I was diagnosed at age 26 with Autism Spectrum Disorder (albeit “mild” for those who like to classify). I really just want to collect my own experiences here. I’m one of those who might be in denial, telling myself that I can’t possibly have this. I’m too *this, that, or the other* or not enough of *this, that, or the other*. I’m basically the person in this Tumblr post. So this blog post is for me. To tell myself, hey, these are the things that are unique to you, and it’s okay to be that way. This is YOU.
1. I have an intense fascination and passion for Excel spreadsheets, writing formulas, and accomplishing new projects with them. I love them, and I will tell anyone who will listen just how amazing and brilliant and wonderful spreadsheets are.
2. I also have an intense love and passion for cats. They make me happy. They simply must be in my life at all times.
3. I get really excited for cloudy and/or rainy days. I hate the sun. Hate it. It’s bright, and hot, and quite frankly we get too much of it where I live (Phoenix, Arizona). I realize I’m living in quite literally the complete opposite of where I belong, and the only thing keeping me here is a job that allows me to work with my special interest, work from home twice a week, and pay me a decent wage.
4. Socializing. Dear goodness. It’s awful. I try so hard, I really do. But as soon as I hit a place where there’s other people, I shrink into this place within myself and tire out about 10-50 times faster. Please don’t be offended if my eyes glaze over or I start yawning. I really want to try to be more present, it’s just very difficult for me.
5. Conversation. I have a really difficult time conversing, as most topics are not of interest to me, and no one is really interested in my interests. Most of the time I just listen. Trying to interject my thoughts at the right moment without interrupting people is a skill I’ve never attained, and will probably never master. So unless someone specifically works to include me in the conversation and gives me the time I need to flounder around with my thoughts until they turn into words, I’ll most likely remain silent.
6. Crowds. No. Just no. Any place where there’s too many people, the anxiety sets in like a damp cold. I get stressed, irritated, and frustrated. Going to Costco on the weekend? You might as well just kill me. Going to Walmart? Not happening. I have resorted to having a lot of things auto-shipped from Amazon, delivered via the grocery delivery service Shipt, or through HelloFresh.
7. Noises. Certain noises can set me so on edge that I will feel out of control of myself and even lash out at people around me. I call it my incredible Hulk, because I truly turn into a different person. Noises that are really terrible for me include (but are not limited to):
– Booming bass
– The THX sound before movies
– People chewing (especially with their mouth open)
– People clipping their nails (especially at work! I mean, who does that??)
– Random squeaks, clicks, or other repetitive noises, especially from things that shouldn’t ordinary be making that sound
– Ticking clocks
– TV’s that are too loud
– The movie theatre. It’s just too loud.
– Kids crying or screaming or babbling loudly
– People listening to their music in public instead of using headphones, or playing games on their phone without muting it
8. I can’t sleep without a blanket. I just can’t. I have to be covered up to the shoulders. If I’m watching TV, I almost always have to have a blanket on me. Blankets are everything. I’m very much looking forward to having my own weighted blanket as I think it will help me with stress.
9. Sometimes I take things the wrong way, or I don’t know how to explain things in ways that other people will understand. And then there is a disconnect and I feel I’ve offended someone.