Saturday, August 27, 2011

Getting stuck on one question

I have been thinking a lot about my next session with the psychologist. Thinking about things I may want to talk about, questions I may want to ask, things I want to work on. But my mind gets stuck on only one question and I cannot think of anything else:

Will life always be this difficult, will fear always be my companion?

Being liked, and passing

When someone likes me or wants to spend time with me, who is it that they like? The me that passes as normal? Will they still like me if I stop working so hard to pass? Do they even know how hard I work? Will they still like me if I smiled less and asked more awkward questions? Will they like the real undiluted autistic me? The me that does not want to greet people, wants to bite her fingers and rock from side to side, who frowns when she thinks, who thinks all the time, who are unsure and anxious many times, who thinks that people are hard to understand, who are perplexed by the things they do and say, who wants to interrupt people because it is hard to know anyway when it is her turn to speak, who wants to leave places suddenly when the sounds bother her too much, who gets overstimulated and irritated and agitated so often?

I don't know if this me will still be liked or accepted. And not be pitied or avoided. And I want to be liked, that is why I still pass.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Being understood

With the help of my husband, I found a psychologist who are knowledgeable about Aspergers. I had an hour long session with him on Wednesday. During the hours and days leading up to this I felt very anxious and apprehensive. To begin with I felt unsettled because the day would be a break in my usual routine. And then I did not know what to expect at all, I was also scared of being disappointed once again.

I am very glad to say that my fears were unfounded. It is hard to describe what an intense experience it was talking to an expert who understood, validated and knows more than I do about Aspergers. I was close to crying the whole time, but held that in because I did not want to waste the precious time on too much emotion.

I have so many thoughts and feelings running through my head now, I so wish I could hide somewhere alone for a few days to rest and start processing it all.

One recurring thought, accompanied by a wave of emotion every time, is "So this is what it feels like to be understood!" It is overwhelming. I do have people in my life who love me and accept me and try to understand me. It is a blessing, and I appreciate it more than I can express. But in all these relationships I am the expert when it comes to Aspergers. Naturally I usually end up explaining and educating, and mostly in a detached, intellectual way - sharing emotions and fears is too threatening when I am rather sure of not being understood. And these explanations can so easily cross a line somewhere in my head and start feeling like excuses. After a lifetime of believing I am just not trying hard enough, I still sometimes feel as if I am just trying to justify myself. Trying to convince myself and others that I am OK and trying. And when I achieve something, it is not really satisfying first having to explain why it is an achievement before getting some appreciation. I really do not want to hurt my loved ones, I value them so much. But to talk to someone who understands without any explanations, who applauds my achievements and sympathizes with my fears and struggles - it took my breath away.

We talked about many things, and once I have processed more of them I will write about it. It is hard to put my thoughts down now, I feel very emotional and tired.

I want to end this post by saying thank you to my wonderful husband, who cared enough to make this session possible, something I would not have been able to do on my own.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Positive Conversation

I stole this heading from another blog. Like that blogger, I also had a positive conversation about autism. A dear friend invited me for coffee this morning. I have not been going out much lately, retreating into my own world. So this invitation resulted in as much anxiety as pleasure. To be honest, it was only my aversion to making phone calls that prevented me from cancelling.

But I did go, and it turned out to be a very special visit. As always, my friend and her husband made me feel so welcome and accepted. My usual irrational thoughts like "I have nothing to say that will be of any interest to anybody" faded away, and I had a lovely time. Then without my prompting it, my friend asked me about my blog, and a conversation about autism and my experience with it followed. I cannot adequately express how much this meant to me. I told her, among other things, that I was tired of trying so hard to be someone I am not, and I felt comfortable saying it. I am scared to tell people this, for fear of being accused or suspected of being 'fake'. To be able to say it to an accepting friend with an open mind was such a relief.

I feel calmer this afternoon than I have been for quite a while. My racing thoughts have slowed down a little, and I am intensely grateful for friendship and the gifts it brings.