Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Aspie Relationships (maybe autistic relationships in general)
Anyone who is autistic or has ever been in a relationship with an aspie knows how challenging (understatement!!) such things can be for us. I think there are several areas of difficulty...

Most of us wind up in an NT+AS match at least once. I tend to think that while not impossible, these matings are inclined to be extremely hard to establish and maintain with both parties happy. When I say happy, I don't mean euphoric-forever-madly-in-love. Just, happy-I'm-glad-we-did-this-and-we-like-each-other-still.


Partly because the NT has to adjust to us, and they're disused to doing so. Aspies are well aquainted with having to adjust to NT's and accede to them at times. It's the story of our life, after all... Herein lies another area of conflict and unhappiness: the aspie is *sick* of having to play head games and make concessions all day long, their entire life long. We want to be able to relax and let our hair down for a change, to be liked for who we really are. If the NT only likes us as long as we can maintain the "NT masquerade", it's not really us that they love; it's the NT mask that we're wearing (at an enormous personal price). It can't be maintained 24/7 for months at a time. The real person will show through when the effort of keeping up the facade proves too stressful or when the NT earns our trust enough that we start to let them see a little of our real selves.

A number of NT's that I've talked with online mention feeling dismayed and somewhat betrayed, or duped, when they find out that their aspie lover is more than just a little eccentric. No folks, we are very eccentric, and we do have areas of hardship in dealing with the world at large, just as you have faults of your own. Asking us to retain the mask ALL the time is....not love. Sorry. :-/

We're not perfect...not by a long shot. Speaking for myself mostly, I've felt isolated from the world for most of my life (uh, maybe all of it). It's like an invisible wall seperating me from other people. I can observe them, but I'm a foreigner. Not theirs. I routinely feel lonely...lonely in a way that I suspect normal people rarely do...like the deepest ocean, almost bottomless and with no islands in sight anywhere, not even a bird. This has been more or less the norm for me, and there are very, very few people who have been able to pierce that loneliness or to walk through my wall more than momentarily (at least I have plenty of tiem to think and mull things over). Can you imagine feeling deeply, desperately lonely, like a black void crying out in agony, while you are in the midst of lovemaking and your mate is having a great old time? I can hardly think of anything worse...but I've experienced that more times than I care to count, and far more often than it's been otherwise, unfortunately. It isn't about physical satisfaction, it's about feeling that someone knows the real you.

Library is shutting down so I'll resume this at home!!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sensory Preception and Autism

I found a site which actually contains some very accurate,hit-the-nail-on-the-head information about autism. Scroll down and take a look at the spider-type diagrams, especially the second one. I have experienced most of those things. This is a fascinating article...

Sensory Overload at the Workplace....

The last three days have been just *insane* at my job. It's rodeo weekend, with a large rodeo and carnival just 5-6 miles away in our neigboring town. If you haven't encountered my blog before, I work in the deli/bakery of a gorcery store. At first, I ran from the customers and could hardly function, but I adjusted. Now I'm a very competent worker. Anyway, I've had to work all three days!! We have been deluged with insistent people (many from out of town, therefore they have no reason to be especially nice to us)for hours at a time. We've also been shorthanded with our workers. This is a bad, bad combination for me....

I've been rushing around trying to help all the customers (frequently there is a crowd of them), trying to cook or prepare enough food for them (but they buy it just as fast as we make it!!) and it is a multi-tasking nightmare.

The effect has been:

-->Sometimes I can't seem to hear them. There is so much noise overall, I can't sort their voices out.
-->When they smell bad (perfumy, usually) it is affecting me worse and I am more likely to say something out loud to my coworkers. Today, I waited on a woman, and as she left, I turned to my manager and said: "sugary flowers!" and made a face. It was what the lady smelled (stunk!) like. Smells really, really bug me.
-->People say things to me and I hear words, but they don't translate into meaning. I hear only the words, and I know the person is trying to communicate with me, so I look at them expectantly, but probably quizzically. Sometimes I have to ask another time or two or say the words back before it decodes into something useful to act on.
-->Anxiety attacks, oh lovely.....
-->and my co-worker (one in particular) gets very, very impatient and somewhat bitchy with me, espcially if I give her the blank lok because I didn't understand. I am working just as hard, at least as hard, as she is, and I invariably end up stuck with most of the customers as well, so I don't understand the bad attitude.
-->It can be hard for me to prioritize what needs to be done first when there are a lot of things that all seem to need immediate attention. Three customers, the phone is ringing, the intercom is calling us, the buzzers and timers are going off, there is a chicken order to fill, the hot case is empty and needs food in it.... Usually I wait on the customers so they'll go away. Sometimes (groan) they keep coming! After that, the most annying stimulus gets attended to first (timer shrieking insistently).
-->Oh, yeah. Concentration. It becomes very hard for me to focus when there is so much going on. I begin to feel like I'm drowning in noise and demands and can't cope. I feel all scattered inside....
I'm really glad this was the last day of rodeo weekend (more on this morbid subject tommorow).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

OK, I am getting sick and tired of hearing this statement:

"Most autistics also have mental retardation."

Supposedly, 75% of us are retarded! Most of my personal aquaintances who are autistic haven't struck me as retarded at all. Some of them have been non-verbal. Others stimmed a lot or were otherwise very obviously autistic. Many of them were aspie (Asperger's), like me, but not always. At least three of them were not aspie. I have only met one individual who did seem a bit slow, and he was A: drugged up with all sorts of meds and B: had a primary dx of Tourettes, with a secondary of PDD. The majority of those that I meet are not retarded.

Of course, several of the peopel I've met also haven't been formally diagnosed. We made it all the way into adulthood before we found out, and suddenly the struggles and questions we'd had made sense and the pieces fell into place. Who exactly are they counting when they come up with these staistics, because I haven't been counted? Perhaps they only count those of us who are on SSI or SSDI; that's not fair.....

Additionally: if most of us are retarded, then explain this one to me: I applied for an autism research study. However, the study had a window of I.Q. range, anywhere between 80-120. In other words, if you are autistic and have an I.Q. of over 120, you cannot apply, too smart. Their study automatically sieves out the higher end of autism that *should* be studied and given more credit and recognition. I can see that they might consider 150 a bit high...but 120? I mean, 120 just does not seem that phenomenal to me. In fact, it seems a bit average.

Is there an agenda to discredit the fact that many of us are quite bright and have managed to cope reasonably well in the world?

Monday, June 20, 2005

These lyrics from 'Losing My Religion' ( yeah, that too), (by R.E.M.) very aptly describe what it's been like for me, as an autistic playing the field, searching with all my heart for a soulmate.

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try........

Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool, fool
Oh no, I’ve said too much

I've been the jester, giving everyone else their jollies and giggles...
Taking the brunt of their ridicule and their burning scorn...
Swallowing the bitterness time and again...
Falling down over and over, trying to stand, getting knocked back down...
Fumbling, saying all the wrong things
and not the words that crowded and choked my heart

Mistaking their amusement and pity and politeness for love
or even for friendship
when I meant nothing at all....
just a pawn to eventually dispose of...... :-(

What is it with people,
that when they see something with a pure and innocent heart
or something weaker or more vulnerable than themselves,
they automatically despise it?

Mean boys never really progress past pulling wings and legs off of insects;
they only change their focus to other poeple,
and learn how to make themselves seem oh-so-holy and blameless.....

I despise them!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Here is a really wonderful excerpt from Temple Grandin's new book, _Animals_in_Translation_. Read it here!!

I agree with her.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

An Afterthought on Non-Existent Amish Auties and Vaccination
If a clear link between vaccines and autism is suspected, the way to go about it is to investigate ALL autistics who were not vaccinated, and to compare the autism rate among non-vaccinating parents to that of the general population. There are MANY parents who do not vaccinate their children. To draw such conclusions requires a wider genetic base with fewer interfering factors (such as culture, religious objection to medical advice, general ignorance of autism, and isolationism, as well as the narrow gene pool).

Not all of my children are vaccinated. One of the ones who isn't seems very aspie to me. My dad seems aspie. It's commonly accepted in my family that eccentricity is common among us. I am convinced taht it is genetic and vaccinesmay or may not excaberate the situation. I do know that the aspie physiology (based on hearsay and compaisons with other aspies) seems to be very sensitive to some substances and stimuli and hardly affected by others. It does make sense that vaccines might make it worse than it would otherwise have been.

Friday, June 03, 2005

No Amish Autistics!!!! It's a Conspiracy!!!

At this point, I suppose I should link to the relevant articles:
here's one and here....is another.

Ok, here's my spiel on the matter: Dan Olmstead desperately needs to research animal breeding (heck, plant breeding would work too) before he starts jumping to conclusions. It is true that the Amish live a relatively simple and less industrialized lifestyle than most of us (although we tend to romanticize and exaggerate this fact: the Amish actually do have washing machines in many cases....just not your standard on the grid machine). I'm sure that quite a few of them also don't go to doctors unless absolutely necessary. Their life is far less inundated with the sort of noise and chaos that drives an aspie to their wit's end. The schools are smaller and less overwhelming. Among these facts: The Amish generally don't vaccinate their children. This is one of many aspects of the Amish culture.

Apparently there are far less reported cases of autism in the Amish community. I suspect that the aspies function better there than they do in our modern day life and probably go undetected....if they are there. Possibly a person would have to be pretty undeniably and noticeably autistic in order to be labeled among the Amish. At any rate, Mr Olmstead appears to suspect that there are fewer Amish auties because they don't vaccinate.

This is where a distinct knowledge of practical genetics would come in handy.

See, the Amish are very genetically limited. In a word: inbred. This isn't an insult; it's a simple fact. The Amish gene pool is very small with very little new incoming blood, and families often stay rooted in one area for long periods of time. They can't outcross with the "English", or non-Amish. Most people who do not breed livestock don't realize that inbreeding isn't necessarily a negative thing. It all hinges on *what* genes you are concentrating. Basically, you just get more of what's already there in the genes. It doesn't magically make horrid deformities or mutations unless those genes were there to begin with. It DOES increase the odds that you will see more of what's really there(genotype), genetically (as opposed to phenotype, i.e., what you SEE). If you have a wonderful animal with a solid background, the easiest way to fix the genes and get consistent offspring is to linebreed or inbreed with a relative (of varying degrees).

When you inbreed------>> You will see some traits, even if they're not that common in the general population, at a higher concentration. With continued inbreeding/linebreeding, the population becomes more and more consistent with less genetic variation. Some traits which may be common in the general populace may not show up at all in the inbred population: if the genes weren't there to begin with, or were not there in sufficient numbers, they didn't get concentrated.

And that's what I think happened with the Amish. They have an excessively high rate of some birth defects and genetic diseases (one of the dangers of inbreeding, and you can't ethically "cull" humans the way you do with livestock). But it stands to reason that other traits (possibly including autism) simply wouldn't be there at all. This is what anyone would expect to see....not a big surprise. No conspiracy there!