You don’t need to pretend to pass as normal.
You don’t react to stress like I do. Fewer things stress you.
You are not as sensitive as I am.
You relate to language very differently from me.
You relate to emotions very differently from me.
I have Asperger’s. This definition is going extinct, I should say I’m Autistic. I am not severely Autistic, I pass as an NN/NT in most situations. There is something “wrong” with me, though. The doctor who made the medical evaluation of me for the Asperger’s diagnose expressed it “she seems friendly, but somewhat odd”. This is the first impression I give. I SEEM to be OK, but there is something off, and that makes people feel I’m lying, trying to hide something, deceitful, suspect.
And I am. I am trying to pass as normal because I have been told since the first time I entered an NN society, that there’s something wrong with me. Other kids wouldn’t play with me. My colleagues wouldn’t talk with me. I am not invited to coffee or lunch or birthday parties. People avoid me. Just because my Asperger’s shows. I don’t know how, and neither do they. No-one knows. They just know there’s something wrong.
You don’t need to deal with this. You feel “right”.
If you have ever been bullied, or worried about what kind of impression you make, think that that’s how it is for us, ALL THE TIME.
I don’t do stress. I can’t say I don’t do stress well because I don’t do it badly either. I don’t do it.
There are only two ways I react to stress. Either I become a raging ape or a ragdoll.
The connections between my brain and body stop functioning. My brain works, my body works, but they don’t co-operate. I get what is called selective mutism. I can’t talk. With a lot of effort, I can force myself stutter some words.
Other people react differently. Some cannot move their body at all. Some move but can’t control the movement.
Some NNs might have experienced something similar sometimes. I experience this all the time. The smallest amount of stress and I can’t trust my body anymore.
Another way to deal with the stress is to go into meltdown. No, we can’t control it. We can’t prevent it, we can’t stop it, it’s not a behavioral problem. It’s like having six or seven drill sergeants yelling at me, all different things. One tells me to stand up, the other to sit, the third to give him 20, go right, go left, hands up, hands down… now, now, NOW!
I scream out my frustration. I try to push off people, I try to give myself more room, more space, more air, fewer impulses, less stimulation, more quiet, more time to think, more time to choose, fewer choices… I start pushing, hitting, kicking, slapping everything close to me to get more space. I start throwing things to get people away from me.
I am very sensitive. You might call it oversensitive. That’s an understatement. The correct word is hypersensitive.
Now, if YOU were oversensitive, you would be an overreacting drama queen, because you are not neurologically as sensitive as I am.
You know Chinese water torture. A drop of water on your hand every second… at first it’s ridiculous. Why would anyone think that’s torture? It’s just a drop of water? You can barely feel it! At first. Then it doesn’t stop. It just keeps on dripping, drip, drip, drip, drop after drop, never ending. You get irritated. You can’t stop thinking about it. You can’t put it off your mind. You can’t ignore it. In a couple of minutes, the irritation turns into pain. It’s still just a drop of water. It doesn’t even cause a mark on your skin. No-one could tell you have been tortured. No-one would believe you.
That’s how it is for us all the time.
We feel everything. We hear everything. We smell everything. We see everything. We taste everything. Every single little thing, all the time. Most of us can’t turn off this. This is why we need the softest clothes, most comfortable materials, cuts, and sizes. This is why we need silence. This is why we are picky about our foods.
Also, it’s all senses, not just the five obvious ones. We are aware of senses you don’t even know exist. Things like balance or where things are related to our body, or self, or any other of the hundreds of senses we have.
You see… because of this, we can read other people extremely well. I know how you feel. I know exactly how you feel at any given moment. Because I can see all the micro expressions, I can smell your hormones, I can hear your heartbeat. I know.
So when I am with other people, I have to deal with not only my own emotions but yours too. And the more people you add, the more emotions I have to deal with.
You have to be trained to correctly read other people. We never lost the ability.
This is one reason why it’s extremely draining to be with other people.
Another reason is that Neuronormals lie all the time. Most of it is “white lies”, like saying “I’m OK” when we know you are not, or saying “I’m not angry” when we know you are. People say things they are expected to say and don’t say things they have learned are not OK. At the same time, the society keeps touting “you must not tell lies” and “I appreciate honesty most of all”. While lying through their teeth. While promoting lying. By saying it’s not only OK to lie, it’s what you should do in some situations… and do you know why? The most ridiculous reason of all… “not to hurt someone’s feelings”… Why do I think it’s ridiculous? BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO PROBLEMS HURTING OUR FEELINGS AT ALL! If THEY hurt OUR feelings, it’s because we are too sensitive, oversensitive, precious snowflakes… So, yes, ridiculous.
It is very confusing and tiresome. Very stressful.