Internally, being a person with Asperger’s is complete hell. The internal battle is neverending, and at times I want to give up. My mind alone races about two hundred miles per hour. Sleeping at night is a luxury not easily found for us Aspie’s. And even if I were to fall asleep, I dream nonstop. I read somewhere the typical person barely remembers their dreams. I wish I could forget most of mine. My dreams are all in color and vivid. I can recall dreams from my earliest childhood.
My imagination was off the charts. I imagined I was a male dog named Pete. I played this role from the time I was three or four and stopped once I started school. I would role play while laying in bed at night and drive my sister crazy. She would get annoyed because I talked out loud and she was trying to sleep.
I would play with dolls some of the time, but I enjoyed playing with my brother’s trucks. Aspie’s can gravitate towards gender opposite things. I always considered myself a tomboy even though my mom would try to force me to act more like a girl. I hated anything related to shopping, grocery, clothes, etc… I thought it was boring and it brought on a lot of anxiety when my parents would take me.
A trait that has stuck with me since I had teeth was biting my nails. Everyone including my family attempted to get me to quit. I would chew my nails and even the skin around my nails. My father hated I bit them, and one day he tried clipping them with clippers. He eventually left me alone. My mom and sister bit their nails, but I knew it was because of their nerves. I ate mine just because it helped me focus. It sounds strange, but for an Aspie, it is a way for us to keep our mind’s from going everywhere. Plus, I usually am lost in my thought’s and am tuning out the noise of the world.
I love isolation. I had friends growing up, but as I would get overwhelmed, I would retreat to my inner self. I felt safe and could reconnect. Living in Canada helped tremendously when my anxiety would hit. I could go home, and take a stroll around our motel and take in all of nature. It helped to replenish me.
I knew I was a pain in the butt to my friends at times. I look back and realize I had moments where I wanted to be the center of attention. I craved and longed to get noticed. It is a dichotomy for an Aspie. We want the attention, yet can handle it for so long, and want to be left alone. When I got older, I would converse more with males than females. For me, most girls talked about boys, shopping, makeup, and clothes. None of those ever interested me.
I never took criticism well. It took me until the past few years to train my brain on the difference between correction and criticism. I thought all criticism meant I did everything wrong. I felt all my life no matter what I tried to do it was incorrect. I am sure there were times my mom was correcting me when I thought she hated me. It is a relief I can distinguish between a person being critical versus helpful. I still have moments where I question, but it is no longer crippling.
I can attest I am a complete klutz. I could never understand dance moves or anything requiring some motor skill. It is another aspect of having Asperger’s; we are clumsy. Sports were not a thing for me either since my timing was off. Coordination was not a strong suit. My mind would try to follow the steps needed, but my body couldn’t agree.
My memory for certain things was phenomenal. I could remember actors or actresses who starred in a particular movie even if I never saw it. I could recall the names of most films and what the story entailed. People would ask about a specific movie, and I could rattle off the storyline. I had a fantastic memory for trivial things.
Confusion hit a lot of times. I had teachers in school to teach on a specific subject, and I would be in a state of confusion. Everyone else in the class would get it. I would sit and stare wondering what he or she just said. In my brain, it comprehended the material presented as foreign. I felt inadequate and stupid most times. Another difficulty is people who rattle off numbers and expect me to write it down. For some odd reason, my brain cannot understand it. I researched it and discovered it is a learning disability.
My hygiene was lackluster as a preteen. I didn’t understand the concept of my body changing and needed to be kept clean. It was my brother who told me about putting on deodorant. I guess I started to smell bad so pointed it out. My worst moment was when I first got my period.
My mom never sat and explained about periods at all. I remember sitting in sixth grade and felt a weird sensation on my underwear. I asked the nun to excuse me to the bathroom. I sat in the stall staring at the blood. I was terrified. I went back to class and mentioned it to a couple of the girls. I was scared to say anything to the nun. One of the girls got up and told her. I got excused to go to the principal’s office. Thankfully, the school secretary explained what a pad was and how to use one. When my mom got home from work, my grandmother told her what happened. My mom only asked how I felt physically and that was it. She never discussed menstruation or anything related to my body.
I had a hard time fitting in while a preteen/teenager. It was a confusing time. I had already endured tons of abuse, my parent’s divorce and my mom taking out her anger towards me. I wanted to die many times. The pain of trying to belong and not being able to fit in took a heavy toll. It was a miracle I survived.
There are other traits I had being an Aspie. I will share more in later posts.