I’m just going to put this out there, and it’s somewhat of a relief that I actually feel comfortable writing this. I am an Aspy. Famous Lutheran question: what does this mean? We should fear and love God that…. Nope. Not that kind of explanation. It varies from person to person on the spectrum, but I have Aspberger’s. Back when I was growing up, the experts believed it only occurred in males. Man, were they wrong. And yes, pun totally intended.
For me, my senses are heightened like being oversensitive to noise, light and movement. I was unaware of the situation four years ago, and that’s probably one of the reasons, well, probably the main reason I epically failed student teaching. Routine and fairness are also very integral as well as everything having its rightful place, and the fact my brain was messed with two decades ago doesn’t help the situation either. They are typically introverts, but I’ve actually become an ambivert over the past few years. My room is messy, which I am told is very typical; because I want to keep it private since it’s the only place I can currently call my own. And some don’t completely understand why certain things set me off, like the someone at church giving out my phone number to someone trying to get a hold of Mom instead when the pastor and everyone else has the right number, and someone ( probably the same person) e-mailing me to tell my parents something when their e-mail address is on file WITH THE CORRECT PHONE NUMBERS!
There are only a few times or ways you can politely say “I am not my mother” , or, “I am not a social secretary” before you lose it. The same goes for how you respond to the person picking it up. Don’t turn the person’s name into a question or assume it’s them. Instead, say “This is _______, is so and so there?” NOT “So in So?” Adult children trying to have a life of their own aren’t social secretaries, and they are not their parents. Landlines are a different ball game for talking messages, but try to explain that to your parents who despite you, your sister and your brother-in-law explaining data still don’t quite get how data works.
I am working on coping strategies, but yesterday I could barely make it through work. Basically I had to get dropped off early to work all week because my parents are involved with a building project at church that should have been done months ago. I’m grateful we won’t be overcrowded and sardines during Christmas and Easter and we have more room to evangelize, but honestly, all I see is the countless hours of being dropped off early or not being able to go to a meeting where I’m surrounded with positive women and is my only source of secular sanity, although the company is faith focused, because finding a ride from it to church wasn’t always available. And the parents’ voices raised to my ears bleeding over things that weren’t done or the building committee not wanting done yet for certain reasons either in the living room or on my ceiling ( living room floor is part of my ceiling. ( Overtired, blacking out, pretty much pulled my entire left leg wandering around a small strip of town before and after work because you feel trapped, and having to deal with “real winners.” Everyone should work food service or retail some time in their life to learn how to treat other people. People should also understand what they are getting before they walk in or go through a drive through, and how the place’s system works: portion sizes, flavors of bread, how the coupons and loyalty programs ACTUALLY work. I had to deal with those winners yesterday, and I couldn’t really relax until late that night due to something else I was kinda forced into doing without a say next week Monday, and that event is a nightmare for an Aspy, but then again, try to explain that to the same people who don’t get why noise and light set you off. I basically staved off a panic attack all day and actually broke down about half way through my shift . I would much rather stick to the routine and be around positive, uplifting women instead. Thankfully I’ll be in their sphere of influence the entire next Monday.
PSA: You don’t always know what your cashier, church member or adoptive niece are going through. Be polite; learn the way things work, including proper phone and restaurant procedures and policies, and always triple check you are giving out the right number and contacting the person the message is for instead of turning someone into a social secretary. And don’t ever drop your kids off very early to work three days in a row when they can’t drive, and your family’s fulfilled its duty to the project multiple times over. And if someone likens the experience of a joint activity to the former Pioneers at your old mutual church, which was not the best supervised, have the backbone to say no to playing for a Christmas gathering because there is a huge difference between getting someone out of their comfort zone and making it impossible for them to function.