Monday, November 13, 2017

Knowing is half of the battle!

I was asked if knowing I was on the Autism spectrum makes any difference?  It sure does.  I spent most of my life thinking there was something horribly wrong with me. That I was broken. I suppose I'm intelligent enough to notice I never fit in.

The thing about autism is that it really does explain all of my quirks. From the sensory processing disorder, things like I really despise having water drops fall on me, yes I HATE taking showers, I hate having my hair touched or played with and I definitely don't like being touched by people I do not know. I don't even like being touched by people I do know unless I'm in a good space!

It explains the OCD. Why I'm rigid and I have to do some things in certain ways. At least I'm just rigid for myself. When I train others I show them how I work but tell them if they find a better method that works for them they can use it.  My OCD is not the type that if I don't do it that way I will die, or something bad will happen. It's an OCD where I just need to do things a certain way just because I'm me.

I'm rigid in that certain things have to be done a certain way. I need to plan ahead to know what's coming so that I'm not a completely nervous anxious mess. The thing that freaks me out the most is going to new places where I've never been. For instance the court case in April in de Salaberry. I was so nervous before and during. I nearly broke Terry's hand I held it so tight.

Or like my first day at my first full time job at The Quebec Real Estate Association, where my first husband took me to the front door, holding my hand and told me I could do it. He was right, I did it for a year.  Also probably why I've been at the same company for 25 years.

I have all sorts of anxiety, in fact I have generalized anxiety disorder. The minute something goes off my expected script I get anxious. I can't explain why I get anxious but I know it's been paralyzing me with fear since I was a small child. It's why I've been known to stay home entire week-ends and spend them in bed.  I suspect too that too much anxiety sends me to be overwhelmed.

Next, I get overwhelmed. I can only handle so many things, so many constraints or things that are unexpected. This is why 2017 has been so hard. The court case, the cancer diagnosis, the flooded basement,  the car accident, the cancer surgery... like enough already. I haven't processed much of anything.  And because there's been so much I have been so overwhelmed that I can't even reach out to people. I really haven't talked to anyone and I'm so overwhelmed after work sometimes that it ends up causing fights with Terry. He tells me he moved one item in the house or cleaned a room and it freaks me out.  Because it's another fucking change.  He's been so nice in helping me and I spend half of my time freaking out because something has moved.

And the meltdowns and times I freak out.. It's not to get my way! It's because I'm fucking overwhelmed.   I've spent most of 2017 overwhelmed. Usually what helps me is my hobbies.  I've used sewing a lot this year because I've had such severe social anxiety at times I can't leave home, or I've been too overwhelmed to leave home.  So not much photography. I couldn't go camping either, my head still hurts due to the surgery.

Its also why at times I need to be alone, to regroup, to calm down, to get less overwhelmed.

I love the show "The big Bang Theory". Mostly because the social misfits of the engineering types fit with me. I've spent half of my life hanging out with men with those quirks. I found Sheldon a bit much at times, especially with the "My spot"  for instance .But I'm like that too! For at least where I sleep in my house.   And the fact Sheldon will knock 3 times and call a person's name. I don't do that, but I feel the need to explain things in several different ways to make sure I'm understood. I've always done that.....

It explains why I've worked 25 years where I am in a large  computer manufacturing company, where people with autism manage to fit in. I am sure  25% of my colleagues are also on the spectrum.  I've identified the ones the most like me, who understand and or accept me as I am and do great team work with me. They see how skilled I am at my job, just like I  admire their mad skills at their job.  I learn best from them usually too as they explain things in ways I understand.

It explains why I am more comfortable around animals than humans. Cats find me. Always, everywhere I go.  And it's love at first sight!  And not just house cats, sometimes bigger ones like Lynx find me.  And animals rarely ever threaten me. Usually we are instant friends.

It explains why I spent a huge portion of my life thinking I was "faking it". I wasn't really, but because I have to hide who I am for the most part to fit in and not make waves, it's exhausting. And outing myself to others often finishes with losing friends. Very few people stick around after they get to know the real me. Not the one they see from time to time, but the in depth one.

Terry doesn't care what label I have, he says he loves me for being me. Quirks and all. And because I am who I am I wonder if this is true. It's hard for me to accept that someone could really love me for me. Though knowing I am on the spectrum certainly helps. I know that I am just the way I'm meant to be.  I'm just not neuro-typical.

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