Organized Aspie

You or your Aspie may or may not be a neat freak. But chances are you both will strive off of getting your place in order. Whether or not you or your loved one is like me (super structured in my home environment) or like a close friend of mine, (super unstructured with good intentions, whose living environment could be compared to a cross between a hamster and a puppy habitat), either way an orderly environment can prove beneficial.

Why? Because effectively employing any method that can even slightly eliminate chaos and triggers directly equates to less anxiety. Less anxiety means increased productivity, a happier Aspie, and more enjoyable moments. Period.

I have recently found since relocating homes and downsizing my clutter, and employing an ongoing keeping-things-in-order routine that my stress levels, in all areas, and especially upon waking, have been drastically reduced. Less stuff and less mess, means less headache, and less thinking. Anything that eliminates thinking is on the top of my list of things to employ!

Of course there are limitations to how much someone can organize based on several factors, such as: the space in question, resources, financial means, physical means, executive functioning, motor skills, and so on.

LABOR: But for the sake of this discussion let’s assume that there is someone available to at minimum do the physical work, and if not, then perhaps that can become top priority: finding someone who can assist.

• There are local agencies individuals can contact to help with chores, if one is disabled. And in many cases someone on the autistic spectrum is considered disabled under the loose definition. Also, oftentimes there are religious agencies, you do not have to belong to, that can provide services, such as Catholic workers.
• Also, one could consider a trade with a neighbor or acquaintance, perhaps for lessons of some sort, e.g., musical instrument, fine crafts, knitting, homemade meal, editing, tutoring, help with resume writing, transportation, house-, pet-, or babysitting, etc.
• Recently a friend of mine hired a couple teenage youngster boys to de-clutter his room. It took them hours, but the boys were more than pleased with the below minimum wage payment.
• If you are a social-network person, reaching out to your ‘friends group’ by posting a question about where you might find local resources, might prove beneficial. Even if someone doesn’t live near you, they can ‘Google’ your local area.
With the labor taken care of, it’s time to tackle the space, (or more ‘Zenny’-annoying phrase: embrace the space).

Sidenote/Tangent/Ramble:
I had so much fun checking out books from the library and ordering books on healthy homes a few years back; it was my fixation to study healthy home environments. I learned them some basics, such as eliminating all cleaning products in the home that were toxic, reviewing my cosmetic and beauty products (shampoo, deodorant) and replacing ones with toxic ingredients (including cat urine!) with natural products. It can get pricy to do this all at once. So one idea I incorporated was when one thing ran out, I replaced it with a more natural alternative. And now a days, with the internet, natural doesn’t need to be more expensive; take coconut oil for instance. A little bit of research and you’ll have multiple uses for a common, buy-in-large-bulk item, like coconut oil. It’s a great alternative to expensive makeup remover! Also, while you are at it, you might consider studying into Feng Shui; there are multitudes of online resources, including blogs, news articles, and free online videos. Feng Shui is a great foundation for downsizing.

DOWNSIZING:
To downsize ask the following questions:
1. Have I used this in the last year?
2. Am I likely to use this in the next year?
3. Does the item make me feel good? (connected to happy memories/moments) If it’s connected to bad memories, toss it.
4. If it does make me feel good, is keeping it worth the potential work/hassle/stress keeping it might or does cause?
5. Is it an item I can part with or will I mourn or regret if I no longer have it?
6. Is it in working condition? Is it free of dirt and mold? Is it pleasing to the eyes? Does it smell good? Does it enhance my living space? Is it free of damage that affects the aesthetic appeal or functionality?
7. Does it serve a function (or is it just something else I have to fix, upkeep, and/or dust)?

I go through these questions automatically in my head when I go through my house, almost daily, as de-cluttering is often on my brain, as of late (fixation). I also consider how long I have had something and the joy it has brought me. And I consider if the main reason I am holding onto something is out of impractical thoughts, and then if it is an impractical thought I counter the thought with logic, e.g., “Well, one day I might need this key chain! …(Even as I have ten others!); “I cannot give it away because a special person gave it to me”… (it’s not practical, it is cluttering my life, someone else will appreciate it more).

If you have a large space, just focus on one closet, or one small closet, or one drawer. Start little. After you have decided what to keep and what not to keep consider options for where to putt the stuff. I like to recycle, give to charity, sell, or give to a friend/neighbor/child. I personally keep a bag or two in the house, one inside and one in the garage, and fill it up weekly with items for the charity shop. I make certain to get a receipt for tax write-off purposes. If I buy a new or gently used piece of clothing I give up a piece already in my closet. Usually something that doesn’t fit, something I have had for years and don’t wear, or some item that causes of discomfort (makes me itch, makes me feel self-conscious, hurts my skin, etc.) Of course I have to be careful or I would give away all my clothes away, because nothing is really comfortable except my sweats and cotton T-shirts.

Less…Stimming
For me, and this is personal preference, but likely arguably true for many, less stuff equates to less hassle and headache. Less to clean. Less to look at and think about cleaning. Less to wonder where to put it. One of my stimming rituals since I was three years of age is to rearrange things (small decorative pieces and furniture) around the house. It can be quite annoying and time-consuming, (and one time landed me an ambulance ride to the ER), as mostly nothing every seems to be in the right place.

I have found two things that help tremendously to keep me from resorting and reorganizing objects. The first is 1) Keeping small items such as books, collectibles, personal-treasures behind glass. Whether a glassed bookcase, curio cabinet or small cabinet, having items I like to look at and keep in view behind glass keeps me from wanting to move them around. Interestingly enough, having items behind glass is suggested in some Feng Shui readings, as the energy of a living space is better served (flows naturally without being bombarded with numerous objects) when items are behind glass. And the second is 2) Asking those questions listed above and downsizing.

Paperwork!
As far as paperwork goes:
• I keep one basket with paperwork and go through it each Friday. If I skip a week, I catch up the following week.
• Junk mail and advertisements go automatically right into the paper recycle pile.
• I sit on the floor and spread out my papers into piles each Friday. It’s another form of stimming for me.
• Keep in mind that for some of us on the autistic spectrum the mere sorting of a basket of paper is a trigger and can cause huge amounts of anxiety. When I suffered a setback in health I was unable to even open my mail (forget about reading it) for a year and a half because my executive functioning abilities were taxed. One of the invisible disabilities associated with autism/Aspergers is lack of executive functioning in some area. For some of us that’s the process of reviewing bills and organizing bills. For others it’s how to put together a vacuum or even use the vacuum.
• For those that need help with organizing paperwork, again, see if you can find a resource in your local area, even if it means making a few phone calls to disability support agencies. Just remember, if you have ASD, you are likely disabled in some area.

Journal:
I started a new organization system that works wonders. I keep one paper soft-backed journal. It has to be a certain type of paper and binding and has to open a certain way too, as of my sensory sensitivities, and can’t be an old or half-used journal as the dust mites bother me (just like in old books), but I have been able to find cheap journals/notebooks on clearance or special, particularly at back-to-school time. I keep a journal and inside keep notes of all my bill stuff. It makes it kind of fun, and another great way to stim… with numbers!

I keep my budget listed there in the journal. Sometimes I rewrite my budget five to ten times a month. Number-stimming is my number one standby for stress. I keep my to-do lists there and scratch off and rewrite and rework them. I keep important numbers, things I need to remember to tell someone, things that come up as ‘ah-ha’s!’ while sorting through mail/bills. People I need to call or write. Places I want to go. Projects I want to do. Chores, errands, you name it. My head is constantly busy with what I can and ‘should’ be doing, and the journal is ONE place (as opposed to various reminder sheets scattered around the house) where I can keep all my household-and activity-related thoughts!

It’s been a lifesaver, literally. Having one place to go has alleviated much stress. Also, if I panic about needing to remember something, I remind myself that I have a place to go for recording and reference. Also, having a set day (every Friday) means if anything comes up during the week that isn’t urgent, I write it in my journal, or on a post-it atop my journal, or loose piece of paper and toss it in my Friday basket. On Friday I gather all the notes and record them in my journal. And to reassure myself (and avoid panic) I can flip back in my journal and recall things I have forgotten. Also, during the week I don’t think: “I need to do this or that.” Instead, I simply toss it in my Friday basket and forget about it until then. Like I said, life-saving!

Back to Paperwork:
Many of us have piles and piles of paperwork. I have been there and have Aspie friends (and non-Aspie) that are ‘in that same boat.’ For those people I would suggest taking it slow and rewarding yourself for each little bit you do. Make a reward chart. (It’s the teacher in me.) Before you do anything go buy stickers, or pretty markers, or candy, or healthy treats, or whatever ‘rocks your boat’ and motivate yourself. Employ a relative or friend to help. Or turn on some great tunes on your electronic device and rock out and/or listen to healing music. I find doing more than one ‘purpose’ at a time helps me to do less favorable more mundane (seems to be a waste of time tasks.) For instance I like to meditate while painting, in the bath, taking a walk, or in the sauna. I see dual purpose, double-time progress. So you can do the same for meaningless, mundane paperwork sorting. Listen to a book-on-cd from the library, do leg lifts, get up every 5-minutes and run up and down the stairs/in and out the house. Just do something with the other, and you, like me, might find yourself more motivated. Sometimes for me the motivation might be the feel-good feeling when I am done (intrinsic reward), the ability to show some one and receive support/praise (extrinsic reward), a task/treat/outing I plan to do when I am done (in example after I am done with Friday basket maybe I will have some tea on the balcony). All these things help. From my perspective, in how I organize the world, all of life is much like a schematic game board. I am constantly organizing thoughts, ideas, movements, speech, words, numbers, and so on. Thusly, it’s natural that I find ways to make paperwork into a schematic goal-oriented, end-game venue as well.

Paperwork Strategy:
If I were to help someone with a lot of paperwork, I would start off by getting some large bags and/or cardboard boxes. Then I would mark paper as labels and place them on the floor in front of the bags/boxes. We would make piles together.
1. Recycle
2. Trash
3. Sort Later
4. Unsure Pile
5. Important Bills
6. Important Other

I would go through all of it first, before sorting beyond these six, and likely only do that for the first day (month/depending on task at hand). I’d open everything and minimize, putting envelopes and advertisements in recycle/trash and keeping the bare minimum. I wouldn’t stop to read anything or dissect or analyze, as that would get me off track. When I was done I would discard of the trash and recycle and return with two empty containers to start again.

The next step would be to go through (5) Important Bills and to chronologically order them. I like to write dates of when they are due on the top of the bill or return envelope (if not paying online). Then I would return to the (4) Unsure Pile and make sure there wasn’t anything important in there. Place important in (5) Bills or (6) Other. You get the idea.

Everyone will have their own sense of order and organizing, but that’s what works for me. I also have a place in the house that is just a drawer of manuals/warranties. Another drawer for passport, social security card, high school diploma, etc. I got rid of file folders and file cabinets as I found that kept me more cluttered and kept me from getting rid of things. I basically have very little paperwork left in my house. I keep a box of sentimental cards and such, but even those I try to sort through and de-clutter, yearly.

I’m thinking this blog was a good example of how my mind organizes, how stimming and sensory issues and planning come into play in my daily living, and how when I take Vitamin-B supplements in the morning, I have excess need to process and advice-give.

If you’d like me to fly out and organize your space I charge flight, accommodations at 5-star hotel, Gourmet eateries, and 10,000 dollars. Hehe. Joke! It’s a joke…

sam

side note: Females on the spectrum sometimes are very organized, others have a very difficult time with the executive function of organizing. Neither is stereotypical, as each Aspie is uniquely herself. In my history of knowing Aspies, the males seem to have more challenges than females in bringing order to their environment, and the females tend to start young, in childhood, sorting, collecting, ordering their surroundings. Could be the nesting attribute of our genetics. Either way, extreme-order that leads to OCD, obsessive thoughts, inability to relax and/or extreme disorder, are both burdensome at times and may require assistance.

Of She

universe
universe

Of She…
She mounts, as the tuft ribbon, torn
Riding the circumference of questioning
Mind turned, trembled-wavers
Across endless cause
I cannot, I can, I will, I shan’t
And over the mountain terrains
She treks
Feet, aching soles
Upon beaten battleground
Heart opening to the chasm of reason
She is, and she is not
Twisted and reborn into
This something new and un-new
Opened and closed
Reexamined and brought into the light
Distraught and brilliantly aware
Carrying the global basket, woes
Torrid tears racing down bones
Outlining, this shadowed-speaker
Born into prism
Walls, resurfaced and reshaped
Made into what almost is
Until fleeting moments weep away
Left idling, still,
In creviced thoughts
Of what has come
Fragmented semblance
Slivered whispers
Claimed identity
The torrential gathering
Of she
~ Sam, 7/25/15

Self

self
self

I know what I am not but not what I am. I know when to stop but not when to stop starting. I can inch my way into the middle and get stuck in the molasses of neither here nor there. I don’t know how to swim upstream without pounding pain, and instead, in alternate route, float downstream away from the waters where all else abounds.

Somewhere I have forgotten myself, and I search to find her, thinking I have arrived, only to once more find I am at the backdoor looking into what was and thinking I had known then.

I cannot remember who or where I have been, anymore than I can visualize where I am going. I am lost, in a time maze of confusion, falling upon a self I cannot fathom or detect.

She is there, in the shadowed-tunnel, collapsing and reborn into another, faster than humanly feasible. She is multitudes unopened and reopened—an anomaly in form. To be and not to be. To care and not to care. To unravel into the very depths of reason and peer down into the pond of ‘me.’ Only to question what it is that stares back with such disregard and wonderment.

I am but enough and then I am unequivocally lacking, never measuring up to the enforced standards absorbed from the path I walk. I clamor for explanation and find a thousand books untouched, though in some fashion taken into the realm of reason. I can feel the words: the spoken, the whispered, the silenced, the ones that never came and ones that never speared the element that is I.

They make me. They form me. They penetrate me into something I know not. Clay to my mind. Dirt to my heart. Scattered residue of earthly wants and needs. Goods that I am neither capable of grasping or acquiring.

I am this existence that the observer watches. Reformed with the passerby. Morphed into their reality and then left, unscattered and splattered, broken and unbroken, in a pool of endless duality.

I am what I am—yet only for a fleeting moment; a chance to take glance towards the outline of my palm, the beat of my heart, the opening of a billion universes. Everywhere I am, and at once I am alone. Isolated. A loneliness no less easy to explain than the essence of what I have become. ~ Sam, 7/24/15

What Does Aspergers Mean to You?

I asked some online community members what Aspergers meant to them. These are some of the responses. (Apologies if there are repetitions or if I forgot anyone.)

What Does Aspergers Mean to You?

Alexandra – I have Asperger’s. No, it’s more than that: it’s not just an attribute, it’s something that is so intrinsic to who I am. It colors my perception and shapes how I interact with the world. My mind is the core of my being, and Asperger’s is the core of my mind.

My son, mother, sisters and I have Aspergers. It’s been so very tough not knowing why I was different all these years. It was isolating and confusing. I ended up hating myself for many years, but after my son’s diagnosis we all had a light bulb moment for ourselves too. I will not speak of what it meant before I learned to love myself. I will share what Aspergers means to me now. It is wonderful. I have figured out what to do to prevent meltdowns and face everything that comes my way. I rejoice in my ASD. I have perceptions that no one around me does. E.g. I see music not just hear it. I cannot find words but I can write everything in music. My piano solos say so much more than words can. Everyone who hears my compositions has quite the experience. I like to take people to places they forget exist in them or don’t know exist. People say that they visibly see life stories unfold before their eyes and they connect. I still find immense joy in watching ants work. I feel the life of the planet and even inanimate objects because they deserve thanks for providing us with a purpose. They are a part of us. I don’t miss things that most do. I have life buzzing inside of me that most forget as they become adults. I love sharing this with others and being wakened together.

I am on the spectrum and so is my daughter. I never knew until my daughter’s diagnosis when I was in my late 30’s. Ever since I found out my life has changed for the better! To me Asperger’s means that I am not alone anymore. I can better understand myself and others. This gives me confidence–confidence I never had before by knowing how far I’ve gone. It takes strength to live in this bright, chaotic, illogical and very loud world. I remember this when challenges arise.

My daughter has been diagnosed and I am certain that I would be under the right conditions. The root of what it means to me… a completely different viewpoint from the outspoken rule of normal! Wonderful insight and different angle on solutions to situations.

Kylee – I learnt a long time ago a child I was in contact with. also my mum was doing some training and recognised myself in some of the traits. it just means I’m different but I try to not let it affect my life.

My name is Stefani. I have Asperger…To me it means I’m capable of great things, but it takes me a long time. It means that even if I’m 31, I feel like a 14 years old. It’s means that life around me doesn’t go the same speed as life inside of me. It means that I will never truly understand what’s going on but I always be amazed by the smallest of thing.

My name is Beni. Diagnosed AS as a mature woman. I don’t relate specifically to the label of Aspergers and don’t think it’s a disorder, but identify as autistic for several reasons. The diagnosis has been liberating. It means I am the way I’m supposed to be – not “wrong” or broken somehow. Just different, and I’m very much okay with that. It also means that I’m not alone as I felt all my life until understanding why I’m different and how many other people are similar to me. Still have problems, but I deal better understanding why.

Jon, have ASD. Asperger’s to me is the albino of the human race…I may think I’m normal, until people kick me out of the herd because something is ‘off’ and they can’t pinpoint it. It is knowing that the people around me are instinctively thrown off by my sheer presence, regardless if they’re aware of it or not.

Mike, have Asperger’s. To me is like that old awkward friend that never leaves me alone, and I have to be very careful kind and cheering with him, otherwise he starts to screw me over and he wont stop until I put attention to him. The diagnosis was liberating and helped me to understand and know a lot about myself, weird things on my behavior and difficulties that I presented along the way started to make sense for me. Still struggling, I’m not on the sunny side yet, but every day I get closer to clarity, peace and direction in my life.

Jo. I have an autistic child but run a group for children with disabilities so have lots of children with,asc,aspergers etc,aspergers means to me clever people with an eye for detail they can be very funny and dry witted people some of the most loveliest people I know xx

My name is Ines. I am a self-diagnosed aspie. To me, AS means self-acceptance and understanding. Before I knew about AS I didn’t comprehend my life, I thought I was crazy, weird and not worth it. Now I know why I’m different, and I’m learning to be less hard on myself. I have a love-hate relationship with my AS: most of the time I’m proud of the unique characteristics it gives me, other times it’s hard to put up with the challenges it brings. The best part is when you can name something that something automatically starts being less scary. smile emoticon

To me Aspergers tells me that I am my son’s mother. If it were not for his autism diagnosis, I would never have come across Aspergers. My son has helped me to understand who I was, and in effect, helped me understand how to support better him too!

Sometimes, my late diagnosis makes me feel alone, as I am still trying to find out, after so many years of trying to fit in, who I really am. I have lows and highs. My highs help me feel unashamed of my past self- something I always felt. Now I know the reasons behind many of the difficulties I have experienced, I no longer feel so bad. My lows lay in the fact that I have lost a sense of who I always was, and am trying hard to find that person again, in a mass of overwhelming experiences that I cannot yet understand properly. I want to find that person in whole, and feel unashamed of that person. The late diagnosis has been a difficult thing, but I am still glad that I have it, and I think my son came along as a messenger almost, and not just for me, but also so that I could nurture him too. Quite a beautiful symbiosis.

Lennée- self- aspergers is superpowers. Overstimulation is kryptonite. There is no way this is my home planet.

Kate. Have ASD. Unable to KEEP friends that I can be myself around and feel happy with. If I meet someone I admire who tolerates my quirky traits and accepts me the way I am, even after they really get to know me, I smother the relationship. I’m so happy to connect with someone I find interesting, but I suppose I ultimately destroy it with obsession. It’s lonely and sad. But I feel I have gifts that other people don’t have.
I just have to find other ways to connect with people enough that satisfies that desire to know someone intimately without the obsessed part. Just sharing myself with someone else who reciprocates and finds me equally interesting. Relationships are a struggle. If I’m not practically obsessed, then I’m often not interested. I feel I either get bored easily, or I become emotionally dependent. I don’t know how to have a “normal” friendship. It’s really bad when I’ve been rejected by someone I desperately wanted to be friends with. I struggle to even talk to someone whom I desire acceptance. I have a great fear of rejection by someone I care about to the point that it is debilitating.
Relationships are just one aspect! I could go on.

It’s something that makes a person’s mind operate on a different level, oftentimes beyond what others can. It’s also something that other people don’t care to tap into or allow to reach its full potential

Asperger, well it means joy relief frustration wisdom and understanding of how my brain and mind works…sadness because of the way dad tried to cure me by military discipline and domestic violence and abuse of mom my sisters and me because we were all destroying his image in the society of the 60,s and the 70,s.His standing as a free mason and at the golf club and the church as a church leader It caused me so much pain and damage and hurt and loss of self-esteem and being brutalized .I am amazed how I survived with suicide and ultimate goal of leaving the house getting into uni and getting a really good job I spent years being isolated and shunned and mocked behind my back because of my idiosyncratic behavior as an Asperger .Then I got married twice why do people want to marry a damaged person is it to domineer or is to manipulate and con and commit fraud against .Now its a joy I have met really wonderful friends and so wonderful people I am learning on the run how Asperger function by trial and error and coming unstuck and causing hurt unintentionally I TRULY WISH NOW THAT WE ARE RECOGNIZED FOR WHO WE ARE OUR UNIQUENESS AND IN PARTICULAR THAT ALL THE WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE ALSO GIVEN THE SAME CHANCE AND RECOGNISED NOT TREATED SO BADLY AND SHABBILY.

Hubby loves me for me

Sam. Aspie super-hero. For me, at this moment, it means extreme pain and isolation. But in another moment, it will mean extreme joy and connection. I am waiting for that other moment…often.

Liz. ASD dx’d and ASD parent. Frustrating, debilitating, self-consciousness and fear.

Rick (have ASD): To me, it means understanding my own nature for the first time in nearly four decades of life. It means not punishing myself for my differences and eventually coming to accept them for what they are: gifts.

Amanda – I have Asperger’s and am a single mother to an adult son who has Asperger’s who still lives with me as I am his only support (emotional and otherwise) – Hell…

Sherry. I’m me.

Aspergers means social mysteries, heightened empathy and honesty to a fault to me – Anne with aspergers and parenting aspergers

Gail, don’t know but…honest

Chris(have ASD) it means living in this world but not always being a part of it.

I asked my son, Matthew (9 yrs old with AS) “Well, I am sensitive to a lot of things. There are certain things I like a whole lot that most people don’t like that much. Oh, I’m smarter than most people!”

Carrie (ASD) Translating the world in vivid empathetic color.

My name is LeslieAnn and I have Aspergers. It’s a family trait affecting my father, my sister, a grandmother, cousins… For me being a an aspie means that I see/ experience the world through a different lens- think “macro” or “bug eye”- than NT’s. I process what I experience differently: I equate it to cultural differences between immigrants.

Great joy and fulfillment and never-ending wonders!

Krista – for me Asd Means 100’s of things, (oh man) it means My 15 yr old Autistic Son and I have always had a beautiful understanding of one another. It means New Beginnings, knowing I’m FINALLY I’m NOT alone because I’ve finally met so many wonderful adults like myself! It means, YES I CAN do things that I’m NOT dumb and that I can learn and STILL learn at 40!! That it’s OK to be ME, to stand up for myself, to say NO! It means Finally having an understanding of all the unanswered questions, that all the Snide comments, laughs, and ongoing ridicule were due to cruelty of a world that did not understand ME, and not always the other way around. A society that was mired scared than anything of differences that could rock the boat or take away forming little identical robots or individual Uniqueness’s. It means that I Krista, am going to be OK!! That I CAN now conquer many fears, YES I ALWAYS WAS and AM intelligent, but when I learn, I just need a visuals. It means That I am extremely sensitive to noises, sounds, tastes and touches, that these were NEVER my fault and that I can NOW use tools and accommodate for these things so that I can “HELP” myself because I now have a great understanding of ME!! It means Im actually learning to Love who I am for the first time in 40 years!! This is all due to my son, my little Miracle Man.

Serena. Aspergers, is a parent to Aspergers and friends Aspergers. What ever it is, it is always mixed with individual personality and a unique body therefore it’s different in each and every one of us. Now I’ve got that out-of-the-way I can say it means we are the round pegs in the square holes , the spanners in the works , your guide when your down the rabbit hole , it means we stand out and like to stay in , the force is strong in these ones , given love , support and the correct environment will transform the world into a better place (just the same as anyone at full potential) , a label that has helped me find my people ( and you know what that means – everything) , eccentric , eclectic , empath, I’m certain it means seriously funny , brilliant , weird and wonderful. There is more but I have run out of time. It means quite a lot doesn’t it.

Adrienne, parent of two ASD teens, to me it means my kids think outside of the box without all the inhibitors…kind of like how children are pure before society ruins them. Totally positive for us!

For my daughter… She’s bright, intelligent, but so socially awkward. I feel sometimes that there is a fog in her brain that just needs to lift so she sees the light…

Self (and I know this may be a little difficult to grasp – but please bear with me) Aspergers as I have come to learn and live with it… is a title given to us by someone who wants to pull out the gifted children of the God/Light from the others. A mark; a word used to initially oppress and hold down w/ deems of mental illnesses when really – most of us just aren’t crazy enough for this world. For if it were a mental illness – like many others – there would be a pill to stabilize it. Just as there are pills for some of the symptoms – but we know, many NT’s have depression and anxiety. Psychics don’t have pills, animals don’t have pills to control their in-tune senses. To me – Aspergers is the word we have adopted from those who label to help us locate each others…It doesn’t define us other than in some half right medical Manual or record. We go crazy trying to find ourselves find a label to explain it then realize that it was okay to be us in the first place. Hope that makes sense…

Sariah. Asperger’s means I’m unique, I see the world differently than most people do, my strengths and weaknesses are not predictable, and even though I have trouble figuring out some simple things, it also allows me to figure out some complex things that others can’t.

Hi! I’m Alyce. Since I discovered that I am Aspie, my life has made sense. I am not the oddball in my friendship groups of fellow Aspies! What a feeling to not be judged, to be able to speak my reality and be understood instead of laughed at! Being Aspie amongst Aspies to me means my feet are finally grounded.

Sarah. I’m an Autistic parent of Autistic kids. Aspergers is a way of life. It is part of my everyday experience and I wouldn’t be me without it.

Johanna. I have not been diagnosed, but am very certain that I have Asperger’s. To me Asperger’s means being caught inside a bubble, looking out at the world, being an eternal spectator without a chance to ever participate. Like being an alien on a strange planet where everyone looks like me, speaks like me and acts like me but I just cannot connect. Like standing on the other side of an abyss with a bridge that only other people can cross, but not me.

Cynthia: Asperger helps me to control my bipolarity because I am tending to be over rational thanks to that. For example, when I am doing shopping and beginning to spend a lot, a part of me says: “Stop that’s enough!” and during meltdowns, it is the same thing even it is quite hard. It is like weather: sometimes it’s too sunny, then it’s too rainy and Asperger is here to regulate the changes of mood. The empathy is cool also because I understand people better even if I think their emotions are mine often and that is difficult to handle sometimes (and up or down episodes follow). After, I have the habit to not define myself through my disabilities; I am simply myself, a unique human being in a collective society.

Darci .diagnosed 10 years ago as an adult, spouse diagnosed as an adult somewhat recently. Aspergers means answers to a lot of questions for myself, and exoneration of myself. I am happy I am different and myself even if it means parts of my life are incredibly difficult.

Eva…I am undiagnosed I think in pictures and colours and makes for an interesting time depending on which subject we are discussing smile emoticon…my son of 15 is ASD..it means i spend each day worried i may fail my son in his needs and wants for his world…sometimes we can be over consumed when our paths cross and when our expectations clash….other times the house is a joy, full of laughter and comfort and love. each day brings new smiles and sometimes tears….and i wouldnt change a thing!!

Laura, I am autistic, so is my daughter my mum & my sister. To me it means being different but not being less. It means my Windows into the world are very different & so I see things in a different way & I value that highly. It means a lot of people don’t understand me or accept me which can be isolating.I like being autistic it gives me gifts, it gives me my hyper focus & passion for subjects which always helps me through dark times. I always feel sorry for people who don’t have passion for something.

Sue. I’m an Aspie. It means appreciating the fine details in life. An affinity for gadgets and a gift for figuring out how hey work just by taking them into my own hands. Honesty. Loyalty. Taking things at face value. Seeing things in black and white, but at the same time, through rose-colored glasses. An eternal childhood wink emoticon

Asperger’s is a big part of what makes me ME!

John. Autistic’s Father, Autistic. For me it means I am different, and then some on top of that, lol, and I have a name for it, unlike so many in this world – a reason for focus, for depth, for fascination, a reason for everything from my different way of being, to living even. I love being autistic, which is such a major part of who I am.

Lesley. I am Aspie. To me it means having a unique view of the world but being feared for it. Still I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have it.

Michelle… My daughter is an Aspie! She is awesome! I’m not biased she is genuinely cool!

Arlene , could be diagnosed with it but am not. My daughter has it… To me it’s not an identity. It’s a checklist of things that have made life really hard for me but I have overcome and have been better equipped to help my daughters one an aspie the other full on autism. I do not believe having aspergers is something to be proud of but not to be ashamed of either. It just is BUT If I have it… It doesn’t own me. I am me with or without it.

My son and I have ASD…it means no matter what life throws at us we don’t ‘live’ in the same world as everyone around us. This is mostly good and highly amusing. I agree with so many answers tho; it just shows how we are all connected. Like our own ASD tribe, so much to relate to.

I’m Samantha, nickname Amma (because I wouldn’t go by Sam and Mama always said I have to be different). I started learning about the Spectrum 3 1/2 yrs ago when my youngest child was diagnosed. I read everything I could find, sometimes from sunset to sunrise. One of the sites I found is Sam’s blog. I still remember the moment — I’d read for hours on her site – and I sat back stunned. I’d found another human with a mind so similar in process that it was as if I read my own thoughts. I haven’t gone for a diagnosis but by joining this community, I’ve met wonderful people and friends. What it means to me to identify with this label — and these are my observations and opinion — is that we are all gifted with a neurological system that is evolved and surpasses anything humanity has ever seen. We have senses activated beyond the standard 5 we are taught about, and we have abilities to learn, grow, build, create, help and heal other people in ways we’re learning together. What I love most about my Spectrum friends (and yes, I do see it in my family now also) is how funny everyone is. I was always told I have an odd sense of humor yet I laugh with some of you often these days grin emoticon I’m thankful for this gift and thankful for the learning I’ve gained in this community to see it as a gift rather than a disorder. We’re blessed.

My name is Kelly. I am 55 years old this year and am self-diagnosed with Aspergers. To me, Aspergers means freedom. I like being an unusual woman, and I am finally free to be unusual me. Now, I know why I do things the way I do them, and I like it. Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

Karen, have ASD. I am 55 and was diagnosed a 51. I always knew I was different, but didn’t understand why. I felt unlike other people from the time I was in preschool. My diagnosis has brought me relief and understanding. I no longer feel that i’m “wrong” or “broken”. I am now free to be who I was born to be without guilt or regret. And it comforts me to know that I have a communitiy of other people on the spectrum who experience life in much the same way as I do.

Patricia. I am an undiagnosed aspi, and I can trace the aspi traits back through both sides of my family. To me it means being aware of the duality of being me, of seeing everything going on around me at the same time as being unaware of subtleties in human behaviour. It means loving my kids so much it hurts, but on the outside people see me as a distant Mom. It means having to always be “on”, of always checking my behaviour and trying to appear normal. I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I wish I didn’t have to struggle so hard.

Lisa. l have Aspergers. It means a reason to be different, and a reason to be kind to myself – to let myself search until l find the place l am happy and what and who are good for me. lt means soft sweet-smelling skin and touching rocks and growing flowers and remembering my teddy bear and hugs. lt means sewing and drawing and looking for connections. lt means solitude and sanctuary, aromas and music. X

It means never going out in public without buckling on my prosthetic personality. It means constantly being reminded that things that literally jump out at me are not even noticed by other people. It means being wound up with tension as I scrutinize every clue as to how people are reacting to me, and wincing with expectation of being misunderstood and offending someone. It means being a connoisseur of smells, a specialist in textures, a critic of movie minutiae, a noticer of tiny trivia, and a dangerously curious investigator of oddities.

Emily. I’m a parent of an ASD teen girl. Also suspect in myself but only dx ADD. For us ASD means intensity of focus at times. Other times total inertia. Musically gifted, creative. Longing for connection. Desperate attempts at fitting in. Driving people away but never sure why. Deep, existential thoughts… Longing for simplicity, escape from movement, noise, smells. Needing to wrap up in a fuzzy blanket of solitude, way more often than is considered acceptable by most. Feeling separate, always standing outside the window looking in. Feeling fragile, but knowing there is an inner strength to forge ahead, and keep trying.

Kirsti. Aspie. Diagnosed 14 months ago. Misdiagnosed and heavily medicated for 20 years so I never had the chance to learn how to live with it, so now that the meltdowns are happening in extreme ways and the anxiety is beyond a level I can control, it’s horrifying and I am considering a return to “Zombie Land” even though the side effects were so heinous. Just so I don’t have to feel this anymore. Sorry. I wish I could be more positive about this awakening.

Karina. I have aspergers. To me it means high anxiety, which can be debilitating.

Asperger’s, for me, is like a different operations system in a computer. Most use Microsoft Windows, but some us use LINUX.
It’s different and sometimes more efficient and sometimes more laborious. The two systems, with some effort, CAN work together. The data must often times, be rearranged (formatted differently).
This should be one of our cooperative goals).

Jennifer, just beginning the process of being assessed, mom of three aspie kids. To me, Aspergers is like a secret golden key that unlocks the door to a huge trove of information I’ve been desperate to find. I feel like I’ve just been given a temporary membership pass (pending proper approval) to an exclusive club whose qualifications I find I am uniquely qualified.

Mitzi. My son has ASD. I’m still learning but to me it makes him unique and I really learn a lot from him by how he views the world. He makes me “smell the roses along the way.”

Cyle. I was diagnosed with aspergers in adulthood
For me, it’s jus like any of your friends, families or loved ones quirks, maybe more numerous. It means standing out at times as different, quirky, somewhat animalistic and while loved ones seem to grow attached and appreciate this, acquaintances and less close friends judge and assume. I am both talked and treated down to, and looked up to and admired depending on who I am with and where. It is a big part of who I am but not a label I wear on my shoulder. It is a difference I am proud of for all the trouble it has caused me and I believe that is mostly due to the few that have learned to love me even more because of, and not despite it.

Finding out about Asperger Syndrome was like finding the Hayne’s Manual for my life. It explained so much about me and what I lived.

Mutism? Aspie Triggered

Recently, a loved one pointed out, in a not-too-harsh, but rather matter-of-fact way, that I complain a lot. In my all-too-common fashion, I stepped back and watched myself wade through the elements of my rapid-firing brain. Or better yet, I observed the domino effect as one thought kicked another thought’s ass. And one after the other, I collapsed.

Here is a very brief scenario:

I complain a lot, I should kill myself.
If I am that terrible of a person, I shouldn’t be on earth.
If I think in this type of martyrdom fashion, like the last two thoughts, I am surely not worthy to have anyone love me.
How could he say that? Do I really complain a lot?
Is this his reality, my reality, or some other reality? Whose perspective is real? I should reread my Buddhist books for the third time. I have such a bad memory.
He is cruel and unjust, I am never speaking to him again.
Actually, I am going to be mute for the rest of my life. I will never speak to ANYONE again. If I still can’t get things right after this many years, I am doomed. What is right? I hate that there are rights and wrongs. They don’t make sense.

I can do it. I will start with one day. If I am mute no one will ever judge me. Well, at least not my spoken words. Should I still write? I will have to write. But to whom? And how much? I will be a saintly mute like the older lady on the popular prison show. I kind of look like her anyway. I wonder how my children will react. Would my silence traumatize them? Maybe I should slowly become mute. Little by little each day. I could write on a notepad.

[Intermission: I looped into a fantasy of my life as a kind mute.]

And then, anger: I will show that asshole. I shall never speak again!

He complains too. He is pessimistic. He is moody. He is….. It’s not fair he pointed this out to me. I hate him for doing this. I hate him. Doesn’t he know how much goes on inside my head already? How hyper-sensitive I am to everything? That I am trying my best? I don’t want to ever see him again. Ever! I miss being around people who aren’t honest all the time. No, I don’t. Yes, I do.

Tears (again). Well, I point out things to people and I am sure it makes them uncomfortable and they process. Or they just ignore. I don’t have the capacity to ignore. What would it be like to think everyone else is the problem and not self-reflect and not look at self? Freeing I suppose.

I am still caught up in this perfectionism. Damn him. Damn me. I don’t deserve to be here anymore. I just can’t do it. I can’t function in any type of relationship: friendship or romantic, not even casual. I don’t know how to do it. I hate being alive. Do I really complain a lot?

That’s it. I am marching up to my bedroom and I shall stay there and sleep the day away. I am locking my door. I am not coming out. [Toss and turn replaying all past hurtful things anyone has EVER said to me in my ENTIRE life…stab, stab, STAB] I can’t sleep. I will run away. I will drive away. I will just leave. No one will miss me. They will be better off without me.

Marching downstairs. (I actually step lightly but in my imagination I am stomping.) “Hi Violet, you want to go outside potty?” Asked with baby-talk inflection to my wagging-tail shadow. “Shit,” said out loud. I can’t be mute to my dog.

Mute plan demolished after thoughts of buying clickers, whistles, teaching my dog hand signals, and buying her extra treats, and after I’d already told her, “Good girl for going potty!” and her eyes lit up.

Drove away….Forever…. Logical me re-stepped in after one mile. Did errands. Paid bills. Texted a friend. Waded in self-pity. Analyzed self-pity. Analyzed myself analyzing self-pity. Analyzed my therapist’s thoughts of me having self-pity. Is it still self-pity if I am aware I am wallowing and analyzing the pity and making measures to eliminate the wallowing and admitting to martyrdom?

Analyzed general truism at the time: NEVER returning to my old life and ways. Like the victims in Body Snatchers, I shall arise reborn. Maybe half-dog.

Wondered if I begged really loud if my home planet would beam me up.

Drove home. Pretended nothing was wrong but planned on never speaking again. Forgot I wasn’t speaking ever again. Threw out that plan once and for all, but not before fantasizing about a commune where all mute Aspies lived together and developed telepathic abilities so not one person had to open their eyes. Wondered if people would miss my voice. Wondered if other people get sick of hearing their own voice. Contemplated if life would be easier sensory wise if I couldn’t see. Yes, it would, I decided, but not before mourning the feasible loss of an azure sky honey-combed in powder-puff morphing clouds above the evergreens. Sigh. I needed to see.

Continued to cry sporadically when no one was looking punishing myself for yet another thing I do wrong, not right enough, and not good enough, and wondering how I could ever be enough for anyone, particularly my own self. Dead set settled on the fact that everyone who was ever critical to me in the past was right. Set about to analyze each and every person, and concluded they all have issues. We all have issues. But I suck the most. At least it’s feasible I do. Wondering what the world would be like without me and if my death would affect and hurt people. Yes, it would. Not a good idea in general. Questioned: Was I suicidal or just wallowing. Wallowing was the outcome, blended in with self-persecution and lack of survival plan or skills for this round, mostly-blue planet.

Held pain inside. Did not speak of it. Did not mention it to anyone. Stab. Stab. Stab. Decided to send emotional daggers out in every direction in attempt at self-preservation. Youngest son enters. He is miserable about something. Not him too! He states harmful statement projected towards me. I explode. I breakdown. I just can’t hold on. Freak out. Freak out more. Rush to fix what is broken. Rush to fix family issue. Rush to redeem myself and help my son. Sink back into temporary reprieve as distracted by other urgency, only to return to original funk of I am not good enough now accentuated by previous encounter with son. Sad. Very sad. Terribly sad.

I obviously can’t have relationships with others as I take things too personally. How can I dish out stuff but not be able to take it? That’s hypocritical. I am a bad person.

Cycle back through these thoughts and multiple thoughts, over and over and over. Project into future what life will be like without certain people in my life. Become closed off and quiet. Non-respondent. Function with normalcy, at least my normalcy, smile when expected, answer when expected. Nothing. More. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff with occasional stab. Bleed out until dry.

Finally arise, after days, at conclusion: Everyone complains. At least most people. But I can complain a bit less. It will be good for me. Having uprooted my ego-bits and experienced the pain of wounded self-image, begin rebuilding.

Logic again: Yes, I complain more than some, but likely about average for my kind. I think? But compared to what is in my head I only share one percent of what I hear inside. And I am so very grateful about so many things I think of constantly. Should I speak aloud all of those things to counter balance what is perceived as negative? Ought I just change what I think inside and not allow complain-like thoughts? And how do I separate what is anxiety from what is considered complaining? Triggers from what is considered complaining? Truth telling from what is considered complaining? How do I know what to hold inside and what to tell? When does withholding thoughts or information become an untruth? When do I stay quiet? How much? For how long? How much can I share about what’s inside before I sound like I am complaining? If it’s to inform and I don’t feel like it’s complaining and it’s just informational and logical with no emotion or intention, is it still complaining? When is sharing complaining? At what point?

Still contemplating general mutism after my dog dies.