Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I'm Coming Out...Cause I Gotta Get This Off My Chest

Most of you who know me really well, especially have interacted with me socially, will be like no duh, I knew that, or I figured it at least when I make this announcement.

I wasn't going to tell anyone minus the like 5 people I've told so far because I just figured it was something no one really needed to know and just gave more ammunition for people to say things about me and attack me and have an idea know of exactly how to do it.

But for the past 3 or 4 weeks, it seems like every conversation I have is getting misinterpreted and my friendships are in jeopardy because of this. So I'm coming clean so that hopefully you (and these you's probably won't even read this because they are mad at me) will hopefully be able to understand a little more and know that it's a real problem for me and how sorry I am that I can't control it and I don't want it to end our friendship.

So if you haven't guessed it by now...I am sort of, kind of, officially diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome which is High Functioning Autism. Which is ironic because I worked with people with Autism for so long and I even used to joke with my co-workers that it was almost like my babies were rubbing off on me and I had Autism too.

But anyway, back in December when I got diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease and we were going over some of the symptoms that I was having and he said it was almost like I was having "autistic tendencies" but didn't diagnose me with Autism. So then I went and talked to my counselor about it and she gave me an "aspergers quiz" and I got 173/200 Asperger's points and 40/200 neurotypical points. Which means that I'm way more on the Asperger's side than the neurotypical side.

The test was broken down into subsections. 

The first category contains intellectually related asperger's traits such as having strong interests, hyper focusing, good long term memory related to interests, figuring out how things work, etc. My score for this section was  14/14 Aspergers 0/14 Neurotypical

The next group was intellectually related neurotypical traits which would normally be hard for those with aspergers. Traits such as remembering verbal instructions, learning from others, summarizing events, keeping track of several conversations, etc. On this one I got 24/27 Aspergers and 5/23 Neurotypical. 

The next group was perception related asperger's traits such as sensitive senses (touch, glare, humidity, changes in air pressure, pain, afraid of fast moving streams, and so on. I got 26/26 Asperger's and 0/17 neurotypical on this section. 

The next section was neurotypical  motor abilities and perception traits such as judging distance, speed and acceleration, keeping track of positions of objects, concept of time, facial expressions, and timing in conversations. On this one I got 4/6 asperger's and 8/24 neurotypical. 

The next group contains communication related asperger's traits. These can include odd or unusual sounds in conversation, blinking or rolling of eyes, clenching fists, grinding teeth, tapping fingers, rocking, tapping eyes, fiddling with things, etc. On this section I got 28/36 asperger's and 9/35 neurotypical.

The next section contained nonverbal communication traits such as timing, reciprocity, turn-taking, etc. And then being unable to do these abilities leads to secondary problems of being unaware of missing or hidden agendas, being unaware of others intentions, misinterpreting figures of speech, idioms, and allegories, literal interpretation of inappropriate things, and seemingly poor empathy. On this section I got 21/22 asperger's and 1/26 neurotypical. 

The next group contains neurotypical traits for making connections to people including making contact with people in groups, showing and describing feelings, approaching potential partners, and cooperating with others. My score with this is 27/28 aspergers and 1/17 neurotypical 

The next section contain typical asperger's social traits including having trouble with authority, arguing, revenge, and a general tendency to put yourself in the center of attention. On this section I got 14/21 asperger's and 5/10 neurotypical. 

The next section contains neurotypical social traits that focus on socializing and getting along well with strangers. On that section I got 0/0 asperger's points and 12/29 neurotypical points. 

The next section was on asperger's attachment traits which is the norm for most with asperger's, they like to form few, strong relationships. I got 9/10 on that section for asperger's and 1/5 for neurotypical.

The last section contains neurotypical attachment traits which are intimate in nature and aim at creating and maintaining relationships with sex. I got 0/2 asperger's and 2/6 neurotypical on that section.

So what does all this mean really? Well if you go back and look through my scores. The places that I really struggle with are communication and building relationships. And I really struggle with those in person. So imagine how much harder it is for me to be continually building relationships with people online where I already have difficulty building relationships because I take things literally, and don't interpret sarcasm well, and have trust issues with people, and don't know how to start new conversations, and get defensive instead of trying to understand because of my disorder...and then don't even have any voice inflection to go off of. 

My mom always feels bad leaving me home alone in my recliner all the time, but seriously, I crave it. I would love to just be able to sit in my recliner alone all day every day alone all the time. Because I don't have to try to make the relationships work from there. 

I love having friends, and love everyone on my friend's list and deeply and sincerely hope that it works out with everyone but you have to understand that sometimes my asperger's gets in the way and makes me over-react to a situation and I can't help that. I don't get mad at you because your mito, or dysautonomia, or fibromyalgia, or colitis, or endometriosis, or PTSD, or Bi-Polar, or Depression, or brain tumor, is making you have a bad day. It's something that I can't control, it's just how I'm wired. 

I can't stand to be touched, I really don't like hugs, but I sometimes will let people hug me just because it's the polite thing to do. I try my best to participate in group conversations but it's honestly the hardest thing to do on the face of the planet for me. I can't look at you in the eye, it almost makes me pass out. But Asperger's did give me one great thing. I'm freaking smart. Like really freaking smart. And I'm pretty sure that's thanks to the Asperger's, cause that is a trait of it too. 

So, all in all, I'm writing this not for you. But for me. I don't want it to be a secret anymore. I want to be proud of who I am. And if it helps you understand the way that my mind works a little better as a result well, heck ya, that's awesome too. I hope it does. Because I never mean to hurt my friends. It's just my stupid Asperger's acting up.  And I apologize for it. Because I do love you. No matter what Asperger's makes me say.