Deaspification – the coping strategy rituals

I often find myself lost in thought. Last week the gas engineer came out to check our house complies with the gas regulations for the next year, in terms of equipment safety.

They have serviced the boiler every year since we have been here, they are a great couple, he works, she organises, and they are funny, professional, and just generally good people.

But as I sat waiting for them to arrive, I caught myself going through the “Deaspification” ritual that I assume is part of my coping mechanisms. Deaspification is a temporary condition caused by having to interact with people not on the spectrum who you don’t want to give you the “but you seem fine” speech.

I’m not sure how to put it in words, talking about this is new to me, so I will just Do My Best like a good “ex-guiding-movement-gal”.

My internal dialogue floods with questions to myself. Can you remember their coffee preferences? Black with none and white with one I think. (Wrong here, black with three and white with two for future reference, but at least it opened the conversation).

People who do not have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder like to think they are memorable. If you can go that extra step and remember names, and two or three information bits, then you are on track for being Deaspificated.
What can I remember about these people. Coffee preferences, the wife makes lace in her spare time, the son was going to come in the business, the husband has an intermittent bad back.
Now I have little things that make them feel I remember them and I am interested enough to store away things about them.

It gives me conversation openers. And the coffee one gives me an excuse to get out of the room. This gives me the initial space to flap (mentally) about the fact that there are people in my house that don’t live here. It gives me the time to recompose myself and plan my next conversation.

I don’t need to initiate conversation, but if spoken to, I can use one of my three other bits of information to divert attention from myself.

Phone rings, they have been held up on an emergency, will come tomorrow.

Breathe. Relax. Feel strange. When you have focused all your energies expecting something to happen and preparing for it, its hard to let that go, and move on. It’s almost as if you had waited in line for a ride at a theme park for several hours, and right as you get to the gate, they tell you it has shut and to come back next time. You want to argue, but know it is pointless. You knew it was going to be a scary ride but you had psyched yourself up for it, and not going on means that the thought of queueing tomorrow is worse than the actuality will be.

Another situation. Someone is being treated unfairly and is unable to represent them-self to the various agencies that need to be coordinated. On my day to day existence I avoid contact with authorities, I couldn’t function buying goods at a shopping checkout without a huge amount of prep time. But it is easier somehow to slip into the role of being an advocate for someone else. The problems are not mine, so I do not have that emotional investment about what happens if I mess up, and I am safe in the knowledge that even if I don’t help much, it’s still more than the person would manage alone.

It is all about roles. About acting. I know I can pass as a simulacrum of myself, or the version of myself that I let others outside of my immediate family see.

My parents and most friends do not know me. They know the me they see, they don’t see the bare me that my husband lives with. They don’t see the even barer me that is evident when I choose not to keep the coping strategies turned on. They see the Deaspification Model. The sum of the learnt behaviours, the situation analyst, the outcome of many failed attempts.

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It is nearly upon us.

And no I do not mean Xmas.
I mean the shopping.
We go shopping at about 3am tonight. Thats 3am, on the morning of Xmas Eve.
Our plan is that most people wont be shopping.
Everyone that can be described as NT that we have mentioned our shopping plans to have looked horrified.
This is a good sign.
I am going to try something.
Do not think anyones going to get involved as they never comment here, but worth a go anyway.

Shopping at 3am on Xmas Eve.
a) That would suit me!
b) You are nuts!
c) Why?
d) Have you not done your shopping yet?

Answers in the comments please 🙂

Twitter Autism Day

Autism Twitter Day

So I should have blogged about this before it started, and I am sorry.
Today a group of people, across many countries came together using social media to raise awareness of, and support for Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and related issues.

If you are interested, you can keep up using #ASD on the twitter search, and joining in the conversation, and listening to the speakers.

I have gained a lot of followers today, @Araldia and something that came up was that many people are interested in how I managed to get to 31 without letting anyone else diagnose me as Aspergers.

I have well established coping strategies that I use when dealing with Neurotypical people, but it is hard for me to think about the order in which to write, so please, if you only comment on one post on this blog, pick this one, and let me know what situation you are up against, and I will blog within 24 hours where possible how I dealt with similar issues, and how our Aspergers son, our ADHD son, and my ADHD husband deal with it also.

Maybe what works for one of us will work for you?

So What Now?

So as you know, I got my BSc.
I was not expecting it, as I was sure I would be resitting this year, so had not thought about what next.
Part of not knowing what was next, was that the whole thing was in itself an achievement, I never even considered what to do afterwards!

Well everyone that has commented on my achievement on facebook, has asked ¨What Next?¨.
Continue reading

rdos
So someone in the comments asked me about my aspie profile from this site.
While I do not advocate self diagnosis, I feel that this tool a good way to identify possible things that can be then looked into further.

I do not feel, as you can tell from the title of the blog, that Aspergers is a disability.

http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

This one is different to most online tests, as it is measured not on the questioners bais, but on the weighted response of those with an Autistic Spectrum diagnosis, and those with no issues at all (Neurotypical).

What’s so good about “normal” anyway?

The term neuro-typical is used by the ASD community to cover those that society deems normal.
My definition of neuro-typical encompasses all sorts of people. The mentally ill, in most cases are neuro-typical. Those with bi-polar disorder, those with schitzophrenia, those with narcissistic personality disorders, those that are work-a-holic, the paranoid and so on. Continue reading