Someone asked me what was it like having Asperger’s. I didn’t mind the question. Quite the contrary! I welcomed the question or any question related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). That’s one reason I write about living on the Spectrum. I can’t speak for my fellow ASD travelers since each one of us on the Spectrum is unique. I can describe my own life on the Spectrum, but don’t ask me to explain it. Those who don’t have ASD can’t understand it and those of us who do can’t explain it.
My anxiety goes up a notch or two when I am given the “PLEASE go get the…, find the…, bring me …, it’s in the…next to the…on the right…”. The longer the instruction string, the least likely the instructor will get positive results from me.
I was helping a friend the other day with an outdoor project and she gave me a few of those type requests in one sitting. The pressure to find what she wanted in record speed put me on panic alert. I did find them but not with record speed and not without my friend repeating or rephrasing the directions. If I were quick on my feet, I would have asked, “Am I getting warmer?” meaning am I getting closer or further from the target of the safari hunt. The items were within a short, I do mean SHORT, distance from me. EMBARRASSING! If there had been a hole, I would have climbed in it until my friend talked me out of it.
Sleeping with five pillows instead of one. A miserable night if I was reduced to sleeping with the standard number of 1 or even 2. It is just one of my long held rituals to be surrounded by pillows at bedtime. I call it, for lack of a better explanation, my comfort food at bedtime.
DIET ROUTINE – WRITTEN IN STONE
My list of what I eat on a regular basis could be counted on two hands. Most of those items are high in starches. Thus, I am a big fan of bread, bagels, dry cereals, crackers, chips, and popcorn. No salt shaker but what I eat has plenty in it. When I eat my meals is beyond my understanding but I stick to my peculiar eating routine like SUPER glue.
GOOGLE IMAGES WITHOUT WORDS
I am in a conversation and have the floor. I am telling a story and come to a point where for the life of me I can’t think of the name of the image in my head. I describe it in a haphazard way where I stutter all over myself. This is the part that frustrates me. A few minutes later, my brain pops the word up. Granted, this surely happens to most people, but in my life on the spectrum, it is the “norm” instead of the exception.
OH CLUMSY ME!
If there is something to trip over, stumble on, tumble over, then one of my toes, feet, or knees will find it. I don’t take daily inventory, but I don’t think I’ve lived a day that I didn’t have a bruise on my person. I’ll only remember how I got a bruise if it hurt so much that I saw lights flashing. It is frustrating to no end when I bump, fall, and trip but I try to take ’em as they come and keep going with bruises galore.
NOT SO FINE ON MOTOR!
Fine motor skills have to do with the small stuff when it comes to movement. This is why my handwriting bears a strong resemblance to chicken scratch. It is why picking up objects between my thumb and finger is no small feat. Such as putting on or off pierced earrings. As hard as I try to hang on to the earring or “back”, it happens without fail of one dropping. The earring is easier to find than the “back” to it. The backs are so small and blend in into the floor that finding one is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I have come so close at times to give up earrings entirely and forget about my two tiny ear holes. I give in against my better judgment and buy a pack of cheap earrings at the dollar store just to replace the missing “backs”.
WHY DID I SAY ALL THAT?
I meet a total stranger who gives me an inch. I’ll tell the stranger way more than I want to about myself. It was as if I had provided a total perfect stranger a chapter or two of my audiobook autobiography. Shortly thereafter, I’m kicking myself as to what in the world was I thinking telling a stranger my life story.
Those are just some examples of what it is like to have Asperger’s Syndrome. Sometimes I have a no-meltdown kind of day. Other times my autism slaps me in the face and lets me know it’s around and is here to stay.