I’m at War With Myself – Parts of My Autism People Can’t See

Sometimes I feel as if I am constantly in a battle with myself. Fighting against irrational thoughts in my mind, and unpleasant sensations in my body.

Constant nagging in my mind – “You might have left the door unlocked.” When I know very well the door should be locked. “You forgot to water the dog.” Despite leaving them with a full bowl.

Social anxiety tells me I’m not good enough and I have to remind myself that I only feel that way when hanging around the wrong people or large groups.

It’s like my adrenal gland is extra jumpy. I feel the surge of chemicals flowing through my body, making my heart and mind race. It used to cause panic attacks, but now it happens so often that I’ve learned to recognize the feeling and breathe through it. The sensation is unpleasant and can also lead to sensory overload or meltdown if I don’t relax – so I ALWAYS relax.

My brain tells me the lights are too bright, so I squint all day until I have a headache and my head is throbbing. I can’t tune out the buzzing light bulbs and humming electronic noises coming from the walls – so I often wear headphones with soothing music.

I get dizzy when I stretch my arms high over my head – probably not related to Autism but really annoying because I am short. Just throwing it out there because my readers always surprise me with what we have in common.

The air outside is almost always either too hot or too cold because I cannot regulate body temperature well. I am only comfortable between about 75-90 degrees anything over or under that is really pushing it.

People’s voices stick better in my head then their faces. I often have a VERY hard time recognizing people especially out of context. It’s called face blindness and it can be a pain, especially in a corporate environment.

When I do socialize I prefer to stick to people I know, because I can’t read the faces of strangers unless someone laughing, crying, or making some other extremely obvious face. I study people I know so I can learn their faces better but still this takes a LOT of work on my part.

Sometimes I come off as rude. My body language and tone don’t always come out the way I want them to. Misunderstandings are a way of life for me. I’m used to this now and often don’t even bother trying to correct people because they don’t understand tone not matching feelings, etc.

I take things literally – but normally can figure things out if there are context clues.

Following spoken directions is difficult – but if you give me time to write down what you are saying so I can read it later (over and over) I can get things done. It’s not that I don’t understand, it’s that I understand in a different way.

My sort term memory is about half as good as most people. They say people can hold about 7 numbers in their working / short term memory – a phone number.  I’ve never been able to hold more than 3 numbers in my head at one time. If you say something to me when I am trying to hold those 3 numbers in my head the numbers will probably vanish.

Side note my long term memory is forever.

All of these invisible things. I am constantly battling myself, trying to fit into a world where people can’t imagine what you’re going thorough. When you try to tell them they look at you like you are crazy or dishonest – and honesty is important to me.

It hurts when you ask for help and nobody is willing to stick out their hand, so I keep these things to myself.

#ActuallyAutistic #AnonymouslyAutistic #SheCantBeAutistic #InvisibleAutism

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35 thoughts on “I’m at War With Myself – Parts of My Autism People Can’t See”

  1. Another article which describes me almost to a ‘t’, I switch from too hot to too cold in ia matter of moments and frequently find it difficult to be at a comfortable temperature. I forget things quite easily if the information is new to me, but once it’s in my brain it stays there and doesn’t go away.
    Probably the biggest one for me that you’ve mentioned here is that I come across as rude, when I’m not, I just have difficulty finding the appropriate facial expression/body language/tone of voice.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “I’m at war with myself” is my daily battle too. I woke up from a bad nightmare this morning. My dreams are usually vivid and my brain replays them over and over again throughout the day. The rational thought, “It was just a bad dream”, replays too. When the battle is over, I’m left with battle fatique.

    I relate so well to the spoken directions. My brain stops hearing and I get only so many words. The words I miss will probably come back to haunt me when I miss a step or two in carrying out the directions.

    But there are sweet victories too. One of the first people I told about my diagnosis was a special ed teacher whose students are on the spectrum too. She bought me a t-shirt: Autism Awareness – understand, accept, love. I got it yesterday and am wearing it today. Perhaps wearing the shirt will help encourage me in the fight of the war with myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have great difficulty recognizing faces out of their normal context. People think I’m ignoring them when in reality I just didn’t recognize them. I’ve had to tell so many people this throughout my life.

    My comfortable temperature is lower between 60 and 75 but anywhere outside those parameters and I am miserable.

    I come off as rude to almost everyone due to two things, my monotone voice and my inability to immediately understand a change in situations. Like say everyone is laughing and joking and someone says something serious, I’m likely to laugh thinking it was just another part of the joke but everyone else realizes it was serious, that sucks.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. or maybe youre a healer, triaging every crisis that comes through your personal life e.r.

    you can use the metaphors you want, im just tossing an alternative your way in case it becomes useful. certainly you can have a healer triaging in a warzone.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OK. Now you put it out there. Did it hurt? I hope not because it is helpful to have others know such problems exist. Then they can be more helpful and understanding.
    I had an interesting reaction. (I’m a psychologist). Have you ever mapped out and organized the constellation of things you find troublesome. Maybe not globally but maybe in specific areas. Then you might find you can define management techniques. The beginning would be with one specific area or constellation to see what you have and what you might do. It’s a matter of gaining control and feeling less lost.
    After all my years working in psychology I got to the point where I became dismissive of the idea of mental illness. All of us have issues in our lives and I have come to think of it as life management.
    What are your thoughts along those lines?
    By the way I have trouble remembering both names and faces.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I have trouble with some of these things as well. For instance, if someone tells me directions with more than 2-3 points in them, you lost me. I have to write it down and then look at them several times to remember what they are trying to tell me. Also, I have to check the car at least twice (sometimes more) because I always get the nagging feeling that I left it unlocked and someone is going to steal it! So, yes, I do relate.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh, my. So very relatable-right down to the dizziness when I put my arms over my head.
    ( also when I have to look straight up for an extend amount of time) I truly believe there are varying levels of physical struggles within the spectrum that can add to our distress at times. Thank you for your openness. It is more helpful than you know.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on Aspie Under Your Radar and commented:

    YES to so much of this. Seriously, there’s just no point to me disclosing any of this to people. If they know, they just treat me like I’m impaired and can’t fend for myself. If they don’t, they just expect me to go along with everything they do, to mirror their activities and interests… and like it. Augh! Please. Small wonder, I isolate. I just can’t deal with all the demands… and the lack of support.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Omg omg omg yes! I can so very much relate to this whole post. Thank you for writing this! 👏🏼👏🏼😊
    Cheers!
    ~The Silent Wave Blog writer/Laina 🌟🌟

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I experience all that stuff, including the dizziness and the bad regulation of temperature which my doctor didn’t believe until he saw the temperature fluctuations on two of his thermometers. Most people still don’t believe it exists. But I have been assured none of these are symptoms of autism and thus do not form part of my disability. I hate the medical community sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I know it is hard reading this, BUT on the other hand … WOW … it feels so good to have found my tribe! Reading this I feel AT HOME!

    This is me other than the face blindness, I have an exceptional memory for that and can “revisit” the time and place that I saw the person and what they said. My long term memory is really, really good, which is not always a good thing because other people “forgive and forget” but for me I can recall every hurtful incident in incredible detail – it’s hard to let go.

    It took me 6 years to remember my own mobile number and I have to remember the “pattern” to recall the number.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Anne,

    It is true that need to know thyself. The comfort is that we can grow and learn to overcome challenges. Thank God for wisdom and direction.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Gary On Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 1:15 AM Anonymously Autistic wrote:

    > anonymouslyautistic posted: “Sometimes I feel as if I am constantly in a > battle with myself. Fighting against irrational thoughts in my mind, and > unpleasant sensations in my body. Constant nagging in my mind – “You might > have left the door unlocked.” When I know very well the door s” >

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, yes, so familiar. Didn’t know I was autistic and blamed my inability to know left from right on being changed at age five. Was a lefty and mother and teacher changed me to right and I consistently go the wrong way. Sequential tasks when shopping are a nightmare. Someone said to write them on m y hand and the list sweated off on the steering wheel and I was completely confused. So it is interesting to know this may be a common problem? Thanks for posting your experience! Helps to put mine in context…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Excellent article, so many of your issues are exactly what our son, now an adult, suffered through. I am sure that your site is a great help to people who are struggling with these issues. We found that most Doctors and therapists really actually knew very little about the issues they were trying to help people with.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. this dreadful person (not laina, the “ourpuzzlepiece” blogger im talking about in lainas comment section) is cure-torturing her kid. despite my furor about it, i dont think we should run over and tell her what a horrible mother she is (it would backfire, i promise you. i could talk for YEARS about why thats a bad idea.) i do think WE should talk about how horrible it is to cure-torture children, because its ultimately what we want to provide (ethical, non-traumatic) “alternatives” to– like the whole “concept” of kids not being clones of their nt parents 😦 for starters.

    https://thesilentwaveblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/learning-disability-or-different-learning-ability/comment-page-1/#comment-4010 p.s. you and laina are nothing short of heroes. no, seriously– you have no idea (ok, maybe the slightest idea) the good youre doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m at war with myself – but don’t want to start a war with other bloggers. I realize people do things I do not always agree with – if they do them here I will kick them out. I feel like most people mean well even when they are ignorant. Maybe not calling them out by name? This seems like fuel for drama. I agree more acceptance is always called for especially with children and I feel like kids should have more privacy with their medical information.

      Like

      1. im not trying to get you to single anyone out. however, this is the thing thats being done to all of us. this, this is the problem. im talking about the thing, not the person.

        im pretty sure you understand this. but i will talk to laina about it– i know we are trying to build a world where there are alternatives to this. whether to think about that in terms of “war” or just progress–

        im angry at that woman, but im not trying to make it about her. its about this “cure” thing. just to be totally clear about it.

        very few people are not at war with themselves. its a popular thing, society-wise.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The thing is, I do believe she loves her kid. I don’t think her intentions come from a bad place. People do not understand at all Autism – because for many years we let these therapies become the norm and we didn’t speak up for ourselves. Attacking other people doesn’t ever help. Reaching out and educating from a loving place might be more helpful. This is why I am blogging for more understanding because otherwise NT people can’t even comprehend that “this is just normal Aspie behavior”. Most parents just want their kids to have an easier life and succeed. They get scared and sad when they can’t see that happening in a way the understand. I don’t think this makes them bad people.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. dont take me too literally– ive dealt with the same crap from my own family, its why we have no relationship– its ironic because they know im very bright and expressive, but they are the ones “locked in” to being reached or having any mutual understanding. i wish i could “cure” them!

            “I do believe she loves her kid. I don’t think her intentions come from a bad place. People do not understand at all Autism – because for many years we let these therapies become the norm and we didn’t speak up for ourselves. ”

            agreed on all points.

            “Attacking other people doesn’t ever help. Reaching out and educating from a loving place might be more helpful.”

            i know, its not easy when theres so much condescension (non-deliberate, i realize.) they dont know how much we understand. they wont listen, either. but– im not trying to demonize anyone. i only spoke negatively because the whole matter is infuriating. i said from “go” that i dont believe fighting such people is the answer. fighting such Misconceptions? yes. fighting with moms? — a fools errand. really. i know.

            “This is why I am blogging for more understanding because otherwise NT people can’t even comprehend that “this is just normal Aspie behavior”. Most parents just want their kids to have an easier life and succeed. They get scared and sad when they can’t see that happening in a way the understand.”

            i know, i do. but in their caring they make it so much worse 😦

            “I don’t think this makes them bad people.”

            neither do i. theyre innocent.

            this industry that uses them… not as much.

            i believe in the good fight– or the better fight– meaning, you fight bad ideas with BETTER ideas.

            just fighting moms would make people say “oh look, this is exactly why they need a cure! their thinking is so black and white about everything!”

            gahh… dont worry anna, one vent-session a year, i still come in peace. i used to be one of those “social justice warriors” and i know, that really fixes nothing.

            advocacy. ASAN. neurodiversity.

            i wasnt going to say anything to that person, but i caved and posted one thing to her post. it was this link:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_rights_movement

            perhaps she wont read it. perhaps she will read and reject it. i have no idea. you can lead a horse to ideas, but you cant make it think.

            cheers.

            Liked by 2 people

  16. You are so courageous and are doing a wonderful thing educating the world about what it is like to live with autism from the inside out. As the mother to a son with autism, you and adults with autism, are helping me understand my son more and more and helping other parents see their child’s strengths as well and how best to support them growing up. Keep up the good work!

    Like

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