Ever feel like you need to act MORE autistic?

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Ms Dobalina
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Joined: 30 Mar 2021
Age: 33
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09 Apr 2021, 4:17 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Ms Dobalina wrote:
Trying to do all of these things leaves me so exhausted that eventually I just break down completely and spend the day in bed with the curtains drawn, curled up in the fetal position, praying for my anti-anxiety medication to kick in as soon as possible so that maybe I can get some relief. It's too much.


This is totally me. I'm like that even when I haven't interacted with people. Just the thought of it depletes my resources and makes me want to hide. People are overwhelming because they're so unpredictable. You never know what their personality or mood will be that day, what motivates them, or whether they're NT / ND / experiencing mental illness, lying, etc. There are too many variables, and the same person can change moment to moment, day to day, and conversation to conversation depending on the context and who else is present. I like my world to be predictable, familiar, or routine. It's really hard to process, interpret, juggle, and respond to the onslaught of sensory, social, verbal and nonverbal info that just one person can generate. My brain kind of short-circuits after a short period of interaction, even if I like the person and enjoy talking to them. It's so much easier online like this.

I went my whole working career not knowing I was (Level 2) autistic, but that I was very, very, very different from everyone else and that people spoke about me behind my back. I didn't know about "How are you?" etiquette, and I used to launch into my life story with people when asked. I was an oversharer, but I didn't know that term either. I became the brunt of jokes from colleagues who knew the minutiae of my life, because the oversharing made my hardships stand out. I think they saw me as dramatic because I would tell them everything, thinking they cared. I'm sure they had just as much drama in their own lives, but they didn't share it -- so no one teased them.

Yes I'm a logical thinker as you describe. I try to derive meaning from the logic by deconstructing their words but I think most people work the opposite by "constructing". I've never been able to construct logically. I can break apart but I can't synthesise, even in basic daily living. Funny example: I was looking for toothpicks in a shop that had all the aisles labelled. That meant I had to synthesise. I had to start with the idea of toothpicks, and work backward in my brain to generalise which aisle label would help me find them. I couldn't figure out what the "big picture" of a toothpick would be. I kept asking my daughter, "What would toothpicks be? Health care? Medicine? Cleaning products? Is there an aisle called "Picnics??! ! !" (she thought that was funny - in retrospect I have no idea why I associated picnics and toothpicks?) I couldn't figure out which category they'd be in so I gave up and left. Of course I wouldn't ask anyone. About a week later I was in a different shop and there they were! In the ... dental aisle. Whoops! :oops: Never, in a million years, would I have figured that one out on my own. If someone gave me a category like "dental aisle" I could deconstruct it and name about 100 products which might be sold there, but given the prompt of "toothpicks" I can't work backward to generalise or find the right aisle.

Sorry for the long example but I thought it was funny and very indicative of the way I think. I'm a details person who can't see the forest (dental aisle) for the trees (toothpicks). This is why it's very hard for me to have a conversation with someone, take all their details or cues, and work backward to figure out what the heck they really mean. People need to be very clear with me, or else I either give up, shutdown, or resent them because I start to feel vulnerable.

Sorry for the long post!


Ha! I'm just so happy to find another long poster. Makes me feel less alone.

There is so much that I want to unpack from what you've written here, but if I do this post will become a novella. So I'll just touch on some of it.

Your toothpick example was excellent. I have a very similar but slightly tangential story myself. Every time I go to the supermarket I get the same things because I've memorised exactly where they are and can go straight to them, get them and leave as soon as possible. But if I'm going to the supermarket and friend or family member casually says to me "Here's some money, could you pick up a few things while you're there? I need some fresh pita bread, pistachios and a bottle of tomato, onion and garlic pasta sauce for dinner tonight." My first thought is "No. Absolutely not. No way. You want me to wander around the entire supermarket trying to determine which aisle description meets the criteria for those requests? Go jump in a lake."

And supermarkets are hellish as it is. The fluorescent lights, the proximity to other people, the beeping of things being scanned, the horrible sound of someone on the loudspeaker. Shudder.

I, like so many of us, have hypersensitivity to sound (and other things but sound is the worst).
A few years ago I bought specialised ear plugs that were invented by a guy who went to concerts all the time but started rupturing eardrums because the live music was to loud. He didn't want standered earplugs because they muffled the sound of the music. So he makes these earplugs that don't muffle sound, they just lower all sounds by 15 decibels. What he didn't know is that they would catch on in the autism community.
When I'm wearing them I can still have a conversation with other people, I can still hear things just fine. But everything is just quieter, softer and so much less painful.

One of the best investments I've ever made.



rottingpetal
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12 Apr 2021, 12:12 am

I actually didn't mask my behaviors for the longest time and I deeply regret it, I feel like I ruined many potential friendships because of misunderstandings.
It wasn't until I turned 24 that I realized that most of my behaviors probably look psychotic from the outside so I tried to read up on how I'm supposed to act, what's appropriate in social situations, etc. For the longest I concluded I must be some kind of weirdo introvert, but now I know what it was lol.

I'm still trying to find a doctor who can diagnose me, it's been difficult because of the pandemic, but I have a feeling they'd have absolutely no problem. :lol:



starkid
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16 Apr 2021, 2:55 am

Definitely not; that would just cause more trouble for me.


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DesertWoman
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20 Apr 2021, 12:45 am

I get frustrated all the time, because I'm "high functioning." I feel like the more obvious people get all the help and services. Nonprofits for the developmentally disabled are not equipped to do much for higher functioning adults. And, yeah, men get so much more respect. Society needs to evolve to adapt to our issues and needs.

I don't look or act "disabled" but I'm on disability. I've fought to have what other people have. This society is not ready to accept autism completely. I've approached legislators and still, nothing. The suicide rate for autistic women is high. Taxpayer dollars are being allocated to what, I don't know.


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Ms Dobalina
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23 Apr 2021, 1:12 am

DesertWoman wrote:
I get frustrated all the time, because I'm "high functioning." I feel like the more obvious people get all the help and services. Nonprofits for the developmentally disabled are not equipped to do much for higher functioning adults. And, yeah, men get so much more respect. Society needs to evolve to adapt to our issues and needs.

I don't look or act "disabled" but I'm on disability. I've fought to have what other people have. This society is not ready to accept autism completely. I've approached legislators and still, nothing. The suicide rate for autistic women is high. Taxpayer dollars are being allocated to what, I don't know.


I know exactly how you feel. I hate the phrases "high functioning" and "low functioning" because what they mean is that "neurotypical" is the gold standard for "functioning" and our less-than-ideal "functioning" is a statement on how well we can mimic what silly normies expect, how comfortable we can make them feel. It's degrading.

I came up with a term a long time ago that I think is much better and if anyone wants to give their thoughts on it I would be very appreciative. I call it "neuroadaptivity". Basically it's how well you can appear to be neurotypical in a neurotypical society. Some people are very "neuroadaptive", others are not. But there's no implication that being more neuroadaptive is better than not.