December 19th, 2004

raspberry lapstare

(no subject)

I'm here in lovely Chicago, where it's 9F right now and my parents are being real goofy about letting me use the car to drive (gosh!) 80 miles to Indiana. Schedules and transportation, and who's available when... bah. Not that isn't always like this; I think that once every two years is about all I can stand of it, though. It makes my little Aspie heart grumble and wince.

And speaking of... here's my long-delayed "What's it mean to have Asperger's?" post. Woo!

Unlike depression, but like my ADD, the Asperger's is always around in some form. It may sometimes get better or worse, but it's so much a part of my being that I can't imagine what it would be like to not have it. It affects my ways of thinking very deep down on a cognitive level; one of the side effects of this is that it can be very hard to diagnose (or notice) unless you know what you're looking for. What might be some typical symptoms of being an Aspie, you might ask?
  • Routine! Lots and lots of routine. (And overcoming routine is difficult.)
  • It's difficult to make small talk, but rather easy to talk about 'something'.
  • Uneasiness in talking about oneself. (Where to start? How much to say? Am I boring the other person to death?)
  • Social interaction is draining. This is a big one.
  • It's difficult to express emotional connotations of things in an understandable way. Often, it can come off as stalkerish or psycho or just downright weird.
  • Very good at generalizing, to see the forest for the trees.
  • Social cues are Real Hard to see - so is "what's appropriate".
  • In a related vein, accurately reading how one's perceived is Real Hard. (Combine this one with the social cues above, and you get Oblivious Man! And Doesn't Know When He's Being Flirted With Man!)
  • Non-sequiturs are rife in conversation; the internal version of this (for me, anyway) is that out of the blue, embarrassing memories will just pop out of nowhere.
  • Not looking away from people when you're speaking to them. (You're paying attention to them, after all!)
  • Massive Confusion when the rules change, especially in social-ish situations.
  • Nastily sensitive startle reflex - loud noises, or any sudden sharp sensory input.
  • Running around on the balls of your feet.
  • Difficulty in empathizing with people.
  • In general, being Very Introverted.
On the other hand, the ADD does some directly contradictory things:
  • Yeah, it's hard to concentrate on boring things, but also...
  • There's a very, very strong drive to be social
  • and a super-strong desire for novelty.
  • I'd say the ADD also greatly increases one's empathy, too.
The social aspects of the ADD and the Asperger's are at direct odds with each other, and that can make life utter hell for me sometimes. I'll desperately want to be social, but won't have any energy for it (or for driving to where being social would occur.) Text-based media, like being online, is much less of a drain, so I do a lot of that - but there're also far fewer cues to miss, since more-or-less everything needs to be explicitly brought out in the text. In person, there's an awful lot of data that's expressed - and while I can often tell that something is being (indirectly) said, I often can't tell what. Along those lines, even when I'm empathizing with someone and can gauge their mood quite accurately, I can't necessarily tell why they're feeling as they are.
  • Current Mood
    bored bored