October 4 2013

Aspie

I took this test today at my own speed.  My Aspie score was 168 out of 200. My aunt used to send my mom huge stacks of information on Asperger Syndrome when she was studying psychology.

 

 

My infantile words resolve unjustly to the gallows. I can’t bare to sire anymore aberrations. Next week I’ll meet with my therapist. I’ve given a lot of thought to what I’ll say but no matter how much I prepare myself I will be faced again with the insurmountable task of communicating my feelings. I want her to say you’re not a failure, you’re doing the best you can given your circumstances/limitations. That need for reassurance paralyzes me. That hopeful belief that others might have the capacity to persuade my mind that I. too have virtues. To my mind I am a foreign entity, a parasite, my body disobeys me. I am only at “home” when my eyes are closed. I exist in the color of pressed lids, in a tiny space imperceptible to others. When my therapist does interrupt me, with a helpful and sane explanations for my deleterious behaviors I find myself overwhelmed and confused. Am I exaggerating? Would she prefer if the conversation were more positive? Am I diminishing the significance of my own feelings in order to keep what little independence I do have? Mostly, I am afraid of being called a liar. Liars exaggerate, so I downplay.

*

When I was in high school I was evaluated by a psychiatrist. At that time I was feeling very suicidal. I had tried talking to my mom about my Depression, about the severity of my loneliness and distress but I was unable to get through to her. I felt like my entire future depended on this evaluation, it was my opportunity to speak up for myself. I wanted to be heard. I wanted someone to consider my feelings. I took the test with the intention of full disclosure but I did not understand all of the questions. I have enormous difficulty with negation. I tend to add or subtract nots. I might say to a person in all earnestness “I don’t like you” when what I actually mean is the complete opposite. I have trouble filling in bubbles and so occasionally mark answers incorrectly or miss entire columns. The list of communication difficulties I have is rather extensive but as I speak and write relatively fluently people are often unaware of these challenges. If someone says to you quite plainly “I am bored” you assume that they are bored and if they are not bored then they are lying. Unfortunately I might say “I am bored” when I mean “I am amused”. Sometimes I don’t catch these mistakes and even if I have insulted someone inadvertently they are very unlikely to call attention to the issue. Sam (husband) used to nurse his wounds in silence but gradually he’s started seeking confirmation for mysterious statements. “Did you say I was fat?” I remember only what I meant to say so I am often completely perplexed by his questions. “Why would I call you fat when you’re not?” You can imagine how detrimental this is to social interactions. Conversely I can entertain entire conversations in my head, which are so real to me, that I believe erroneously that they have occurred.

*

Sometimes when people speak to me I am unable to understand their words. I see that their lips are moving but the words are jumbled and incomprehensible. If you ask someone to repeat themselves enough times they become frustrated (angry). Sam has to repeat himself ad nauseam. Which means that he sometimes avoids lengthy conversations. He sometimes feels that I simply don’t care to hear his point of view. This is not the case. Sometimes he will start a story and I am desperately interested to hear it to completion but try as he (I, I made a pronoun typo here) might I can’t turn the “noise” of speech into functional sentences. I find that I come up with responses for conversations hours/days after they’ve occurred, I find myself laughing at jokes after they’ve stopped being funny to anyone else. Sometimes Sam doesn’t tell me jokes because I ruin them by having to have them explained. Sometimes I laugh at the wrong part of a joke or at my own misinterpretation. Keeping all that in mind you can imagine how difficult I find psychological tests to be!

*

During my assessment I would ask for clarification on ambiguous questions and then get reprimanded as he thought mistakenly, that I was fishing for answers. The end result? I failed the test. How do you fail a psychological test? You fail it by “lying”. Even though I had not lied on purpose I had made so many mistakes that the test was unusable. The psychologist chewed me out over it and for years I was terrified to pursue therapy. I felt that I was different but I convinced myself that I was lying for attention, so I did my best to suck it up. I even made up some reasons to explain my behavior. I can’t learn the social norms because I simply don’t want to. I could be popular if I wanted, I am just not that social. That was how I explained away my difficulties. I just had a disagreeable personality.

*

Unfortunately no matter how nice a therapist is I find that I am unable to express myself in a meaningful way. I feel intense pressure to respond rapidly, my long pauses are embarrassing so I tend to fill them up with chatter. I always walk away feeling that I focused on the wrong aspects, that I shied away from an explanation because I didn’t want to contradict the other person or to come across as belligerent. I leave out my more unusual symptoms in deference to their comfort and so as not to complicate an issue they might perceive as strait forward. I fear that my more unusual and worrying symptoms might be disregarded as trivial or worse as some pathetic ploy for attention. When my therapist threw me for a loop handing me the brochure on non-epileptic seizures I could not respond as I wanted. I feel silly going back two weeks later to respond but I am afraid of accumulating too much static, too many misunderstandings because eventually huge gaps and contradictions will appear.

*

My conversations never gather momentum. Sam and I have been having the exact same conversations for years. To me these conversations are often new and exciting, sometimes they are excruciating the pain just as intense as the first 500 times. I can’t imagine how tedious and frustrating it is for him to have to repeat himself. I get stuck. I can’t multitask. I am unable to switch gears. I am obsessive in my interests. Right now my therapist thinks my schedules are healthy and a sign of productivity. She doesn’t understand that I have to follow these schedules. That if it’s meal time people will break their necks in order that I should get lunch at 11 am because they know how upsetting it is to me to get off schedule. I eat with people who aren’t even hungry. I eat when it is 11 am even if I am not hungry. I didn’t go to the Rammstein concert because Sam was worried that with my gluten free diet I wouldn’t be able to procure food or go to bed on time. I miss out on fun things because of these bizarre hang ups. On the rare occasion I do something fun I tend to get very overwhelmed and stressed out. Sometimes I deliberately take myself off the schedules but then in order to cope I will write and write and write. I won’t eat, I won’t sleep, I will go weeks without even having a bowel movement because I am writing. I have lost months to my obsessions. As dysfunctional and obnoxious as my schedule is I am fairly sure I wouldn’t survive long without it. If I miss yoga in the morning my whole day will inevitably decay as I can never make up for that mistake in my own mind. I am a weird kind perfectionist. As a kid I would make people play the same game over and over because I couldn’t stand that I made a mistake. I would write games out for other children because I struggled with spontaneous play and then read the instructions out loud. Sometimes the instructions would take me an hour to get through.

*

I have studied psychology, philosophy, religion, nutrition, and anatomy/physiology all in a desperate attempt to understand what it means to be human. I only understand humans at a distance, up close they are incomprehensible. I can go days thinking Sam is angry at me because I spilled a drop of water and miss the bigger more obvious issues. I think my problems run deeper than social anxiety personally but I have great difficulty admitting how my social incompetence hurts other people. Every minute of every day I am judging myself. Every move. Every word. I hate myself.

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10 responses

  1. I am sorry you had to go through so many bad experiences because a therapist was unable to help you at that critical time so long ago. I understand some of what you are saying as I know some people with some of those qualities. I used to get offended also before I started speaking up and asking for clarification. It was very confusing because I assumed he thought the same way I did, but he had a very different way of thinking and it took me awhile to realize it and not to take offense.

    You seem to have excellent reading comprehension as you are able to write as well as you do. Do you find written communication much easier to understand without all the nonverbal cues? I hope I am not prying by asking this.

    • Written communication is much easier! I still have the issue of negation so if I leave a comment to a post you feel is uncharacteristic, contradictory, or just plain negative please ask. Just the other day I commented and made a huge mistake. I was lucky I went back and saw it but I may very well have hurt the person’s feelings. If nothing else I am sure they were confused. Sometimes I can write deceptively well, the message is not in reality what I intended. This is very frustrating. This is one reason I sit with my posts and don’t post them same day. That way I can read them several times to ensure I said what I meant. Speech is very high paced so I can’t edit in the same way. As few people point out my mistakes I am not aware of the rift I am creating in the relationship by my stray comments. Sometimes people will ask or just give me the benefit of the doubt. She seems nice I must have heard that last statement wrong kind of thing but you have to be pretty confident to just shrug something like that off. It also seems quite morbid if I say very cheerfully “You’re stupid…” when I mean “You’re funny” This sounds like bragging but it isn’t intended to be. I write better than I can write. I have had IQ tests and achievement tests. In writing I write above my own potential, which sounds impossible. My IQ is 100 so it is average (It may be a slightly low estimate because I do have severe memory problems with Epilepsy and then that damn negation issue but whatever it’s not high, most serious writers have IQs well above mine) but I write according to achievement tests in the top 5% of the population. I honestly can’t believe that is true either (I feel my writing is much closer to average than that) but there is a discrepancy. My verbal skills have caused people to perceive me as more intelligent than I am and thus overlook my disabilities.

      • You do indeed write exceptionally well; it is not at all hard to believe that you are in the top 5% of the population when it comes to writing. You are highly intelligent in spite of your mentioned deficits in other areas. Your intelligence allows you to recognize your deficits and work towards achieving healthier relationships with the people around you. I think this is remarkable and very admirable. You are inspiring in so many ways. 🙂

      • Sonya that is so incredibly sweet of you to say. I admire your work and your ability to bring such joy to your writing and to others with your wonderful comments and encouragements =)

  2. Oh my sweet friend…this was so heartfelt, and eye opening for me. 🙂 I am happy to see you were able to express all of this so wonderfully. Have you ever thought about writing everything out for your therapist?
    Who did you take the test with to receive this aspie score? How about neurotypica score?
    You are so talented and really when I deal with my asperger students, it is all about discovering their “language”.

    • I have tried to write to doctors in Sweden before but they expect you to speak. My Neurotypical score was 24 out of 200. I just took a quiz online so nothing professional but I spent my time on it.

      • I would ask for a test with a psychiatrist (well that is how we do it here) to get the best score. I am not a psychiatrist, but do work with so many on the autism spectrum. My true belief is we all lie on it somewhere 🙂

      • I don’t think my current therapist has any desire to seek out diagnosis. I believe it takes a min. of 3 years to get a psychiatric diagnosis other than Depression. At least I know for ADD it is a 3 year process. I was diagnosed with severe ADD at Duke University when I was 19 but they did give me the address to a doctor specializing Asperger’s but I couldn’t afford a specialist. I think we all deviate in some way from the norm. Norm is an imaginary construct anyways. I want to mention these problems to her but I am not really sure how to go about it. I have a pleasing voice and believe it or not that is a huge impediment in this regard.

  3. I agree with Anja — as I was reading your post, the idea kept coming to my mind — write your therapist a letter or cut and paste some of your blog posts. I think she will understand you better that way. It might take several “letters,” but if she is good at her “job,” she should learn more and more about you.
    I go to doctor’s appointments with an “agenda” and make a copy for them to keep, and a copy for me to read from. I write out conversations when I have to call a utility company, health insurance provider, etc.
    I make select copies of my “home work” for my cognitive behavioral therapist.
    You’re writing is superb — if you don’t feel you can write something new, cut and paste from your blog posts where you very clearly speak your mind.

    • I have considered showing her some of my poems and blog posts because I think they are more coherent than I am lol I don’t have a working printer at the moment though. I am definitely considering it because I notice that I skip all over the place and never elaborate so I have to keep coming back days later to fill in multiple conversations and it is confusing for me and probably to her as well. Writing organizes my thoughts

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