Statements like this not only make me feel better, but feel good in general, knowing that there are people like this who see Aspies this way
I remember when I was a 16-year old in high school…
It was lunch time, and I was sitting on some grass outside of a classroom with one of my teachers – a lady I liked, admired and respected – and a few of my classmates, when I made a remark about something during a conversation.
I have no recollection of what I said, but I do recall my teachers and the kids reacting like I just called someone a word-that-rhymes-with-witch or uttered some racial epithet.
Which I was quite shocked about, as in my mind I hadn’t said anything that would warrant such a response; I was like, “What? What did I say?”
That was when the teacher said something in exasperation, like she was sick and tired of me at that moment, that I still remember over thirty years later:
“Sometimes you say the wrong thing!”
It would be another thirteen years before I discovered that the source of all that verbal inappropriateness was my having Asperger’s Syndrome, part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Before that day of discovery in the mid-1990s, however, and even to this day, I had (and still have) the conviction that every time I go out in public – and sometimes when I’m at home with my family – I am walking on eggshells to ensure that I don’t say or do anything that might or would get me into any trouble.
Many instances and incidents of that nature abounded before and since that high school day, so many that to describe them all would result in a book not quite the size of War And Peace, but in the ballpark.
Indeed, one of the chapters of the book that I’m continuing to work on, My Aspie Life, is titled “Shut up, Derek!”, which details the many times people would get annoyed and direct those three words at me for what in my mind at that time was no reason, simply because they hated me when I did nothing to make them feel that way.
If I made a list of folks who fit that description, I’m sure it would be a few miles long.
Which in those days and nowadays is a source of frustration and at times depression, because these are social nuances that seem easy to most people but are difficult – a twenty on a scale of one to ten – for me.
Even though I am more aware of such nuances in my late 40s, experience being the best teacher, there are still times when I’m reluctant to go out due to the unintentional (I have to emphasize that) social and verbal damage that I may cause.
I believe it was a significant factor in ultimately being unsuccessful in the area of working for someone else and venturing into the world of online blogging, where I can work in the comfort of my own home and not have to worry about dealing with individuals or being bothered by such.
Just the other day, without going into any details, there was a slight incident that I had to apologize for. Luckily for me it didn’t escalate into something that would have cause post traumatic stress in me as it may well have done in the past.
I won’t take much longer with this post, as I want to save any further anecdotes for my book and the rewriting and editing of it, but let me just state this:
Walking on eggshells that way I have had to throughout my life has been a source of varying levels of frustration.
Sometimes a little when I can handle it,
Sometimes a lot when I am out and about and I get an increasingly overwhelming urge to get back to my house as quickly as possible before I inadvertently do or say something I would greatly regret.
As was said, it has been a source of depression to the point of suicidal thoughts in the past; thank God I have Him in my life now to get me through those feelings.
And speaking of feelings, while this is not an excerpt of my book, I think this “walking on eggshells” thing will be good to detail, make this book of mine more “real” to the readers.
Hopefully I can find the time VERY soon to go over that “Shut up, Derek!” chapter in particular and see how I can enhance that chapter by emphasizing that.
Aspects of Asperger’s, for those who don’t know