Friday feelings

I don’t really understand the whole “Weekend” thing. Since I was about thirteen I have been working weekends and holidays, after school, whenever I had spare time. Now I’m older I still work weekends as well as during the week. I like to keep busy I guess? There is an issue though, and as with so many things I’m not sure where the Aspie mind ends and assorted other factors take over but I can’t seem to put the same sort of effort into keeping my living space in any sort of order, or anything approaching tidyness. I have always been accused of being lazy, not washing my clothes, not picking up, not vacuuming, whatever, but I just don’t notice that stuff like that needs doing most of the time. It isn’t that I don’t know that it is important, I just don’t see it as necessary compared with, say, walking the dog, or getting some writing done, or preparing for the coming week, so it gets left, and I get accused of being lazy, disorganised, slovenly.

I’ve heard from other Aspies that this isn’t uncommon but I wonder what lies at the root of it. Is it that our brains operate so differently in terms of what we find important? Are we more tolerant of disorder because we don’t see it as such? I know that I can look at a pile of stuff and pretty much instantly break it down into what I need and what I can use, what is useful and what is trash without having to go through it. Does an Aspie mind have a in-bulit ability to analyse complex situations like an apparently chaotic room? Is this why we tend towards being good at solving complex mental problems in mathematics, art, storywriting? Is it akin to the enhanced ability in spacial awareness reported in people with Dyslexia?

I think what I’m getting at here is this concept that just maybe these conditions, disorders whatever you want to call them that make us different, that are considered disabilities may also have some positive aspects to them. I know this isn’t groundbreaking stuff to many of us, but maybe we need to focus on the positives a little more in our communications with the NT community and particularly with those in education, those preparing lesson plans and trying to be inclusive of the Aspie student sitting in the corner. If we play to our strengths whilst still acknowledging and working on our weaknesses wouldn’t we be more likely to have successful outcomes in terms of bringing some really quite useful skills to the mainstream?

Just my thoughts 🙂

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Sunday night preparations

I have rituals. I’ve never been sure whether this is part of my Asperger mind or a function of my OCD, or whether the OCD is also part of my Aspie way of thinking, or whether they are seperate but inform one another….and so we have an example of the complexity of trying to sort out Aspergers Syndrome from mental health issues. I’m going out on a limb here, and these are only my own thoughts but I don’t consider Aspergers as a mental health issue like depression, or OCD, maybe I should, but I don’t. It is also an example of how easy it is for an Aspie mind to get locked into a loop of trying to sort out what is going on in that mind. Maybe I shouldn’t try to sort it out, but there are different strategies for coping with Asperger characteristics and OCD characteristics so I really have to try to sort out what is affecting what in my head, I have to risk going into that loop, and sometimes I get locked in for a while, sometimes I can straighten things out, but it is always a risk.

I wonder sometimes if NT’s have these same issues? I don’t know how an NT mind works so I don’t know if they have these constant streams of consciousness type internal debates, conversations, arguments. I don’t know if they have the same sense of risk, of danger in exploring their own minds, the risks of getting locked in and shutting down? I don’t know if the questions would even make sense to an NT person.

Whatever the reason, I have my rituals that I follow, and if I can’t I get nervous, anxious, uncertain and that affects how I function, maybe for an hour, maybe for a week, so again there are risks. One of my rituals is to ensure that I have time for performing my other rituals. Is that a little recursive? I don’t know, I’m just trying to find ways to get through each day, and to try to be functional enough to be of use to the students I work with, and to try to make sense of the structured chaos that is my brain. That’s a big part of why I’m writing this blog I think. We’ll see how it goes….

Introductions

I guess the place to start one of these blog thingies is to tell you, dear reader a little about your protagonist, to whit, me 🙂 I’ve known I felt different, out of place since I was about seven years old, although saying that, I have very few memories before about age twelve, nothing clear, just feelings. I didn’t really have friends growing up, never had a birthday party, never had people round after school, I didn’t really understand how to make friends, or why I would want to. People are generally confusing and scary and I had trouble understanding them although I have learned some coping strategies that help. I spent my free time around dogs and horses. Animals are much easier to be around than people, and much easier to communicate with.

I had a pretty ok childhood as far as I remember but my mom died when I was fourteen and I had a bit of a nervous breakdown, the first of four, which set me back a little bit. I’m not sure why I had it, but I think it was probably the stress of nursing my mom, and the experience of being with her when she died that was all a little too much. I did ok as far as exams went at school, and ended up at University, doing a degree that wasn’t really right for me, but I did ok at that as well. I’m pretty good at passing exams, and I learn new things pretty quickly if I’m allowed to do it in my own way.

I’ve worked in sales, because it seemed like a good way to force myself to understand other people better, and I was ok at that too, got promoted, got headhunted by bigger companies, moved up the ranks, then I had to give that up about six years ago to nurse my dad when he started to get really ill with aesophageal cancer. He couldn’t eat so it was pretty tough but I managed to keep him at home for most of the three years from diagnosis to his death. That was what he wanted, so that’s what happened, but I had been selling datacentre equipment to banks, and the banks stopped buying when they ran out of money so there was no job for me to go back to, and I was too specialised for other industries to take me on, so I got told I was on the scrap heap.

I didn’t like it there so I went another way and started helping people who were struggling with University. Some of them had mental health problems, some had learning disabilities but I found that I could show them ways that helped them work better and achieve the results they wanted. I did it just to see if I could, and to help people, I like helping people, I like to be helpful, it gives me worth and value I think. I managed to get a job doing the supporting of students at University and that’s what I do now, mostly students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and dyslexia, and mostly in creative subjects, and I really enjoy it.

So, that’s a bit about me, it will do for now I think. It gives you an idea of the sort of experiences that have shaped who I am, and what I am about. I’m pretty messed up mentally, and I struggle sometimes with communication but I think I’m doing better than I have, and hopefully I’m helping other people along the way. I’m not sure how this blog is going to develop, but I think it might be good for me, and maybe someone will read it and enjoy it. Who knows? 🙂