498: Call Me Aspie: The first part of a thousand-page manual

I have Aspergers, and I tend to:

1. Fixate on a certain problem or puzzle, and process this for weeks, if not months, until some part of me reaches a solution. During this time, I may seem frantic, melancholic, elated, discouraged, confused, shattered, and exhausted. As soon as I have a sense of closure, I might feel bewildered and ashamed of my behavior. There will be a brief reprieve, until my brain latches on to another puzzle to solve.
2. Over-process certain events and happenings, particularly exact words used and sentences used by others, as I try to determine the underlying facts and supposed truth. This will reveal itself in multiple questions and inquiry on my part; sometimes the same questions over and over; the repetitive nature is involuntary and necessary, as it brings some relief to the messages circling in my mind. In such cases, it is best for me to confront a person right away and ask a brief question than to burden myself for a day, becoming incapacitated and virtually numb from all the over-thinking about feasible meanings and outcomes. The over-processing can and does burden other people, and leave them questioning their own ability to have patience. I will apologize and mean it, but will not be able to stop the over-processing, even as I am hyper-aware of my behavior and possible consequences based on my actions. Telling me to not over-think is not helpful and not feasible.
3. Lots of giggles. I will appear more childlike than most, and find humor in things that most adults won’t. I find the beauty and fun in many occurrences and statements, and can act a bit immature at times, focusing on little events that make me chuckle. I also will giggle nervously or crack a joke in an attempt to relieve tension and discomfort, even as it might appear nothing was said or done to cause unease. In times of nervousness, particularly when getting to know someone, I will make inappropriate comments, lacking the ability o filter my thoughts and having a desperate compulsive desire to share. On the other hand, others quite enjoy my company, and my smile can be contagious and enlightening. Cherishing the little things does have its benefits; and some will find this behavior refreshing.
4. Over-share. I will share more than most. It is part of who I am. It is difficult for me to determine what is appropriate to share, what is too much to share, and what is enough to share. I like to talk about myself, because I want to be seen and understood. I like to listen about other people, too. But if I am nervous or uncomfortable or preoccupied, these states of being will pull me away from the ability to focus on another. I have to be 100% there to listen to another; and if I cannot be, the attempt to be there seems a waste of time. It is better for me to get everything out and then return to my friend and support them fully when I am able, then to ‘pretend’ to be listening when I am on overload with thoughts. Initially, I might monopolize a conversation or become dumbfounded and not know what to say or how to relate. I survive, in conversation, by analyzing the other participant, and trying to match my style of communication with that person’s style. If I cannot see the person, such as on the phone, I might become nervous and uncomfortable, wondering how the person is reacting to my responses. This is not about people pleasing. But it is about adapting self, so that I do not drive people away with my tendency to over-expose self and trust fully.
5. Be Emotional. I am triggered a lot. Little things trigger me. A simple word, an expression, a reference, a link to a website, a song, a memory, etc. Because I am easily triggered, I might be very content and happy one minute and then turn morose and in deep reflection the next. These states are generally temporary and I can evaluate the trigger quickly. Once the trigger is noted, I have the capacity to take steps to analyze how to pull myself out of deep contemplation and to alter my state of mind. In other words, with practice and self-awareness, I can quite readily pull myself out of a ‘dark’ emotional state. If the trigger is extreme, I will need to talk and process the event to bring relief. Often a hug or human touch might help from certain people whom I deem safe; other times human touch is the last thing I want and any form of human contact, even attention, will actually cause me to retreat and pull away.
6. Be extremely loyal and honest. I have high integrity. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I don’t take anything lightly. I have the ability to have fun and be light-hearted and to forget about my intensity, but my integrity and sense of being the best person I can be never falters. I carry extreme guilt if I try to deceive another and can rarely hold anything inside, particularly events that seem to demonstrate a semblance of betrayal or untruth. This inability to hide things can hurt another person without intention. Some things are perhaps better withheld. But secrets and lies eat away at my soul, and I can concentrate little if I feel I am not being transparent and authentic in my dealings with others. In some cases if I kept my mouth shut, I would feasibly come out ahead, with more gained than lost. Opening my mouth is risky, and can often lead to a loss. Regardless, I was born to speak my truth, and have yet to find a way to make this stop.
7. Love deeply and forever. Once I love someone, I always love someone. Once a friend, always a friend. I can pick up with a person I haven’t spoken with for years, and the reunion feels like yesterday. I don’t care why a friendship ended, if someone wants to come back into my life, my door is always open. I have learned to take some measures to guard my heart against those that might cause harm to me, but for the most part, I will love a loved one for always. There is little anyone can do to make me dislike him or her or to make me remove him or her from my life. I love easily and fully, and love to give. Receiving is sometimes difficult and feels uncomfortable to me, but I understand that the ability to receive is a gift to the giver, and work on this act often.
8. Get upset when others are emotional. Even as I am an emotional being and cannot stop myself from expressing my feelings, others’ emotions frighten me. It seems hypocritical, but the reality is I am not comfortable with emotions. I tend to overreact to simple displays of emotions, such as slight frustration, fleeting anger, or momentary confrontation on another’s part. While I long for passion and emotional connection, I also run from outward displays of feeling. I feel guarded, in a sense, to the deepest source of love inside of me that is afraid of being harmed or invaded. I would rather feel numb and dead at times than have to figure out what someone meant by their tone of voice, words, or actions. I will literally freak out from the slightest alteration in someone’s tone of voice or mannerism, if the upset appears to be directed towards me.
9. Second-guess my own statements and how I express myself. I re-explain myself and overcompensate for mistakes I might have made. I like myself. I like my mind. I am for the most part comfortable in my skin, despite my challenges, but I fear that I have come across the wrong way and represented myself in error. It is of upmost importance to me to clarify and to check for understanding; this action of revisiting a discussion to add clarification is a natural and instinctual part of my nature, as much as flight is to the eagle. I cannot suppress the behavior, even as I watch myself going through the process and doubting the effectiveness of said actions.
10. Dream and Imagine. I spend more time inside my head than outside of my head. Based on my intense ability and natural tendency to fantasize, I often create realistic scenarios in my head of what could or might be. I go down a thousand different avenues of feasible scenarios of a given situation. Over-analyzing each aspect and evaluating the possible outcomes. This is almost done at a subconscious-level, and continues practically nonstop until my mind has reached a conclusion that brings about some form of comfort. Uneasiness of mind is found in the ridding of possibilities, unknowns, and a state of limbo. If something is open-ended, my mind attaches to the concept of the unknown like one Velcro strip to another. I cling there, in this hyper-state of awareness, attempting, without much effort or detectable impulse, but tons of energy, to factor in each and every variable, in order to attempt to make sense of what seems to be the foundation below me slipping. I float here, in a dream state of possible happenings inevitably until closure is reached. During this time my ramblings, processing, and evaluation after evaluation is often processed aloud or in written form. These bombardments of thoughts manifested into visual or auditory form can cause feelings of discomfort to some. Yet, this is how I function.

This post is dedicated to Lisa, Alyce, Jennifer, David, and Ryan… fellow Aspies who never give up on me. Thank you. ❤

497: Who Am I to Know

Newest post at Everyday Aspergers:

I was not built to be alone, especially not in this world. In talking to other aspie women, there seems to be a split, right down the middle—those that are more comfortable being alone and those that need a companion. I appear to be the latter.

However, I run into trouble with relationships, in my inability to understand what ‘love’ is, what ‘standards’ are, and what ‘boundaries’ are. Without these basic states of awareness, I do expose myself to danger and chaos. The chaos mostly found in the aftermath of a decision I made based on nothing but the heart, it seems.

I am fragile. I am naïve. I am not able to comprehend the simplest of what would be deemed ‘red flags.’ In truth, I don’t understand ‘red flags.’ I lack the ability to look into someone and see what is flawed, wrong, or an indication of posing a potential threat to my wellbeing.

The reason for my limitations is two-fold. First and foremost, no matter how many times I am hurting from an encounter with another, and feeling the repercussions based on something I interpreted from the other’s words or actions, I lack the capacity to hold onto this ‘lesson’ and learn from the experience. It is if I can be hurt repeatedly by exposure to circumstances, feel the deep penetrating pain and remorse, and oftentimes shame, but then this experience and recollection/evaluation is erased from my memory, and I am wiped clean with a definite innocence and renewed sense of hope.

It appears one person cannot diminish my light or my quest, that I cannot be knocked down, jaded, shaded with the scope of a negative outlook, or rewired to be more cautious. I just can’t.

The second factor involving my limitation is the process in which I measure words and definitions. Everything I think and say, even write, as is the case at this instance, is evaluated for clarity and accuracy. My life is truth. My cause is truth. My message, whether it be in written form or demonstrated in aspects of my daily living, is truth. If I falter at all it is in my inability to accurately express the truth within. Words are entirely limiting and mere factors of what is the whole of me. In this way, I believe, I would best serve myself and the world if I was gifted with telepathy, in that I could simply think, or even pre-think, and in the act of willing my experience the images and truth of my heart would seep out without the necessity of language. Had I been born into a world where words were non-existent, I might perchance better survive.

Everyway in which people evaluate and judge other people makes little sense to me. I love people. I understand that we are each ‘flawed’ human beings with ‘issues,’ ‘baggage,’ and that which is primarily observed as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ attributes. I understand that most of the population in this society judges others based on their own made up collection of ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs.’ Therefore, I understand that upon meeting a person, most singular beings take out this imaginary scroll of collected experience, perception, and conclusions and utilize this list, scribed by self alone in the limited scope of how he or she understands and choses to interpret the world, and then sets about to fit others into a category, a box, and/or hierarchy. Individuals are made into this or that, labeled, and discarded into a place that one deems they belong. I see this. I get this. I know this. But I can’t do this. I haven’t the means or know how or skill set. Even as I see it as a gift I carry, I see it too as a curse, in that to not be able to evaluate is to not be able to avoid personal danger.

In my tendency to be over-forgiving, over-trusting, over-loving, and incapable of holding a grudge, I am made in one way weaker, yet in another way stronger. Still the weakness often prevails. And even as I cannot hold resentment, I still very much seep over in tears and confusion recalling a hurt I have experienced whilst with someone, and in this state of seeping with sorrow, my voice might shake and even sound angry. But inside, deep inside, where the me of me resides, I feel nothing but compassion and love. I do not know how to loathe, to hate, to want to set something right, as I do not understand wrongs.

Perhaps this is because inside of me I cannot find the aspect of wrongdoings. This is not to say I do not abide by a concept of ‘evil’ or ‘darkness.’ This I can see readily. Nor is it to say I do not harbor my own set of essential ‘flaws.’ It is to say, that in my perception, anyone deemed ‘monster’ or ‘insane’ has lost a bit of his or her soul, and in truth, the evil-doer is lost onto him or herself, and the spirit thusly in a distant land, the body taken over by something out of hand. And in this way I love the distant spirit that is asleep in a far away place, and behold the ‘wrong-doer’ as primarily innocent in his or her own unsolicited suffering and absence.

As I walk in this world, I do not know how to decipher the person in front of me into what he or she is, other than a human being and spirit, and feasibly a reflection of my own self and my collection of established and attached truths. I do not know how to feel angry towards someone, who like me, is suffering in the human condition. How can I be judge and/or jury, when I readily recognize the disjointedness of our society, and the suffering endured from the conjoined isolation and fear brought on by lack of love and understanding? How can I punish, with the act of my judgment and dismissiveness, a one that is merely trying to survive their own chaotic world? Are we not each and everyone starved animals, preying upon some source or another hoping for escape from the fear of loneliness?

I understand the concepts of fear and love, intensely. I know when there is pure love there is no fear. I know when there is fear there is no love. I also recognize that in the illusion and creation of fear, that love remains, even if only visible to the one that is clear at heart. I understand that fear is a manifestation and part of the human physical conditioning. And I understand that fear serves its purpose at one level as biological manifestations we be. But to a similar degree, I understand that there is no fear and that love resides beneath all.

These concepts are engraved into me. I am sketched by some unknown understanding with knowings of unconditional love. Therefore, when I meet someone, I love them instantly, or in rare cases, wherein I sense ‘evil’ or better yet and absence of wholeness of spirit, I am repelled. Yet, for the most part, those I meet I love. Despite whatever ‘flaws’ or ‘garbage’ they harbor, I might momentarily believe I sense.

In first encounters, I can logically gather a long list of pros and cons of someone, but then everything turns murky and gray, and what I thought was truth is just a collaboration of my preconceived notions. In actuality, each person I behold is not whom I think he or she is, and never will be. This doesn’t confuse me; it just is.

Confusion arises primarily when I am asked, by self, or encouraged by another, to evaluate a situation involving an individual and decide if a relationship with that person is indeed ‘healthy’ for me. I run into trouble foremost because I don’t understand how to do this. I can come up with endless lists and variables in regards to the aspects of another being. Considering most people have lived decades, the aspects of their lifetime and personhood are seemingly limitless. How am I to decide what is worthy for me? How am I to be judge another when my soul intention is to love?

Standards come into place, then, in the effort to evaluate another. What I have been taught, and what I have absorbed as ‘acceptable’ and ‘not acceptable.’ Some standards make sense, because they are biologically based—manifested and made evident at a physical level. In example, I feel harmed when I am in a situation of physical abuse. This I can recognize, because the action of physical harm is more concrete and evident than say another form of abuse, such as the more abstract condition of emotional harm. But there are very few standards that are black and white. There are a plentitude of means of evaluating that have endless outcomes and feasible ways to play out. There are many more that scream of a lost broken soul in search of home, and nothing more. I cannot understand how to seek out that which is perfection when I, whilst on this earth, lack perfection. Still, I recognize the greater good in me and the good in others.

So the dilemma becomes when is enough enough? When is someone not enough for me? Is it when I start to wither and die inside? Is it when life seems even more full of perils and deceitfulness? Is it when I feel worse about myself? Is it when my energy is zapped or my heart bleeding out? I do not know. And how am I to recognize in another something that is foreign in myself. If I be but a shade of blue and all I see is shade of blue, how is it I will decipher the ravaging scent of purple?

I do not know how to decide who is good for me, when I do not have the ability to choose what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad.’ I see the infinity of reasoning, into the endless ways. Perhaps this is my brain. Perhaps this is my heart. Perhaps I am this soul, so entirely aware that the evidence becomes so grand in scope I have not the wherewithal to look upon the entire truth. And in so being, I behold only a subcategory, a sliver, a facet that dictates the rest, or attempts to highlight the truth. Yet, I recognize what is. I recognize what shrouds me in all my circumstance: this limiting truth, a bear minimum extracted from the whole of whole.

And who am I to know? Who am I to know? know?