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September 9, 2001 at 1:46 am #3708
Where do I fit – in at times an unforgiving world! enjoy
I guess this is something I have been trying to figure of late, since being diagnosed. Realization that now I have a diagnosis I would, should be ok – fit somewhere. NOT that simply, I have learned so much about myself and continue to find more labels that seem to fit, overlap and interact… the labels do not change anything, understanding and acceptance of who I am has.
But with my new found knowledge that my world and how I perceive things will never be like everyone else, and I know I do have a tenancy to read more into some thing’s, I kind of sense feelings, and that can be hard. I also realize that to a point I try and control the situation as helps my own situation, a safe guard. But do feel because of this, in real life people often read me so wrong. I think I wear people out, they like me in short burst… happy to have all my energy and ideas to help them, drain me and then leave me as if I have no feelings… the empty shell.
Realization hits I do in fact find people stressful, it’s very hard for me to connect with most people when my mind races like a computer and only shuts down when the plug is pulled. I knew I do look into things more and unfortunately also sense situations, that will be hard for some of you to understand.. . I guess the easiest way I can explain is like “Temple Grandin!” I sense and feel emotions the way she does with animals etc… I also like her see in pictures so I visualize differently from many of you, while some of you may be able to focus on one thing and discuss that, I see the overall picture and it’s like my mind is processing lots of ideas at once.
Here in cyberspace this works as I can release these thoughts otherwise start to become a jumble of muddled chaos… I guess I am happier in my own space, bubble and have been finding the continual interaction with some people of late in the real world very hard to deal with, the best advice I have been given is stick with likeminded people, but have found works to a point, even us aspies do not always get on, we can be quite different, we may understand each other to a point, but now also realize does not mean even we will always connect with one another.
There are others like me, I know and that seems to work for me. But us aspies do not have such a choice like those not on the autism spectrum, my network of friends since becoming aspie seem to be as much worldwide, cyberspace as those around me seems to of faded away. Or feel the need to want to change me, tell me what I should be like! For those of your I have connected with, I can not thank you enough, to have others that truly understand and want to listen has meant the world to me.
Often when I walk I see the other mothers in one of the many local coffee haunts, chatting and laughing, just enjoying being together. I have tried, but have found prefer my own space, than sitting in a crowded room. And knowing yet again, I will be the one that interrupts, the silence and than others carry on as if I am not there. Too many eyes and people, too many things to think about, easier not too I guess… I feel I should because that’s what you do in society, but I so want to believe in the person I have found now and feel to compromise is like going backwards into the unknown again, thats to hard to even contemplate.
At present I so want to embrace me, but in some situations I am finding it very frustrating and feel like I still have to wear that mask that I no longer wish too. I have taken on quite a lot and realize I also need to get some balance back, regular exercise, quite times etc… what helps keep my life balanced, I guess less interaction with the real world seems to work best for me… too much continual interaction with people is some think that I have always found extremely hard and to be honest need more of my own time to get back and do the things that really matter to me, painting, writing and helping those still lost in cyberspace.
I guess since finding the aspie me, maybe I am also being protective of myself, someone has too. So for now I have decided to retreat back to my world and give myself the space and time I need to develop my own ideas more….. I have a bad habit of wanting to help everyone and I end up drained, misunderstood, and often disliked
Before I started to integrate back more into society I was very happy, had my world balanced somehow, then I made the mistake of thinking that others in general would understand me, I may have gained confidence on my journey, but does not change me… all that seems to happen is others feel I should change, or feel a need to criticize, put me down because I cannot see though their eyes.
To be honest I would rather reach out to those that understand and want to listen, than try and convert the people who may never totally understand my differences…
After attending the NZ Conference recently I did ask Tony Attwood about what his views were on should we change to fit in, or learn to understand and be who we are.. as I know there has to be a middle ground, but like everyone else we have a right and should be allowed our differences without being made to feel like aliens, green goblins for explaining to others how it really is.
Response to my question: Dear Alyson – “Thank you so much for your message and a quick response to your question, ‘do you feel I need to change or society should be more expecting?’, I would offer a third suggestion and that is for you to find a way of explaining yourself to other people. This can provide a heart moment to the other person to understand why you seem different. It may be best to simply explain yourself rather than to change yourself or change society” Professor Tony Attwood
At least he agrees with what I feel I should do, but the only problem is others do not want to listen, or are generally unable to understand, well at a deeper level anyway… how do you start to explain how you sense, feel and see, perceive the whole world is different from them… they kind of give you a blank stare, a polite smile and have even had suggestions maybe you should see someone, read this site that may help… when I am not asking for help, but understanding screammmmmmmmmmmm. I have decided the only way to truly explain myself is write that book and then those who want to listen can, I will still be here, but if a little less – I am fighting the cause my way.
“I often say when people ask me what it’s like to have aspergers, do you have a week, do you really want to know or just get an idea. Maybe I should start courses where others go to see though our eyes for the day. But really the complete guide to AS takes about a week to read, and if not on the autism spectrum maybe you do not see or understand like me, so please listen to those of us who live daily with a difference, that you may never fully understand, but then I have never fully understood those of you not on the autism spectrum.”
– Alienation, Isolation, Retreat “as a child these words often felt like the air I breathed…”
Sometimes I cannot help but wonder do I even breath the same air, my know reality from yours often seems poles apart. After a life time of thinking I was like you a neuro typical “norm” that’s if that exists, I do know we are all born as unique individuals and no 2 people are the same. So why do others notice, then the comments, then the stares – we do not quite fit and so are alienated, we become isolated, not knowing how to connect, we retreat into our own world, a safe space.
Let me explain some more, as a small child we know no difference, I can remember just standing and staring at the world, fascinated by its wonder, noticing the details others miss. Inside I could escape see and dream in my terms, but on the outside felt so awkward, embarrassed just for being there, for being me. People insist on looking, my small frame twisted, eyes fixed firmly on the ground. My face burning like on fire, I became a tangled mess. As my mind cried out in an desperate attempt to move, speak but I was frozen in time. I so badly needed, wanted to hide, disappear, engulfed in dark clouds.
No one seem to understand my quirky ways, apart from always moving my hands about to the extent of flapping like movements, fidget continually, nail picking, nervous movements like shaking my legs. And as for speech a silent mumble mostly, so preferred not to speak, I guess as every child does I had an inner beauty. But all others saw was a gawky thin timid child, the national health glasses and there ugly pink rims or second hand pass me downs, only added to the finish product, a total disaster in regards to school.
A destiny that I had no way of changing, how could I know every step of the way would be so painful. Who knows even as a child, maybe I would have found a way out? A safe cocoon where I could have stayed, in fairytales they exist, no wonder I so often preferred my real life fantasies, to the harsh reality of life itself. But no one told me, no one gave me a chance I had to survive. But the endless suffering daily I would dread each day, paralyzed by the very thought of school, an endless fight just to get through the day. So I withdraw further into my own make believe world.
As a child we do not know or understand
Growing up it can be terrifying and confusing
In old age acceptance and exclusion. Alyson Bradley
I feel asperger children are more aware of their environment, ever changing world around them and are more likely to notice things like small fragments of dust, sunlight rays, and the reflecting “living” air. We really seem to sense the environment around use, and so often see and notice things others may not.
As a child I could sit for hours watching things others may never see, and often felt like I was in an invisible cage, well wish I was at times. Sometimes we may seem like we are ignoring you, but we hear you even if not looking!
Parents please do not think, it’s ever your child’s thought or even the school. If I could of suffered the whole time at school, in fact can not think of one joyious moment, I know there will be others dreading the school gates, so listen to your children, and teachers please do not turn a blind eye. As still far too many children are being bullied, if not your child, your neighbors child, and nearly all children on the autism spectrum suffer at some time.
While its near impossible to stop, if we all pull together, maybe we can make a much bigger difference, no child should have to suffer as I and many others had to and still do. Parents those of you that can, do not pass the blame, your children are a gift not a right. Childhood should be fun, not a real living hell and no that’s not to strong a word. That’s another story and maybe I will write about my whole life journey soon. As parents we all need to start to educate our children from very young and be good examples of difference and diversity in this world.
I grew up often feeling so inferior to the average person, as a child it can be extremely painful, when whatever you do does not make sense to others. Society can be extremely cruel, if you do not or cannot conform to their standards they feel the need to crush you… my differences were invisible to them, but so real to me, what chance did I have. I was very short sighted and no one even noticed when I was younger, they just wondered why I stared so much… to be honest when younger maybe the world seemed a little kinder when I could not see so well. With glasses came another excuse for others to bully me more, at first I also did not wear for this reason also, until made to. preferred not to see, school was more a matter of survival so what was on the blackboard was irrelevant.
The world never embraced me as a child, as it should of, but throw me out unprepared, adrift alone… society set upon me like a pack of wolfs. We become the loners, the outcasts, and we often carry shameful secrets… we can be so ill equipped for this world, apart from not quite fitting in, many of us have other intellectual learning difficulties. As a child we keep our heads down, hoping no one will notice, but of course we are victimized at every turn. As adults that box of secrets can seem like a dead weight, we join in the hate campaign maybe we are stupid. But do not all children deserve, in fact a legal right to be educated, so why do so many get ignored!
“Children with Aspergers Syndrome have the strong desire to have friends while recognizing their considerable difficulties with achieving and maintaining genuine friendships. Many get ridiculed, excluded, teased or even bullied.” – Tony Attwood
Thinking back I feel some of my aspie traits kicked in and really helped me, a natural survivor instinct, and a reserve of stamina and physical strength, in fact running/being creative has been one of my biggest savers in life. I also love collecting things and making patterns that please me, maybe it’s our way of making sense out of often the jumbled chaos surrounding us in the world created by the neuro typical “norm”. We often see beauty, in things others may never notice.
I found I could detract from a world that at times brought only sadness, I have like a shutter system – which I still do, if there is something that I do not like the shutters start coming down, and I start to withdraw, close off, shut down. I often withdraw as a child and even never really spoke for a while. There are so many autism children who do this with amazing parents, but feel often it’s because they feel alienated, misunderstood. I feel it’s our safety mechanism to safeguard us from an often very unforgiving world, with rules that are not made for us.
Parts of my childhood I do not discuss as feel others will not understand, judge wrongly. Even maybe think I have made bits up. I do not need others telling me parts of my childhood were horrendous, because to me that’s just how it was… as for many others. The one thing I needed so much as a young adult was to be able to talk about my life, have normal conversations… but there are even guidelines for what we do and do not say…. we all need to remember the way we view things, may be viewed totally differently by someone else.
I have added a comment below, it’s not a response to this article, but to a situation in regards to a family who were different from everyone else, the article was called “The Girl in the Window” it was quite an horrendous story, but no one notice her, just a shadow in the window. But however bad our situation, there is always someone suffering more. We cannot compare suffering or pain, or know the real efforts. As even a child with the best parents in the world, can suffer so badly maybe at school or somewhere else, so we all need to watch and be aware.
“Autism can be made “worse” (more disabling) by a bad environment. An autistic child not encouraged to talk may never do so even if he would have done so with encouragement and education.
“Inappropriate therapy could be just as bad. Abuse is worst of all. Its effects can show up differently in the autistic than in the non-autistic… Environment has little to say in whether autism exists, but much to say in whether you learn to take advantage of your autistic traits or become held back by them. (Well, I guess technically it’s a matter of degree; I think we all have benefits and hindrances simultaneously…) The neurology of a child’s developing brain
is dependent on the environment–especially the stimulation the child receives and if a neurotically child is forever less able to communicate if his early years are bereft of communication, doesn’t it stand to reason that an autistic child might be even more affected?”-Comment from WrongPlanet.net web site
I can see parallels in my own life, I grow up alienated from my own mother, unloved and not able to give love “A child who seems not “lovable” plus a mother who doesn’t know how to love…” who’s thought was it when no one knew back then. My mother could not cope with life itself, she never understood and no one did. So I hate it when society judges without truly understanding, media exaggerates and stereo types, if you become below the excepted line as the majority of society see it, they so often reject you. I felt growing up I may as well of been disposable, many of our neighbors would of preferred us not to be there, we did not fit…
What chance in life do differently minded people have, if others often so wrongly judge? I think we all need to look within ourselves at times, as we can only grow from really helping those in need. How many of us worry far too much what others think, projecting an image that we feel we should. Those of us on the autism spectrum we do have emotions, love and needs but do not show in the way you may expect, and often get rejected for this reason, we grow up being told our way is wrong – but is it!… If we grow up not knowing, it’s like walking in the dark and not knowing what to do, or where to go…. That invisible girl in the window could of so easily of been me.
So please if your child is on the autism spectrum help guide them in at times an unforgiving world, help them gain confidence and acceptance of who they are, so they can stand tell. Get down to your child’s level and experience there world for a while, see though their eyes. Expect to be loved and give to your child differently; be aware not to push them away when they may be in need. I have found joy in life, growing up in my own way, that precise cat often my closest companion of all, but that did not stop at times that empty void or prepare me for the harsh reality of this world, and what a mission daily life can be. But this journey if I had not taken now, I feel without I would still be lost, saturated with a jumbled cascade of words.
Communication is the one thing, that continues to be hard for me, when younger it took a while for me to speak, and then would mumble quietly at first, with speech theory and confidence I found myself, but that was soon taken away by society….I speak differently from others (faster, mumbled, 10 steps ahead etc..) it still annoys me that others feel the need to continue tell me “be quite”, “slow down”, “shut up”, it’s not that I do not try, maybe I should start to tell them to speed up , talk faster, keep up with me. It’s so frustrating also for me, when I have the point and others feel I have to listen, when my mind is already somewhere else. I do not want or cannot live my life in slow motion, or want to be drugged and why should I, joking aside. I know we all need to fit in… But just trying to get others to see from my point of view, not easy if they are not listening… It’s always easier to blame the other person, rather than except there difference. When have you last judge someone by your standards – by the way they looked, spoke or didn’t?
This poem was inspired by a
Special asplanet Aspie Friend
Alone among the crowds
So distance, disconnected
I thought about those words
Pen wrote “soul-deep isolation”
And I understood the meaning
Those words made total sense
Reminded me I am not alone
The ‘aspie’ community knows
Understands when other do not
Quirky, different, odd somehow
Chaotic dark jumble thoughts
Intensified cascade of chaos
Complex ***ytic processing
Generator full power, high speed
Crash you can no longer think
Just blank piercing empty pain
Used up and then throw away
Will I ever connect, be a real part
My destiny a parallel existence
I look upon all the smiling faces
Like an alien, alienated, alone
Another world that’s not mine
Where I will never quite fit!
Alyson Bradley – Sept 2008
I know it will never be one hat fits all, but society needs to be a lot more open minded including all diversities and types… before more children are hurt. Maybe that’s me before you know me, as I know only too well what that is like, it can be soul destroying, the one always on the edge of society, always feeling wrong, like the misfit. But with finding Aspergers I am no longer alone and my world has started to open up and the aspie community worldwide have been so welcoming, they never judge, but understand.
The times my words have been misunderstood, so why speak! I have always and continue to say things in the wrong order, especially when meeting new people blurt out my life history, or jumbled thoughts and leave others speechless….. “My muddle thoughts” I feel it’s not so much controlling them, but understanding… and I have only been able to do that since discovering aspergers, dyslexia, dyspraxia and with understanding and acceptance of who I am, that has taken a while, but now have the confidence to say to others this is how I am… still of course others discriminate against me because of this, as I still can speak extremely fast and muddle at times when in new situations, change always find hard. I was tested via SPLED and found that very useful as found have very high processing speed skills among other things, they test for strengths and weaknesses and that I found extremely useful.
As a young adult I didn’t cope, I took to alcohol to fit in, just made things worse of course and felt more of the out sided, another time. Now I am nearly fifty and feel like I have lost half of my life… I have learned my symptoms are in fact apart of who I am and slowly allowing myself to be me, and if people back away it just means probably not my type anyway and I prefer genuine people… best advice I have had is stick with likeminded people, I have on the rare occasion I find them and it does really help… having real connections that so many of you take for granted.
There is a whole cyberspace aspie community, my new extended family who understand and know I can always turn too. I still have to deal with my extremities daily, in my moments of manic I have found it useful to focus my attentions on painting, writing which I have only gained confidence to really do since discovering and allowing my differences. If I am becoming too muddled I try and go walking or some form of exercise find helps and stops overload.
Feeling isolated and lonely is slowly changing for me, as I no longer feel the need to fit in or please everyone else any more. Guess I am lucky that I have been able to back away from society to a point, and no longer feel the need to play life games to please others all the time… on this journey I may have less friends, but the ones I do have are 100 times more interesting and genuine. My deep void of emptiness is slowly filling with my new life and interest, and simply by being able to explain why I do some things, and not always feeling I have to fit in.
The best advice I can give you is believe in who you are, I believe we were born differently minded for a reason and feel it’s about time others got over themselves and allowed us our lives back. Please feel free to email me, contact via web site or come chat on the forum, where your be allowed to be as blunt and different as you like.
“Maybe I grew up more attached to the world around me, because so many people did and at times continue to be so mean throughout my life – so please do not judge, unless you truly understand.”
I may have intense emotions, be a little extreme, different, odd – but that’s just me!
“Believe in your self, we are who we are – as it can feel like an endless task trying to be someone else!” Alyson Bradley …
Aspergers Parallel Planet web site – http://asplanet.info/index.php
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