Last Monday I got officially diagnosed with Asperger's. And that's one reason why I'm sharing all the above photos with you. My visual hypersensitivity usually takes the form of me being allergic to ugly (on some level I'm not even kidding you) but then there are these moments. The moments where I get to see everything come together just right: subject, light, textures, the stories behind them all. (the bowl and saucer belonged to Saima, the urchin was in the bowl when I received the parcel full of treasures so the bowl is now the urchin home, the window sill is cracked just right and it is the perfect example of the little things I love about my home. also, I love to organize things. I am definitely not organized but I love the act of organizing things.)
I know some of you are familiar with Asperger's syndrome but I'd like to share a bit about my Asperger's and how it affects my life. Just because I like talking about myself and because you can never know too much about something interesting. To me it's always interesting when there's a blip in the system, and this blip is in my brain and it makes me experience the world differently. I've always thought no one experiences the world the same but I hadn't realized my experiences were on a level of their own. I don't want to use the word unique, because it makes me feel like I'm hogging something that's not really anyones to take. (This is often a problem: finding the right words and expressions for abstract feelings. Being aware of connotations is frustrating.)
Being aware is frustrating. Reading between the lines doesn't come naturally to me but it's something I know how to do, it just takes a lot of effort. I am conscious of all sorts of rules that apply to just about every social situation, whereas "normal" people know how to behave based on the rules embedded in their subconsciousness. I strive to do right to everyone and in the jumble of conversation and non-verbal communication I often tend to get a bit lost with my own thoughts, either out of fear of offending someone or out of pure confusion. Also, my segues are far from smooth because I apparently forget other people don't read my mind. But when I'm with the right people, it's not too hard for me to take part in conversation since I'm not worried about being an idiot in front of them. Currently I'm having great fun with V and my friends spotting situations where my Asperger's is providing us with unintentional entertainment.
Possibly the main reason I ended up in the Asperger diagnosing process was how irritated I get over seemingly irrelevant things. I absolutely hate it when people disobey rules (in the traffic, especially) even when it doesn't affect me in any way. I do my dishes in a specific order, I set them out to dry in a specific order (in a dish draining closet). Again, organizing things. I need order, outside home most of all. At home order is less important since the items I'm surrounded by are undisturbing in their familiarity. Mistakes and irregularities catch my eye like nothing else and sometimes they prevent me from seeing the big picture. (V makes me watch X-Files with him and I keep interrupting with resentful comments about the laws of physics. I can handle the alien stuff but when there are actual mistakes in the script I can't keep my mouth shut.)
I have to deal with sensory overload every day. Visual things affect me the most so I try to surround myself with pretty things and spend a lot of time online viewing things that make me feel good. I try to avoid crowds where there is a lot of movement and an overall lack of harmony. I don't like blurry reflections, I don't like blue and most of all, I don't like ugly. I have overly strong opinions about ugly. There is a very small area that I count as neutral or beautiful and all the rest is ugly and ugly makes me grumpy and tired. I smell and hear things you probably don't. If I go to a lecture at the university, I hear the shuffling papers and the pencils writing and the people breathing throughout the class while I should be focusing on listening the lecture only. And sometimes I smell the people too. I'd rather not. Touch can be the most difficult to handle if I'm having a bad day since you can't switch off your itchy skin like you can close your eyes (there are days when I just choose to sleep instead of trying to stay on top of things) but sight is still the most sensitive of my senses. Before I was thoroughly interviewed I hadn't realized there was something strange with my senses because it's not like you can compare yours to someone else's. But apparently you're not supposed to get grumpy because of ugly and you're not supposed to be a vegetarian because meat feels stringy in your mouth (I don't like pineapple or other stringy foods either).
Also, my sense of time is sometimes a bit funny. And it's extremely difficult for me to get started, and once I've gotten started it's difficult to stop. I'd rather things stayed the same all the time. (So, imagine me, sitting on a sofa, with a laptop on my knees, my hair getting gradually longer and longer and uglier and uglier... luckily I'm not that far gone, yet.) On the days when I bind books I tend to forget to eat if V doesn't remind me to take a break. And on the days like today when I don't do anything, I literally don't really do anything. So that's why I haven't written you that email or asked you how you're doing or left a comment to your awesome blog post. Things that take very little effort can be just as difficult to me as something really important, there really isn't a big difference to me.
So, that's the really long short version of my Asperger's, and I can't be bothered to spell-check this. The long version is quite a bit longer. I am lucky to be talented in ways which help me compensate in my daily life. If you met me, I doubt you could tell there was something more weird than general weirdness going on with me. Now that I know (instead of doubt) what I'm facing, it's time to find new ways to make use of the things that work and develop the things that don't. Still, I promise not to find most jokes amusing in the future too, and avoid you if I don't like your hair, or if I just can't understand why you're doing whatever it is that you're doing and I think it's just plain dum. Oh, wait, I think this black-and-white thinking was one of those things I'm supposed to work on.
And I'm almost certain I left something important out. Whatever. If you want to ask me a question about my Asperger's, feel free to do so. Also, please remember this is just how my Asperger's presents itself,
there are others with an entirely different set of symptoms.