“You can’t possibly have any understanding of yourself and be Autistic at the same time. That just doesn’t happen’.
Well actually, yes it can and it does happen.
Individuals with Asperger’s are hyper aware of their feelings, their environment and those around them.
So hyper aware in fact that we experience sensory over load.
Yet every time we, as people, try to share our understandings of ourselves with others and attempt to have our own personal views and needs both met and respected, we run into a brick wall of prejudice.
One that ensures that instead of being listened too, we’ll constantly have to deal with having our personal truths questioned simply because of the mistaken belief that we are a particularly insular and self-absorbed type of person.
Due to this, instead of being listened too when we try to talk about our feelings, we usually end up being told things like:
-‘Why do you always look so sad? You should smile more”.
Well here’s a tip.
Why not try believing us when we tell you that we’re not sad we’re just so completely and utterly lost in thought that our faces automatically relax.
This process of relaxation means that our mouths and lips relax too.
And just in case you’re not up to speed with anatomy, it actually takes muscle contractions to create a smile.
So if a person’s face is completely and I do mean completely relaxed, there will be no muscle contraction, hence no smile.
Besides, we are aware of the fact that we’re always having our facial expressions read by those around us, as if they were some kind of social barometer that might, potentially, give the reader some kind of insight as to what we’re feeling.
We’re also equally used to being blamed for an observers inability to read us due to our perceived lack of facial expression, whenever such exercises in futility fail to succeed.
Which is, once again, why you should believe us when we tell you that we’re not sad, just lost in thought.
Perhaps a far kinder thing to do would be to try asking us what we’re actually thinking about.
By approaching us in this way you’ll give us an opportunity to bring you a little closer to our world rather than pushing us away with false observations that only serve to make us feel even more self-conscious than we already do.
-‘You should get out of the house more. You’ll feel better for it.’
For those of us who are feeling overwhelmed due to sensory overload, the last thing we need to be told is to “get out of the house’, or to ‘go out and be around people’.
What we really need when we’re feeling overwhelmed is to be left in the peace and quiet of our own surroundings and to be allowed to withdraw into our own safe space, without any ensuing argument or being accused of being anti-social.
So please, please, please try to understand that when we insist on the need to have our own space and to take things at our own pace, we’re not trying to be willfully stubborn or malignantly anti-social.
We’re simply trying to do whats best for us by being mindful and respectful of our own needs so that we don’t end up in a full on ‘meltdown’.
Usually it takes years for us to learn how and when to walk away from situations before they escalate into a ‘meltdown’ so please understand that doing so is a sign of our maturity, and not our immaturity.
Please spend a little more time trying to love us and a little less time trying to judge us.