Spectrum Downs and Compensation

If I were given the option of deleting five of my Autism symptoms, no more and no less, it would be these five:

1. Meltdowns

A tantrum that isn’t! A tantrum has a goal of getting what I want. My meltdowns have no goal. A tantrum wants an audience in hopes of achieving the goal. My meltdowns come over me whether I am alone or not. A tantrum is resolved if I get what I want. My meltdowns will pass like that of a storm but they leave me in fatigue.

2. Sensitivity

When I first saw on a list of common female Asperger Syndrome traits “emotionally sensitive”, I thought, “Tell me about it!” I could wear that symptom etched on my forehead.

When I was in my early teens, my church youth group leader informed me I was sensitive.  I don’t remember my response but I do remember having to ask my Mom later what did the word sensitive mean.

Whenever I have said to someone who knows me fairly well that I’m sensitive, they don’t put up forth an argument.  I haven’t yet gotten the wishful response of, “You’ve got to be kidding me.  You?  No way!”  I am guilty as charged in the sensitive department.  I wish I could let things fall off my back, but I’m just not wired for that.

3. Monologue

If one brings up in conversation about one of my passions/interests like my expanding presidential collection album, then one can be guaranteed I will come out of my shell and give them a bountiful earful.

4. Obsession

It’s okay to have a hand vac, stick vac, a full-sized one, and a robotic vac, but a bit extreme to have no less than two of each.

5. Panic

My inner panic mode button is on more than I’d like it to be. I expect it to be on when there is a true emergency. Such as locking myself out of my apartment with no car keys, no money, and no identification. Yes, I did do that once; well, honestly, twice and both times I was moving out of the apartments.  Maybe “easily distracted” should be a runner-up to this list.

There is no magic wand to wipe away these five; or even just one. It’s not hopeless though. There are ways to compensate.

My VAC obsession’s drawback was where to put them all. With my knack for organizing, I managed to find a space for each member of my VAC family.  Since moving back to my home state, I let go of this obsession and reduced my herd to three.  However, my obsession with electronic gadgets is filling in the VAC emptiness.

My meltdowns have been considerably helped with the help of medication that is working like a charm.  It is helping to keep my energy up and my anxiety level down. I’m not pushing the panic button near as much when not having a true 9-1-1 emergency.  The medication doesn’t keep them entirely away, but having fewer of them is compensating.

As for sensitivity, well, that’s a hard one. Sensitivity can be a good thing such as working with school students who have special challenges. Since my diagnosis, I can empathize even more so with children who have autism, ADHD, behavioral issues, etc. But it isn’t such a good thing when just a hint of criticism, justified or not, puts me in a tailspin. Shutdown city! A prayer telling the Lord all about it is the first step in rising out of the shutdown.

The monolog doesn’t come up as often since I don’t have that many conversations on a daily basis. Now that I am aware I am on the spectrum and its symptom, I try to catch myself when I am hogging the conversation.  A viable alternative is to do my talking about my interests/passions in e-mails to my pen pals and so they can read my term papers at their leisure.



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