Now that I know the reason for my social impairments and shortcomings, I am more accepting of my own failures.
Before I knew I was Autistic, I remember crying alone wondering why I could not just figure out the nuances of conversation. Why even when I thought I was doing everything right to have a polite conversation, people told me I still spoke out of turn and repeated myself .
The way I relate to others is somehow of-putting. I tend to ramble and turn conversations back onto myself. People think I don’t care about what they have to say but really, I’m just trying to say – “I understand.”
In fact I am also much more aware of my own failures now – this was hard on my self esteem when I was first diagnosed. Suddenly all of my flaws were illuminated, in my face, and so official.
I realized that I could not read faces, realized how much I was struggling just for timing in conversations, realized that auditory processing delays make face to face interactions stressful and overstimulating.
I was pushing myself to the point of sickness trying to keep up with the social demands of my busy work place. The things that most people find rewarding, busy events and parties, are not fun to me. I don’t want to go out and drink and I don’t feel relaxed around my coworkers.
All that fun was not in the job description and it was taking a toll on me.
Happy hours, networking events, international travel, restaurant openings, celebrities, private screenings of movies that the public can’t see yet – my job is pretty amazing.
The truth is, I rather not have all the extra perks that my job “offers”. I’ve learned that the politics are complex and if you don’t attend certain things your boss feels like you are ungrateful. I try to attend the very minimum, but even that is pushing it for me.
I am surviving in energy conservation mode. I have no social life other than the one my office creates.
I’ve stopped hanging out with my real friends because at the end of the work week I am dead. I have no energy or desire to socialize, burnt up and spent, nothing left for the people who matter most to me.
But I am living the dream right? I have my dream job and it seems to be killing me.
I need more down time than most people, and the more social I am the more down time I need. It is hard for someone running on spoons to have a full time job, but quitting is never my option.
I have gratitude for my job, because TOO many Aspies are unemployed. I am thankful every day for my very difficult and exciting job – even on the worst days.