Thursday, December 30, 2010

That's Claritin Clear!

You know the Claritin commercial where everything is all fuzzy and then that layer is peeled away and the colors are bright and the picture is clear and everything suddenly makes sense? That’s what my Asperger’s diagnosis feels like. I have learned that, while listening to another person talk, I must put on my interested face and nod at what I think are appropriate times and occasionally say things like “Yeah, I know” or “You’re right” or “What a jerk, I can’t believe he did that to you”. This is what “normal” people do. While I’m doing all this, my brain is screaming, “I don’t care about this. It has no affect on me. Please stop talking. Seriously. Stop now. Shut up. Shut up. I’m begging you, please stop talking! SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!!  JESUS H. CHRIST, WILL YOU JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP???”

I have never understood why other people don’t seem to have this inner voice begging to get away from small talk or boring conversations. Before, I would get overloaded and have a meltdown and not know why. I would feel the need to go straight to my bedroom when I got home from work so I could be alone for awhile and I wouldn’t know how to make my roommate understand that my need to be alone did not mean she had done something to make me angry. I would feel endlessly guilty about not missing my mother when she moved overseas or the fact that I don’t notice if I go long periods of time without talking to my sister. I would force myself into social situations that I knew would upset and exhaust me because I didn’t know why they upset and exhausted me.

It makes sense now. No more fuzzy picture.

Now I know the causes of what I have always considered my “weirdness” and I am learning to take care of myself. I was able to say to my roommate, “Look, my senses get overwhelmed and I need time to recover from the day. I need to go to be alone for a little while and I need you to know it’s not about you or anything you’ve done. When I feel better, I’ll come back downstairs.” I was able to tell my boss, “I can’t deal with all the crazy noise here. I’m going to close the door to my office and play a white noise track through my ear buds. I can still hear if I get a phone call, so it won’t have any negative affect on my work.”  So much better than flipping my shit and screaming when things got to be too much.

This new world of mine is an amazing place.

2 comments:

  1. Welcome to this new world :) I'm glad it's becoming such an amazing experience for you!

    I can absolutely relate to what you say about responding during conversations because that's what people do, meanwhile inside you're screaming for it to end. As a teenager, I didn't understand that it was rude to act on that internal voice (and I didn't have the capacity to not act on it), so when my father would explain something I would say things like, "I SAID I know - that means you can stop talking!" Of course I feel horrible about it now, and have gotten better about keeping that part of me inside. I've gotten too good at it, actually, and am in the process of retraining myself yet again. Balance is key but I always seem to overshoot it in one direction or another.

    It's not that I never want to talk to people, or am never interested in what they have to say, or am never genuinely concerned if something is amiss, but there are some things I just do not get, and that is where some frustration comes in. If someone is ranting about someone else and expects me to comiserate, I can't do it. It doesn't interest me, I don't see the point, and it strikes me as rude and petty. (I'm referring here to low-key ranting, pretty much just listing all the reasons you don't particularly like someone - not the venting kind of rant that is sometimes extremely necessary).

    I'm rambling, but yes - I absolutely understand how this feels.

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