Monday, April 29, 2013

Helping You Out - Aspies Give Information

I am the kind of person who wants to help. There are several topics that I have spent a lot of time studying, researching, dedicating large portions of my time to, therefore I know a lot about them. There are other topics I know and care little for and don't know much about them.

When a friend has a problem, I take it seriously. I care about my friends. I feel my information could be helpful to them. Whether its a problem understanding something, or a problem doing something, if it lines up with one of those topics I know something about, I'm the kind of person who is excited about what I know, and I want you to know it too! I want you to get through whatever it is you're going through, and be happy, feel better, whatever.

So I share, or sometimes apparently overshare. It has come to my attention in the past couple of years that sometimes, dare I say even most of the time, people honestly do not want the information I have. This is heartbreaking for me in many ways.

 There is a huge bucketful of different feelings I have about these situations. 

First, I think there is a desperation. Often when I am trying to explain something to someone, the words don't come. I don't know which words to use, or how to explain what I am thinking in a way that not only expresses what I mean, but does it in a way that is not offensive. Aspergers makes many people speak very directly, and I have an extremely hard time finding ways to speak the way NT people do, in more indirect ways, so that they understand me without going overboard with feeling offensive or insulted. It is very hard for me to "play the game" of saying something indirectly so that my directness and bluntness isn't mistaken for insults. Most NT people do not realize how much "game playing" goes into conversation. For someone like me, (and I feel many Aspies are the same here), it is a disaster to have a conversation with a NT person. It ends up feeling like a lot of drama, and its utterly confusing. Why waste so much time saying 100 words when 50 does the job? Do people realize it? I don't think they do.

Of course, mixed with this is the second feeling: fear that they will take it as an insult. I have never in my life directly and specifically set out to offend someone with my information, but it has happened over and over in my life. Then of course, the person is so angry with me they won't listen to or believe me when I say that it wasn't my intent. I feel I was being rational, and presenting my information simply and in a straightforward way, all the while hoping they will not take it the wrong way. 
I have a lot of fear of this, but despite my fears, it does not stop me from offering information to others. My fear and feelings do not stop me from sharing what I think is right/appropriate/necessary (or whatever is appropriate per situation). There is a quote I have seen quite often that relates to this kind of situation that goes along the lines of "I care less about feelings than I do about the truth" and "I would rather tell the truth than worry about hurting someone's feelings". I think that is one of the characteristics of Aspergers.

 Again, it is very hard to "play the game" so that I don't come off as offensive, but at the same time I know that there is information to give for a situation and I feel it is important enough to share the information, therefore I somehow stop feeling the fear of saying it, even though it sometimes makes my words seem harsh. Still, I have learned to at least TRY to "play the game" in my 30 years of life, so I do try to make attempts to make my information clear and polite. Still, even as polite as I think I am being, I'm apparently proven myself wrong more often than not. It is mystifying.

Does any of that make any sense? 

That leads to another group of feelings, that of hesitation, confusion, and frustration at myself for not being clear enough. I can write and write and write on some topics forever. Usually these are the topics I am currently most interested in. I keep writing trying to explain and re-explain what I am trying to say, and I end up writing BOOKS of information down in the simple attempt to make sure that I am not confusing, or to make sure I am being clear enough to be understood. Sometimes I will present the same information in several different ways in an attempt to make sure I am being understood. However, after the fact I wonder if I have even made a dent in conversation because so many people see long posts and just say that there is no way they have the time to read all that! I am very good at separating my conversation into paragraphs that are shorter, because that is what helps me to be able to read long posts by others. Even for me, if a person just writes a long long paragraph, I have a hard time reading it. My eyes start jumping all over. So I am aware of those kinds of things, hoping my posts are easier to read than some, because I separate. I still know that I can go on too long about some topics, and I think that for the most part, at least I am not argued with, because the length is too much for people to care to read. Blessing or curse? I don't know.

Now I will get to the heartbreaking feelings. When someone rejects my information, especially when they have misunderstood what I have said, I am very upset and heartbroken. I feel disrespected. I feel as if they do not like me enough to accept my information. I feel as if they specifically reject me as a person. My information is a part of who I am. I have spent hours, months, and years on some topics. The information I have gathered is important to me, and especially with certain topics, I feel that the information is critical to either that person's well being, or the well being of someone else. It intensifies with the helplessness of the person. Some adults can be in seemingly hopeless situations, but with animals or babies, you'd better watch out because the intensity is sky high on helpless animals or babies! My information is pretty well researched, I wouldn't speak so strongly on them if it wasn't, and it is to my very core a part of who I am. Therefore, rejecting my information is like rejecting me as a person.

I want to give anyone reading this clarity on one thing however: I am not all or nothing (or at least I try not to be). You do not actually have to follow or agree with my information. That might come as a shock, I know. However, I know that the few times that people have said "Thank you!" or "That's fascinating information, I will look into that!", I have felt very respected and my information (and therefore myself) very validated. Again, even if my information is not followed, or even liked, simply responding this way helps me to feel heard. When my information is simply rejected, I do not feel heard.

As I am writing this, I realize that this is probably not limited to Aspies. I think that ALL people want to be validated and respected, don't they? Everyone wants someone to thank them for trying to help, even if its not the kind of help they want. I think it is more about having proper manners toward others than just learning how an Aspie thinks about things. Just like me, many people feel strongly about their information as well. So maybe its less that I'm an Aspie and feel X about people rejecting my information (which is tied to myself in my mind), but more about constantly running across people who have no manners or consideration for someone else.

Then I wonder how I manage to have that many friends that really can't be friends with me if they can't even be respectful and kind. Even without taking into consideration the idea that everyone wants their opinions respected, who I am as a person should be respected just as much as they expect me to respect them as well. Just because I don't express my information in the right ways does not mean I am less deserving of respect. How often I am belittled and "lectured" because I should "know better" than to say something like that! In my mind, I said it correctly, but apparently to the hearer I didn't.

I feel like I have blabbed a lot about this, and I have been getting distracted during this post, so ask for clarification I guess if anything is muddled. But I hope I am making some sense.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weather & Mood Part 2

The sun has returned.

The warm weather has taken over.

The snow is melting.

There still is little that a person can actually do outside - at least in our yard - because its a swamp and still mostly covered in 2 feet of snow. However, its melting, and the frost is indeed coming out, so we're getting there.

I feel 1000000000% better.

I am seriously convinced of this weather theory. I wonder if ALL Aspies are like this, or if its just a few. I wonder if there is any research on this. I wonder what we can do about it, or if we should all just move to warmer climates or buy those fancy lights. I wonder if those fancy lights would even work when you still have to look outside to the wide variety of colors in white, black and grey. (Even pine trees look grey/brown in the winter to me.)

So that is my thought for today. It has been a great couple of days with doors and windows flung open, plenty of sunshine until past 8 pm, and LIFE outdoors. Birds are returning and singing like crazy. Today was the first day of the explosive return of the robins. It is supposed to cool back down unfortunately to the 40s, and I do not believe the snow they are predicting next week will actually happen at 46 degrees. So we will see I guess. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Aspergers & Weather

I'm not sure if there is a connection here or not, so I'm hoping my other Aspie friends will chime in here, but I'm going to share my connection with weather, and how it affects me, and maybe some of you will feel the same?

I know many people are affected by the weather. SAD is a real disorder connected to the lack of sunlight in winter seasons around the world.

It causes me to wonder, though, if certain people are affected more than others, or if there are people who are more predisposed to being affected by it than others.

I can tell you my personal experience is that I am directly and completely connected to the weather, what it does, what it doesn't do, what it's like. My best days are sunny days, my worst are cloudy. I think this is almost always determined by what it is like when I wake up in the morning. Some cloudy days can be okay if it was sunny that morning. If I open my bedroom curtains to some morning sunshine, then I can manage to make a good day.

If it rains, it makes me sad. If it snows, it makes me mad. If it snows past the "expiration date" of snow (or what I think it should be - you know, sometime late March is tolerable, but mid April is NOT) then it makes me rather annoyed past the point of anger. 

I have been really cranky lately. Yeah, I'm pregnant and pregnant women are often cranky and touchy. But where I live, it is still snowing as if its December. The hardest part is that my "high season" is summer, and summer is short enough here to begin with. Every single day that goes by with snow and cold is one less day of summer. One less day of warm. One less day of jacket free, boot free fun. One less day of comfort. One less day of the very thing that keeps me going. 

So maybe you think that its just silly, that I should just "get over it" or "get used to it - you live in Minnesota" or whatever. Those comments do not help, and no, I can't just "get over it", or I would already. Do you think I would purposely go out of my way to feel like this if I could do something about it? People have been saying "You can be depressed all you want but here's a list of positive things about this.....". Well, those people have never struggled with depression.

For many people, depression is a part of the diagnosis. It comes as a "free gift" with the package. I don't think people know that. In addition to depression, anxiety and a bit of OCD is included as well. See, this time of year I was planning on having a bunch of my boxes over here to sort through. With the amount of snow we have, I can't even get to the boxes right now, forget haul them to a vehicle to get them to my house.

I feel like I have a deadline to do this kind of stuff because of the baby, and I wanted to spend April doing it before I got too pregnant to handle it. I think I'm hitting that point already. It is annoying. I've got stuff to do! I made plans darn it! Weather messing with my plans? Does not compute!

One minor side note: in the summer we often get thunderstorms. You would think based on what I said that this would depress me too, but really, I'm a weatherbug! I'm a weather nerd! I love exciting weather. Things like thunderstorms, that's great! When I was a kid I was terrified of thunderstorms. As an adult, I'd almost dare to say I would storm chase if I lived on the prairie! Someday, from far away, I'd like to see a tornado. So, there is an exception in there I suppose!

Anyway, Aspies, how does weather affect you? Do you feel that your mind is made up for you based on what the weather is doing? What are your thoughts?

Guest Post: My Aspie Kids

A terrific post! I found a lot of similarities between myself and the oldest child. For example, school: I did NOT go to see the other kids. Not even close. I went to see my teachers. I would much rather have had the entire building to myself and the teachers. :P

You can find the original post here:

As everyone knows, this is Autism Awareness Month. I have read so many powerful and emotionally charged blogs. Some of them, I could never hope to match. I can barely hold my own against my wife! LOL
So today in honor of Autism Awareness Month, I’m simply going to brag on my kids…and comment a little…it’s hard to do this without getting emotional which makes me jump around a bit…plus I’m off my Adderral for a few weeks and my brain feels like mercury but please bear with me…
Aspie Teen. He just turned 14 years old last week. I could not fathom at the time he was born, that I could love someone so much. I had never felt my heart fill like it did when I held him in my arms for the first time. Fast forward a dozen years. He has been put in public school, pulled out, put back in and pulled out again. If you looked at him, you wouldn’t be able to tell that there is anything different about him. But if you watched and listened for a while, you would be able to sense something was different.
The way he’d rather hang out with adults and completely ignore kids his own age. The way he cackles like a hyena at the slightest funny thing, because he’s never been able to learn what an appropriately moderate chuckle is. The way he adamantly refuses to sleep anywhere else but the floor of our bedroom at fourteen.  Or the way he’s been watching the same two videos on YouTube for the past TWO WEEKS cracking up hysterically, tears running down his eyes. (they ARE funny so I’m posting the links here).
Today he asked me to show him to embed these videos into his Blogger Blog and my heart almost burst because hey he asked me to show him something! I was able to teach him how to do something! He learns, he understands, he presents almost completely “normal”, (I now HATE that word), but chronologically he’s 14 and emotionally he’s still 12…so when he asked I almost lost it because I can do this! I can do this!!!
Aspie Monkey Boy is eight. Today I took him to the mall to get his hair cut…because for real, he looked like an overgrown bush! LOL HE likes his hair long but it’s curly so letting it grow, it’s like letting a Chia pet grow. But he doesn’t look bad with long hair until it reaches the point where it currently was. SO off to the barber we go…
On the way to the mall, I told him we’re going to the mall to get his hair cut not the place we regularly go. He wanted to know why. (with Aspie Monkey Boy, he needs to know the exact order of places we are going, and if we break the order of that list, he can have a meltdown). He wanted to know why we were changing things up, since the other place is fast AND it’s right next to Gamestop where he wanted to go spend his allowance anyway.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that every time we go to that barber shop, they make him look like Phineas from Disney’s Phineas & Ferb. There is a part of his hair at the very top of the back of his skull that if they don’t cut it exactly right, will make his head look like a triangle. (aka Phineas). So I told him that we were trying a new place because he needed a stylist not a barber, and if he was good, I’d take him to Gamestop at the mall.
On the way there we enjoyed ourselves blasting Ross Lynch songs. (He plays Austin Moon in Disney’s Austin & Ally). My son desperately wants to be a Disney kid. We enjoyed ourselves singing songs likeIt’s Not a Love Song, and Christmas Soul, and You’re My Zing, from Hotel Transylvania.
We got to the mall and the place I wanted to take him didn’t have any openings…so we walked down to Gamestop and let him look for the game he wanted. Afterwards we walked back to the entrance we came in which was through Barnes & Nobles. The whole way there and back, he was trying to climb up my body like a monkey, or trying to karate kick me and get me to play fight with him. All the while being LOUD and drawing every eye to us. Now I do NOT like to be embarassed in public, but today I didn’t feel any of that. It was a rare Dad and Monkey Boy Day. We went to the original hair cutting place, got his hair cut (no Phineas today as I stood behind them being a barbers worst nightmare today, telling them NO don’t stop there, take it in tighter, get rid of this peice here etc.  etc. It was one of the best days we’ve spent together in a long time.
Aspie Baby aka Tantrum Tot …he’s always such a joy and a terror. He can be SO damn adorable followed almost immediately by being a rotten clingy make me want to commit myself PIMPLE (stuck on me).
Today, I get home from the mall with Monkey Boy and he’s sleeping. So mom and I head to the bedroom to relax, both of us in bed, reading our Kindle White Paper and Kindle Fire and reading the same book , The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan that FINALLY after weeks of trying to convince her, she’s started reading.
Tantrum wakes up shortly thereafter and wants to go in the bath. I start running water and stripping him down when I realize his pamper is full. So I take him out the bathroom and grab a pamper and wipes, hold it up to him and say Pampee!! HE looks at me…smiles and says NOOOOOOooooo and takes off running!! I chase him and he looks back, jumps on the couch, lays down and says I stinky!!! I wanted to squeeze him so hard! He was so cute!!!
What in the world does ANY of this have to do with Autism Awareness Month? Simply this…these kids…they are on the Autism Spectrum. But you know what? They are MY kids. They are GOOD kids. And if they don’t fit the world’s view of ”normal: SO WHAT???
They may exasperate me to the end of my patience….they may sometimes cause me to be embarrassed the way they act and the way they behave…they may NEVER fit in with other kids because socially they don’t have a clue…but in the end, their pure hearts, their innocence and the way they pour every ounce of love and squeeze every ounce of life out of each moment makes them BETTER than most of us. If we saw the world, like they do, this world would most likely be  far better place.
So be aware, Autistic doesn’t mean stupid…it doesn’t mean retarded…it means different, unique, and gifted. It means not that they are limited, but maybe WE are. Because we don’t experience life the way they do. Be aware. Autism means normal, but uniquely so. When was the last time YOU had that light in your eye? That clarity that children have? I see it every time I look into the eyes of my kids. We should all be so lucky.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Referred: MyAspieWife: The I Cant' Control Myself Control Freak


Babymoon and Tricky Parenting

So, we're back from our babymoon! My hubby and I had a really good, relaxing time. We talked, we got to go out to eat at a really fancy restaurant, I surprised Jeff with a limo ride to said fancy restaurant, we swam, sat in the big bubbling tub in our room, watched tv, went to Gooseberry (our favorite place), and Split Rock also! We just had a nice, relaxing time. The only bad part was night, when neither one of us slept well. Hubby couldn't sleep because of my snoring, and I couldn't sleep because he would poke me and then I would feel bad, or I was uncomfortable. It was not comfortable in that bed! 

Our B did not have as good of a time. I think he made it through the first 24 hours just fine, but he has a lot of the same problems that we have going somewhere new; it just isn't the same. He is completely lost without his normalcy, without his routine, without his clean and wide open spaces home, and without mom and dad! 

As I think about these things it makes me wonder about the possibility of him having Aspergers. He has a lot of the same symptoms that I have (only I have had 30 years of practice to "hide" or "make socially acceptable"). He does not hide his feelings. He gets a nervous, anxious stomach just like I do, and he was throwing up by night 2. There are a lot of factors involved, and none of them are his fault, and none of them are anything he can control. Take it from me, no matter how much logic you throw at this nervous, anxious stomach, it does not go away until the stimulous that is causing the stomach ache goes away. In this case, coming home to his mom and dad and his home was the cure. He was home very short period of time, got showered and ate some crackers and he felt 1000% better.

He is also a lot like his dad, they both have a harder time using the bathroom when they are away from home. It isn't impossible for them, but more times than not they will be unable to go. That must have been part of his problem because he went 3 times yesterday afternoon alone. Poor kid!

This brings me to a thought that I had never had before. We didn't really fall in love with the idea that babies should have a solid routine, but as a family we did fall into somewhat of a "loose routine". Now the idea is that he is "too stuck" in his routine! What? You hear for years how a routine helps for things like bedtime, but  being out of the routine isn't supposed to be a problem? 

Anyway, my son is who he is. I know if it were me, I would be just as out of my comfort zone. I would be just as uncomfortable. Even at 30, I could mask my issues and sensitivities for a certain period, but after that I would probably be a little touchy. I would need to do something completely on my own, like take a walk or something. A 6 year old just can't walk off on his own and take a walk, and it's likely that he wouldn't even know to ask for that. He has been an intense child since the moment he was born, so him being intense now is not something he has been "coddled" into, or parented in such and such a way, or anything. This is who he is. We aren't the kind of family who leaves our kid behind very often.We take him everywhere with us, and we prefer that. We actually like to be together as a family, and if our son prefers that as well, what could possibly be wrong with that? I doubt he will be inconsolable without us at 13. If there is some Aspergers aspect, I fully believe that we will deal with things however we have to as we go along. I didn't become a parent to push my kids away or force them to be so uncomfortable they throw up. I know for me, no amount of practice would make that any better. And somehow I managed to grow up to be a functional adult without being forced to do things that made me sick.

But I am keeping an eye on the behavior, the aspects of Aspergers that I see. It reaffirms me a little, and it helps me to know that doing things like homeschooling, I am likely making the right decisions for all of us. Though I'm glad it helps so many people to have those assistance resources available, I know even a NT child of ours is going to be relentlessly tortured through school just as we were. So to have a possibility of having a child who is different, I just know that it wouldn't turn out well. I know that God is showing us exactly what we need to do to help our child to be confident and happy.