Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Aspie or Not? Social Traits...or I'm much Cooler on the Internet

Now that a lot (but certainly not all) of the Emotional Traits are down in print, lets move on to the fun stuff. Or what most people consider fun stuff. Social Traits. Another long list. Enjoy.

1. WILL RATHER BE ALONE THAN WITH OTHER PEOPLE:  I NEED time alone. I physically require it to recharge. If go for too many days without time alone I get pissy, aggravated, annoyed, spacey and tired. This happens more quickly and more often after events or long periods of time with 3 or more people and a lot of noise/commotion. I can also really enjoy being alone so long as I know it is not forever. 

2. WILL STRUGGLE WITH SEEMINGLY SIMPLE DAY TO DAY TASKS: Having to make a a phone call or an appointment for something makes me extremely anxious and drains me. I have to actually plan it out, when I'm going to do it, what I'm going to say, how I'm going to say it. I also have to do it when I'm alone so there are no distractions. 

3. WILL PREFER TO STAY HOME: Having to actually GO to that appointment not only causes extreme anxiety as well, but can sometimes send me over the edge and usually screws up my whole day. These are the days when Ativan is my best friend. 

4. TROUBLE MAKING/KEEPING FRIENDS:  I really had to think about this one. People have often said it takes a long time to really get to know me. And I guess that's true. I don't have many friends, but then again, I don't want that many friends. I periodically clear out my facebook friend list simply to keep the number down and make my feed manageable. For me, having too many people in my life requires too much time and effort. More than I am able to give. It's overwhelming for me, to keep track of everyone, and what they are doing, and how often I should see them or talk to them. I don't know the rules because I guess there aren't any. Unspoken rules maybe? But I don't know what those are. Most people seem to naturally know the give and take involved. None of it comes naturally to me. Honestly, I can go forever without talking to most people and not be very bothered by it.  My friends tend to be old friends, or lifelong friends. People who have already gone through the process of getting to know me. New friends seem to be people who share a lot of the same interests, challenges or difficulties as me. I also tend to be drawn to people who are not "typical" or "mainstream".  People who march to the beat of a different drummer. Books, however, are my best friends. I love books more than I love most people. Bookstores and Library's have always eased my anxiety. 

5. ALCOHOL AND ASPERGER'S SYNDROME/DRINKING TO COPE: Alcohol is my key to being social and has been since I was a teenager. I can actually enjoy large noisy places with strange people as long as I can drink. If I can't drink, I will avoid those places at all costs. 

6. MAY BE SHY/QUIET OR OUTSPOKEN WHEN FIRED UP:  As a child, I was the "shy" girl. The girl who hardly talked, but when she did she was told to speak up. The girl who never smiled and didn't understand why everyone was always telling her to. That lasted until I discovered the magic of beer as a young teenager. Liquid Courage soon became a close friend. Age (and probably hormones...the unbalanced kind) have given me more of an aggressive side. I wouldn't call myself shy at this point in my life. If I feel strongly about something I will speak up. It will expend a tremendous amount of energy to do it and I will most likely have to take an Ativan to calm down after. But still, I will do it. 

7. FEELINGS OF BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET:  I've always felt isolated. Alone. On the outside looking in. This hasn't changed with age. In fact, it's become more evident. Ironically the feeling of being alone emerges more often when I am with other people, like there is an invisible wall. I hardly ever feel alone when I'm by myself. 

8. WILL TURN CONVERSATION BACK TO SELF:  I'm pretty honest and straight forward. Hopefully not brutally, but possibly. When talking with someone I do notice I tend to turn the conversation back to me. Not on purpose, and since I've learned that is a trait, I've tried to be more conscience of it. I think I do it as a way of relating to what is being said. Another sign is coming across as controlling. I know I do this. As well as questioning the actions and behaviors of others. I also overthink and overshare. It's involuntary and, again, I think it is only done as a way to relate. To learn. To understand. 

9. WILL NOT BE ADEPT AT SMALL TALK:  I hate small talk. HATE it. All that shit you have to say at Parties to people you don't know. I can do it if I have to, but I fucking hate it. Besides making me extremely uncomfortable it is pointless as hell to talk without really saying anything. I know that this a trait of Aspergers as well but it's also something I will never change my mind about. I also hate talking to strangers and get annoyed when they try to engage me in conversation. I do notice that I make little to no eye contact with strangers. I always thought it was my way of shutting them down, so they would give up trying to talk to me. I was often told I seemed stuck up in school. On the flip side if I'm with someone I know well, and like or love, I will stare. Often. Almost always. Probably always. It's like I study their face. I'm not staring into their eyes. I'm looking at their forehead, or the shape of their nose, cheek bones, or watching their lips as they talk. I have done this for as long as I can remember. I have heard the words "What are looking/staring at?" more times than I care to admit. 

10. ANXIETY AND SENSORY ISSUES:  I do best socially in a one on one environment. If there is more than one other person I will inevitably melt into the background. People tend to either not hear me or talk over me. I often feel ignored. If it's a large social situation (5 or more people) I will find the conversation confusing and will have a hard time following what is being said. I've used alcohol to cope in these situations since my very first social gatherings as a young adult. (drinking before the 8th grade school dances etc..) Whether it's a Holiday gathering with family or a night out with strangers, it's always the same. I will have to drink. If for some reason alcohol is not readily available (with my boyfriend's family perhaps) I will find the situation extremely uncomfortable. Almost painful. I won't say very much, and most likely someone will make a comment on how I'm not saying very much. This will engage fight or flight, the anxiety will build and that one measly social event will result in a couple of recovery days (alone time) and possibly a panic attack. I tend to have delayed reactions, so a panic attack two days after a stressful event is not unusual. This makes it difficult to link it to something and even more difficult to explain to anyone else what is wrong and answer the "Why" questions. 

And that, as they say, is that. (I still had the issue of Sex left, but because I want to keep each list to ten, you'll have to wait for the nitty gritty to be thrown in with random traits and oddities.)

Sorry for spelling errors. I'll fix them later.

Hope, who is suddenly very tired, and I've only been writing about be social. 

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