for me.  As I would, unquestionably, do for you.

And to my Aspie friend, this is a public thank you for being an Aspie, for having my brain, for helping me and listening and understanding when only an Aspie can.  THANK YOU.  I can't name you publicly but I know you are one of the keys to my sanity.

I'm a lucky girl to have all these people in my life, aren't I?  Please, guys, stick around.  All of you, Aspies and NTs and all.  I'm not sure I could do this without you.

May God's blessings shower on you and maybe spare just a few for me...


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tough Mudder Part 2: The car woes. And other stuff.


The Erudite clan (mom, sister, and myself) were driving up to Tahoe so I could do the Tough Mudder and they could volunteer when, about 10 minutes from my hotel and on a downgrade on a busy road with cars going 55 MPH....I heard a couple of loud clunks and my car died on the road.  I immediately, and through the grace of God safely, managed to get it to the side of the road.

We then called a tow truck.  First complication was finding a rental car place that was open at 4 PM on a Saturday.  We had to get the car to Reno, which was not the closest or most convenient place.

And then, with AAA overburdened and with their computers down and communication incomplete, we had to wait 45 minutes for a tow truck.  It would have been two hours except for the part about three women with a dead car on the side of a busy road thing.  And I have to tell you, in that 45 minutes the sound of the cars passing about drove me to the edge.  It's odd.  When I was younger, I had no sensory issues.  I liked loud music on all the time, despised silence.  Now, I like it quiet.  I only like something playing in cars, when I am running, or when I am doing solo stuff around the house, and even then I prefer audiobooks now.  You can say well of course you are sensitive to auditory stimulation, that is very indicative of someone on the Autism Spectrum.  That logic fails though because this has been a fairly recent, within the past 5 years, change for me.  Maybe I am just getting old?

Anyway...back to my car.  Our amazing two truck driver arrived with the bad news that he couldn't fit three of us in his car (they were supposed to call to tell us, they didn't, ARG).  I said, I do understand that, what do we do?  And here is what he did, and I truly wish I had gotten his name so I could write a letter to go into her personnel file praising his his above and beyond service.  First, he got my car onto the truck and had the Erudite Sister ride in the car for the ten minute drive to the hotel where he dropped me off (I was a wreck, and I had TM the next day, I HAD to relax, and thank God my family got that).  THEN, he took them to the airport to get the rental car.  THEN he said to them just go to the hotel, give me the information and I will drop off the car at the Ford Dealership for me.

Above and beyond.  WAY above.  We were more grateful than I can express.

So on Sunday I did the Tough Mudder and the whole day was fantastic--I wrote a blog post on part of it and will write another one in the near future.  I knew I could do nothing about my car until Monday so I just put it out of my head and did Tough Mudder.  Which worked great.  Until Monday.

I get the call---it's the clutch, and it isn't under warranty.  I go through a series of phone calls and being insulted and back and forth and arguing (a 23 minute phone call.  Shudder. And I didn't give an inch) that a clutch that goes out under 100K isn't wear and tear but in fact defective and back and forth and back and forth....until I realize that my warranty isn't going to cover my clutch and no matter how unfair it was I wasn't going to win (never buy a used car or a warranty, everyone.  Lesson learned).  So how to get my car home?  Thanks to a suggestion from my cousin, I upgraded my AAA so I had 200 towing miles.  I then call today to arrange the tow, only to find out I have to be there.  So tomorrow, I head to Reno, thanks to a dear friend who is willing to go with me and provide a car as we don't trust any of the cars in our house over the mountains, just to call AAA and have them come and tow my car home.  This is after we drove to Reno yesterday JUST to return the rental car, a job we could have put off one more day if we had realized I would have to be there to sign off on the tow.  And this is after endless phone calls--and you all know I HATE the phone--and being treated like crap, and arguing, and...UGH.  It's been a heck of a week.

Though Antonio at Jones West Ford in Reno, NV? Made it easy for me as possible, and totally waived a lot of things he could have charged me for.  He has been sympathetic and helpful.  THANK YOU Antonio.  You are getting some cookies and brownies tomorrow.

And all this has just been to figure out how to get my car home.  Fixing it?  That's just going to have to be a problem for another day.

And in all of this, another problem is present. I can't talk about it, but let us just say that a person is treating is absolutely unfairly, illegally, cruelly, and hurtfully in such a way to totally screw us over and cause an enormous amount of emotional upheaval and financial distress.  It is in the hands of someone who knows more about this stuff than we do.  But still, I don't think it is going to end easily or well.


Here but for the grace of God we crawl along barely clinging on by our fingernails,


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tough Mudder Part One: The Patriotic, pro Military, AWESOME start

So, as all of you know as I have talked about it without ceasing on FB...I did the Tough Mudder last weekend.  I will probably tell you more about the terrain, the obstacles, later, but I wanted to take this post to talk about what meant the most to me, what I truly think I will remember even more deeply than getting my first (but not only) orange Tough Mudder Headband.

And that was what happened before the race started, when we were all gathered at the start line.

First, I was there as an individual. Now, you don't do TM alone.  The whole purpose, and why I love it and why I did it, is that this is not a race, you are supposed to help and support your fellow mudders on the course.  You aren't even timed.  But still, I wasn't with a team.  Until a team I was standing by found out I was a solo, was impressed, and invited me to join their team.  I was with them at the end.  It meant...a lot.  THAT is the Tough Mudder spirit, right there.

Second, the normal stuff of cheering, getting you pumped, etc.  Fun! We chanted the Tough Mudder philosophy, which speaks of teamwork and not leaving anyone behind, and has the wonderful line "I do not whine.  Kids whine".

Then they had everyone take a knee and asked all who were serving or had served in the Military to stand up.  Oh, the cheers for our troops was deafening.  DEAFENING.  I was so proud to be amongst our brave soldiers, and with people who clearly loved them as much as I did.

As some of you might know, Tough Mudder's charity is Wounded Warriors.  So they had everyone take 10 seconds of silence in honor and respect for all those that had lost their lives for our freedoms.  In that absolute silence, my eyes started filling.

And then the guy leading us all said that in the Tough Mudder first wave we have a tradition.  We don't  play the National Anthem.  We all look at the flag and sing it.  I was one among hundreds that turned to the flag, put my hand over my heart, and our voices raised to the skies singing the National Anthem.  Now, the National Anthem always makes me teary eyed, for I love my Country. But this time, in this circumstance, with everyone singing next to me...

Tears flowed down my face and I was so choked up I almost had to hit my inhalor.

And that was even before we started, which is for another post.  But...

God Bless the Tough Mudder, God bless our troops, and God bless the USA.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Moved....sort of

We have a house.  We have all of our stuff in our house.

But the majority of it is still lying around in boxes waiting to find the right place for it to live.

That is OK though--the mad rush of getting everything out of the house on time, then getting everything from the storage shed into the new house (and this in a brutal heat wave, sigh), is done.  My bed is up and running (except who knows where that bottom sheet is) and my room is neat.  My clothes are hung up.  My mom's furniture is assembled and her studio and sewing room is in progress.  We've decided where we want everything to be.  The animals are all here and happy (thanks to friends!).  And the food is put away.

So far, so good!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I love the internets

So...I, and the Erudite mother and sister, were given a 60 day notice a couple of months ago, and are now in the process of moving.  I'm just not, NOT going to go into all of the details, because they both exhaust me and bore everyone else!

But I will say that at the end of a long day that included looking at 4 potential houses to rent, I decided to kick back and do some research on a topic for a friend.  Which led to this, which led to that, and next thing I knew I was happily perusing the internets (our local library has access to digital Sanborn maps!  Ooooooh!).  Yes, I do this sometimes, almost as a hobby.  It's the librarian in me.  I looooove information.

So, to get back on topic, one of the things I ran into was this TED talk by Temple Grandin.  I then looked further and found this posting by her on the same subject.  And if you don't know who Temple Grandin is, she is worth learning about!  Anyhow, I was interested in her discussion of the three basic types of autistic minds--the visual ones, the music and math (in the TED talk she calls this pattern, which I think makes more sense) ones, and the verbal ones.

I immediately pondered, which mind do I have?  I am NOT a visual thinker.  I can't draw a stick figure well.  That is clearly not me.    I think in words, often seeing them as a page of a book.  Not pictures.  I love art, and have a great appreciation for it, but I have not talent for it at all.

The answer was obvious--verbal!  I have a love affair with books, am good at memorizing or at least getting close, and have been known to pin down book, approximate position in book, and scene, with full details, from one line of a book.  I am a speed reader, and it comes to me like breathing.  Words are my thing.  I also am an excellent public speaker, and generally speaking I am very clear communicator.

Considering the pattern thinker, though, I would say I have bits of patterns in me. Not because I am superb at math and engineering and music, far from it in fact.  But because I am obsessed with things like lists.  I also am obsessed with the idea of revolutions and balance and starting and ending, of going through all things before starting to use them again, of order.

To explain in practical terms (and yes, you ARE free to mock me) I, and my family, like to use pint glasses for pretty much everything we drink.  But I believe all the pints should be used before you reuse one.  I always grab from the right, and put back on the left.  If I have a blank space on the right I will fill it from the next row over and do this all the way down until I have space on the left to put away the newly cleaned glass.  I KNOW this is strange.  And when you live with other people, there are some things you just have to let go.  I wince when I see my mom or sister has very logically put away the glasses into the empty slots, remind myself that this is my strange Aspie thing and no one else is obliged to cater to my crazier oddities...then I go and fix it.  :)

I do this same basic thing with food.  The first in, first out thing in restaurants?  I believe it should be done at home to.  With food.  And kitchen towels.  And glasses.  And anything else.

And no, I don't expect everyone I live with do this--I told my sister about the pint glasses, and she didn't know that was my thing at all as I just hadn't mentioned it.  I already drive them crazy because I just don't get why the food in the frig and cabinets isn't put away in basically the same space every time so it both looks neat and you can find what you need and immediately tell if we have it, and I have begged and pleaded until the Erudite Sister and I worked out a workable plan and compromise that would manage to keep both of us sane.

But my strange pattern, first in first out to create a perfect and balanced cycle? Nope.  I do that alone.  :)

So, I am verbal with hints of pattern as it relates to lists and cycles.

And I love the internets.

That is all.

God bless,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Many, many of you would have read over and over again from people who are on the Autistic spectrum, of most levels, of how they are proud they are autistic.  How they are good at their job because they are autistic, or how it gives them abilities to stay focused and pay attention to details.  How they are proud of themselves, they know they are different, and different is OK, to be celebrated in fact!

And true, all those things are valid about the Autistic life.

But here is the REAL truth.  At least for me.  And I am willing to bet for others.


I hate it because no matter how trained and practiced you are at getting on, no matter how well you function and do your job well, no matter how smart and self aware and downright careful you are, there will, there absolutely will come a moment when your brain just shuts down.

Because you see, we Aspies have no control over our brains.  At all.  We can try.  We can learn.  We can practice.  We can even go through the right motions.  But when push comes to shove, our Aspie brain is going to win out over any logic, reason, attempt, effort, argument.  I sometimes feel like I am two brains in one body...and the Aspie brain ALWAYS wins.  It frustrates me to no end and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it.

Telling an Aspie to get over it, forget it, move on, don't worry?  Forget it.  We quite literally can't do it. We SHOULD.  We WANT to.  But we can't.  It is NOT POSSIBLE.  Or if it is, my highly intelligent, self aware, and trained brain has yet to figure out how in 37 years of trying.

And sure, sometimes we get upset not because we are an Aspie, but because people are just flat out rude, or cruel.  Do not blame my disease because I am upset.  It is not an excuse for your bad behavior. But if I weren't an Aspie it would be a heck of a lot easier for me to ignore you.

Sometimes I will read stories of truly, classically autistic kids and think you know, I may be smart, able to get along in public and hold down a job and pay bills and have friends and communicate and drive a car and do all the things that these Autistic people will likely never be able to do.  But when I hear them explaining how they feel and what they feel, I realize that at the core we are EXACTLY the same.  We express differently, I have a higher threshold.  But the things that bug them, bug me.

Once again, I say, I HATE BEING AN ASPIE.  And I have a feeling most Aspies agree, in their deepest hearts.


Sorry for the caps in this one, guys.  I was going for emphasis.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Two bits of useful data


I found out when I did the Campus Interview for the Nebraska job that I have been googled, and this blog came up.

So if anyone from Wayne State College is following me, hi!  I loved your school.

Moral of the story--if it is on the internet, they can find it.  Beware what you do.  Though I don't start each job interview with Hi, I am an Aspie, I am clearly fairly open about it and I don't think it has killed my job opportunity.  But I knew, or rather strongly suspected, I would be googled.  I would have done the same.  Just know...this is pretty much SOP now.

Second and totally changing the topic, I give you this link, with a fervent YES.  Also, PLEASE click on the links provided in the article.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

EA is leaving soon as she can manage it


I have political and economic reasons for wanting to leave CA--basically, it is too expensive here to have any sort of standard of living on one salary, and I don't like the politics.  I had been planning to do so for quite a while, but was holding off until I get trained to be a Nuclear Medicine Technician and had some hiring power.  I haven't totally given up on the Nuc Med dream, but things change.  There are thousands of people going for under 30 slots in the Nuc Med program, so as much as I have worked to get it, I just can't count on it.  Plus, there aren't that many jobs after you graduate.  Dreams collide with reality and require adjustments.

And then...well, to summarize, the man I love asked me what size ring I wore and what style I like, planned ring shopping with me, then sent me an email the day after Valentine's saying he could only offer friendship.  I am sure I don't have to explain how that felt, or explain why I need, NEED to get out of the state for personal reasons as well.

Sooooo....I am hedging my bets.  While still planning on applying for the Nuc Med program and preparing to do so, I am also applying for jobs.  My goal states are Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, though the Dakotas would work, and I actually just today applied for a position in Nebraska.

Will I miss my family and friends?  OF COURSE.  Will I miss my family at St. Andrew's--and they ARE my family in every way that matters when I am gone?  Oh, so very much.

But do I have to go?


I need a fresh start.

And sometimes the only way to get that is to entirely move away.

Plus, I hate the weather in California.  :)

God bless.

Monday, February 25, 2013

You MUST watch this.

Yes.  YES.  A thousand, a million times YES!!!!!!!! Penn and Teller's Bullshit on Vaccinations.  Mostly about how they DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM.

Everyone should watch this.  ESPECIALLY if you are the parent of an autistic child, or autistic yourself.

Profanity warning (this IS Penn and Teller), and NSFW at the end with a boob flash (which actually is appropriate in context, you will see what I mean).

But it is so, SO worth 26 minutes of your time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Must vent before I put on my big girl panties

OK, this has NOTHING to do with being an Aspie, but I am frustrated and annoyed and pissed off, and I need to vent off before I just suck it up and do it anyway.

As those of you who follow my personal account on FB know I am having to take, as it is requirement for the Nuc Med technician training program I want to get into, a beginning speech class.

This for a girl with a BA, an MLIS, who has been public speaking since 3d grade.  Who has taught, and led workshops.  But God forbid my EXPERIENCE counts.  Because they need a class and grade to prove I know how to communicate. ARG!!!!

THEN, I get to the class.  My friends, I have no problem with teaching public speaking because truly, it is a skill I was born doing, but so many people have a hard time with it, and I respect the fact it is an essential skill that should be taught.  This class includes how to research at a college level, another thing I FULLY think everyone should know how to do and it should be taught to them (though at the high school level).  I wonder if the prof would let the former librarian teach that part?

What I object too, seriously and strenuously, and what has me tearing out my hair and really wanting to drink a beer, is how dumbed DOWN all this is.  Examples:

  • The syllabus includes course outlines and a listing of the learning objectives that will be taught in this class.  We are also told, in great detail, what plagiarism is and not to cheat.
  • We have a grade tracker sheet, to put down our points, and the points we can recieve, and an explanation of how to calculate our grade.
  • We have an outline of how to write a two page paper.  The suggestion is to split a piece of paper in half and write ideas on both sides that are pros and cons or some such thing. I couldn't read any farther, my brain exploded.
  • We are told that we have to write our name on the board before giving a speech, and to throw away gum first.
  • We have to critique speeches.  We have to make eye contact with at least three people in class.  Because you know, if you don't give a specific number we might forget or something.  Granted, this IS important, and it also includes things like posture and voice reaching to the back of the room, also important.  
  • We have to outline our speeches.  
  • We are REQUIRED to have visual aids.
And the teacher, to her credit, has all this laid out and a lot of supplemental information, organized well, online. 

But am I the only one who sees this and thinks, this is a high school class?  My mom teaches high school.  This is EXACTLY what she does with her students.  

Now, it is bad enough that I have to take this class, but I can suck it up because I have to do it I have no choice.  It's just another stupid hurdle.  What is driving me crazy, what I just can't quite get my head wrapped around, is the fact that these community colleges have been dumbed down to the point that they are like high school.  I can handle going back to my early college days.  I resent bitterly having to go back to high school.  And it was NOT like this when I was at the community college.  I had real classes, with college expectations both in content and delivery, and it was not dumbed down.

Asking my teacher mother why this is so, and she says flat out because the kids aren't learning it in high school.  Not because they can't, not because they aren't being taught by many dedicated teachers, but because they are simply lazy and won't do the work.  Period.  You can give excuses all you want, but it comes down to the majority of kids flat out refusing to learn.  And that just explains sooooo much.

Makes one truly frightened about the state of our future, doesn't it?

Your frankly totally pissed off and aggravated EA, who will do her darndest to refrain from complaining anymore, now that I have written this post.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Three basic, practical Aspie coping skills

Ok, I am feeling guilty for not posting more, so you get two today.  In one day!  Woohoo!  Now if I don't write another for three months, you remember this day.

In the past two months I have found myself in two situations that are hard for me.  First, being with an individual person who pushes ALL my Aspie buttons (not maliciously, no blame here), and makes it very, very hard for me to handle.  Second, large groups of people most of whom I don't know.  I've managed to get through these experiences in the moment unscathed, though of course I was tired and frustrated and angry and it took me hours to rebalance myself after the fact.  That's par for the course of being an Aspie, you can't avoid it, so you have to just deal.  In the process though, I have learned three HUGE coping skills that will not only help you get through but will help ensure you don't act in a way that is rude, or hurt anyone's feelings.

A) If you feel the meltdown coming, if your buttons are pushed and you have to fight to keep your mouth shut for politeness sake, when your body starts to tremble and you can't make eye contact anymore, the best thing to do is simply GET OUT. Don't try to fight the breakdown or the anger or the words stopped up in your throat, you won't win the battle and it will wear you to the bone trying. Make an excuse and get out.  Don't be rude, but do be hasty, or you risk saying the wrong thing.  People that know you are an Aspie will recognize and accept this.  If they don't, hopefully you've covered yourself well enough and if you haven't, there is only so much you can do.  Because getting out, getting alone, getting into an activity that relaxes you, is the only thing you can do in this situation. 

B) One of my peculiarities as an Aspie is figuring out how to not talk too much, not dominate the conversation, not say every little thing going on in my brain because it is interesting to me and I assume it is interesting to other people.  The simple solution to that is to ASK A QUESTION.  Ask a question preferably with a long answer.  Get someone talking, it takes much of the burden and weight off of you. If you have a hard time talking, you don't have to talk!  If you have a hard time not talking too much, make them talk a lot first, and you are good!  Plus it shows the other person that you care and that you are really listening, which you ARE (or at least I always am).  It's a win-win.

C) At some point or other we are all going to have to be with a large group of people, and people we don't know, and conversation. When you can't follow the conversation, when the noise is too much, when you are upset about something, when you aren't in a bad enough state to have to get out but you just have to zone out for a while, the easiest way to do this is simply to stop talking.  You can glance around at the speaker so they think you are listening, you can even listen if you choose, but if you don't talk you can fade into the woodwork until you get a grip. Also, not talking precludes the possibility of saying the wrong thing or being rude or looking stupid.  Silence in these situations is always an OK thing.  If it gets too bad, go back to A).

Hope this helps!


Two excellent articles

Bonjour mes amis!

I guess I should stretch this out into two posts to make me look like a more prolific writer and up my blog entry count...but nah.  I love you guys.  You get a twofer.  :)

First up, this.  Now, I got this from Autism Speaks, and I was VERY surprised as other stuff I have seen from Autism Speaks has been suspect.  But this goes along with my blog posting about the root causes here, and helps confirm the truth of my diatribe about bad science when it comes to Autism here.    55 gene changes involved.  That's astonishing, and interesting, and to overuse a word, really truly cool. Because it shows that when I talked about how they were just delving into the genetic research for this over a year ago, that research is now bearing fruit.  And truly, the fact that they have located 55 gene changes involved, one can imagine the infinite variations possible.  It fully explains why different people express autism in different ways.  It explains why it is called, and accurately so, a SPECTRUM.

Oh how I love science.

The second article is this one, I came across it today on FB from an excellent source of Autism information, Rethinking Autism.  Now before the title, Can People Really Outgrow Autism, gets you riled up (as it did me), read these two paragraphs in the article.

Among the many articles covering this study, I couldn’t find a single one featuring an autistic person commenting about the report. As you can see from how the researchers evaluated their 34 “optimal outcomers,” they don’t appear to have asked said optimals about how their internal function jibes with the external results or what they do to achieve those results. Because no one else seems to have bothered to ask autistic people these questions, I did. I polled the autistic community via social media, asking autistic adults what’s going on inside them when they appear outwardly typical and asking any readers if they felt they’d “grown out of” autism. 
Their response was immediate and intense. “I don’t ‘look’ like I have it, but I do,” responded one autistic woman, who went on to describe how she’s learned over time about different expectations for behavior and tried to apply those. Others describe using pattern recognition to navigate socially, while still others report having an “optimal outcome”-like period in later childhood but then experiencing a trough of struggles in early adulthood as new responsibilities and expectations arose. They wrote to me about self-monitoring, about working hard to compensate in social situations but then experiencing crashing exhaustion afterward. They talked about self-selecting their social groups as adults as a way of feeling more socially at ease. The concepts that came up again and again and again were “compensating” and “coping.”

To which I (and my friends on various points on the Autism Spectrum that have commented on FB) can only say, EXACTLY.  And which I feel I must add, even if this was a good study to start with, the fact that it only had 34 members would pretty much totally nullify the validity of the results.

So, there you go.  Two interesting bits of Autism news to lead you to your Friday.

God bless you all,