Asperger’s | Aspies Are Not Freaks

HELLO! MY NAME IS Sheila, and I strongly believe I’m an Aspie.

This is not a new thought, but recent digging on why I’m so overly sensitive to touch resulted in the discovery of a video of Michelle Vines describing Asperger’s (below) that really struck a chord. In fact, at around 24:00 into the video, I teared up a bit. I highly relate to almost everything Michelle described. I am not a freak! I’m not someone to be afraid of, and I’m not intentionally rude or uncaring.

If you watch the TV show, Parenthood, you’ve seen the character with Asperger’s – Max. That is not what every person with Asperger’s is like. If you can process what this character is displaying, though, you can get an idea of how his brain analyzes situations so quickly that he doesn’t feel the need to spend time expressing much emotion.

Moving on… This video is 46 minutes long but well worth the time.

There are some enlightening slides between 6:50 and 8:35 that are worth pausing and reading through.

At 19:10, Michelle talks about over-sensitivity. Touch, smell, and some sound are huge issues for me. I don’t like to wear jeans because they’re too stiff. Soft, stretchable materials are my friends! I love that leggings have made a comeback. 🙂 I’m fidgety and can’t remain seated in one position for long. I’m acutely aware of seams, tags, and anything else “poky”. I like hugs but not lingering physical contact. I’m also extremely sensitive to smells.

At 20:50, she talks about focus and multitasking. I definitely hyper-focus. This is usually a very good thing for me, but it can be bad when other things also need tending to.

At 22:48 … exhaustion and burnout. Here we go! I enjoy social gatherings. I really do! The larger the gathering, though, the sooner I need to take my leave. Smaller gatherings are better, but I’m not good at the eye contact thing or with truly connecting with others. I can empathize with people on the surface, and I am compassionate. There are certain types of conversations that wear me down quickly, though. I’m going to choose not to expand on that here. 😉

When she mentioned talking on the phone around 24:00, I nearly cried! I do not like talking on the phone for the most part. Conversations that get to the point and are done quickly are great! Long, casual conversations are harder – partly because I never know when or how to end them for fear that the person on the other end might think I’m not interested in speaking with them any longer. What struck an emotional chord with this point, though, is the situation I found myself in at work before I switched departments. I was dealing with very stressful situations on the phone, and it was very draining and exhausting to the point where I dreaded work.

Is it worth it to me to spend a lot of money on testing to get an official diagnosis? Nope! It’s enough for me to know that the severity of the issues I have are extreme enough to indicate a very high probability. Whether or not I have an official “label”, these are qualities I possess. It’s who I am. I’m the slightly socially awkward person with sensory processing issues who has learned to cope by using humor, wit, and isolating myself a bit.

If you know me, you’ve probably noticed all of this about me already. Does putting a label on it make you feel any different towards me? It shouldn’t. Will it make you treat me any differently? It better not!

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