My 30 day challenge: Writing about the life on the Autistic Spectrum

So, I’ve started a new 30 day challenge. I will finish a day and then write about the parts of my day that were possibly autistic related and the challenges I faced for the next 30 days. As it says in my about me I am diagnosed with P.D.D NOS, but nonetheless this will be a very interesting experiment, especially if I can complete it. I have some especially interesting posts coming later this summer too.

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Asperger Whisperer Email Experiences & Trust issues

Opening myself up to respond to people via email has been an interesting experiment. As you may be able to tell, I like to write things down, but giving advice on this subject…. well, as I always say in my emails I have no certification and you should ask someone who does.

a couple emails I didn’t know how to reply to very well. I I can talk about them without exposing any sensitive or confidential information.

One email was asking how to tell someone they had been diagnosed with high functioning autism. I honestly have no answer to that, so my best advice was to talk to experts who know the person and figure out what fits that person the best. Another email seemed like a straightforward communication problem with someone who has high functioning autism not conveying something to someone else. That is so normal that my friends and I have a system worked out for that. Once I was very angry at one of my friends and had no problem telling his wife exactly what I thought of him. She had no problem telling me how I was wrong. When I saw him we talked and I explained what happened without ever talking about the issue exactly and we’re doing great.

I am very sensitive when it comes to trust. If I feel someone has betrayed me even the slightest, I get quite upset. I used to take two years before I would even decide if I liked someone, but that took far too long, so I’ve sped up the process by talking to friends and getting a “gut feeling” about the person. I don’t have an innate gut feeling, rather I’ve developed one via the help of many people, including my parents, friends, and people I work with who ask me what my gut says. I should go into trust at length in another post.

When Asperger Communication Fails

Have you ever thought you told someone something? That happens to everyone, but some people on the spectrum act like and some think that people can read their mind, so they react negatively if something doesn’t happen. This can cause a lot of problems, it can cause the person you think you told something to be confused as to your behavior and it can slow down your productivity.

Whether we like it or not we are currently stuck with verbal and written communication, so we have to try and convey what we are thinking via one of those two mediums. Well, if you count sign language then I guess we have three mediums, although not everyone knows sign language.

Communication is key to almost everything, but it isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work to remember to communicate effectively with people and have a positive response when communicating with people. Sometimes you have to not be blunt and try to think how regular people will respond to a message. Trust me, it is a daunting task for quite awhile but it is an area of communication I am getting much better at.

If someone on the spectrum seems angry at you, perhaps they misunderstood something you said or thought they told you something that they actually forgot to say. Failure in communication on the autistic spectrum is normal, but it doesn’t appear easy for others to deal with.

Accepting emails & giving my two cents on Autism / Aspergers

I never replied to people who asked for help with someone who has aspergers or is on the autistic spectrum via email, because I am not qualified to do so. At least, I don’t have a degree I just live somewhere on the high end of the spectrum. I kept getting so many requests that I felt bad and opened a gmail account and answered one that sounded interesting. If I end up being the equivalent of Dear Annie for Aspergers, then that will be interesting. I hope to be able to republish some of the questions and answers with permission of course. So, if you want to hear my two cents you can contact me.

Contact me

I have no degree of any sorts in dealing with Aspergers or Autism. My area of expertise is in a completely different realm, but people are always commenting wanting to talk to me. As long as people don’t take my replies as advice and pass everything I reply back through several qualified experts, then feel free to contact me aspergerwhisperer@gmail.com. If I don’t reply right away, it isn’t because I am ignoring you. I am very busy on some giant projects.

Social Skills tips for people on Autism / Aspergers spectrum

 

Here are a few more social skill pointers. If someone rolls their eyes while saying something and have a voice which usually consists of slightly drawn out words and extra breathing, then this may be a sign of sarcasm or of exasperation.  Exasperation is if you are doing something the person dislikes while sarcasm can be something like “Of course, I’d kiss a toad” when they mean exactly the opposite of what they said. I understand sarcasm the best when it comes to communication. I also am able to detect when I am starting to annoy someone.

 

I still fear voicemail, unless I know who is going to hear my message. I had a talk with someone who I call on business with time sensitive information.  I told him I left messages with his staff, but they weren’t getting delivered. He asked me why I didn’t leave voicemails and when I said I was scared of voicemails he didn’t laugh. He simply said “Okay.” That is one of the more down to earth things I’ve said to him. When we started talking about leaving messages via voicemail I asked who listens to them. I realized my fear of voicemail was that I didn’t know who would hear it, so I didn’t know their social skills and how they would interpet what I was saying. Once I knew only he was going to listen to my voicemails, I  agreed to leave voicemails. I know that seems odd, but trust me voicemails are scary.

 

I am planning to meet people from around the world that I’ve never met before this year. It’s pretty exciting and slightly nerve wrecking at the same time. We had to explain to them that in and out isn’t the United States best cuisine, since they thought it was. It isn’t that I am afraid of these people, I communicate with them all the time on business or sometimes just casual chit-chat. Still, meeting someone in real life that you’ve been conducting business with for years makes me wonder if they see me the way I truly am without a screen between the two of us where I am able to change what I am going to say before I send it, that just maybe they’ll not want to do business with me anymore. Of course, I know a couple of them seem to be somewhere on the spectrum. If you’re in my industry, well, most of us are on the spectrum.  I know I’ll have to be myself like I am online while polishing up a few of my rough edges that I am able to smooth out before sending something across the web. Or I can just be myself. Back to more social skills that I’ve learned.

When someone likes you and you try to be nice to them and ask them to dance and they get mad, it isn’t your fault. Some people respond to things differently then you expect, plus when I go out dancing I dance with everyone, so perhaps they knew that and that made them angry. I could never like someone who purposefully hurts others who are already in pain… anyways, enough about me.

I’ve been experimenting with starting conversations with random strangers. So far I’ve ruled out using the line “So, what are you in for?”. I tried it and it failed miserably. I guess that isn’t the best way to strike up a conversation in a doctors office. Another line I used which some say is rude was “What it is like getting old?” This wasn’t an attempt of being rude, but something I am very curious about. This line didn’t fail, in fact the elderly gentleman chuckled and told me you can’t hear well, you’re in a lot of pain, and you can’t see well. He was very nice and inquired why I was asking.

I had a customer that needed pricing way below what I am able to offer now a days. It seemed odd that he came back to me after two years and asked for the same discount price, but that’s what happened. I mentioned the customer to someone else and mentioned that their work had to do with humor. When I was asked if there work was funny I said “No.” then I paused and the person thinking about taking the job wasn’t thrilled until I said “but of course you know I have Aspergers, so I have trouble understanding humor.” It is important to remind people that you don’t understand certain things, like humor especially in a business transaction that mainly has to do with humor.

 

I’ve learned that when you approach the head of a giant  company there are a few skills you need. You need to be concise, thank them for their time, and get your point across very quickly while still being polite, at least what they will interpret as being polite.  I’ve stopped sharing what companies I communicate with or even work with to most of my friends, because they seemed to take it as bragging when it wasn’t. I dislike how badly I rank in my industry, but when I tell people about my rank they think I am bragging and am not sincere about being upset until they look at me and listen for a minute and realize I really think being in the top 100 in my industry is a bad thing, because I am not in the top 10, so I see that as a huge failure on my part.

How does this have to do with social skills? It’s because the way you perceive something isn’t always the way other people will perceive something. I think I am not doing great, while others look at me and think I am doing awesome. Perception is key to almost everything in life and if you can master perception or at least understand it, then you will be able to do a lot better in almost everything.

 

Also, what seems like a compliment to you may be extremely rude to the person getting the compliment. I remember in school I wanted to compliment someone on having less acne then usual, but was told they’d take it the wrong way. I complimented someone on being sober and they got upset. Maybe it was the extreme surprise in my voice when I said it, since I am not used to this person being sober even when he works. Plus, I don’t see him that often. You have to think about how the other person is going to interpet what you’re saying. I realize now that what I said came across as an insult and am not mad at all the jabs that they gave me afterwards. I thought it was nice, because I noticed they were improving. Also, drinking is something of a mystery to me. It is acceptable to consume alcohol, but it is not acceptable to be drunk. I don’t drink, but some people say being drunk means you aren’t good at moderation and so you aren’t responsible with alcohol.
Also that golden rule “Treat others how you want to be treated” doesn’t work well for me, because I want people to tell me the truth, even if the truth is “you stink” I want to hear it  so I can correct whatever is making me smell bad. Most people don’t want that much honesty, so you have to sugar-coat things, which makes little sense to me. Also, people can say something about theirself like “I am fat”, but if you agree with them, well, expect a slap in the face. These  are just examples. I know not to agree with someone when they say they’re fat, because weight is a touchy topic. I wasn’t always that good with this subject and have made mistakes that I regret while I am sure the other person has forgotten them, but I am hard on myself so I can be the best I possibly can be when it comes to social skills and everything else.

 

 

I hope this helps someone with their social skills.

 

 

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The Ability To Suppress Pain

I don’t think this is an Aspergers trait, I think this is something that I developed on my own over the years. I have the ability to suppress pain without even knowing I am doing it. I can have a terrible headache and not know it, because I don’t feel the headache.

While not feeling pain sounds wonderful, it’s also a curse. It takes a lot longer to figure out what’s wrong and I still react to what the pain causes like irritability, light sensitivity, etc. Also, with the ability to suppress pain comes the ability to try and unsuppress pain, but that doesn’t always work. Whatever it is in my body that builds this pain shield of sorts is always getting stronger. I have ways of focusing on where I believe the pain may be and trying to feel the pain when I have to, but it is taking longer and longer to be able to feel the pain. Sometimes I can think I am not in pain, because if I tried to lower my pain shield and I felt nothing, well, I didn’t focus on lowering it enough. Please don’t ask me about how to make a pain shield, because frankly I don’t know how you make one. I know my body started suppressing pain after a surgery and years later continues to suppress pain, but that’s it.

I have no reason to believe this has anything to do with Aspergers or is on the autistic spectrum, but I felt like putting it out there just in case other people on the spectrum have this unique gift / curse.

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