Saturday, July 28, 2012

Expectations vs Reality

So this odd thing happened today.

You know how when you are sitting somewhere, and you "plan" on what you are going to do when you can get up and "go", or something?

So, I had a plan about how it would go when I was going to get up and leave. Well, in the meantime, Brody threw a fit, I had to leave before it ended, and I didn't get to "finish" what I planned on doing. Jeff picked up our things and brought them to the car. Very thoughtful, but kinda messed with my groove. Then we ended up getting confused, and I ended up cranky.

See, I make plans in my head, like a way of knowing what to expect. When plans go awry, then I get a little shook up. Top that off with the Brody tantrum that started the whole thing, and I was really shook. This is common, and hard to handle. However, at least now I can look at it out of a lens of Aspergers, and understand that its just a part of the deal, and it will be ok. It gives me a lot more clarity. It helps me to understand why I seem like I'm acting crazy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Employment and My Aspergers

See, I'm the kind of person who isn't really physically and mentally able to work very often.
This isn't because I'm lazy, or something. But the actual process of getting up, handing my son over to someone else (even if it's family), going to work, arriving (you have no idea how much arriving bothers me), doing the job, waiting for the end of it all, and going home..... It's all just a lot to take in.

Typically, when I do work, (like I do currently), I work part time, and jobs that are "background work" type jobs like dishwashing, cooking, or cleaning. These jobs require interaction, but the interaction is controlled - the same people every day, you know. Customer service is not my skill; I don't like dealing with strangers, and I don't like serving customers, pretending to be so cheery.... its not that I can't be a cheery person, I just don't pretend to be when I'm not.
However "controlled" the interaction is, it is far from ideal. It isn't like I can choose people I work with, nor can I choose whether they like me, get along with me, or make me comfortable.
Typically there will be a "situation", and that situation can make me really uncomfortable moving forward, and though I know that the only way to get past the discomfort I feel is to put some positive interaction into the situation, I am not able to do this. I am always left thinking that they are still mad at me, or they won't give me the chance, or something. I am not able to be the one to make the first move to "fix" the discomfort.
I posted a link in the post before this one. One of the things on the list was that I do not do drama. I do not lie. I do not make stuff up. I say what I mean. I don't play a lot of games. However, the unfortunate thing is that there are so many people, especially girls, who just loooove drama. They loooove to play games. They love to make more out of something that there is. They love to assume that just because I did X I really mean Y. Hello? Doesn't anybody know that I say what I mean, mean what I say? Why does everyone else's lies have to make me a liar when that is the farthest thing from my abilities!?

Anyway, the point here is that discomfort, bickering coworkers, uncomfortable situations... I have left jobs for less than that.
Sometimes I have reasons for staying. At my current job my reasons are that I get along well with the boss, and the head of housekeeping. I really get along well with them. They (seem to) trust me, they give me the flexibility I need to manage my crazy emotions and my crazy overwhelming feelings, and stuff like that. They make it really easy to work for them. I like that. I like a place that appreciates what I do, but doesn't pressure me to be this kind of person who lives to work there. They know I have a life, other responsibilities, and the tendency to be overwhelmed. 

Anyway, my point is that working and having Aspergers is really hard. It is really hard. Most of what makes it hard is working with people who don't play it straight, and assume that I don't either. Just get me. Listen to what I am saying. Believe me, I'm not going to make up some story just to make your life more difficult or something. Once we are closer friends, I'll be a little more sarcastic, but if we are not close, if we are not friends (because there's no such thing to me as only a little bit of a friend), then I'm going to be straight with you. 

10 reasons Aspergers is AWESOME!

Then the next time I say I'm a bad liar, believe me.

The next time I say I make friends for life, trust me.

The next time I say I don't care about the latest fad, admit (at least a little bit) that I'm right. 

ABOVE ALL : #1. I don't DO "games". I don't DO "drama". I hate it, i can't stand it, and I'm gonna say what I mean, call it like I see it, that kind of thing.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Sometimes, I get really antsy, and I really just need to be alone. Sometimes I run from any and all interactions, and just prefer to read, zone out on the computer, or whatever.

I get overstimulated. I think I get overstimulated more often than I realize, and I just do what I do without knowing that theres a reason I'm running away.

Today I was running a vacuum cleaning corners and such at the place I work. This means hours of running this vacuum. At one point when I was moving something the other workers had music on and it was up rather loud. Just way too much stimulation, I was really getting a pounding head, my ears hurt, they were ringing, and I just needed to be away. I had to finish my job unfortunately. But lunchtime, I just needed to be alone.

Often, this makes me seem upset, angry, annoyed, whatever. Really, I am. Usually I'm not upset at anyone in particular, but if you cross me, even slightly, during my overstimulation, I will be upset with you. See, I can't handle any more stimulation aka talking, drama, attitude, anything. I just need to have, I guess more controlled environment with less "going on". I need to escape!

So. That is what I was thinking about today. Overstimulation is something I'm becoming more aware of, and its something I need to find a way to notice BEFORE it becomes an all consuming problem. Though, sometimes I still can't escape the overstimulation, so I don't know what I would do about it even if I knew ahead of time.. :P

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Would somebody please enlighten me; why do people get a kick out of making people like me a target? I mean I understand that it's easy or whatever, but what on earth joy do they get out of it?

I seriously think they enjoy it too. They just go along with their happy little lives. As if they've won something.

Woul one of you honest good hearted friends please check me for a "kick me" sign on my back?

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Though I know my social skills are not what they should be, and I know that I don't understand a lot of the conversational games people play, or the flat out gossip games people play, I am happy for the most part with my social life. I CHOOSE not to have a ton of people in my life because I can't maintain that many friendships at a time, and honestly, I don't trust people very often. I think I have talked about how quickly I move (mentally) from meeting someone to being their full on friend, but I don't think I mentioned that this doesn't happen often, most definitely not every time.

I have a lot of people "in my life" who aren't really under the right impression about what I do and say. There are people "in my life" who don't really understand me, and whether that's because they don't want to or because I keep them at a distance I don't know.

Because of this, these people, MANY people, don't "get" the things I do or say. This means that more often than not, I say something completely innocent, and it turns into, as I read recently about something I discussed, world war 3. I used to get very emotionally involved in these discussions and I would be angry and frustrated and annoyed and sad.  I don't do this as much anymore, I've learned from the past (I hope!) and I don't take it personally as much. However, people still get all ruffled over things I say, even the most innocent things. It feels as if they prefer to think the worst of what I say, and of me, even when I have nothing but the best intentions. 

I don't always see this as an attack from the person, but there's an underlying belief that I know there is an enemy out there who is doing this through people. That's hard to say because I know that people don't believe in that. That's hard to say because I know people don't want to think that any of their actions come from the enemy, especially if they are a person who believes they are trying to follow God. However, NO ONE is at more risk of being attacked by the enemy, or used by the enemy, than someone who is trying to follow God! Someone who isn't following God is of no interest to satan, what does he care? They aren't following God. Satan's interest is to bring people away from God, not bring them to God. Anyway, I digress.

What I need people to understand is I'm sharing my ideas, thoughts, etc not because I'm looking to fight with people, I'm not looking to hurt people, I'm not looking to be a know it all. I'm not trying to prove I'm an authority of any kind on any topic.
 What I want more than anything is simply to be understood. I simply want to share a thought, and have people say "That's neat!" or "I've never read that/thought of that" or "What an interesting thought!". If people would say that, first of all, we could start any following discussion on a positive note; knowing that I was understood in the first place, and that they thought my ideas/whatnot was interesting and worthy of discussion, instead of just feeling as if they are out to prove me wrong, or looking to find a way to put me down. I guess I've never verbalized these fears really. I found myself just staring at those words. I have a fear of people arguing with me because I feel they are either trying to prove me wrong or looking for a way to put me down. 

Either way, I really just want to be understood. I don't think that this is an unrealistic feeling. I don't think that its uncommon to want understanding. I think people want the same thing from me too. Sometimes I don't see it either. I think every word people say or right should have the "intention" bubble above it. You know? A side note that tells me and them whats going on behind the words, or what the intention behind the word is.

It would be a lot easier if we would say what we mean and mean what we say. No sarcasm, no faking it.

Don't YOU just want to be understood?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rumors, Rejections, Misunderstanding, Aspergers

 "Ericka may feel quite insecure and/or pessimistic about the future. She may also feel inferior to others, has little self-confidence, and does not always feel capable of solving her problems."

"Ericka has very few friends, and others think she is hard to get to know. She is quiet, submissive, and conventional, and she lacks self-confidence in dealing with other people. Individuals with this passive and withdrawing lifestyle are often unable to assert themselves appropriately and are frequently taken advantage of by others."

"The MCMI-III pattern achieved by Ericka suggests an ongoing conflict between her desire to develop secure and warm relationships and a fear of having to relate to others she cannot or will not trust. Ericka wants to be close and affectionate with others but anticipates disillusionment from such relationships. She may lack self-esteem and expect to be humiliated. Others may have either deprecated or disapproved of her self-expressive attempts. Ericka's relations with others may often be petulant and passively aggressive, causing others to view her possibly as a sulky, irritable, and argumentative person. Occasionally, Ericka may attack others capriciously for their lack of support and for what she sees as their unreasonable expectations and demands. To bind her anger and thereby protect herself against further isolation, she may become anxiously depressed and withdraw into her own world. It would appear that Ericka's daydreaming and moodiness frequently evoke negative reactions from others, which only serve to reinforce her withdrawal tendencies.

Ericka may feel that she is unable to muster the wherewithal to overcome the deficits she sees in her life or to achieve the support she desires from others. Hence, she may vacillate, turning first against herself, expressing feelings of unworthiness and uselessness, then turning against others, acting petulant and irresponsibly. Feeling unappreciated and demeaned by others, she may find that withdrawing and daydreaming provides her with some satisfactions that are otherwise unattainable."

"Ericka displayed strong empathy for animals and children, but her understanding of adult emotions and behaviors appeared intellectualized. Ericka described several situations where, much to her surprise, others had to explain to her that her behaviors were having a strong negative impact on them."

I am once again taken by surprise that someone would take my words to mean something they do not mean. Trying not to get into details here, but fact of the matter is that I try to trust people, and this is the thanks that I get! Rumors are spread about something I "supposedly said", which I didn't actually say at all, and now people are hurt. Of course, I'm hurt too. How could anyone take someone else's words, twist them and then turn around and stab me in the back with them? 

This is a repetitive story that seems to be happening over and over in my life. I think I can trust someone, and BAM! I'm proven again and again that I cannot. DURING the accusation, I blame myself. Tell myself how its highly likely that I did do what I'm being accused of. Desperation takes over, as I try to figure out where and how I went wrong. I search, I ask, I reflect. I find nothing.

Then I'm usually left for very strong emotions. Emotions of anger that I was misunderstood. Emotions of sadness and tears that I am so alone. Emotions of frustration that I'm still living where I am, even though I am finally desperate to get out of here. Frustration that even though I stay out of people's lives and privacy, yet they do not stay out of mine. Fears of being misunderstood. Confusion about how to make it right when apologizing doesn't seem to do the job. Pain that I'm always being used, taken advantage of, and I never know it until its too late and someone else is hurt over something said about me, which is usually a lie.

It's the real life version of a hollywood gossip magazine. If you read it/hear it from there, its a lie. 

Sometimes I know or can find out who has broken my trust, but often I don't know, which makes it worse. Which person out of this group of people could it have possibly been? NOW what do I do? How can I prevent this kind of misunderstanding in the future? How can I be sure this person won't attack me this way again? Why are they doing this? What, is there no one else to gossip about, so we have to pick on that "strange" girl who doesn't hang out with anyone in town (and whom we know nothing about, so really, we don't have any true statements to make about her)? Who are these people and why are they even involved in my life, why do they even care what I do or say anyway?

I remember a time where a friend of mine led me along on this idea we would do something, and I was kinda excited about it. Then at the last minute she pulled the rug out from under my feet, called me all kinds of names, and rejected me and teased me because I would want to do such a thing. It was all so innocent. I was trying to be cool about it, and it was HER IDEA. I won't ever forget it. I feel as if I saw my own "deer in headlights" face and I can't get the burned memory of that experience out of my head. 

Trust me. If I had actually done what I'm accused of doing, NO ONE would learn the lesson more than me. However, if I were the kind of person who would actually have done what I'm accused of, I probably would learn nothing. If I were the kind of heartless person who would talk about someone else in order to ruin their reputation, I guess I probably wouldn't care.

But I do care. I want people's respect. I want my words to be taken the way I mean them, not the way someone gossips about them.
And for once in my life, I would like to NOT take responsibility for something I didn't do. Like I said, my first gut reaction is to be responsible, on the small chance that I DID accidentally or inavertantly say something or do something that could have been misunderstood. I don't want to lie, and to end up finding out I was wrong to defend myself and say I didn't. Unfortunately, this probably ends up making me seem more guilty when I am not at fault. 

I have this bad trait of accepting people. I have this bad sense of judgement when it comes to whom I can trust. I have this inability to screen people for their trustworthiness. I would really like to think that people I let into my little bubble are people I can trust. I am already selective to my social groups because I don't have the time or energy for a lot of drama, and because of these kinds of experiences, I'm protective of myself! So when someone who is apparently IN my little bubble stabs me in the back, I take it as a reflection of my poor choice to let them in. I take it as a reflection of my poor judgement, thinking I could trust them to properly understand me. I blame myself for allowing someone to be so misunderstanding of me as a person, that my words were taken in a way that they were never meant to be taken. They didn't know me well enough to know what I meant by what I said, and that somehow is my fault. I shouldn't have trusted them so completely. I shouldn't have let them into that messy statement. I should have known better than to say something that could have been misinterpreted so badly and wrongly.

So, see, it's my fault. Again, I'm taking responsibility for the fact that someone misunderstood my words, and stabbed me in the back with them. It's my fault I said anything that I should have kept private. It's my fault that I trusted them. I'm praying and searching and seeking for the ability to see where I went wrong. To have some kind of proof I am the "bad person" they say I am. Because I tend to believe people, and what they say, even if I know in my heart they are wrong, maybe there's a possibility that they are right. Maybe I just didn't see it. 

After an examination of the facts, I can discover... "no, wait, I've checked, I'm still pretty sure on my position."

I am heartbroken for the person who was hurt. Not because I got "caught", but because they are being used by someone who misunderstood and twisted something I said to mean something it does not. I am heartbroken because I want to be trusted, and now I don't think they can trust me. I'm heartbroken because they were just as emotional, just as hurt as I am. Because I didn't filter my public use of words good enough. Because I use a "public" place to vent my frustrations at all. Because I use it too much. Because I trusted someone, and I don't even know who, and now I know I can't trust people again. I hate this reminder.

I'm really tired of being used. This kind of life is exhausting. It makes me fearful for someone to have this kind of intentions toward me, especially when I don't know which direction its coming from. Its like being blind and not knowing who smacked you upside the head with a brick.

This is Aspergers. Not able to understand or believe or see why someone would want to behave this way. Being innocent and naive makes it really easy for people to use you. Not understanding the drama, the game playing, the advantage to putting someone else down. How does a person gain anything by lying and twisting and manipulating? How do they sleep at night living that way? If I acted like they say I do, and if I acted like they are, the guilt would eat me alive, and I would probably kill myself, or at the least, self medicate through drugs and alcohol. NO WONDER. Makes things make sense a little bit around here.

I've been taken advantage of. I'm tired of it. You think you know me, you rumor spreaders, you word twisters. God is the only person who knows every single part of me. God knows the intentions of my heart when I post or say things. I'll be honest, I'm not perfect, and my intentions are not always perfect either. But honestly, it doesn't happen often because I consider myself an honest person, and I consider myself to be someone who says what she means, means what she says, and doesn't have any hidden implied meanings or game playing or drama. I don't understand people playing those games with me, why would I play them myself?
 Why me? Why me again?

You know the part in "Never Been Kissed" where she reveals she is a 25 year old reporter who's been beating her brains out trying to impress those popular kids? Then she says they will spend a lifetime putting others down because it makes them feel better - and points to the "nerdy" girl and says "WHY HER!!"

Story of my life. Why me? Why do people want to hurt me? Why do people pick ME as someone to gossip about, someone to tell nasty lies about, spread rumors about? Why are they working so hard to imagine up these words, these situations, these lies, about me? What is so important about me that I'm chosen to be gossipped about. Why isn't there ONE person out there who is willing to be like "You know, I don't think thats true." Why isn't there ONE person out there who could stop the rumors? 

I'm just riddled with emotions, thoughts, confusions, frustrations, fears.

OK! Now that I've posted about it, refreshed your memory back to my original diagnosis information, and elaborated on my thought process.... I'm moving on to my normal life. I'm moving into my head for a few days. If I don't post, please don't think I've given up on the blog, but I need a vacation. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Modesty and Common Sense

Call me old fashioned, but I'm the kind of girl who likes to have clothing on, and I'm the kind of girl who thinks that there are certain things that are best for people (kids being one big topic).

A recent news headline of a girl being rescued from rough waters on Lake Superior caught my attention. The first thing I thought of was, where are the parents? These kids were 12-13 years old, and in Canal Park or Park Point, in the lake (who KNOWS how deep it is!) ending up in the shipping channel (? is that what they said?), apparently by themselves. Do people really think that 12-13 year olds are safe by themselves? Everyone was safe, unharmed, but the rescued was tired, too worn out to swim to safety. This could have ended differently, praise God it didn't. But the point is, where are the parents?
I mean, I understand the times. I know that most families "have" to have 2 working parents. I know there are single parents out there. But why do we have young kids wandering around town swimming in a rather dangerous lake in a rather dangerous area of the lake, by themselves? Shouldn't someone, anyone, be in charge of these kids? Or at least be with them? I just don't understand it. DO something before your kid dies/drowns/disappears! I would have liked to have seen an interview with the parents. But of course, they are nowhere to be found at the time of the incident. Hopefully those kids got home to a heap of trouble. They don't look worried in the interview though, unfortunately.

Watching the news story on this I realized something else even more terrible (because I understand teenagers have brain damage, and can almost "excuse" their swimming out there on that....)....
The girls involved are BARELY wearing swimsuits. I have underwear and bras that show less skin. Why are teenagers allowed out, by themselves, wearing such revealing swimsuits that they are barely existent!! 

I could say a whole lot on the reason why wearing clothing is a good idea, but I won't because its a rather complicated thought. But my point is this: if you dress a certain way, you paint yourself a certain way. People WILL think less of you if you dress like a streetwalker. I'm not talking fishnets and miniskirts as the "uniform" of a streetwalker, I'm talking about revealing body parts and plenty of skin. People will have a hard time taking you seriously as a teenager if you are walking around dressed like something out of "Pretty Woman".

And most of all, the attention from the boy or girl that you seek is NOT the attention that you want! You don't want someone who's only attraction to you is your cleavage, stomach, buttcheeks and buttcrack. You want someone who gets to know you, someone who is interested in whats in that pretty little head of yours, not the size of your "rack" or the shape of your backside. Besides that, there are freaks out there who will take advantage of a half naked young girl wandering around. Really? You want some freak stalking you because of some kind of sick and twisted feeling he got off of seeing you dressed like that?

I'm sure a lot of people would jump down my throat for this. I'm sure they would argue with me. But tell me, would YOU let your 12 year old girl wear a tiny bikini out in public? If you don't have kids, you aren't really qualified to answer because you know EVERYTHING until you have kids.
All my life I have thought bikinis on kids was just plain wrong. After having a kid? Well, I'm still pro-one piece. Lets stop sexualizing our children and stop buying these stupid pornstar swimsuits for our CHILDREN.

Maybe this is another part of that "processing speed" things. I have my mind made up that certain things are inappropriate, and nothing is going to change my mind on that. NO 12-13 year old should be wandering around a large city by themselves (or with their friends, whatever). No child should be wearing a swimsuit that belongs on a streetwalker. End of story.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Processing Speed, Decision Making, Friendships

So, if you look back at my first post, you will see that I scored rather high on something called processing speed. This seems like a very self-explanitory thing, but its also very complicated. I am still in the process of understanding what this is, and all of the places in my life that it applies.

When I went to my results meeting, the example that she used was in football, the players have to be able to think fast to make the play. I responded that its like when I'm reading music, I will be reading the notes several notes ahead of where I'm actually playing. Yup, thats processing speed. Also, letter/word recognition is faster, making reading easier. It is likely, then, that I learned to read early on because of this high processing speed; learning quickly what a word looked like, not through phonics or sounding it out, but through just remembering what the word looked like, and recognizing it helped me know what the word is. This all would explain both early reading, and the speed reading I did in my childhood. I could read an entire book in a few hours. I remember I read a lot of "Babysitters Club", and the Sweet Valley books, among others. I could polish them off in as little as an hour.
I also beat a math teacher on times tables. He used to time us doing 100 times tables from X1 to X12. I was always rather fast at this, but I did eventually beat HIS best time, which was totally awesome.

However, there are other ways that I'm told are affected by processing speed. My ability to take in information and make a decision based on that information is also a part of processing speed. If I acquire some knowledge on a subject, I quickly make a decision on the topic. These decisions are hard to be changed. I am almost always SURE of the decision I have made, no matter what. It takes a very long time to adjust or change my thinking. This isn't because I'm stubborn or bullheaded. This is because I processed previous information, made a concrete decision, and that decision feels like a "final" decision for me. Over time, I can adjust and change my position, but it usually takes a lot of additional information and study, as well as patient and understanding people who are willing to understand that I just don't see it any other way. Again, this is not a stubbornness. This is just the way my brain works. I don't know WHY it works this way, it just does. 

This can work about subjects like parenting or religion, both of which get me into hot water with people. But I can see pretty well how this works for people as well. 

Friendships are hard for me. They always have been. I don't remember "real" friendships as a young child, I pretty much kept to myself because I didn't know what to do and I was way more interested in reading a book or something than what the other kids were doing. I remember always liking the teachers, and trying to help them out was something I preferred to do. (Though, there were a few teachers whom I did NOT like.)

I did have friends, but usually they didn't have anything in common except that we were all outcasts. We didn't really fit in anywhere else, so naturally, it was together. Even with them, I was not sharing a lot of common interests, and certainly not a lot of social time outside of school!

As an adult, I still don't understand how friendships work. When I meet someone, I might think that they seem great, but I don't ever know how to make the first move. I don't ever know what to say. My son has been a better icebreaker than anything else in life, but even then I'm hesitant because he is SO forward that sometimes the kid he's talking to has no idea what to do with him either!

But once I feel I'm friends with someone, I have quickly (remember processing speed) decided that this is a person I can trust. This is a person who is my friend! They must like me if I feel like they are friendly with me, right? Yay! A friend! 

This often leads to me feeling very open with them. I'm a "you've been here once, you're family" type person, so once you're in, you're in. Then I have no problems sharing, talking to, being with this new friend. (Clarifying, still, not all the time or anything, and the talking to is more complicated than just talking to them - I stilll suffer for what to talk about....)

The problem with this is that apparently other people aren't like that. First of all, other people usually cannot and sometimes even should not be trusted that quickly. I have learned the hard way more than once that feeling like I'm friends with someone does NOT mean we are friends. Just because someone is nice to me does not mean that they even like me. (Why do we pretend to like someone? Please don't do that to me.) And I can tell you that I have ended up being used, gossipped about and "burned" from feeling like I'm friends with someone who had no interest whatsoever in being my friend.

 Second, people apparently don't trust me back right away. I have this crazy belief that I can trust people. Whether they are a new friend or an old friend, once a person feels like a friend, I trust them. Again, I get burned because there are people out there who are apparently willing and able to take advantage of my naive trust and openness. I tell them things that they probably don't want to know, or that they aren't "close enough" to be told yet. There is only one line in the sand with me. In. Out.

See, in my mind this is heartbreaking because I trust people, and they don't trust me back. It hurts because I feel like we're friends, only to find out we aren't. I show such interest in a person, I shower them with compliments, thoughtfulness, gifts, and I get nothing back in return. 

Then I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I shouldn't be the kind of friend that always expects something in return. I shouldn't be the kind of person who does something just to see what I get back. And I don't think that is the problem. I just misunderstand how friendships work. To me, you are either a friend, or you are not. There is no "almost friend" or "acquaintenance". I don't work into a friendships through these steps like everyone else apparently does.

In my life, more than once, and throughout my whole life, I have trusted in people who seemed to be so nice to me. I latched onto them and expressed my appreciation for them in my life through crushes and loving behavior and feelings. Looking back, even I feel like I was crazy.
 It was always refreshing to feel like I was special to someone, and I wanted to make them feel special too. I felt as if I made a difference in their life, as if my feelings of friendship weren't mistaken. It was always nice to be considered a person that they valued. 
The problem was that there were more of these "friendships" that were with, perhaps to be described as "inappropriate" people. Typically, they were never people my age (kids my age were not safe), and they were people that I technically were "safe" from. They couldn't really hurt me, because they weren't really allowed IN my life. They were in my life, don't get me wrong, but it isn't like we hung out or went places together. They were "safe" people to put my interest and friendship and even love toward, because they really couldn't reject my feelings because they couldn't accept my feelings either. 

Does that make any sense? I don't know if I'm making any sense. Basically, I focused a ton of obsession, energy, time and money into people who were so nice to me, but who were "safe" enough that they COULDN'T be mean to me. (Also, they wouldn't, I don't think, because they were not an immature stage of life, like many of the people my age were. I just didn't/don't have time to play games in friendships. I'm not a dramatic person really.) 
This was very confusing for me because my feelings of love for them weren't "really" love, yet I felt completely enamored with them. People who know me rather well know specific people this applies to, but it was more than just one person, because it happened from as early as I can remember, all through school, and even into college. I can honestly say, however, that since my husband and I married, I have not really had those feelings about another person in a long time, though I still struggle more with those people I was enamored with than anyone else because what do I do now? How do I reconstruct any form of relationship with them? Again, I feel like either we are friends or we aren't friends, the middle ground isn't someplace I like to be with people.

My feelings of friendship are intense. When I meet someone that I feel I can trust, I have a hard time holding back. I almost want to know everything about them in one sitting, and to share everything about me with them as well. I want to KNOW a person almost inside out, and to have them want to know me back. I used to write down everything I knew about people, like a teen magazine would write a celebrity's favorites list. Apparently, this doesn't work for the vast majority of the people in the world, and I have watched people "run" because, it seems, I have scared them off with my intensity about it. 

What I really want is just to be understood here. I want people to know that I'm not insane or nuts for wanting to be close friends right away. It should be a sign that I trust a person, not a sign that I'm coming on too strong. Luckily, I can count at least 2 people in my life who responded positively to my forwardness of friendship, and those friendships seem to be completely fine. 

The worst part is probably that I'm not aware until its already over or past that I'm coming off so strongly. Or if I do realize it, all I know is that it feels so good to feel accepted that I'm not willing to back down and be the cause of a faded friendship. I'd rather come on too strong than be accused of not coming on at all. It probably hurts more when I'm eventually rejected, but I put myself out there for someone I thought I could trust, and for some reason, this is ok. 

I hope some of this made sense. I was kinda just writing as my thoughts came out, so I'm sorry for length and probably a poor interpretation of processing speed, but it is an insight into my head maybe? 

Monday, July 16, 2012


Short Post
My patience is a huge struggle. I have a really low ability to be patient. Sometimes, I can rein this in, but more often than not, I just want the time to pass until what I am waiting for is here. 

I can be very frustrated when I'm waiting. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Short posts, Long posts

A part of all this, I tend to be long winded about things. 

I just got the app for blogger on my phone. However, I don't treat my phone the same; I do less on it than on a real computer. Mostly because its hard to see things well.

Anyway, I concluded that due to the fact that its more tedious to post from there, when and if I do, it will be a short post, probably about something more specific, during the course of my day.

When I have the chance to be online through a real computer, it will be a longer post, probably about something more reflective, as my other posts have been.

That being said, I will talk more about my "long posts".

I have a hard time filtering information. I know a lot about a lot. I have a lot of things that are connected. So when someone asks a question, I make the mistake of "flooding" them or "drowning" them with "too much information". In person this is because my eye contact ends after I start speaking. So I don't see any cues a person might make that its enough. (Granted, even if I WERE looking, I might not see them then either!)
So then I end up "in hot water" with people because they stop reading at a certain point (don't we all?) with some kind of response, and they don't read the rest of what I said to put what they read into context. 

This happens a lot. I mean, I just have a lot to "say". This happens more online than in person, so there's REALLY no cues there. No one on the other side of the computer stops you midsentence or something. 

What I really want is just to be "heard". People misunderstand, thinking that I want things to be my way, or that I talk like I know it all, or something. What they dont understand is, just like everyone else, I just want to be heard. I want to be told my thoughts are understood, and are valid and good thoughts. Especially if asked for advice, I give it. Especially if its something I have a passion for. (Weather, breastfeeding, attachment parenting,  religion). The ideas and suggestions I give are just ideas and suggestions (after all, you asked!), yet all the time I get told I'm judging or being pushy or something. 

Don't get me started on the fact that I don't agree with this "Don't Judge Me" attitude that every single person with a thought seems to have these days. I could be completely free of any judgemental thought or intent, and I get told "Don't judge ME!" Wait wait, I wasn't judging you! In MY mind, that person just blamed ME for their own self judgement. Don't involve me in your feelings of guilt! And, more simply, I am NOT responsible for your feelings. No one "makes" anyone else "feel" anything. You can CHOOSE to feel something, or you can choose not to.... but I digress...

I just want to be heard. I know everyone is going to make their own choices. I'm not clueless. But to know that when asked advice, I gave mine, even if the receiver didn't like it or agree to it, the least a person can do is "hear" me. 

One of those "listening" things. 
And by the way, the more I sense a person really "hears" me, the more I am able to "hear" them. I'm not completely out of touch with reality, but I do have a hard time feeling safe enough to "hear" someone else. I spent my whole childhood "hearing" other people talk about me, laugh at me, pick on me, and otherwise torture me. It's not safe in my head to hear someone else. 

That's complicated. I might have to explain more. But today, I'm very tired.

When I Am Mad

When I am mad, usually it has nothing to do with you. When I'm feeling bad, it's not possible for me to deal with "normal everyday frustrations" that I usually deal with (though they overwhelm me by evening). You might think they are no big deal, but I assure you, its a big deal to me. My brain is already trying to deal with something, you have no idea.

I deal by moving inside my own head. Just let me be. Just let me hide. I'll be present and do what I need to do but I don't want or need your interference. It's very uncomfortable for me to feel like this but if I come out for a moment, I'll just get overwhelmed by something little, then it's likely I WILL be upset at you, for no real reason.

I'm just overwhelmed. Let me be.

Put I this way, I only have enough strength to deal with one emotional thing at a time. If I'm emotional, upset, angry... its just better to let me be. I usually don't really want to talk about it. I usually don't want help dealing with it. I'll let you know when I DO need help, if you let me know you are open to that. Eventually, or sometimes, I do need to talk about things. But for the most part, give me some space. I won't hear you, I'm inside my own head. Let me be there. I'm safe there.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Familiarity & Hiding It

During this journey, I have had so many people tell me they didn't think I had Aspergers. I "function" well, I do talk to people, I'm not a total hermit. But I do prefer to be alone. My world is fine lol. In my own little world, they all know me here. :P

Inside, I knew better. I had too many symptoms. I had too many things inside my head that supported my claims. I did the research. Number one on the list of things to do after diagnosis was to read two books: I'd already read them. I know. Lol. I've already studied this all out.
I know they say not to self diagnose, but I'd someone tells you that you have, say, hypothyroidism, you google it right?

I've watched movies about Aspergers. I've read books from aspie authors. I've read the more "clinical" complete guide. All before I was officially diagnosed.

I even read a book on Aspergers and girls which I already talked about. The biggest problem is most people considered with Aspergers are men. An like heart attacks, Aspergers differs for women. It just looks different. It's unfair that we have this idea of what Aspergers looks like, but that's typically what it looks like in men.

Anyway, point is, people I know really didn't think I was at all autistic.

As I've talked to people after my diagnosis, I know nothing about me has changed. I do find myself making eye contact with people when I am talking, but ONLY if I have known that person practically my whole life. So family members might not have noticed eye contact especially because I do have short tendencies in maintaining eye contact with family.

I do PREFER to look elsewhere and I cannot control the fact that I still do look away.

I'm calling this familiarity: the fact that I'm completely familiar with someone an I feel relatively safe with them. My head tells me it's ok and almost that it's an insult if I DON'T give them the eye contact they should have in conversation.

Unfortunately this doesn't necessarily mean my mind isn't wandering, or that I'm not thinking about their hair or face instead of what they are saying.
I probably shouldn't have said that!

When you have Aspergers in school, you do "learn" what kinds of things get you tortured and you tend to avoid doing those things. For example, there are things that I believe can be categorized into repetitive "tics" that I just simply don't do when people are around. There are also things that people might not notice, like any time my hands are free, I'm probably picking at my fingernails. It doesn't bother anyone else, and they usually aren't looking at my hands anyway. But I would consider that repetitive and obsessive.

As I said though, you learn what behavior gets you laughed at and you learn to hide it.

Those two things alone are long topics. But they belong together because they both give the outside world the idea that everything is perfectly neurotypical.

I consider the majority of my symptoms to be inside my head. Not in the "it's all in her head" way, but in the way that it is more that I'm thinking about how awkward I feel, desperately trying to figure out the sense in saying things that don't need to be said ("It's so hot" - Yes we all know it's hot. Who needs to be told its hot?), or the question you don't really want the answer to ("How are you?" "Fine" VS "How are you?" "Well I'm not so great you know....") or the games that people play, especially girls, while they are communicating. Say what you mean and mean what you say. I'm not going to read into something that is said by someone I don't know really well. I'm going to take it at face value. All those little "cues" to conversation that I just don't "get".

Anyway. Kinda a disorganized post. But I'm posting from my phone and it's harder this way.
But no more hiding it. No more wondering why those who know me best miss the signs. :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sense Of Humor

So I think things are funny. But usually they are NOT the same things as everyone else thinks is funny.

For a while, I thought it was absolutely hysterical to see a sign that said "Bump Ahead" and I took it to say "Bump A Head".

See? It's only funny the first time, and after the third or fourth time I Bump you in the head, its not funny anymore. But I still think it every time I see a "Bump Ahead" sign!

How about this one "Stop Ahead". Stop! A Head! Is rolling down the street!! 

Then, when SOMEONE ELSE tells a joke, either I don't get it, or I don't think its as funny as they do....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Low Tolerance

I consider myself a pretty hospitable person. I try (most of the time) to see the best in people, per say, and I root for the underdog.

However, there is a limit to listening to hooey. 

I can't manage confrontation, so I try to be straightforward, but I'm always worried about what the other person would think. Then there's an awkwardness. Eye contact will disappear with said person(s), and even their friends. Yup. Awkward.

Maybe a part of this is the processing speed. I take what I hear, and I make a quick decision about the intentions. Eventually, I lose the ability to retain patience for the "griping" and something snaps inside. I make a quick decision about the person based on what they are doing/saying. It seems like a "little thing" to others, but its a "big thing" to me.

I have a limited tolerance for absolute bonker-ness. 

I don't know what else to say. I would go into detail, but I don't feel its necessary.
One thing you should know, if you are going to gripe about someone I get along with, or am friends with, don't do it right in front of my face. It affects how I therefore feel about you as a person. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Downtime and Sensitivity

If I don't get enough time to myself to just be alone, without someone talking in my ear, I fall apart at the seams.

This is unfortunate because B seems to be completely the opposite of that, talking all day long, and wanting to talk to me all day long. A constant voice in my ear, allowing me no time to think or breathe or just be alone. 

I'm considering a schedule right now, but I haven't had the time/motivation/willpower to actually start it yet. I'm being incredibly defeated by stress and busyness... 

I have tried getting up early, but I popped back into the habit of being up late again, so I'm not following through on that either.

I've lost my running vibe, so I'm not doing as well energy wise and depression-fighting wise either... mostly because its summer and its too hot, and if its not too hot, there are deerflies and mosquitoes, and I go overly crazy when I have bugs all over me. Even if its just one bug, EEEK I can't stand it. I might not have tested for sensitivities, but I was asked if i couldn't stand being touched (by other people) - not if i have physical sensitivities to sunscreen, bugspray (greasy), dirt under my fingernails, bugs being on me, the SOUND of bugs around me, ugh ugh ugh! makes me just wanna freak out a little just thinking about it.

I wait all winter for summer, so I can get outside, and summer comes and I remember how much I hate bugs and can't stand the touch of them, the sound of them, the idea of them biting me.... it is all so much for me to deal with. Some days are better than others, but I'm already at a low tolerance point tonight.

I really should get back on the habit of earlier to bed and getting up early. I would maybe feel better about a run in the morning, I might get some time to myself right away, and the bugs aren't as bad in the morning?

Now we have trees in our driveway, so I would have to spend some time moving some of the brush out of the way to run.... and running in the driveway is boring to be honest. But I can't leave B that long to run down the road. 

I have roadblocks, most of which are mental. Hurdling them is easier said than done.


I have been listening to an old song lately, that I used to listen to in high school. I had forgotten how much this song means to me, how much I feel every word in the song, how much it describes my life. Constantly feeling as if I'm on the outside of it all. In college this was totally obvious to me. I had a group of "friends". We did a lot of things together. Truly though, I never really was interested in most of what they did, but it was college, and it was funny to hang out with them and watch them. They once threw an old printer out the back of a car going 55MPH. That was funny. Don't worry, they "cleaned it up" and pushed it off the road... and beat it with a metal pole. Whatever. They were my friends, but I wasn't really a part of the group. I missed out on jokes, I missed out on trips, I missed out on a lot of random things, and I was hurt that they didn't include me in things, even if they were things I wasn't interested in (like watching "The Simpsons").
I was there, and they were friendly to me, but I was often watching from the "Outside".
Well, here's the lyrics.

It's hard to explain
Inherently it's just always been strange
Neither here nor there
Always somewhat out of place everywhere
Without a sense of belonging to touch
Somewhere halfway
Feeling there's no one completely the same

Standing alone
Eager to just
Believe it's good enough to be what
You really are
But in your heart
Uncertainty forever lies
And you'll always be
Somewhere on the

Early on, you face
The realization you don't have a space
Where you fit in
And recognize you
Were born to exist


And it's hard
And it's hard
And it's hard

Falling in between
And it's hard
And it's hard
To be understood
As you are
As you are
Oh, and God knows
That you're standing on your own
Blind and unguided
Into a world divided
You're thrown
Where you're never quite the same
Although you try - try and try
To tell yourself
You really are
But in your heart - uncertainty forever lies
And you'll always be
Somewhere on the outside
You'll always be
Somewhere on the outside

Monday, July 9, 2012

Asperger's and Girls

Did you know that for every girl who is diagnosed with Asperger's, 10 boys are diagnosed? Because of the differences in how Asperger's presents itself in boys and girls, it is harder to determine if a girl is AS that if a boy is. I have heard it put simply: boys "act out", girls retreat inward, learning to copy and paste behaviors into their lives and actions. It doesn't make the the social difficulties go away, but it intellectualizes their behavior. This can make people think that a girl with AS is perfectly normal, when indeed, inside, they are struggling with an internal battle! This is what I have experienced in my life.

There is a book called "Asperger's and Girls" featuring Tony Attwood and Temple Gradin, plus 7 more experts......
I have read it and i HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is interested in whats going on in my head, as well as maybe learn something more about what makes girls with AS different that the boy with AS. 

There are some quotes that I highlighted as I read, and I will share them here, along with my comments on the quote, in ( ).

Tony Attwood:
"They often lack reciprocity in their natural social play and can be too controlling when playing with their peers. This is illustrated in Liane Holliday-Willey's autobiography.
The fun came from setting things up and arranging things. Maybe this desire to organize things rather than play with things, is the reason I never had a great interest in my peers. They always wanted to use the things I had so carefully arranged. They would want to rearrange and redo. They did not let me control the environment."
(I totally remember this with Barbies. I would want to dress and redress, and set everything up, a lot more than actually playing.)

"Like boys with Asperger's Syndrome, girls may see no value in being fashionable, preferring practical clothing and not using cosmetics or deodorants. The latter characteristic can be quite conspicuous."
(While I have no issue with deodorant, I do find fashion to be nonsensical, and I hate makeup, if only because it is irritating! I always end up rubbing my eyes because it makes me itchy.)

Sheila Wagner, M.Ed.:
"Girls with AS who have difficulty making sustained eye contact with others are often viewed as shy, coy, embarrassed, or naive and innocent, rather than as having the poor social skills inherent in an autism spectrum disorder."

"School psychologists above all should be knowledgeable enough to at least question the presence of Asperger's Syndrome in female students who are referred to them. Any time there is the combination of social immaturity, perserverative interests, lack of eye contact, poor handwriting, poor gross motor coordination, repetitive behaviors, isolation or teasing by peers, falling grades, and being viewed as "odd" by teachers and peers, Aspergers Syndrome should be investigated."
(I am in COMPLETE agreement, and with the exception of the fact that I don't know if I had poor gross motor coordination, other than I was not "graceful" enough for sports.... I can relate to EVERY SINGLE CHARACTERISTIC here.)

Lisa Iland:
"Levels of Relationship
5. Close Friends
4. Friends
3. Acquaintances
2. Familiar Faces
1. Strangers"
(The author goes on to say that there are differences between these groups, and I'm sure everyone knows there is, and how you would relate to these different groups of people in your life.)
"A Close Friend might not mind hearing about Star Wars for 30 minutes, but it could cause the end of an Acquaintanceship."
"Sometimes girls with AS may believe that they are Friends or Close Friends with a Familiar Face or an Acquaintance. This can cause social upset and potential humiliation in front of peers."

"Friendship is like a game of tennis; if you are the one serving the ball all the time and no one is hitting it back - it is not a real game."
(I feel this all the time. For me, I have a hard time with the categories of friends. If I go out of my way to be friends with somebody, I want to be Close Friends with them, not "just friends" and not acquaintances. Either you are my friend, or not, because I wont put time into someone I'm not interested in being friends with. Sounds snobby, but really, it simplifies in my mind who I know I can trust, and who I'm not sure I can. These "not friends" can become Close friends, but I feel like a switch is constantly being flipped from Friend, to Not Friend.)

Jennifer McIlwee Myers:
"As an Aspie who has both conditions, I can assure you that being in love and having special interests (aka "autistic obsessions") are much the same feeling. However, being in love involves another human being, who has free will, while an obsession with, say, trains, usually does not."
(This is so, deeply true. I have had obsessions both with things, and with people. These people can be viewed as "things" because they were not actually people who could be in love with me in return, so they were a "living thing obsession" of sorts, I suppose. If that makes any sense.)

"When that snap happens, watch out! A girl or woman with AS who has been sociable when she needed solitude is not going to mince words. The word "meltdown" does not do it justice. A person who is strained to her utmost ability to cope and then asked to do just a little more will have plenty of rage and no emotional resources for recovery. It's not a pretty thing."
(I OFTEN need time to myself. To my own little world. I get awfully cranky when I don't get it!)

"I have had many opportunities to talk to parents of teens and pre-teens with AS, and the questions they most want an answer to is, "How can I make my child socially adept? How can I get her to want to be sociable like the other kids?"
The answer is, of course, you can't. The more important answer is you shouldn't. Girls with AS need more time to recover from social interactions than typical girls, and they must work harder in social situations than typical girls. Trust me, even when I am in a social situation I've learned to deal with well, and it looks like I'm just blending in, it's a huge effort. That doesn't mean I never have fun in a social situation; it just means that I need less time socializing and more time recovering in order to manage. You can have fun hiking all day, but there's a limit to how much hiking a body can stand."

So there, a list of blips from the book. This book was excellent, and I think anyone who has anything to do with children should read it. Especially, of course, educators who are constantly meeting, teaching and observing many of their students each day, month, year.....

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Write a Book"

Considering all I do struggle, my examiner/therapist whatever you wanna call her, said I am a very intellegent person, and I have adjusted rather well in life. I have seen where theres a problem (such as depression) and instead of wallowing in it, I have been proactive and said what can I do about it. 

Also, that I should write a book. 
Hmm. That would be quite the book. 
I'm seriously thinking about this. 
But I havent the foggiest about how to go about this. 
I DO know someone who HAS written a book however, and I know that when im thinking seriously about this, I know where to go for some... direction? 
"You should write a book, you really should...."

Diagnosis!! I've been waiting my whole life for this!

This is a "copy" of the results I received June 6, 2012, after undergoing the testing for Asperger's. Obviously, it was concluded that I do, indeed, have Asperger's, as I have thought for quite some time, and as my mother thought for much longer. I'm rather glad of it, it makes a whole lot of things in my life, both past and present, make sense.
This might be a little "clinical" and a long read, but can help you give an insight to what I'm dealing with, and "who I am" to an extent. I have added some notes along the way, labeled (NOTE: ......)

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV)
The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) is a standard, widely used measure of intelligence. It provides a good estimate of current level of intellectual functioning and is designed to asses multiple activities.
Ericka appeared to understand the test instructions and there were no apparently visual auditory, or motor impairments observed. The obtained test scores appeared to be a valid estimate of Ericka's current intellectual functioning. 
(Note: I cannot replicate the graph they list, so I will rewrite it: the order of the line will be Scale, IQ Score, 95% Confidence Interval, Percentile Rank, and Qualitative Description.)

  • Verbal Comprehension : 108 : 102-113 : 70 : Average
  • Perceptual Reasoning : 111 : 104-117 : 77           High Average
  • Working Memory : 117 : 109-123 : 87 :               High Average
  • Processing Speed : 124 : 113-130 : 95 :       Superior
  • Full Scale : 117 : 113-121 : 87 :                           High Average
  • General Ability : 111 : 106-116 : 77 :                   High Average
(Wait, my IQ is 117? I'm especially fascinated by the processing speed of 124.... Wow.)

Subtest Scores Summary
Verbal Comprehension Subtests Summary
(Subtest : Scaled Score)
Similarities : 10
Vocabulary : 12
Information : 13

Perceptual Reasoning Subtests Summary
Block Design : 15
Matrix Reasoning : 8
Visual Puzzles : 13

Working Memory Subtests Summary
Digit Span : 14
Arithmetic : 12

Processing Speed Subtests Summary
Symbol Search : 14
Coding : 15

*Scaled scores between 7 and 13 are considered low to high average.

Ericka's Full Scale score is in the High Average range. She scored higher than approximately 87 out of 100 individuals her age on the combined tasks.

On the Indexes, Ericka performed in the Average range on the Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI). Her performance, which was better than that of approximately 70 out of 100 individuals, is an indication of how well Ericka performs on tasks measuring verbally acquired knowledge. On the Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI), Ericka performed in the High average range, or above that of approximately 77 out of 100 individuals. Her performance on the PRI is a measure of her nonverbal reasoning skills, attentiveness to detail, and eye-hand coordination. Ericka presents a diverse set of nonverbal abilities, performing much better on some nonverbal tasks than others.

The degree of variability is unusual for individuals her age and may be noticeable to those who know her well.

On the Working Memory Index (WMI), Ericka performed in the High Average range, which is above that of about 87 out of 100 individuals. This index provides an indication of how well an individual can manage multitask demands.

Ericka's Processing Speed Index (PSI) score, which was within the Superior range, provides a measure of her ability to process visual information quickly. She scored above approximately 95 out of 100 individuals on the PSI. 

(Processing Speed Index, in the way the examiner put it, is like in football, you have to make that pass, with quick thinking. MY example was - when I'm reading music notes ahead of what I'm playing. Examiner also said it also can cause me to make quick decisions based on things I know, and those decisions can be hard to change, whether it be about people or other decisions, etc.)

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Second Edition (MMPI-2)
The MMPI-2 is a standardized, self-report questionnaire that provides quantitative measures of an individual's emotional adjustment and test taking approach. Ericka produced a valid test result.

Individuals with a profile similar to Ericka's often have high standards and a strong need to achieve, but they feel that they fall short of their expectations and then blame themselves harshly. Ericka may feel quite insecure and/or pessimistic about the future. She may also feel inferior to others, has little self-confidence, and does not always feel capable of solving her problems.

Ericka endorsed a number of items suggesting that she is experiencing low morale and a depressed mood. She reports a preoccupation with feeling guilty and unworthy. She feels that she deserves to be punished for wrongs she has committed. Ericka feels currently regretful and unhappy about many aspects of life, and she seems plagued by anxiety and worry about the future. At times, Ericka may feel a strong sense of hopelessness.

According to her response content, Ericka is rather high-strung and wonders if she feels things more, or more intensely, than others do. Ericka may feel quite lonely and misunderstood at times. She endorses statements that show some inability to control her anger, and she may verbally attack others when she is angry. Ericka appears to be somewhat passive and dependent in interpersonal  relationships and does not speak up for herself. She avoids confrontation and seeks nurturance from others, often at the price of her own independence. Ericka also tends to blame herself for interpersonal problems. Ericka may seem to require an excessive amount of emotional support from her spouse. She appears to be rather shy and inhibited in social situations, and she may avoid others for fear of being hurt.

Ericka has very few friends, and others think she is hard to get to know. She is quiet, submissive, and conventional, and she lacks self-confidence in dealing with other people. Individuals with this passive and withdrawing lifestyle are often unable to assert themselves appropriately and are frequently taken advantage of by others.

Million Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, Third Edition (MCMI-III)
The MCMI-III is a standardized, self-report questionnaire that provides a quantitative measure of an individual's personality traits. Ericka's test results are valid.

The MCMI-III pattern achieved by Ericka suggests an ongoing conflict between her desire to develop secure and warm relationships and a fear of having to relate to others she cannot or will not trust. Ericka wants to be close and affectionate with others but anticipates disillusionment from such relationships. She may lack self-esteem and expect to be humiliated. Others may have either deprecated or disapproved of her self-expressive attempts. Ericka's relations with others may often be petulant and passively aggressive, causing others to view her possibly as a sulky, irritable, and argumentative person. Occasionally, Ericka may attack others capriciously for their lack of support and for what she sees as their unreasonable expectations and demands. To bind her anger and thereby protect herself against further isolation, she may become anxiously depressed and withdraw into her own world. It would appear that Ericka's daydreaming and moodiness frequently evoke negative reactions from others, which only serve to reinforce her withdrawal tendencies.

Ericka may feel that she is unable to muster the wherewithal to overcome the deficits she sees in her life or to achieve the support she desires from others. Hence, she may vacillate, turning first against herself, expressing feelings of unworthiness and uselessness, then turning against others, acting petulant and irresponsibly. Feeling unappreciated and demeaned by others, she may find that withdrawing and daydreaming provides her with some satisfactions that are otherwise unattainable. 

Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Module 4 (ADOS)
The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is a semi-structured and standardized assessment of communication and social interaction for individuals who have been referred because of possible autism spectrum disorders. The ADOS includes developmentally appropriate opportunities for informal interaction with examiner, examiner-structured situations, and performance-based tasks that have specific directions. Based on the presence/absence and quality of the individual's observed behaviors during the ADOS, ratings are assigned and scores are calculated. These are used to help determine the quality of functioning in three developmental areas related to autism spectrum disorders: Communication, Reciprocal Social Interaction, and a third area which encompasses various behaviors including imagination and stereotyped behaviors and restricted interests.

In the area of Communication, the cut-off for demonstrating traits of an autism spectrum disorder is a score of 2 and the cut-off for demonstrating traits of autism is a score of 3. Ericka obtained a score of 2. Ericka did demonstrate appropriate use of language, and she did not demonstrate speech abnormalities, echolalia, or stereotyped use of words. Ericka was able to spontaneously share information, as well as able to use gestures to supplement her communication. However, little reciprocal conversation was sustained by Ericka. She tended to follow her own train of thought rather than participate in an interchange, even when prompted. 

In the area of Reciprocal Social Interactions, the cut-off for demonstrating traits of an autism spectrum disorder is 4 and the cut-off for demonstrating traits of autism is a score of 6. Ericka obtained a score of 6. Ericka was able to make eye contact when this evaluator spoke to her, but this eye contact was not sustained when Ericka began talking, nor did Ericka "check in" using eye contact to see how this evaluator was responding to her. Ericka displayed strong empathy for animals and children, but her understanding of adult emotions and behaviors appeared intellectualized. Ericka described several situations where, much to her surprise, others had to explain to her that her behaviors were having a strong negative impact on them. Ericka did display a variety of emotions and facial expressions, but she did not direct these expressions toward this evaluator during testing. This evaluator provided many prompts and pauses for Ericka to engage in reciprocal conversation, but Ericka did not seem to pick up on these cues, nor did she initiate conversation.

In combining the communication and social interaction scores, the cut-off for an autism spectrum disorder is a score of 7 and the cut-off for autism is a score of 10. Ericka obtained a score of 8.

Ericka did not exhibit sensory issues, excessive interests, or repetitive body movements during her testing session. In tasks that examined for creativity, Ericka did tend toward more literal interpretation of events, although she did exhibit a sense of humor at times.

Ericka's primary question was, "Do I have Asperger's Disorder?" According to the ADOS-4 test results, Ericka does qualify for this diagnosis. Ericka develops intense interests that consumer her time and energy to the point of negatively impacting her relationships with others. Ericka struggled to develop peer relationships as a child and, although this has improved significantly as an adult, still struggles to navigate and comprehend the complexities of social interactions. Ericka also appears to struggle with social reciprocity. Her way of connecting with another person is to talk about her interests, but Ericka appears to miss some of the cues for listening and/or sharing in a two-way conversation and her ability to make eye contact is inconsistent. It should be noted that Ericka is an intelligent woman, and it appears that she has intellectually acquired several social skills over time. Despite the diagnosis of Asperger's Disorder, Ericka is very high-functioning and has found many ways to compensate for social deficits. It should also be noted that Asperger's Disorder can present slightly differently in women than in men. Ericka displays slightly more empathy and exhibits a wider range of emotions than what might typically be associated with Asperger's Disorder, and this may, in part, explain why this diagnosis was missed in Ericka previously. 

In additional to Asperger's Disorder, Ericka's MMPI-2 and MCMI-III test results showed clinical elevations in the areas of depression, which is consistent with Ericka's self-report. Ericka is being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent, milk to moderate. Ericka's depression appears to become more severe in winter months, with more mild experiences of depression in the summer.

Ericka is also currently experiencing anxiety about (Note: not sharing that particular bit of info), but Ericka's sense of worry and rumination appears to be pervasive and extends beyond current circumstances. Ericka's symptoms of anxiety resemble a Generalized Anxiety Disorder and reportedly impact her interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning. However, a diagnosis of anxiety is not rendered when a diagnosis of Asperger's Disorder is present. Nonetheless, the above concerns are significant and would benefit from being addressed and treated as an anxiety disorder would be.

Similarly, Ericka's MMPI-2 ad MCMI-III also suggested many traits categorized as "avoidant" or "obsessive-compulsive". It might be helpful for Ericka's mental health providers to be aware of these tendencies in Ericka. However, Ericka is not being formally diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder as a part of this evaluation. Ericka's avoidant and obsessive-compulsive tendencies are considered auxiliary features of her Asperger's Disorder and do not warrant a separate clinical diagnosis.

(Note: Examiner told me that the reason diagnosis of anxiety, avoidant or obsessive-compulsive is not given is because these things are a part of what Asperger's is. I have these tendencies/diagnoses, in part, but they are not separate from Asperger's, therefore no "extra" diagnosis is given for them.)

I'm pretty glad! This is what I always knew about myself. I always KNEW I was different. We all wish we were special, and I know that to God we are, and He made me this way specifically and for a reason. Now all of the information I KNOW I can relate to myself, maybe I can find out what purpose this is for. Maybe I can find out why I'm different, what strengths I have because I'm different. I know this is a positive thing. :) I have no fear of it. I always have been, am, and always will be an ASPIEGIRL! :) :) 

So there you have it. More discussion on this later. Ask questions if you want. :) I'm starting this blog to be an open book as much as I can.