About being considered "high-functioning"
Mod note: This is a submission received anonymously that is too excellent to present in any form but the original.
One thing that sucks about being considered high functioning is that you really doubt how disabled you really are. Then when it hits you that you are really as disabled as that, you feel crappy because you struggle so much.
What’s even worse is that because you seem so capable to others, they expect a lot more from you and when you don’t reach those expectations, you are scorned. If you tell them that you are struggling with it because of your disability, people think you’re just being a wuss and not trying hard enough, even if you try hard every single day to cope.
Another problem (slightly related) is when you meet other, more accomplished autistics who turn out to have been far more severe than you were during childhood. I mean, obviously you are impressed and feel happy for them, but then you start feeling shitty and start wondering if maybe you are just flawed as a person.
These are silly little insecurities that I have, but they do have an impact. I wonder if others identify with this?
I’m going to try to get Autistic Problems up and running again so that I can help counter all the Autism Speaks bullshit that’s going to be the autism tag during April.
I have been feeling very much like a sad, lonely kitten lately, and this morning I had a small epiphany about it: almost all of my social interaction is online, but because of timezones and a crappy schedule I miss the bulk of social time with friends and awesome people, so I end up feeling really left out.
Which, yeah. That’d do it, wouldn’t it.
So after grudgingly admitting that despite my difficulties in making friends with normal people I really do need an offline social life, I’m looking at meetup.com and getting a case of crawling anxiety from it. Gulp. 8(
I hate how if I take an interest in something, other people call it a “special interest”.
How come when a NT person picks up 5 instruments, they’re considered smart, or talented, and it’s considered a hobby, but when an autistic person does the same, they’re considered a savant, and it’s a “special interest”?
Does riding on crowded public transit ever get less overwhelming? I mean, is it something you can build up a tolerance to or will it always be like this for me? Because even just being on a crowded bus for an hour, even while wearing earplugs, seems to cause me a lot of fatigue. A lot of it is probably just all the people getting on and off and the uncomfortable seats and always worrying that some creepy harassing person might sit next to me, but it always seems to leave me too tired to do much for the next few hours.
There are two reasons why I don’t like to be touched:
1. I don’t fucking like it, it feels horrible and it’s not okay for you to be offended when I don’t want you to touch me.
2. If you touch me in a “romantic” way (hold my hand/cuddle me/kiss me) and I’m not in a relationship with you, firstly why would you assume I’d like that and why would you assume I would understand what the hell is going on?
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND
Reflections on communicating- learning to speak NT.
My friend and I drove to the bookstore this evening because she needed a journal, and while she was looking for that I wandered around and happened upon the section with all the books about Autism in it. Out of a sort of morbid interest, I decided to flip through a few of them; most were just your run-of-the-mill biographies and ‘advice for parents’ type books (for some reason there never seems to be anything there written for autistics to read) but one in particular seized my attention. I didn’t really pay any attention to the title, but it was of the ‘advice for parents’ type; I decided to give it a look-see anyways. In and of itself there was nothing wrong with it- it wasn’t riveting but it wasn’t horrible like some of those books are. However, on the drive back (we live in a relatively small town so it’s about a forty minute drive to the nearest non-used bookstore) I started turning it over in my mind and thinking- always a bad sign, as the joke goes. It was about autism and communicating, a notoriously tricky subject for us, and the main thrust of it was how to teach your child to communicate more effectively.
Now of course, I knew that by ‘communicate’ they basically meant ‘communicate like an NT’, but that’s not the problem I have with it. Let me draw a comparison: let’s use languages. There are a lot of languages in the world, but the big two (at least at this time) are English and Mandarin Chinese. Almost anywhere you go in the world you’ll find somebody who speak one of those two languages, and quite frequently, that’s not their first language, it’s their second-plus. And when they speak that, they have an accent, right? It’s always been a pet theory of mine that the way autistics communicate is a separate language- a highly individual one, yes, but distinct from ‘normal’ English/French/what have you. Just like every English speaker has their own unique vocabulary, so does every autistic, verbal or no.
The trouble is, no one speaks our language but us. We live in a world where the majority of the population is NT and thus, it is necessary that we learn to speak their language. It’s kind of like a Russian moving to Germany. They’ll learn to speak German, obviously, because that’s the language they use to communicate there. But that doesn’t mean they have to stop speaking Russian, or that they won’t have an accent. Likewise, learning to speak NT doesn’t mean that all of us have to abandon our own language and our own take on it. But here’s the issue that I have: communication, as I have always been told, is a two-way street. And there’s only traffic in one direction right now. We learn to speak NT every day (and most of us will probably work on it for the rest of our lives) but no NTs bother to learn our language.
Our language is seen as inappropriate and unnecessary, something to be gotten rid of, not preserved or understood. It’s always sad to see a language die; there are worldwide efforts to preserve endangered languages going on and yet, no one’s looking to save ours but us. But it’s not just that- even when we struggle to speak NT, we’re frequently criticized for not speaking NT enough. One or two remnants of our original tongue remain, enough to throw off whoever it is we’re communicating with. If you’ll let me continue my comparison, it’s akin to criticizing somebody for speaking English with an accent when it’s their second language. Standing there asking them to speak more clearly is ridiculous; at some point, you’re going to have to put more effort into understanding them.
I’m starting to ramble now, so I’ll just go ahead and try to bring together my point. Basically it’s this: I know that I have to learn to speak NT if I want to get by in the world. That’s just kind of a given. But I cannot (and will not) abandon every aspect of my ‘first language’ just for the sake of saving everyone else a little effort. There’s a whole segment of the population whose ‘language’ most NTs don’t even bother to try and understand, and that more than a few actively seek to destroy. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want that to happen. I’m sick and tired of being told that I communicate wrong and need to get it fixed. I may speak English, but my first language is Autistic, and I’m not gonna get rid of my accent.
I've come to modify my self-model.
I keep saying I’m hard of hearing, but some recent evidence has convinced me I’m wrong. Yes, I was genuinely hard of hearing as a child. But seeing as I can now hear a hell of a lot better… well, I thought I couldn’t hear as well, before. Now I realize the problem is multi-tiered:
1. I hear TOO well. So my brain ignores a lot of stuff.
2. My brain has problems distinguishing foreground sounds from background sounds. I knew this already, to be honest. Signals get lost in the noise because my brain has difficulties telling which is which.
3. The noisier it gets, the faster and harder I lose my ability to concentrate. Inability to think means a lot of stuff just doesn’t get processed by my brain.
4. I have difficulties judging the direction sounds come from.
5. My brain doesn’t seem to have as many natural filters as other people’s brains do.
There may be more. Merits more observation and reflection.
goodnight frieends u vu my earlier nap left me with horrible rage and confusion and its not goin away so back to sleep 4 me it has been a long week next week will probably be a long week im not built for regular life too many things happening @ once how
do people do this how do u life i can only do maybe 2 things at once like if i go to work 1 day and do laundry in the same day im like WoW LOO K @ ME GO
and other ppl are like… work… dress rly nice… watch tv at some point, errands, make food, grocery store, hang out w/ friends or family, go for a walk —- HOW ALL IN ON E DAY HOW … how… ….. help… me…
I think I've finally figured it out.
I think I’ve finally figured out why I can almost never comment on reblogged entries on Tumblr. It’s the browser I’m using: Opera. Because Alex never has that problem, and I almost always do. He uses Chrome, and I use Opera.
I should probably use a different browser, then, but… but Opera is my favorite. :-(
You know, when I asked my mom what she would do if I was diagnosed as autistic, she said she would do whatever she was told to be the doctor.
And she basically said that’d she’d help me get disability and we’d probably get our own place and I kind of did a double take while she was going on and was all ‘how low-functioning do you think I am? I don’t need a keeper!’
And she basically just told me that I would have to act lower functioning than I actually am so we could get our own place and I almost cried. I still want to cry.
Fuck you too mom.