Thursday, 27 October 2011

Stress, Anxiety and Aspergers

Because of a lack of diagnosis, people always just thought I was highly strung. 

When I was very young, I was an extremely whiny child.  It drove my family potty.  I read somewhere (can't remember) that whining in children is their way of expressing anger in a more acceptable way than smashing things up (I wouldn't have done that as I hated mess).     Driving along in the back of the car one day (with all my siblings and I squashed in the back - I have 3 brothers and 1 sister), I think I took the whining too far.  My mother leaned over and thwacked me one across the face.  That sure shut me up!  

I don't think anyone realised I wasn't wired up the same as 'normal' people.  My brother - who is a typical aspie - had definite odd behaviours and my mother's instinct was to protect him.  She still does.  Being a girl things were different.  More was expected I suppose.  Autism was a boy issue - girls were just being scatty or difficult. 

Anyway, because of this or despite it (who can say) I forced myself to be less shy, I fought my way through panic attacks, depressions, hellish relationships, stress, agoraphobia, social phobias.  I studied hard after work to get qualifications - if only to prove to myself I wasn't completely thick (but also because I have to know things).   I worked hard at work too and made my way in to office management.  It's a thing I am good at and I have stayed with.    Never got further than this despite being very well qualified but as I have mentioned in previous blogs, I think I come across as scatty and weird. 

In a way I do regret not knowing about Aspergers sooner - perhaps I would have been able to explain things to people around me I cared about - most people don't stick around.    Once someone isn't around me all the time, I can almost 'forget' their existence.  It's bizarre.  It does not mean I don't love them.  I just 'get used to' the new routines of them not being there.  I think it hurt too many people to believe that 'out of sight' really did mean 'out of mind'.   It isn't strictly true.  I see my best friend once a year and we don't communicate regularly but I very rarely go through a whole day without her popping into my head.   This friendship has lasted over twenty years - precisely because no demands are made.   If I don't want to visit her (in London) even if I am expected, it's okay to cancel last minute without a shower of abuse.  Likewise, she may do this with me too.  It's one of our 'rules'.   Not too many calls or texts or emails either - no one likes being 'forced' to reply/respond.   It's all done through telepathic love.   But the joy of hearing her voice, or getting an email is beyond measure.   I know there is no pressure, no social niceties to comply with - I can just be me.   I haven't actually discussed Aspergers with her yet - I do wonder how she will respond to this.

Other things I might like to have known before - that I am not thick - I just process information a different way.   Verbal and written instructions are difficult for me and so I have to really be careful in exams - might have done better in my IQ test if I had been prepared for it!  I was only little and frankly I thought it was some kind of conspiracy  - a whole exam of trick questions.  I never did find out what the 'score' was but I am guessing I was near enough a carrot.   I didn't even bother to answer half the questions as I really didn't get what they were on about.!  I have tried a few on line IQ tests more recently and I am pleased to say, I am still a carrot....woohoo.   This might be okay for some people but I just happen to be born into a family of extremely clever academic people - not much sympathy there then....

It is not easy to watch siblings doing no work and coming out with A results.  I had to study like crazy for a C....grrr.....

Also, I have one brother who is a gifted musician and an A student.  It can really piss you off.   Fluent at languages, any musical instrument, could remember all the books he read and quoth to hearts content in Latin if need be....OMG...and he is a good looking bloke.   So not fair.....sniff...

So, as the black-sheep of my own particular brood, I will shuffle off and be average or crap at everything. 

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