Imagine you have a lovely new 64 GB iPhone. Huge memory, nice camera and great inbuilt apps! Except that this one has not one, but two faults and you lost the receipt already. Firstly, some of the crucial apps have bugs that need fixing but the darn things won’t update. They either keep shutting down without warning or they freeze the entire screen so that you can’t access your phone at all. Secondly, all of your apps stay open in the background all of the freakin’ time: slowing the processing speed and killing the battery within a couple of hours. Oh, and I nearly forgot, the keyboard keeps abruptly changing languages as well.
Gentle reader, this is my brain. My high IQ and pretty creative but ultimately Asperger functioning brain.
I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome last week. While my high gigabyte (IQ) brain has some apps that work really well – I learned to read fluently well before school, and had grade 8s in piano, viola and theory at age 18 with minimal work – there are some rogue apps (natural social skills, communication skills, ability to process spoken instructions and co-ordination skills) that shut off or cause extreme stress at a moments notice. I also have to work incredibly hard at filtering out the sounds, visuals and smells of daily life that I think most people take for granted the majority of the time, resulting in a flat mental battery after any social interaction whether recreational or for work. After a mere four hours of work I have to shut off for a good two hours before I can function again. An evening being social and I am hungover the next day. I don’t even drink!
And that pesky keyboard function I mentioned? Under stress or when I’m tired I either speak complete gibberish or I can only communicate with head movements or pointing.
My diagnosis coupled with some resultant obsessive reading around the subject has helped me to finally understand that while I have been rather hazy I have not been crazy or lazy for my entire life.
The times I have been accused of rudeness or insensitivity; of “being a drama queen” and not “just getting on with it,” of being superficial or of overthinking have not been my fault. The fact that I had to study other people’s facial expressions and body language in order to learn not to have “resting bitch face” or to at least give the impression of seeming normal; that I struggled to make or maintain friendships because I was weird and embarrassing or that I only had one boyfriend before I hooked up with my husband aged 28. That I’d had three breakdowns before I even hit my twenties. These do not mean that I was stupid or weak. They were just signs of my autistic brain. And now I know that I can learn to work with it rather than despite of it I’m kind of excited!
It doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to get a software update any time soon but I can at least train myself to turn the ringer volume down and to keep a spare battery charger with me. And if you see me with a frozen or flashing screen please know I’m not doing it deliberately, but I might just need a bit of tech support!
I’ll get back to the detox stuff next time I post. I’ve got some ideas for you on the back burner. Love to you all, Flojo xx