So, I just revealed I have Asperger’s. Here are just some of the things I do, or have done, that reflect the Asperger’s in me (in no particular order):
Becoming very attached to particular items of clothing or types or colors of clothing (think, mountain t-shirts and yoga pants) and wanting to wear them every single day. I own a ton of clothes. I wear about 1% of them. Everything must be soft, stretchy, and loose – what fashion says is too loose.
Becoming very attached to a particular (handmade pottery) cup/bowl and disliking anything that changes my morning routine of having the same tea in the exact same cup every day. And getting really upset if anything happens to my favorite cup or bowl.
Weird food preferences & wanting to eat the same thing every day. Example: I lived all winter long on tea, a particular brand and type of bagel, soymilk, and yogurt.
Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, and having no clue whatsoever that it was wrong, or why it pissed someone off.
Blurting out way more personal info than needed at the moment or that was appropriate.
Even fibromyalgia is more common in people with Asperger’s, as the brain processes pain signals differently in people with Autism. So are food intolerances, and heat intolerance.
Cannot remember faces/names or connect them hardly at all. If I see the name, like on a name tag, I have a much higher likelihood of remembering it, but remembering a name is no good if I can’t connect it with the face. People are always (ok, not always, since I am very isolated, but you know what I mean) coming up and talking to me as if I should know them. I might remember the conversation we had if I’m lucky, but putting it together with the face, no. This inability drives me nuts.
I have to force myself to talk to someone new, or even make a phone call to a store, etc. Obviously, realizing this was not right, I’ve been working on it a long time. But it doesn’t make it any more comfortable for me. New situations, parties, gatherings, etc., are incredibly difficult, and extremely draining, for me. So, I avoid them like the plague.
I rehearse everything in my head. Like, doctor visits, or anything that involves actually talking to people. I go over it and over it ad nauseum in my head, what will I say, what might they say, etc. Not once, but weeks ahead of time. Then, days ahead of time. Then on the way there. Then in the office waiting…
I like to collect information about things, and categories of things, and am quite obsessive in my pursuit of knowledge about whatever my current interest is. Which is why I have a small fortune in books on the shelf about things as diverse as Ancient Greek Religion, to Herbalism, to Amazons, etc. It’s not enough for me to collect just one book. I compare reviews, what different books contain, and then buy as many as I can reasonably afford. Often, I spend so much time researching, by the time they get here, I’ve moved into a different interest area, so sometimes the books are never even opened. I really need to hit Ebay…
Collecting actual objects of my narrow area of interest – for a while, growing up, it was Breyer Horses, and I collected every one I could afford with my allowance, or successfully beg and plead for. I spent hours pouring over the Breyer catalogs. For a while, it was Zuni fetishes – especially Wolf fetishes. I still have them, still love them, but am currently in a stone collecting phase, which is cheaper!
I can also use the stones – I’ve taught myself to Dremel, to grind fossil ivories and stones and bone and such into beautiful items, especially jewelry. Selling it is very hard for me, because I get so intent upon the item I am currently working on that by the time I am finished, I’m too attached to let it go. I can spend hours examining the way the light filters through a garnet, etc.
Dremeling has actually been a source of contention in my home. Just as computer time was before it, when I still had the business. The girls can’t understand how I can sit for long periods devoting all my attention to something, extremely small details only I notice, very much disliking interruption, and then suddenly, when finally come to a stopping point, collapsing into bed. But this is a very Asperger’s trait. The intentness, the level of focus, when working with the item of current fascination, the disliking interruption, and the totally losing track of time are all Asperger’s traits.
Cut your hair? Lose weight? New clothes? It passes me by. I very rarely notice. Sorry…
Then there’s animals. All my life, I’ve found it much, much easier to understand and relate to animals than humans. Animals have clear cut body language that’s easy to learn. But human body language, unless it’s really pronounced, I just simply can’t see, so I screw up all the time, mistaking intentions, or reactions.
There have been many times in my life, okay lets be honest, most of my life, when I’ve just plain not wanted to be here, simply because I have always felt lost… like everyone else knew something I clearly did not. I was in the wrong time in history. Or, perhaps I was in the wrong type of animal – I do believe in reincarnation, and I’ve often felt that I’ve been a Wolf way more often than I’ve been a human. Wolves I understand. Humans, I don’t.
Okay, that’s enough for part one. Later, there will be part two. I want to explain how this affected me in childhood, why school was torture. Etc.