Tale of an in-house holiday and being bad at being alone

Last week, my parents were deciding amongst the two of them whether they were going to use an extended weekend to do some vacationing. While they are in their fifties they love hiking, but walking down the same old beaten path is kind of boring to them.

So they agreed to go on a holiday basically the day before taking off. Younger me would have freaked out because of this unexpected change of events. Current me thought “Yes! I’ll have the house to myself for four days.”

I, too, got to enjoy an extended weekend for four days. It sounds so glorious when you think about it. Four days in which you can do whatever you want without responsibilities. You can do virtually whatever you want!

I should add that despite still living with my parents, I’m very much an adult and they give me plenty of liberty to do as I want. Since, you know, I’m an adult (for the most part).

That’s the theory, anyway.

Excitement quickly faded when reality kicked in. Since there was nobody there to “check on me”, all the ‘structure’ I had collapsed like a shaky card house.

Things were still fairly normal on Thursday. It was the day my parents left, so had sort of a “fixed” start. It was also my “workout day” and the day I’d visit a family members. So that day was pretty defined, and I more or less kept with the program. I had “real” breakfast, some sort of lunch… and had places to go.

None of that was true for Friday. All appearances of me being a responsible adult where thrown out of the window. I had chips for breakfast with “sandwiches”, then had some sort of snack for lunch…

I ate like crap for the next three days. But this isn’t just a rant about my bad eating habits.

There was also no structure. I couldn’t plan my day if I wanted to. Before, I had a lot of ideas of things I could do during the time off and I did none of them. All I did was play Xbox, watch Netflix and Amazon Prime and do a whole lot of nothing.

It felt like part of me just wanted to kill time until the three days were over. As if it wasn’t really as fun as I thought it would be.

And perhaps it wasn’t. I don’t know how to explain it, but complete liberty to me seems to have a negative effect on actually enjoying the “fun” things I am doing. What also came into play was that I started to feel pretty alone even on day two. In an attempt to surpress that feeling – because what was I going to do, call the friends I don’t have – I kept doing those “time killing” things.

As a result the past three days are pretty much a blur. I more or less remember what happened but if you’d ask me into detail? Not much of a chance of recollecting anything.

I think this supports the idea I’ve always had about myself. While I don’t need to be around people to have fun, I struggle greatly when I’m completely alone, if that makes sense. Walking downstairs after a game session and seeing nobody is there and knowing that nobody will show up just messes with my mood big time.

It makes me worry for my future (mental health), because I don’t want to end up in an institution and having room mates seems troublesome. But living completely on my own doesn’t seem to be the answer either. It’s another one of those “All answers are wrong, and you are screwed either way” scenarios.

How about you? How do you deal with being on your own? Do you ever get lonely? Let me know in the comments.

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Please stop using “autism” as a legal defence.

In last week’s news, yet another lawyer thought it was a good idea to play the “but he’s got autism” card for her client. In this case, the client was a school shooter killing seventeen innocent children.

I understand that the lawyer has to defend his client, and that they are trying to lower their sentence. However, using “autism” as an excuse damages the reputation and reception of a lot of people who don’t have a bad bone in their body.

You think I’m exaggerating? Well, let me take you back to a few summers ago. I was at a family event (not by choice). Not long before, the trial of a young man had been in the news. He had attacked (and killed) a nanny, a young child and tried to kill a hand full of other people on his path of destructions. His reasons are unknown, and I don’t want to try and understand them.

The lawyer played the “but his autism…” card. And the media loved it. They kept repeating that line as often as they could, and people started to pay attention.

It also reached the ears of my family member. While were were eating and having a fun time, she suddenly “wanted to ask me a question.

Oh shit. This sounds serious.

She looked concerned, and took a second to collect her thoughts. Maybe she considered whether asking was a good idea. She asked anyway (hint – it wasn’t a good idea)

“Did you hear about the man in the news, the one… that killed those people? Who’s got autism?”

Allegedly has autism.

“Is there a chance you could do something like that?”

Me, being the naive summer child I was didn’t get it.

“Do what?”

“You know, kill people.”

Whatthefuckdidyoujustask

It wasn’t until later that I fully realised what she asked. She thought that I would be capable of killing innocent people. Just because I’ve got autism. Making such an assumption is both ignorant and extremely offensive. Think about it. Just think what you are implying.

The implication is that, since I have autism, I am a ticking time bomb who could go off at any moment. That I’m a potentially dangerous individual.

Later, when I fully understand the gravity of the question, it hurt me. I’m not a bad person. I’ve never hurt a person and I’m even afraid to play rough with my cat. I am not a psychopath just because I have a neurological problem.  To imply otherwise is dishonest and rude.

There is nothing I can do to change that perception. People don’t give a shit about people with autism until they make the news – and you don’t make the news until you do something grand or tragic.

I don’t really know how to conclude this post. I just wanted to take a moment to vent because people playing the “It’s his autism!” card when something does something horrible is *not* helping us. As if we don’t already have enough to deal with…

Food, I loathe thy

And with this post I have finally arrived at the blog post I actually wanted to write today. Thanks, scatter brained, uh… brain.

Food.

For being a simple four letter word, it sure holds a lot of weight. Not as much weight as people who eat a lot of it, though, but still. Haha, I’ve got jokes…

There’s entire sections in newspapers and websites dedicated to it. TV shows. Youtube channels. There’s even entire stores and places where they make food where people go to have fun.

I don’t get it.

There are a lot of things that I struggle to understand in a neurotypical world. But no concept plays a “bigger” role than “food”. It’s such a basic concept. You need to eat if you want to survive, whether you want it or not. And yet, people managed to build an entire culture around putting things in your mouth so that you can live another day.

I’m not a big fan of food. I eat because I have to. I skip breakfast because I am not a morning person, and eating in the morning sounds like a horrible activity in which only the clinically insane can partake in willingly.

Maybe I’m overreacting. I’m probably overreacting.

I just don’t like “food” as a concept. Part of my Aspergers manifests itself in a crappy diet. I am extremely sensitive to textures and will only eat “what I know” and “what I like”. There is no fooling this brain of mine. I have shocked scientists people I know by telling them “Yo, this hamburger is from a different store, I can just tell.”

And they’re all “What? No way, it’s from the same store. Totally. Okay, it’s not, but can’t you just enjoy it?”

I can’t, because my brain hates all food it doesn’t know. There is a lot of food it doesn’t know or like.

On it’s own that is already frustrating. When you start to think about it for too long I could get upset about the fact that I always eat the same food. Sometimes I tell myself that it would be nice to eat a pizza for a change, or a spaghetti. And when I think about how that food probably feels like, that idea is gone. Eating slippery, wet food? What are you thinking man, that is extremely disgusting!

I am fine with my limited diet. Or so I tell myself. It’s not a problem if I don’t have to leave the house.

Except, I live in a world where I need to leave the house to do fun things. Or less than fun things. There are events in this world, which I would gladly participate in (as long as I can spectate from a corner of the room), but most of the time they are ruined with food.

Course on a topic I’m interested in? Do worry, they are taking care of lunch. Going out with a group of people? Big problem, they’ll just eat something there and there’ll be a minority vote and guess what? You don’t eat anything in any restaurant ever so you are screwed!

Tomorrow  I will be heading to another one of those events. It is a dinner plus movie thing. No, not a date. Don’t slip in the rabbit hole of thinking about how food ruins your chances at dating or finding a woman. Don’t do it, S. Focus!

So, anyway, I am perfectly fine with  going to the movies. I quite enjoy it, despite the “light and sound show” that is a problem to some of my fellow Aspies. I even enjoy the loud sounds. They send chills down my spine. Whenever I hear the Star Wars theme, I feel this sense of bliss. Of “This is going to be awesoooooooooooooome.”

It’s the food part that bothers me, of course. The dinner aspect of it all. Being expected to show up and pick something to eat. While having the idea that people are observing you. Of course you could just show up without eating anything. And then you would have to lie about the “why”. Or you will have to tell people about why I only like to eat the french fries.

Either way, social situations become a hell on earth when food is involved. So because of that I am nervous about what was going to be a fun event tomorrow.

Wish me lots of luck and a place in a corner of the restaurant where nobody realizes that I am only having fries and a cola, friends.

I’m on a list!

Today, I was Googling this very blog because I didn’t feel like entering the address. Lazy, I know. I didn’t find any references that point to my blog. Not even when I search for “Aspergergarden.” Goes to show how little Google thinks of this blog. And who can really blame the search engine? After all, this blog is barely updated.

However, I did found out that this blog made it onto a list of “Actually Autistic Blogs”. Which is a list of blogs written by people that are either autistic, or write about autism.

The list is  quite long!

On one hand that means my idea to start blogging about autism  wasn’t as “unique” as I thought. Or told myself it would be when I was arguing about whether to start it or not.

However, on the other hand it’s great that the internet has given a voice to a lot of people that aren’t being heard today, because they don’t know how to express themselves or because they are afraid to do so.

So, yeah. Made it onto a list of autistic bloggers. If you had told me this fifteen years ago I would probably be super angry but now I think it’s kind of neat

Can’t believe I forgot to post the link itself: https://anautismobserver.wordpress.com/

Food (for thought)

Hello, World.

I don’t post to this blog often. The reason for that is quite simple, honestly. I don’t like talking about myself and my Aspgergers. It can be incredibly frustrating to even try and word what I feel or experience.

Nobody cares.

That’s what I tell myself. Nobody cares about what you have to say. It also forces me to try and “understand myself” which only adds to the frustration.

It’s just something I am. I mean, the Aspergers thing. It’s a part of me and I don’t like talking about it to people because I am afraid that they won’t understand anyway.

But maybe it would be good for me if I pushed myself to blog more. Underneath that layer of frustration, an opportunity for growth might be lurking.

I’m already growing frustrated as I’m writing this. Why is this blog post not over yet?

Because this intro isn’t what I wanted to talk about, whatsoever. See? Every time I try to write a post here, the above happens. The inner conflict and the rambling. The “What am I even talking about?”

I am going to try and steer this blog in a different direction. I am going to try and help people understand Aspergers a bit better and hate the idea as I am finishing this sentence. Why would I want to do that?

Because people are wrong

It’s alarming how people are fed wrong information about people with Aspergers / people who are “on the spectrum”. What’s particularly agitating is that this information often comes from people who only have second hand experience with autism at best.

The other week, my mother was talking to a woman, and their mutual friend brought up that I am “different, too.” Her son is on the spectrum, as it turns out, and while I didn’t speak to the woman myself my mother told me that the woman had gotten really discouraged.

Partially because people told her that “it doesn’t get better”.

“What doesn’t get better?”, I asked.

The “autism”. It would only get worse as he got older, and it was already pretty bad because he was going through adolescence. Which, as any parent can tell you is a recipe for disaster regardles of where your child falls on the spectrum of your choice.

I strongly disagreed. I am sure that many of you disagree as well. Autism isn’t a dead sentence. If you want to “see” it as a disease it’s a chronical illness: You will never be cured. But you can learn to deal with it and live a perfect comfortable life although the “disease” will always be there.

It’s never not there. It’s not something that switches “off”.  What changes is how we (are able to) deal with it, influenced by our circumnstances and life events.

It definitely didn’t get worse for me. When I found out I’ve got Aspergers, it didn’t really change anything for me at first.  “Okay, that explains that. Back to regular life”.

When I started doing some research and decided to start observing myself, life with Aspergers became easier (in a way). I became comfortable with my limitations but I also learned myself that some limitations could be pushed – hard.

But this blog post wasn’t about me in particular. It’s about the idea that people have about Aspergers. I don’t know how I’m going to tackle it yet. I don’t like planning ahead because every idea becomes an item on a task list that builds up stress. I guess I should start with personalizing it a bit more. Give people more of a vague idea who I am and what Aspergers is like for me.

I’m getting way off topic, though. I’m going to wrap up this blog post and start on another one. That’s how scatter brained I am when it comes to writing about me.

User Manual For Dating A Robot

When you Google anything about Aspergers and relationships, the results will always look the same. All you find are posts dedicated to helping women deal with Aspergers men and their many flaws.

Many of those articles read like they are user manuals for the robot the woman just bought. With tips and tricks when tbe robot does something specific. Because all models are the same and respond the same.

That made me think.

We are nothing more than robots, who need to wait for an owner with the patience to read and follow the manual.

I don’t feel like a robot, but the articles make me think I might be in the wrong. Maybe we are all robots, controlled by an AI that figured out how to copy standard abilities but whom failed to copy their feelings and human factor.

Maybe we are not socially and emotionally blind. Maybe we are just programmed differently.

Overextended

This weekend, I overextended myself. Not in the real, physical sense. That would be impossible as my steps app collected a combined 1,000 meters for me this weekend. Barely putting a dent in the amount of calories I consumes.

No, I overextended in the mental realm. On Saturday, I had a busy day ahead of me. From the moment I woke up one social event followed the other. My nieces came over for lunch with the grand parents and for some play time. Although I love them a lot and continue to be amazed by these amazing little people, it takes a toll on me.

But straight after they left, and while my tank was 3/4th depleted, more was asked of me. We were invited to dinner by some “new” friends.

I hadn’t been invited to someone’s place for ages. Family not included. The thought alone made a me a little bit nervous. But the food was tolerable so that was one problem solved.

I tried to be as social and fun as I could possibly be during the evening. I like to think I did a good job. However, when I left I felt that I was going to pay the price the next day.

And that’s the sign the tank is empty

The next day, I felt… empty. After Church, I was invited along to somebody’s house but I told them I didn’t know if I could make it. Good call.

I’ve spent all day feeling tired. Not just physically tired. You don’t go for a nap at both 3PM and 8PM. I felt like I’d overpushed my limits on Saturday and I was paying the price.

I didn’t have the energy or the willingness to do anything that I couldn’t do passively. So I watched some Netflix. Rested a bit while watching ASMR videos. Some more Netflix. Some more sleeping. Watched some TV.

I overextended on Saturday and had to recover on Sunday. That meant I couldn’t do the thing that I had planned to do (it’s “Playing video games, if you’re wondering) but I didn’t really care. I just wanted to rest and then rest some more.

On the plus side, however, Saturday was a really good day. I did well, and while Sunday wasn’t great it wasn’t exactly a complete meltdown either. Perhaps I could’ve pushed myself to do a little more on Sunday. That’s an exercise for the next time.