Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Aspergers In My Daily Life: A Study

As I've said in a previous post, I've recently started writing a book about my experiences growing up and living as an Aspie. The support I've received for this project has been immense and really heartwarming but it has frequently caused me to wonder; am I autistic enough to write this? Aren't there those far more severely on the spectrum than I, and would they really be served by my work on this subject? Ultimately, I'm not self shaming with this; I know I'm definitely an Aspie and that this blog helps loads of people daily (as I hope the book will too!). The thing of it is though, if anything this project has made me more aware of my little "aspie moments" on a daily basis. In light of that, I'd like to share a few examples of how Aspergers influences me in my every day life:

Sarcasm: Oh boy. Let it first be said that I absolutely LOVE sarcasm! The wordplay, the double entendres...its the stuff of language geek porn! Needless to say, I am an extremely sarcastic person, and I fling it with wild abandon at both my customers and coworkers alike. I am not, however quite as good at getting it back. Like anyone on the spectrum, I have an extremely hard time distinguishing between genuine comments and sarcasm. Sure, I can read the obvious cues, but when a person is consistently sarcastic with a deadpan facial expression, I start to worry and wonder. We recently hired a new guy at work for example, and while I think quite highly of him as a human, he is a perfect example of what I'm talking about and as a result I didn't know how to take him at first. Now? My obliviousness has become a running joke among all of my coworkers and I.

Verbal Motor Skills: I am obviously a lover of language and writing, and yet there are so many times throughout any given day when I find myself fumbling over my words, unable to articulate what I know my brain wants my mouth to say. This contributes to my clumsiness and social awkwardness, and it feels as though my brain is literally running a billion times faster than what my mouth can keep up with. In many ways, this is why I've embraced writing; I can take my time and communicate far more eloquently than my verbal skills allow for. This is especially true when I'm nervous, such as when my boss is standing right over my shoulder...

Sensory Overload: I know I've already devoted an entire blog post to this, but I just wanted to reiterate it as part of this entry; sensory overload is definitely a thing. And it sucks. In my case, its very much brought on by crowds of people, loud noises, and when things get busy at work. Working in retail, you can imagine this happens all the time, which leads me to....

Anxiety: To be frank, I feel anxiety about almost everything. What should I do for breakfast? Is my friend upset at me? Am I texting too much? Am I NOT TEXTING ENOUGH? My list could go on indefinitely, and as one of my best friends is fond of pointing out, "Adam just has THINGS about THINGS." Since its tied to Aspergers, my anxiety manifests mainly in terms of social situations. Typically, my responses to these situations at work progress as follows: crowds/hordes of humans --->loud noises----> sensory overload -----> anxiety. I also have a bad habit of questioning myself on every decision I make, and then second-guessing it as well. This makes social situations interesting to put it mildly.

I know I'm missing many little examples, but I hope this serves as just a small taste of how Aspergers influences my daily life as an adult. Everyone's experiences are different, however, and your mileage may vary. We all have challenges after all, and no two people are alike. Just because someone you encounter may not seem to have challenges and quirks, it doesn't mean that they don't. Me personally? I know I'm weird, but I prefer to think of it as different. And proud!

Yours in diversity,

Adam Michael

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