Oh, hello there. It’s been awhile.
5 points if that sentence reminded you of that Staind song “It’s Been Awhile”. :-p
I’ve been doing some thinking lately about what autism is for people.
More specifically, what it is for me.
Because, I figure, the more I understand my own autistic brain, the better I can help those around me understand me and ensure we have a happy balance between my needs and theirs.
So, I have compiled a list of what I think are some of my autistic traits.
I don’t know how many people in my daily life read this blog, but maybe they will read this and learn some things about me that don’t generally come up in conversation.
And, of course, maybe it will help you as well, my kind reader, feel less alone in this world because you, too, are autistic or love/respect someone who is.
Or maybe you’re just lurker.
Anyway, here are some characteristics of my autistic brain:
- I interrupt in conversations pretty frequently — just don’t really understand when it’s my turn to talk
- Let’s not get into the massively high levels of anxiety I get as soon as I walk out the front door because the outside world is truly difficult to understand and process
- I have a hard time understanding social greetings and niceties, small talk, etc., and have a hard time figuring out how to reply (I have learned a set of bank questions I use but they don’t always work if something happens that isn’t on my “script”)
- I understand many things literally. “It’s raining cats and dogs” –> I literally picture cats and dogs coming down from the clouds like rain
- I have dyscalculia and very likely dyspraxia though I haven’t been formally tested. This was raised as highly likely during my autism assessment
- I really don’t like being touched during social greetings. Kisses on the cheek make me crisp up like a dried leaf. I’ve gotten better with hugs but I am crawling up the walls any time I enter or exit a social situation
- I can feel electricity. Not sure if that’s an autistic trait or not
- I have a heightened sense of smell
- My sensory profile is grossly above average for sensory sensitivity and sensory avoidance, and mildly above average for sensation seeking but this is very “sensory” dependent (i.e., it’s on my terms and only for a very small selection of things and for a very limited amount of time)
- I stim during meetings at work or when I am starting to get overwhelmed by crowds, conversations, general peopling, when I’m excited or bored, etc. I try to keep this hidden but I’ve become more open about it in recent months
- I think I have a heightened sense of touch, which plays into the social greeting thing. Often times, things touching me for an extended period of time (clothing, for example, or contact) physically hurt
- Routine. Routine. Routine.
- I’m not a particularly imaginative person. Never have been. People think I am but all I ever did was mimic what I saw on TV, movies, observations from other people, etc.
- I. Notice. Everything.
- I am very black and white in my thinking and often either have “too much” empathy (if that’s even a bad thing) or not enough
- SPECIAL INTERESTS FTW. I don’t want to go into those on here though because I would never stop typing if I did!
This is nowhere near a complete list and I am still learning about all these things on my autism journey. It feels kind of good to list them out though, even if it’s just to reflect on.
Autism is very unique to an individual. If you know one autistic person, that does not mean you know them all. It is really important to make the effort to educate yourself about the autistic spectrum and discuss it with someone you know who may be autistic. It can only improve your relationship with that person.
As I always say, there isn’t any shame in neurotypical or neurodiverse behavior. We’re all having this human experience together. 🙂