Jul. 12, 2016 - 9:32 PM
This entry was bound to happen at one point or another, but recently I've found myself wanting to write it more and more. In the few online communities I'm a part of, I find myself trying to explain that my blunt way of typing, or when I don't understand something simple, or when I don't get a joke that's super easy to get, it's because of my brain.
I have ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (Wiki Link). Well, specifically Aspergers Syndrome (Wiki Link), but that was merged with Autism Spectrum Disorder several years ago, as far as I know. It affects different people in different ways, but that's what this entry is for. To help people understand how it affects me. Reading the Wikipedia articles I linked would probably help with the basic stuff, and this entry should help with the stuff more specific to me.
In my case, a lot of social stuff is incredibly draining. Even if I'm out just having a sandwich with my best friend, my social energy drains very fast. At the end of hanging out for a few hours, I just need to rest. Half the time, a nap works best. My social interactions are also relatively limited. I've been getting better with that stuff in general, but for the most part, I let others do the talking. It's just easier to keep to myself than to expend energy trying to seem normal.
One of the biggest problems I face, is processing issues. Some days go by without any processing issues, but other days can sometimes be mostly processing issues. There's no warning when I start having issues, but when they hit, I try my best to let people know what's going on. Processing issues happen when I'm trying to read or listen or watch something, but on top of everything else, it's too much information for my brain to process. Instead of managing that information like your average person would, my brain gets overloaded and starts being able to process less and less. I usually get pretty frustrated when this happens, and need to take a break from whatever I'm doing, until I can process information at a reasonable rate.
The second biggest issue I face, is sensory overload. This is similar to processing issues, I think. When there's too much sensory information, everything just kind of shuts down. I'm unable to tune things out like your average person, so when there's a lot going on, it's really difficult to manage all that input. At times like this, I even feel the watch on my wrist, or the clothes on my body. Everything feels bad. If I'm sitting, I need to stand. If there's sound, it needs to stop. I can't block everything out. If it's raining, I can't tune out the rain, or the increased volume of cars on the wet road, or the wind in the trees. Even closing the window doesn't help, because there's loads of different sound inside as well. It just vaguely muffles the outside sounds. This is slightly different from processing issues, because instead of not being able to process things, I'm just generally overloaded.
In both cases, I end up unable to hear myself think. I can't make decisions, I get frustrated, I can potentially snap at people even though I don't mean to, etc. It's not fun, but I try to let people know when I'm having issues. There's nothing anyone can really do to help in these situations, but I will usually need to take a break or nap or shower or something to try and help manage the information I'm being bombarded with.
Most of the time, reading large blocks of text is difficult. So whenever I'm trying to read an article, or a wiki, or whatever else, I try asking people I know if they can shorten or summarize it. This usually helps me understand whatever I was trying to read, but the majority of the time, the large block of text is too much. So if this entry isn't well-proofread, it's because of that.