LIVING WITH ASPERGER’S: Noises That Are Soothing and That Drive Me Crazy

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A very good quote on the bottom of this picture, which is why I decided to use it here. Image courtesy of henryharveybooks.com

 

I once heard someone say that if you have met one person with Asperger’s Syndrome, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, then you’ve met one person with Asperger’s or ASD.

Unlike the old saying “If you’ve met one, you’ve met them all”.

One aspect of this condition that seems to be common in many folks on the Autism spectrum is a sensitivity to certain noises.

Being an “Aspie” myself, I am no exception to that aspect as there are sounds that make me want to scream in emotional agony and sounds that are completely relaxing and make me want to snuggle under the covers in my bed in comfort.

Let me describe what those noises are, first the ones that I hate:

 

1.  SIRENS

There have been times when I want to rip those wailing things off of fire trucks and police cars, they are so loud to the point of inducing an inner fury.

Being that there are a couple of fire stations not far from where I live, I hear sirens periodically, an average of once or twice per week to my estimate.

I understand that they are inevitable, and I also know that one doesn’t have to be on the autism spectrum to hate those sounds as I have heard neurotypicals (those without ASD) complain about them, too.

But that doesn’t change the fact that they bother the heck out of me, a level of 15 on a scale of one to ten.

2.  CAR ALARMS

I live in a complex which is designed so that the parking spaces are below the homes.

Which means that I hear those annoying alarms from cars from time to time.

Put it this way:

Whenever I go downstairs to our complex’s parking area, I make sure that I make no loud noises so as to not trigger those alarms, they bother me so much.

Thankfully they don’t last too long, but it doesn’t change my urge to yell, “Shut those d*** things off!”

3.  DOGS BARKING

It’s the reason why I am a cat person, as incessant barking drives me absolutely nuts.

I have two examples of this…

  • A few years ago, a group of folks with a dog moved next door to my house. They would park that dog on the patio right above my bedroom every day, and it would bark incessantly whenever the owners were out, which was frequently, including at night. I was so annoyed that it got to the point where I submitted a formal complaint to the manager of the complex asking to intervene. The dog and its owners moved away soon after.
  •  A couple of years later, there was loud barking from a German Shepherd (known barkers, which is why they are preferred by the police) who was perched on a patio across the way from my bedroom. This would start at roughly 3:00 p.m. every day and would make me want to scream in emotional agony. This situation had a more satisfying ending, however, as after explaining to the dog’s owner about my condition and how it made me noise sensitive to things like barking dogs, it was moved to another part of the house.

I know that there are non-austistics that hate dogs that bark loudly and incessantly, but my intolerance to that noise is pronounced. I think that’s the difference between someone with Asperger’s and someone who doesn’t have it.

4.  BABIES AND TODDLERS CRYING

Much like dogs barking, it’s a significant factor of me not wanting children as although I like kids – I wouldn’t have worked with them as a P.E. teacher, a sports coach, and a tutor for two and a half decades if I didn’t – and think babies are adorably cute, I know I couldn’t have one of my own because I couldn’t handle things that small children do like cry loudly and incessantly and throw temper tantrums.

As I have always said, parenting is not for everyone.

 

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I’ve always like open spaces like this meadow, as it gives off a similar relaxing feeling in me as the sounds listed below. Photo courtesy of atozallnews.blogspot.co.uk

 

 

All right, let me flip this and list the sounds and noises that I enjoy…

1.  JETS/PLANES/HELICOPTERS

Looking back, I realized that I liked planes flying overhead when as a young kid living near an air force base, I would lay in my bed and experience feelings of comfort and coziness whenever a jet would fly by.

That hasn’t changed forty-something years later as the sounds of planes and helicopters induces relaxing feelings, to the point where they would help me sleep if those sounds came late at night.

Those same feelings come whenever I would hear these other sounds…

2. RAIN

The harder the rain, the better.

Which I suppose would make me a good fit for living in Seattle, or Portland, or anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest.

3. WIND

See rain, as in the harder, the better.

Though I wouldn’t want to experience a category 5, Katrina-like hurricane or a tornado, as I have something against getting killed by flying debris or by having one of those EF-5 monster funnel clouds throwing me several miles.

Putting it another way, with all due respect to those regions I would not be a good fit for the Midwest, the Gulf Coast, or Florida.

And I suppose people in those areas wouldn’t think they’d be a good fit for California due to the threat of earthquakes, so it all balances out.

4. THUNDER

For the same reasons as the first three noises mentioned.

Though I know full well that I’m unique in this preference as many if not most folks hate thunder and feel threatened by it.

I, however, get a relaxing feeling from it, particularly when I’m in bed at night or in the early morning.

I always find myself counting “one-one thousand, two-one-thousand…” after a thunder boom to find out how far the accompanying lightning is; the longer you count, the farther the lightning is, which is a good tip for being safe in a big storm.

 

Well, that’s one aspie’s specific noise sensitivities.

If anyone on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, whether he/she has Asperger’s or full-blown autism, is reading this, I wonder what is yours?

 

 

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I really like this quote from the guy whom Asperger’s Syndrome was named after in 1944; it’s quite eloquent. Image courtesy of blog.southeastpsych.com

 

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Fighting Depression: From The Perspective of Someone With Asperger’s

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I like this photo of the clouds, and I love this quote, which describes depression perfectly. Image courtesy of compassinsurance.net

 

“The older I get, the more stupid I feel,

I don’t know what’s going on…

The harder I try, the less people I please.”

– Joe Jackson, “Flying” (1994)

 

I’ve always considered this as one of my all-time favorite songs, because the lyrics describe me and my feelings about my life and life in general perfectly.

I once heard – or read somewhere, I don’t recall – that depression is a trait to those with Asperger’s.

In my case, it creeps up periodically, like it did recently when I simply felt burned out and took a break in the public activities that I usually partake in, choosing to stay home and, save for my online work on my sports fan blog/site, basically vegetate.

Depression has been an issue for what I estimate as three-fourths of my life; I remember not going to school, staying home for a few days at a time due to feeling overwhelmed and socially rejected, in both the sixth grade (due to bullying) and the tenth grade (due to the harshness of being new to high school).

And wanting to commit suicide more than once over the course of my adult life; being that I don’t want to alarm anyone I won’t go into any details.

Even though I’m better now thanks to God, I still have to combat feelings of depression and suicide from time to time as every time someone says or does something to me that causes me to feel oppressed or rejected (again, without mentioning any specific details) invokes those feelings.

I know that more or less everyone has those feelings from time to time, but in my case I’m convinced that the root of this negativity inside me stem from one specific thing…

Having Asperger’s Syndrome – or high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder as it’s called these days – in a neurotypical (non-disabled) world.

This ASD of mine is likewise a root cause of me feeling like I am walking on eggshells every time I go out in public, which can and does induce burn-out in me to the point where I have no desire to interact with people, for their sake as well as mine.

To try to interact with folks and peers while in this state often invites inappropriate behaviors and social disasters; I want to spare people from that.

That was recently the case, as I didn’t show up to a couple of functions that I usually attend.

In fact, I’m strongly considering renaming the book I’ve been working on describing my life with Asperger’s, “MY ASPIE LIFE”, to “WALKING ON EGG SHELLS” as that has described my life so well ever since I was mainstreamed in school for the first time over forty years ago.

I could also accurately call my book “LEFT BEHIND”, as so many things that my peers have experienced and are experiencing in their/our late forties have eluded me.

I know full well that it shouldn’t matter and that I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone, which I agree with.

But it’s still difficult to see folks that have things that adults commonly have that I don’t have (without any specifics), which I feel has put a concrete wall between me and them.

And which is also the reason why, while I don’t consider myself second class to anyone, I’ll always feel that it’s those differences, stemming from the fact that I’m an aspie and they’re not, that will always be the cause of at least a little alienation, isolation, and discomfort in both directions; other people towards me as well as me towards others.

It’s an ongoing battle and will always be one, these feelings of depression and alienation stemming from being an aspie in a non-aspie world.

As well as feeling that no one really needs me; like Peeta Mellark said to Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” when he was talking about how his family would mourn him for a bit if he died, then move on.

But hey, at least I’m still here.

Thanks to God.

 

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I know how this guy feels, because I feel like this more often than I should. Photo courtesy of wrestlersmom.com

 

 

One Interesting Thing I Noticed Regarding Pop Music Legends

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Photo courtesy of linkedin.com

HAS ANYONE ELSE EVER NOTICED THIS?

 

The other day, not too long after Prince’s death, I was thinking about all the other pop music legends who left this life far too soon, folks like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and two other guys who passed away this year, Glenn Frey of the Eagles and David Bowie.

I also remembered those chart-topping, well-loved legends who didn’t even make it to age thirty due to drugs and general hard living.

As a matter of fact, I can think of four who fit into that category off the top of my head, three of them dying within a few months of each other and all of them getting their death certificates at 27 years old:

  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. Jim Morrison
  3. Janis Joplin, and…
  4. Amy Winehouse (who left us just a few years ago)

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“The Killer” – Jerry Lee Lewis – at one of his gigs in recent years. Photo courtesy of pdxretro.com

 

Here’s what came to me as I was pondering these tragedies,

While the pop music landscape is chock full of talented artists who died too soon, four of Rock and Roll’s founding fathers – guys who started all of this and were the inspiration of those deceased stars – are still very much alive and quite well…

  1. Jerry Lee Lewis – wild piano player whose “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” electrified millions before he up and married his 13-year old cousin – is 80 years old and still doing gigs!
  2. Little Richard – Another wild pianist with a big touch of flamboyance with his “Tutti Frutti” and “Good Golly Miss Molly”; he’s 83!
  3. Fats Domino – who made countless fans swoon while singing about finding his thrill on Blueberry Hill – he’s still playing his piano at 88!

and…

4.  Chuck Berry – one of the first rock guitarists, doing his duck walk to “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Johnny B. Goode”; he will be 90 years of age this coming October 18th!

And like Jerry Lee and Fats, he’s still making appearances!

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Little Richard, still looking sharp after 60 years! Photo courtesy of digitalspy.co.uk

 

In addition to those Mount Rushmore types, there are five iconic legends from the British Invasion, international institutions, who are well into their 70s;

*  Three of the Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, and a guy who, quite frankly, emits surprise that he’d not dead what with all the drugs, booze and all-around abuse that he has inflicted on his body over the decades, Keith Richards

and…

*  Two of the Beatles: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr

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STRAIGHT OUTTA NEW ORLEANS: Fats Domino still helping fans find their thrill on Blueberry Hill. Photo courtesy of pdxretro.com

 

Here’s where I’m getting at:

It’s interesting that so many pop stars die while living young and fast, fulfilling their (probably) unconscious wish of leaving a good-looking corpse, while others who came way before them, who basically invented the rock and roll genre as we know it, are still very much around.

Just something to ponder…

 

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Chuck Berry still doing the duck walk after all these decades. Photo courtesy of pdxretro.com