It's over. Thank God. Christmas is torture. I enjoyed two things - my children opening their presents and eating cheese and biscuits with my sister in law and niece. The rest was a test of my spirit and that's all I can say - except that I am knackered, feeling very unsociable, and slightly depressed.
It occurs to me that life hasn't been at all easy and it doesn't seem to be letting up. Now as Aspie with no formal diagnosis yet, I get accused of pathologising normal behaviour (a phrase I nicked from a great article in the NY Times about a couple on the spectrum and their relationship traumas). What does this mean? Well, to all intents and purposes it means I choose to be on the spectrum to explain away all the quirks and traits that normal people don't seem to have. What are these? Shall we list them?
a. Don't ever, ever go near my belly button - I will kill or cry.
b. Don't rub my upper arms for too long - it's like rubbing a bruise
c. Socks do my head in
d. Labels on clothes drive me nuts
e. Thinking about anything I am wearing for too long - will make me cry
f. I practice social interactions - endlessly and obsessively - muttering to myself the moment I am alone. Over and over. Been doing it since tiny.
g. I over think or under think just about everything.
h. I can hear the words you are saying but it might be a while before I understand them
i. I might repeat what you just said so I have time to process - echo, echo, echo
j. There is a good chance I will mimic you - your accent and gestures - that's my way of learning social skills. Not reliable but do it anyway.
k. Pretty much if I meet you once I will not recognise you again unless you are in the same place. Pretty much this is true of just about everyone including family.
l. I rock backwards and forwards at my computer. If really stressed, I have a repetitive movement with my hands - I push my thumb into the palm of the other hand, twist and repeat. If I am in a supermarket I will finger count - my thumb will press each of my fingers on my hand in a sequence only I know. Apparently these are stims.
m. I have a problem working out time - really awkward for cooking...
n. There are days when I would rather not speak at all - not a word.
o. I don't like being hugged or kissed.
p. Perfumes are stinky and repellent
q. I am a bit blunt sometimes - to the point of rudeness apparently. I wouldn't hurt anyone intentionally but I like to be straightforward and honest. I have learned this is socially unacceptable so it doesn't happen all the time now.
r. I don't like socialising. It's exhausting.
s. I can study houses and house plans for hours - and play spider solitaire all day if I have time (which I don't as I am a working parent).
t. If you are angry - say so. I can't tell by your silly expressions.
u. I get violent when really angry but it takes a lot to get there because generally I don't really get what is going on around me. I live in a bubble - you should just leave me there. Reality sucks.
v. I do suffer because I can't make out what is going on - I have been bullied in the past and generally I am one of those people who seek to please - aka doormat. Am learning (at 47) to stick up for myself.
w. My work is important to me. Very important. I am happiest there in my routines. I am good at it - even though I must be hard to work with sometimes.
x. Written instructions are probably not going to be understood - draw a picture. I like to think in pictures.
z. I will have meltdowns/tantrums what ever you call it - I can't verbally defend or argue very well and it all goes into a mush in my head - and then I will obsess about that for years. And cry/shout/stomp to display how I feel. I can't ask for your help and I cannot verbalise how I feel exactly - that's a bummer.
So, if I got the alphabet right, which I doubt, then there are 26 things to be going on with. If I thought about it a bit more, there are a few to add but no more alphabet. Should have used numbers - too late now.
For those of you who still think that is easy to give a name to some of these things - think again. It has taken me 47 years of berating myself to find out that not everything was my fault. I didn't have the inward facilities to make good choices all the time. That isn't a crime. Nor is wanting a name for the things that set you apart from the norm. It's comforting.
Being an Aspie isn't an excuse for behaving differently or even badly. I do try, I sincerely do try to fit in. I just have a much harder job! And there are a few things I simply do not know how to deal with. But believe me, in all the years I have been on this planet I have done nothing but push harder to be better.
Live well. It drives everyone else around you nuts.