Me and My Shadow

British author Alis Rowe, who writes about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is quoted as saying “I’m just not really that fond of ‘socializing’. I’m not saying that I can never have fun being with other people but I just tend to have more fun when I’m on my own!”

I echo that quote.  I have oodles of fun by myself. Since I don’t live alone now, I am not lacking in human interaction as I was when I was living by myself.  I confess when I have the house to myself, it is like being in Disneyland without being at Disneyland.  It has nothing to do with those around me that I prefer my own company.  It’s just the way it is with my ASD.

Parties are hard for me to have a good time at, but not impossible. The more people I know, the better the odds of enjoyment. I once had fun at a party get-together with mostly total strangers but I can only recall one of those. I managed by eyeing an introvert who perhaps was just as or maybe more introverted than myself.  One of my party coping mechanisms is looking for an introvert at the same party too.  If I’m the only one, it’s going to be a long night.  I can’t recall feeling sad when the party guests started leaving. That’s usually the best part.

Dating and fun? There are folks who admit to having had both at the same time. I just have to take their word for it.

I confess I have the capacity to chat for an hour or longer with someone where the topic is one that sustains my attention. If the topic ventures to something I know little to nothing about, the fun is over. It’s nap time. I will not nod off, though, because if someone gives me an inch and lets me talk, I should do likewise when the person is on their soap box. That is only fair!  I may not hear every word, but I’ll try to keep up the pretense that what is going in one ear isn’t coming out the other.  The least I could do for someone who listens to me.

I have another confession. I have actual memories of having honest-to-goodness fun with others. It’s just I don’t have as many of those memories as I have of “me and my shadow”.

 

 

 

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The Tip of the Iceberg

Long before I knew I was on the Spectrum I knew I was an introvert.  I took the Myers-Briggs multiple times and although the results would sometimes vary, the score always started with an I (Introversion); never an E (Extroversion).

I’ve heard some folks question whether Asperger’s is just being an introvert.  If someone asked me that, I’d have a hard time keeping a straight face.  I’d be hard pressed not to roll on the floor in hysterics.  Why?  Because there’s a heap more to my living on the Spectrum than my “I”.  I sometimes wish introversion was all there was to it but take my word for it, it’s not in my case.

I don’t think being introverted causes me to require wearing an eye mask to bed to block out the light that’s hard on my eyes.  I don’t think it has anything to do with needing to turn on some white noise device at night to block out sounds that can put me in a tailspin.  It isn’t shyness that’s behind me sitting on a bathroom floor with my hands over my ears trying to block out the sound from another room that’s driving me to tears.  My being an introvert doesn’t cause me to overreact to some pet peeve to the point where I feel like a rumbling volcano inside set to blow off.

Not all that long ago I was in a place where a music video came on.  The music was a solo being performed by a man who had a loud, strong bass voice.  Nothing against his singing, but his bass voice threw me into meltdown country.  I retreated as far as I could from it into a corner.  Tears rolling down my face.  I stimmed by moving my legs back and forth.  In my thoughts, I was begging for whoever to finish his song.  Once the singing stopped, I went back to where I was sitting.  I took some deep breaths.  The indescribable pain had vanished as quickly as it had come over me.  All was well again until next time.

I admit I am an introvert, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.