Simulacrum of normal

Aspergers Syndrome in the adult life

Do I need a cure? June 4 2011

Filed under: Just living — adah @ 2:37 pm

I have been getting into natural therapies lately. I have been planning on changing careers for quite some time now, and this looks like the direction that I will be heading. What has surprised me though, are the number of therapists claiming to be able to “fix” or “cure” autism. I didn’t realise I needed a cure.

One of the problems with understanding and treating autism is realising that it is a “spectrum”. The difficulties experienced by one autistic person can differ vastly from those of  another. I, personally, am able to lead a fairly “normal” life. I can work, live on my own, and generally take care of myself without being a burden to the state or my family. Others cannot. So I can understand that the families of autistic children who appear unlikely to be able to live independently as adults would like to “cure” their children. I don’t have a problem with helping people to develop the skills they will need in the future, but I do have a problem with thinking that autism is something that needs to be “fixed”.


Am I allowed to have an opinion? May 30 2011

Filed under: Just living — adah @ 7:03 pm

Today’s big news is Cate Blanchett’s involvement in advertisements advocating carbon taxing in Australia. Critics say that she is too rich to have an opinion. Since the carbon tax won’t directly impact her personally and have nothing to do with her job as an actress, she shouldn’t be allowed to express her views on the subject. Never mind that these same critics are not afraid to express their opinions on anything and everything. Does being an actress mean that Cate Blanchett should only have opinions regarding acting? Everyone and their dog is free to express their opinions these days, thanks to the internet. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter (just to mention a few sites) are full of people sharing their unsolicited views. And why not? Does being famous mean you should have no voice? Not to mention that it’s erroneous to say that Blanchett will not be affected by the carbon tax. Environmental issues concern us all. So regardless of whether or not I agree with her views, I support her right to express them and to use her fame and influence in any way she wants.


Non-verbal therapy May 2 2011

Filed under: Just living — adah @ 1:19 pm

I know, I know. I said I’d post at least once a week, and now it’s been months since my last post. The thing is, things happen in daily life and I think to myself,  “Oh, this would be good to talk on my blog about,” but then when it comes to putting things into words, my mind shuts down.

Verbal communication is hard for autistic people. Some people classify Asperger’s Syndrome as “high-functioning” autism, because many people who suffer from this are still able to communicate verbally, whilst those with “low-functioning” autism can’t. Very few people realise that I am an aspie because I can speak fairly loquaciously. What they don’t realise is that I didn’t actually learn to speak until I was about 5 years old, after which I was able to speak rather well, parroting things I read in books. I now know that this is quite a common phenomenon. Parents and teachers “forget” the earlier communication difficulties because once the child is able to speak they are able to use big words. Regardless of my apparent verbal skills, I often find it very difficult to express myself verbally. Sometimes I think I’m going to explode with the suppressed emotions I have churning within me trying to find a way out.


Wedding Bells February 8 2011

Filed under: Just living — adah @ 1:40 am

I attended a wedding over the weekend. Weddings are always quite an ordeal. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when my friends get married. I was really looking forward to this wedding and was thrilled to see my friends so happy. It’s just hat weddings are really really difficult for me on so many levels. They are almost like the ultimate social test. Unfortunately I don’t attend very many, so I have very little practice at how to behave. Much of my learned social behaviour has come from books and movies, but I have not been to a single wedding that it like any book or movie I have seen.

Take, for example, the throwing of the bride’s bouquet. In movies all the single girls excitedly gather in a giggling gaggle to catch the bouquet in good-natured competitiveness. At every wedding I have been to, the single women have to be dragged out of their seats to very reluctantly stand in a small group (it’s always a very small group because more than half the single women manage to hide elsewhere and not join the group). The bride then tosses the bouquet, and the women scatter. The bouquet ends up on the floor, and the unlucky lady who is standing closest to it is forced to take it. I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Why bother with this tradition if it’s no fun? Why pretend to not want to catch the bouquet? Why all the reluctance? It’s just so dumb, and in my opinion totally ruins the fun. I don’t want to get married, but I think it’s in the spirit of weddings to pretend that you want to catch the bouquet.



Boundaries January 24 2011

Filed under: Just living — adah @ 10:32 am

I mentioned personal boundaries in my last post. This has always been a problem for me. I need space, but this need has often been interpreted by friends and family as rejection. I’m starting to think of it as a “cultural” difference. It’s just that I come from an alien culture that no one here knows about or understands. When I view the world and people around me as some sort of anthropological study, it helps me to be more tolerant. I feel like I’m observing and trying to understand some other culture, hoping to promote better communication. It’s honestly less frustrating than just feeling isolated and “different”.

Anyway, back to boundaries…

When I was a child people were always wanting to touch me. I hated it. I still hate it. I don’t understand how people can just go up to children or babies and pick them up or stroke them or whatever. It’s just plain rude if you don’t have a close relationship with them. I remember hating it as a child, so I won’t do it to other children. Yes, I’m happy to cuddle my nephews – they know me and we have a relationship where they are fine with that. I would never, however, do that to my friends’ children who don’t know me that well. In like manner, I’m not comfortable with people just hugging or kissing me. I’m not used to it. If I have a close relationship with someone, it’s fine, but the whole social greeting kissy kissy thing grosses me out. We’re not friends, so why are you kissing me and expecting me to kiss you back? Of course the fact that I often fail to recognise people due to my face blindness really doesn’t help. It’s like, Why are you kissing me when I don’t even know who you are?


Pleasant surprises January 21 2011

Filed under: Just living — adah @ 10:29 am

So after talking in my last post about how much I hate surprises, I’ve been reminded that they can sometimes be pleasant. I went on the weekend trip I mentioned, trying to have a positive attitude. After all, there’s no point in sulking for the whole weekend, and my brother’s insensitivity towards me didn’t have to ruin it for everyone. And guess what? I had a good time. I’m actually glad that I went.

First of all, the trip which I had been informed would take about 5 1/2 hours each way only took about 3 hours. Secondly, although I was in a car alone with someone I had never met before, he turned out to be pleasant enough company. Finally, I’ve been realising that I don’t need to “push” myself to be more social than is comfortable. Not, I said “comfortable” – I do need to push myself to be more sociable than comes naturally, but I’m learning to recognise my limits. In the evenings, I spent a pleasant time sitting outside reading by myself, rather than sitting and chatting with everyone. I wasn’t sulking or in a bad mood or anything like that. I just enjoy solitude, especially after a full day of socialising. Fortunately the people I was with were happy to leave me alone. I think my “closer” friends wouldn’t have done that, and would have tried to draw me out and so on. I don’t know if these people left me alone because they are not really my friends, and thus didn’t care or even notice that I was sitting by myself, or if my usual group just don’t understand. I’ve always found it frustrating to spend time with my friends, because they seem to be offended by my personal boundaries. I just need space! I thought it was simply that I didn’t like people very much, but now I’m beginning to wonder if my difficulties have to do with the particular people I’ve been hanging around with.

Anyway, the trip went well, and I am still amazed at what a good time I had. I normally avoid going away with friends for any length of time, because I have found in the past that when I go away with friends, I come home without any. Am I growing up at last? Or do I just need a new circle of friends?


Handling the unexpected January 19 2011

Filed under: Just living — adah @ 4:22 pm

I don’t like surprises. I don’t like being with people. I can handle being with people if there aren’t too many surprises. If I mentally prepare myself I can deal with people and even enjoy their company. If someone drops by unexpectedly though, that’s something I can’t deal with.

My brother had planned a family trip over the weekend. I wasn’t looking forward to it for a number of reasons. Firstly, I don’t like spending time with my family. Secondly, I don’t like being away from home. Thirdly, I get travel sick and I was told that our destination was a good 5-6 hours drive away. Regardless, I resigned myself to go since it was meant to be a chance for the family to get away together and have a good time. Two days before the trip, I found out that my parents were not going; rather a bunch of my brother’s friends were going instead. Two nights and three days with a bunch of strangers, not to mention that I was expected to car pool with one of his friends. What a nightmare!

I was really upset that my brother hadn’t bothered to say anything to me before making these arrangements. Surely it would just be polite to check how I felt first? Fortunately I discovered the arrangement before the trip instead of just finding out upon departure. Even so, my instinct was to cancel, but my brother got very upset over the idea. I got upset that he got upset. I’m not sure what I was most upset about, the prospect of being stuck with strangers for the whole weekend, or the fact that my brother was being so insensitive. I suspect it was the latter. Yes, the idea of the trip was extremely stressful for me, but that wouldn’t really hurt my feelings. Even if I didn’t have any problems with social interaction, it would have been nice to tell me what was going on. I hate it when people spring surprises on me and expect me to just take it in stride. I know that we can’t control everything that goes on around us, and unexpected things are inevitable, but can’t we at least try to minimise them? For example, I know that my brother couldn’t stop my parents from cancelling on the  trip. What he should have done, was to let me know, and ask how I felt about going with his friends instead. Sigh. We can’t control the actions of others; we can only control how we respond.