Here’s a stereotype that I’m sick of….

Disclaimer: this post is about my experience of Aspergers Syndrome, and is relative to my own experience. But I cannot take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this. 

I’m tired. Really I am. And not in the ‘physical sense’. I am SICK and tired of being stereotyped, based on my ASD.

Rainman isn’t the set standard for people on the spectrum, although it seems to have been perceived as such. What’s forgotten is how nuanced the spectrum can be. There’s a set perceived view point, and that’s how we all are, apparently. (I detest being stereotyped so much that I just had to put it into a post.)

I am also not a ‘math’s genius’.

And I am tired of being perceived as lacking in Empathy-there isn’t just one type, one set way of being so-as well as not caring, unemotional, etc. These are all based on assumptions, and although they are hallmarks of the spectrum, I feel it is unfair to characterise us all as being alike to what I just described.

Thank you for listening,

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

“What does it feel like to have Aspergers?”

“What does it feel like to have Aspergers?” 

It’s a question that I’ve been asked previously, and one that I’ve struggled to respond to. To have Aspergers is completely subjective, as it’s a condition that’s on a Spectrum; so what I may write in this post may differ from the experience of other people.

It feels isolating.

The amount of times just trying to talk to someone, but they have laughed at me, or made me feel uncomfortable, because of my lack of eye contact, flat voice, etc is something that I have lost count of. For years I did try to ‘fit in’ to whatever clique was dominating whatever school I was at; here’s a spoiler for you. It doesn’t work. I was the one who wanted to talk about politics, or to discuss Cold War history. That’s not what counts as ‘usual’ for a teenager, is it? 

It can feel lonely.

It seems like being in your own world at times, locked away, unable to communicate at the best of times. I don’t want to just sit, talking about boys, hair or make up. There has got to be more to life than this!

It feels as if I am winning, because of a special interest.

Special interests can be subjective to everyone; mine usually revolved around History and people. But it helped with what I would study, because there were so many links that I could make with what I already knew, meaning that I could get to grips with the subject more easily. And that is a good feeling, because I would otherwise struggle with a lot of subjects.

It feels like an unfair fight.

Because so many people do not understand. And I don’t understand so many things, because of the idea that I should inhabit a neurotypical world, rather than my own. It’s not helpful, and I’ve had to deal with this a lot. 

It feels like something gained, not something lost.

To be diagnosed with Aspergers was an end to a very long game; it was just so obvious to me that I was different from my classmates, therefore logically I thought of myself as being ‘on spectrum’. But knowledge gained is something good; I haven’t lost anything, and there’s nothing to loose. 

It feels as if I am NOT broken.

Because anyone with Aspergers or Autism does not need to be repaired. They are not broken, or at fault. Be supportive in this sense; to be autistic or on spectrum is NOT a travesty, or something to be mocked.

It can feel scary. 

Could we look at being on the spectrum as being something positive, just for once? Yes, it can be scary, because of places with a lot of people, unfiltered noise, etc. But there’s something powerful in it; we can specialise in a given topic, remember a lot of things, and create what we wish. This is something that is a strength, and maybe not something that somebody neurotypical has. Use it to your advantage. Hans Asperger described people on spectrum as being ‘Little professors’. And there should be no shame in that. 

Thank you for listening,

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

 

Why I love rock…a fan girls opinion. 

As part of my blog content, you can probably see that I’m starting to cover music. Music is a part of my lifestyle-so that I listen to it everywhere I go, collect Vinyl, interview musicians, etc. But I’m often asked “why do you like Rock?” (because, well, I have Aspergers, and noise doesn’t compute well, traditionally.)

Rock has been one of my favourite genres for a long time now-probably since I bought my first proper CD, Queen’s A Night At The Opera. In this sense, I like the songs, as they are seemingly timeless; I was born eight years after Freddie mercury died, and three after Phil Collins left Genesis. (Go on, guess how old I am, I dare you 🙂 ) And there’s so many enigmatic songs-just who is ‘so vain’? But anyway, my point is that these songs have an enduring appeal-why else would we still be singing them?

These songs and the genre are also a comfort to me. When I go out, or am walking in a city that I don’t know particularly well, I will have my headphones in. It’s a sensory thing-related to my Aspergers-because I dislike so much noise. (Try being at Victoria station-there’s a lot of people, trains, announcements, etc. And it puts my head in a whirl.)

Rock is also something that I enjoy-just the sheer beat of the songs, or how it was engineered over time. These song may be cliched in parts, but they rely more on melody to tell the story of the lyrics. They also have a proper structure. And it was a pioneering era of music-just look at Bohemian Rhapsody!

And, I like this genre, because it’s what I aspire to specialise in; I would love to be a music Journalist. I’ve interned at NME, interviewed Marc Martel, reviewed Lissie, QUEX, and Emeli Sande in concert, met Brian May, and listened to a few albums and reviewed them for their releases. Music is an interest to me. And these are some of the most interesting people I have ever met, observed, questioned and listened to. What more could I do?

 

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Here’s how I struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome…

For all of my posts about Asperger’s Syndrome, I haven’t really posted about what I struggle with, as a direct result of the condition. Because being positive matters, right? (Please don’t tell me otherwise.) But I wanted to post more than just a superficial impression, and what it is I struggle with most.

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People:

People. People! What more is there to say to that, really? ‘People’ is an interesting subject to me-and it’s why I write my column-but for me, it’s something I really do struggle with. I cannot tell how nuanced your emotions are, but what plays out on your face-they are blank to me. I also may not understand what you’re trying to tell me at times. And could you maybe not try and force eye contact with me? It’s really not something I’m great at, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I also am not really a fan of ‘touching’-but I will come and ask for a hug if needed. I also don’t just want to talk about hair, boys, or make up. That’s not what I’m interested in. I would rather talk about Cold War history, politics, whatever person it is that I’m interviewing, etc.

Noise:

This is a funny one, considering I love music, review concerts for my blog and column, and adore Rock. But noise I don’t have control over has a detrimental affect-such as cutlery banging, polystyrene squeaking, metal scrapping, chairs falling, doors slamming suddenly, etc. Don’t call me out, saying that “it’s not noisy in here”. Because to me it is. And it has an affect-I can’t think, my thoughts when travelling to my mouth get jumbled, and it sometimes affects my balance. (Too much overstimulation over a long period of time means I find simple tasks hard, even just gripping things.)

Academia:

I’m lucky to have had help, but a classroom is an environment I find really difficult. If information is relayed too quickly by a teacher, I may miss some things. I can also misinterpret what they may say. And at younger institutions-such as Primary school-there was always so much talking. I can’t always pay attention to both.

Organisation:

Here’s something for you; I may be the most organised person in the room, when it comes to managing deadlines and other projects. But I’m really messy. And I find managing time a chore. Balancing this blog with my want to study has been a problem at times. And my bedroom always looks as if a bomb has hit it. But I’ll probably make whatever homework deadline there is.

Thank you for listening,

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Let’s Have An Honest Chat About Aspergers Sydrome. (A note to fellow Aspergians like me…)

Let’s just have an honest chat, shall we? From the ‘aspergic’ blogger whose blog you’ve been reading, to you, the presumably neurotypical reader. (Or maybe you’re a fellow ‘Aspergian’-in that case, welcome! You are among friends here 😃)

Having Aspergers Sydrome is hard; over on Twitter, I saw one parent saying that her son refers to it as “my trouble”. The problem is that we are often in our own worlds-the comforting place inside our heads, where we can escape, almost. It’s the outside world that intrudes in, I feel-those sudden load noises, horrible sensations, and not understanding what your classmates are trying to convey. (Believe me, it is so difficult. And although I could probably count my friends on both hands, it is those that be deciphered that are scary.)

Questions are hard to interpret.

Conversation is hard to maintain.

Noise is hard to bare.

Sticking to the social code is hard.

And that’s just the beginning.

Aspergers is something complex, complicated, but at its core it’s caring; all the ‘aspergic’ people I have met are some of the most brilliant minds there are. They care in different ways for you. And they are so incredibly loyal. These are the people that I take strength from, and who this post is on tribute to. They are the best in human nature.

And if you’re reading this, as a fellow ‘Aspergian’, I want you to know that you aren’t as ‘bad’ as sometimes made out to be; you have so much potential, and the ability to move to a higher plane. Forget these so called popularity contests at schools-they don’t reflect the real world. Keep your friends close. And you’ll be fine 😁

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Frustrations of being an Aspergic teenager. 

Disclaimer: This post is entirely subjective to my own opinions, and own hallmarks of the spectrum of ASD. I do not claim to be a Doctor or medical professional. Rather, this post is just my opinion, not intended as a guide or advisory. I cannot take responsibility for anything that happens as a result of this post being misconstrueded or misused. 

For all of my posts relating to ASD, and my personal observations of my version of Aspergers Sydrome, I’ve tried to strike a positive spin on the issues discussed. I’ve had to, really; I would b a very different indurvidual otherwise. Similarly, I’m in opposition to negative perceptions of ASD; here are a group of often marginalised indurviduals, who have so much potential. Why leave them behind, lost in broken systems?


Anyway, I digress.

I was a teenager when diagnosed; I still am. At times I’ve become really frustrated, though; often through lack of understanding, I have sometimes felt sidelined. (This is now the rarity-being open about my social impairment has worked better and in my favour, in educational instutions.) 

Social. 

Back in 2015, it was not a surprise to me to have a diagnosis on paper. I think the main characteristic attributed to me was ‘eccentric’ whilst at secondary school; but really, that was just my Aspergers manifesting itself. But socially, it has had a big impact.

Making friends is really hard for me. The simple reason as to why is that I cannot always identify what you’re trying to tell me by your face; humans are more nuanced than just the basic happy vs sad notion. This is really frustrating; I make mistakes, yet did and still feel lonely at the best of times.

Communication is also a problem. Taking the face facet I just mentioned-that mollifies conversation at times. I can chat easily to people considered ‘adults’-lecturers, parents, editors. But to chat to my classmates easily? I find that really difficult. I’m probably more likely to say something perceived as inappropriate, stammer, apologise, and repeat the same pattern. 

People can also be really confusing-are you being sarcastic, genuine? Why did you decide to ignore me? What gave you permission to mock my dress sense? Why do you care so much about popularity? Why are teasing me? Is that supposed to be funny?

See. These I’ll never be able to answer.

I also rarely get to talk about my special interests; it is always boys/cosmetics/hair/homework. With Trump and Brexit, there was a little bit of political discussion-yet with levels of apathy, it seemed a little bit pointless. I want to talk about Jacqueline Kennedy, World War Two history, the prime minister, Feminism, poetry, Rock opera, blogging, etc. This hasn’t happened yet.

Sound.

If I can control it, that’s fine.

As somebody who wishes to be a Journalist, potentially specialising in music, this is probably a bit of a contradiction; I could sit through a Rock concert, yet become very agitated at something as mundane as cutlery clunking against a china worktop. (Ugh!) Some noise can overwhelm my brain; I’m still working on a way to define it-the sharp, shocking, strange noises that overwhelm me. 

This is frustrating in a classroom-all the voices floating around!

But in transit round places; I was called out, told “it’s not that noisy”, when travelling round with other students getting to lessons. (I had my hands clamped to my ears, just wanting to block it all out.) It’s overwhelming to me. To be honest, at times I’ve wanted to cry. I can’t work as well, my speech becomes tangled in my throat, and I stim. (For bullies, this has been a signal, almost a target.)

I love the sound that voices make in musics; whether it’s Phil Collins singing Mamma, Freddie Mercury singing Tear It Up, or Anastacia singing I Dreamed Of You, these voices calm my brain. (Even Carly Simon-All I Want Is You.) They are different to the sudden noises that shock my brain.

Stimming.

How to define stimming? 

Whenever under stress-a change in stimuli, environment, etc-it is a movement carried out repeatedly, aiming at being something calming. For me, I slap the outside of my legs. A I can also tap. (Rocking back and forth on the toes seems to be the main one.)

I wish I had a different response to changes in stimuli, environment, etc; I get stared at, people suggesting that what I’m doing is wrong facially. 

Stimming is alright to music; I’ve since learnt that any beat seemingly covers it up. It looks like you’re tapping along to the beat. Although I feel that this should not have to be the case.

But….

Here comes the positive spin.

Of all the people I have met with either Autism or Aspergers Sydrome, none of them have been dull or boring. These are the larger-than-life characters that I wish to mirror. They don’t fit into a mold. They are colourful characters intent on being their own indurvidual.

Without Aspergers Sydrome, I highly doubt that I would have been able to achieve any of the things that I have. Prior to the age of eighteen, I’ve seen Queen and Adam Lambert in concert, interviewed Anastacia, built this little blog, scored a column with my local paper, met Brian May, reviewed albums prior to release, seen Lissie live in concert, spoken at Portcullis house, interviewed Jodi Picoult, and met Derren Brown.

It’s a message I wish to include in my novel; I identify as the ‘little proffesor’ that Hans Asperger identified. (Aspergers Sydrome is named after him.) In spite of the frustrations and restrictions, I am determined to overcome. And you’re going to watch me run.

Lydia

XO



Empathy And ASD: Why I Disagree With The Lack Of Empathy Stereotype. 

Disclaimer: I am merely a student blogger on the internet, without any medical qualifications. I do not intend to blog in any advisory manner, so whatever you do after reading these posts are at your own risk. I cannot take responsibility for whatever infaction that may occur.

It has been just over two years since I was diagnosed with Aspergers Sydrome; to be honest, it was a long time coming, and I think pretty obvious to anyone that knows me. (Whole idea of being a textbook version, really, I guess.) But I’ve been inspired in the way that Nicole at Thrifty Vintage Fashion writes-how she writes about OCD, Depression, etc. I wanted to do a little piece about ASD and the whole issue of empathy.

One of the hallmarks of this impairment is a lack of empathy. Whilst I don’t dispute this-obviously I can’t, because it’s medical, and would be wrong to do so-what bothers me is the way that this can be perceived to such an extreme.

Aspergers Sydrome has various different characteristics-but not all of them are found in a diagnosed indurvidual. (Whilst I have the obsessive interest part of the impairment-I could talk about Jacqueline Kennedy, US Presidents, Anne Frank all day long-I don’t really have the meltdowns side of things. Whilst I can become incredibly anxious, I don’t exhibit what’s characteristic of this.) But empathy-the lack of-seems to be perceived as a general thing for all. And because of the spectrum disorder detail, I often wonder: how can this be true, that all people with ASD are apparently lacking in empathy? 

It can’t be.

Almost by default, this post is a tribute to the people I know who have Autism; they are some of the most caring people I have come to know. They are some of the first people who ask me every morning how I am, what’s wrong, etc. The only part of empathy that they lack is that they don’t always understand the social problems-and not caring for the seemingly petty aggrievances that become so typical in an instutional enviroment. 

To say that all people with ASD is a lazy stereotype, I conclude; we are still indurviduals who think and feel, just in a different way to what’s convention. I know that I can be perceived as uncaring at times-and to write this post without putting that would make me a bit of a hypocrite-but it’s because of the difference. 

What do you think?

Lydia

XO